By Sodiq Yusuf
“Awa Kiise olódì won, àgùntàn o ni olodi l’ọja, ewúrẹ ololodi lóde, awa lamugboro dun, lode awalamugboro dun, k’awọn to nbinu maabinu…”
This part of a song by the late Apala icon, Ayinla Omowura, whenever played at any political function in the State of Osun in the last decade symbolised the recognition of a man that is described as the “Architect of Modern Osun”, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Throughout his eight-year tenure as the governor of the state, government functions, public occasions and even a sight of his convoy by the people were never a dull moment. All events and moments with “Omo-iya-olobi” were always carnival-like as people always jubilated and identified with their Symbol of progressive government in the state.
The story has not changed. Even with his exit from office as governor, the atmosphere has not for once ceased to follow the trend he enjoyed as the Number One Citizen of the State of the Virtuous.
Aregbesola was in Osun few days ago in compliance with the presidential directive to all ministers to return to their states for Stakeholders’ Engagement as a result of the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests that ravaged the country in October. The visit saw the display and the outpour of the uncommon love the people of Osun have for the Minister, especially from residents of Osogbo, Iwo and Ijebu-Ijesa, who received Aregbesola with pomp.
The situation was indifferent on Saturday, December 19, 2020 when Aregbesola attended the empowerment programme organised by the Senator representing Osun Central Senatorial District at the Senate, Dr. Ajibola Basiru in Osogbo, in conclusion of his Stakeholders’ Engagement with the people of the state.
At the event, there was massive turnout of lovers, political associates, youths, women organisations among others who came to receive the august visitor. Aregbesola, who entered the Adenle Primary School, Osogbo, venue of the programme through Sabo route, pulled his crowd as usual, as passersby and commuters followed him to the programme.
When it was his turn to speak, the various musical interludes that permeated his speeches when he was governor returned and the people danced in admiration, returning them to the political mood they had missed over time.
Addressing the issues raised by speakers who took turns to make comments at the occasion, Aregbesola restated that there is no rancour between him and the incumbent Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, noting that all efforts are geared to consolidate on the gains of his eight-year rule in the state.
The minister also urged the people not to be swayed by the antics of the opposition, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) is committed to the continued progress and development of the State of Osun.
He also had something to say to those comparing him with Governor Oyetola: “I told the people of Osun that I handed over to a gentle person. Stop comparing me with him. I came from the streets to politics.
“You can’t compare broiler chicken with local chicken, they are different totally. A broiler is beautiful but lacks action but local chicken has the charisma to combine the two at all times.
“There is no division in our party, what we must ensure is that our party should not be voted out of government. Let it be clear to all of us that our oppositions are working tirelessly. We are in the consolidation period, anything contrary is mere speculation. I, Rauf Aregbesola is not fighting anybody. I will be coming to this state regularly from now.
“I was here on July 6, 2019, a day after the Supreme Court affirmed our 2018 electoral victory. That was when I appreciated the people for standing by us. I restated that God is with us. It is with that I said we are in the consolidation era. Our people should continue their support. By God’s grace, we would not let you down.”
As he was returning to Ilesa, Aregbesola’s convoy was cheered on the expressway. From Ayetoro to Oja-Oba, Ilesa Garage, Owode to his destination, the people thronged out to salute their Symbol of good governance.
On the roads leading to the Minister’s hometown, especially within Osogbo metropolis, scores of residents were out in their numbers to catch a glimpse of the progressive icon. Chants like “Rauf” “Aregbe tiwa” “Omo Iya Olobi” rented the air.
At the Ilesa Garage roundabout in the state capital, a visibly elated resident said “Aregbe, a ti miss re l’Osun”: meaning “Aregbesola, we have missed you in Osun.” Statements like this among others have been recurring anytime the immediate past governor of the state visits.
Upon his entry into Ilesa, market men and women, traders, artisans, youths also received him with their outpour of love and solidarity. Expectedly, the man of the moment raised two fingers in his usual way of acknowledging the show of support. The crowd also featured admirers from the IleriOluwa movement who joined members of the public to salute the visitor.
Indeed, last Saturday remains another moment where “Oranmiyan” renewed his age-long bond with the people of the State of Osun, showing that they are fully behind their man. It further re-echoes a fact that nothing can change a people’s love for a man who strived to reposition and place Osun on the map of modernity with enduring legacies.