BY ADEMOLA YAYA
BERNARD Crick defines politics as “a distinctive form of rule whereby people act together through institutionalised procedures to resolve differences, to conciliate diverse interests and values and to make public policies in the pursuit of common purpose.” In a related manner, Wikipedia defines politics as “the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status.” To put these ideals into practicability, political parties are formed with an ultimate agendum to foster their ideologies and manifestoes on the society having won an election which is a competition between parties.
However, ideological leaning determines the kind of politics and the political party one is involved. In politics, the LEFT refers to the people and groups that have liberal views – that support progressive reforms, especially those seeking greater socio-economic wellbeing for majority of the people. They support social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition of social hierarchy. The FAR LEFT are the ones considered to be revolutionaries with views as Socialism/Communism. The RIGHT refers to people or groups that have conservative views. They do not want change but preservation of existing conditions and institutions. The FAR RIGHT are more extreme in their viewpoints including fascism and some oppressive ideologies.
Osun APC under Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola redefined the meaning of governance through real but sustainable interventions that enhanced quality of lives of majority of the people as contained in the Six-Point Integral programmes of his Green Book – MY PACT WITH THE PEOPLE OF OSUN STATE. Aregbesola built massive physical infrastructures and invested in human values that would yield a total new man that would be socially responsible. Let us look at just two interventions – Education and Youth Empowerment. On his intervention in education, for instance, apart from building mega-schools that were well equipped, he invented an award winning knowledge tablet – Opon-Imo, School feeding for over 253,000 school pupils with nutritional meals – chicken, fish, beef, eggs and fruits daily – tagged O-meal which was a tactical bait to increasing pupils school enrolment as most poor parents saw it as a respite and hope in life to those kids. It resulted into increment of primary school enrolment from 155,318 to 252,793 – an increase of 62.8%. Moreover, N1.5b spent on the meals annually was an incentive to farmers to produce more as there was a guaranteed market. It was also an empowerment for 3,007 women who were engaged as caterers. School Uniform alone created 3,000 jobs for Osun people at Omoluabi Garment Factory. Omoluabi Scholar Buses were provided for easy transportation of students. Primary and secondary school grants were increased from N7.4m to N424m and N117m to N427m per year respectively. School children were thought the act of calisthenics – a dramatic and delightful display aimed at building a new generation of students who were physically robust, mentally sound and socially well adjusted. It is instructive to state that mostly, the children of the very poor patronised public schools because those schools were not seen as schools that could impact knowledge. All these interventions steadily transformed these public schools to the extent that a 17-year-old, Kamardeen Ridwan, a student of a public school, Ataoja High School, scored 319 in 2019 UTME result, the best in Osun. He was a child a bricklayer father and ‘Fufu’ seller mother. The young man had already scored eight distinctions in 2018 GCE while in SS2 in core science subjects, including Mathematics and English Language.
Under Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES), Aregbesola engaged 20,000 youth within 100 days in office and totality of 60,000 before leaving office in 2018. These youth were trained as cadets deployed to Public Works Brigade, Green Gang, Traffic Marshalls, Sanitation Czars and Teachers Corps with N10,000 allowance to each cadet which translated to N200m monthly and N2.4b annually, directly injected into Osun economy. Their uniform and boots were produced by the Nigeria Union of Tailors I Osun and Osun Footwear and Leather Workers Union respectively.
During Mr. Gboyega Oyetola’s campaign for governorship in 2018, there was no manifesto. The campaign was built and based on continuity of Rauf Aregbesola-led APC progressive programmes and policies. Since the exit of Aregbesola however, most of these programmes and interventions have not only been thrown into dustbin of history, some have been subjected to attacks and revisionism from Oyetola-led APC government. For over three years of the regime, there has not been OYES recruitment; Omoluabi Garment Factory is dead; School Uniform policy reversed; Scholars buses grounded; no calisthenics training nor display. Aside this policy summersault and reversal of Aregbesola and APC progressive legacies, Mr. Governor does not want to have anything to do with Aregbesola or any of his associates in the same party. Instead, Mr. Governor embraces and accommodates into his government and party majorly those who have no single ideological credential of progressivism, with few exceptions. As presently constituted, the APC that Aregbesola left behind has been grossly compromised. There is no fundamental difference between it and opposition PDP. Hence, the struggle for the soul of the party by a group within the party named The Osun Progressives (TOP). TOP has the following as its core objectives: promoting internal democracy in the party; ensuring effective and efficient party management; mobilise and reconcile and network for party development; promoting equity, fairness and justice within the party; ensuring transparency and accountability in the party management; fostering level playing ground; no to imposition of candidates, and; initiating programmes and activities for party development.
Yes, there could be animosity between Oyetola and Aregbesola, it happens now and then between husbands and wives even in perceived “perfect” marriages. The bottom line that has divided Osun APC into two is not simply that friction but the docile and inept Famodun leadership (before the State Convention) and Oyetola revisionism of promised continuity of Rauf APC programmes;the policy of alienation, provocation and hostility on one hand, and on the other hand, the battle to revive the soul of the party by a section of members who would not forget easily what they underwent between 2007 and 26 November 2010, when they eventually wrested power from the PDP. Some of those who perpetrated carnage against APC members at that dark and agonising era are the ones at the helm of affairs in today APC government. Tranquillity and cooperation cannot ensue in an environment where a tiger and a mongrel are tied down but tiger’s tail handed to dog.