IT will not be an exaggeration of happenings in Osun State, particularly the methods have been adopted by Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola in governing Osun State if I conclude that his methods are an application of the political theories propounded by Machiavelli. Machiavelli in his book, ‘The Prince’ published in 1519 preached “absolutism in governance”. The theories had it that the ruler should acquire absolute power in dealing with any opposition. Such ruler should also employ absolute power to retain the power he has acquired.
The political prosositions of Machiavelli therefore did not allow any opposition against the ruler; such opposition should be crushed at all costs. The theories of Machiavelli did not recognize any limitation on the authority of the ruler.
Machiavelli’s Book, “The Prince” set out his theories as series of recommendation for Prince Lorenzo de Medici of Florence in Italy.
Italy was not a democracy by then. She lacked political unity and was divided into numerous states and principalities. Civil wars and foreign invasions were frequent. That was the situation in Italy; definitely the situation in Osun State is not the same as that of Machiavelli Italy. Osun State is a democracy and it will be barbaric for any ruler in this present day Nigeria to adopt the political theories of Machiavelli, who lived between 1469 and 1532. But one is not surprised if Governor Oyinlola adopts the theories of Machiavelli because he is a ‘Prince’, the Okuku prince; Governor Oyinlola is definitely a Machiavellian.
In this article, I want to expatiate on the fact that Oyinlola’s methods of governance is nothing short of an adoption of the theories of Machiavelli. He should be told that Osun State, as part of Nigeria is a democracy and his adoption of Machiavellism propounded in the
13th Century Italy is callous and uncivilized. It is unfortunate that Oyinlola became infuriated and ready to destroy Engineer Rauf Aregbesola when the latter appeared in 2006 armed with mapped out strategies to dislodge Oyinlola constitutionally and his cabal. Aregbesola is determined to liberate Osun State from the Claws of brigandage and injustice. The fight has just begun.
Thomas Hobbes, another proponent of absolutism (Like Machiavelli) in governance, admitted that if the ruler fails to maintain good governance the people under such leader have the right to alter it.
In a democracy, the way to alter a bad government is through elections.
But, it is unfortunate that Oyinlola was hell bent not to allow this democratic change. He has refused to allow peaceful, fair and free elections to hold in Osun State and Aregbesola became the target of Oyinlola’s evil plans.
The people of Osun State were ready to drive away Oyinlola from Abere Governor’s Office through democratic method i.e. through elections, and the people came out in their thousands to exercise their civic right. Oyinlola refused to allow the people to exercise their right freely.
Oyinlola employed every government machinery at his disposal to suppress the opposition parties notably Action Congress and its governorship candidate Aregbesola. Governor Oyinlola used effectively the anti-riot police unit fully armed against defenseless supporters of Aregbesola. The anti-riot policemen instituted violence which definitely marred the governor-ship elections of 14th April, 2007 and in the event some supporters of the Action Congress were killed and many were maimed. But Oyinlola’s main target was Aregbesola, as he employed series of antics to effect the elimination of Aregbesola.
Some examples of the callous antics employed by Oyinlola will suffice. The incident of Oroki Day celebration is still fresh in the mind. Aregbesola narrowly escaped being killed at the occasion by Oyinlola’s police and the P.D.P. thugs. As if that was not enough, Oyinlola was determined to implicate Aregbesola in series of trumped-up charges – Osogbo explosion saga and the spontaneous reactions of the people after the last year’s elections. But Oyinlola saw the people’s reaction as a rebellion against his government and was quick to name Aregbesola as the ring leader.
Oyinlola’s ruthlessness in dealing with Aregbesola assumed has got to a dimension that has not been witnessed in the history of elections in this country.
Finally, from the foregoing, one can see that the methods adopted by Oyinlola to deal with the opposition members especially Aregbesola is a replica of the political theories of Machiavelli.
Oyinlola’s leadership is absolutism and therefore does not flow from the people but from his capacity to visit heinous crime and anarchic terrorism on the very people he aspires to lead and govern.