Our Regrets Since 2003

UNTIL a woman marries a second time, she would not know, which one is better – Yoruba Proverb.

The above proverb represents the collective will of the people in Osun State, the State of the Living Spring that has long dried up due to dismal mismanagement of our collective resources by a group fostered on us by destiny since May 29, 2003.

The people had bargained for a better deal from the then in-coming Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led administration on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when we, in our collective ignorance decided to do away with what we thought, was a less sensitive administration of Chief Bisi Akande.

Akande, in the people’s estimate, especially workers in the service of Osun State Government, was a man on a mission to inflict untold chastisement on the people through its numerous programmes and policies. Most of the policies were unfortunately misinterpreted, portraying the administration as being insensitive to the masses plight. No thanks to the PDP and its latent propaganda machinery.

With active backing of the PDP, the electorate were hood-winked into the then opposition’s desperate bid to make a demon out of Akande and his administration, while in the process warming its ways into the peoples’ heart.

In the PDP, the people foolishly saw a Messiah, that was out to restore their hope and belief in the rule of law and dignity of man. So much was expected that the workers could not wait to work in the same office with Akande and therefore decided to embark on an industrial action, from which they did not resume until Oyinlola came on board.

His coming on board was seeing by many of us as marking the beginning of what we all expected to be a new dawn in Osun State, as we are all living witnesses to how humble Oyinlola was as a PDP governorship candidate, especially towards the traditional rulers in the state.

Today, myself, like everyone living in Osun State, now know better. The monster that the PDP represents in the state has come of age, baring its fangs and attacking all real and imaginary opposition figures with the ferocity of a wounded lion.

The Oyinlola humble administration of 2003 can no more be said to be the same draconian administration of today. Indeed, the monster has come of age.

Like all military officers, whether in service or out of it, Oyinlola has no patience with any form of opposition to his administration. As a matter of fact, were it not for democratic decorum, the opposition ought to be crushed with all the might at the disposal of his administration.

His first attempt aimed at subduing any opposition was to co-opt some of the labour leaders into his cabinet as Special Adviser on Labour Matters.

With the state workers safely in his pocket, Oyinlola reportedly went for the state treasury, which he deliberately left open for unrestricted access by members of his kitchen cabinet and prominent chieftains of his party, PDP.

The beneficiaries of Oyinlola’s open-handedness were suddenly found out to have become over-night millionaires including the illiterates and road–side vulcanizers who by accident of focuslessness found themselves at the corridors of power as Special Advisers and Executive Assistants to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

With what could be observed so far, a rational political observer could infer that the ruling party in Osun State is one that celebrates mediocrity to high heavens, where party loyalty is rewarded at the expense of merit.

In a desperate bid to satisfy the greed for material wealth, the local government councils’ allocations from the federation accounts were being pilfered at will by the Oyinlola administration, since 2003 till date.

The ill-gotten wealth is being flaunted by the PDP members to the surprise of the masses who could not comfortably afford three square meals a day. Ownership of choice- properties and state-of-the-art automobiles soon became the vogue.

The brazen plundering of our collective resources continued unabated and the masses equally continue to wallow in abject poverty and the circle continues till date.

As if that was not enough, the government turned its attention on the opposition, fight the harmless lots with the ammunition in its arsenal including harassment and intimidation in a desperate bid to cow the members into submission.

Few weeks before the April 2007 general elections witnessed the bearing of its anger against the opposition as there were reported cases of arrests, detentions, attacks and maiming of members of opposition across the state.

Cache of arms were believed to have found its ways into the state, no thanks again, to the PDP chieftains who executed the do-or-die command pronounced by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on the general elections.

No member of the opposition was considered too big or old for attacks as even old men were not spared by the rampaging hoodlums who unleashed untold violence on the hapless members of the public.

The general elections were also marred by violence with records of deaths of opposition members across the state. Prominent PDP chieftains including candidates, were reported to have personally ordered the shooting of people at voting centres in their desperate attempts to snatch ballot boxes and later stuffed same with already thumb-printed ballot papers. Deaths at this period resulted into endless wailings by relations and families of the dead.

With the aid of the army of occupation reportedly invited by Oyinlola into the state, election rigging was perfected. Resulting in a controversial sweeping victory for the ruling PDP. What a calamity.

To further cow the opposition into line, the Oyinlola administration, in active connivance with the police, arranged for the arrest, detention and prosecution of members of opposition political parties and their supporters. They were hurriedly arraigned before a magistrate court where they were granted stringent bail conditions.

The latest of the PDP’s plan to further whip the opposition into line has become the bomb explosion saga in which the state government has suddenly turned chief interrogator, issuing press statements on its findings instead of the police.

The lone-suspect of the controversial explosion is currently believed to have been moved from prison to the Government House where he has been allocated a room next to Oyinlola’s .

The aim of gratten such indulgence to the suspect is to use him as a tool to get some opposition members indicted and invariably behind bars ahead of the Tribunal rulings on Oyinlola’s purported victory at the polls in April, 2007.

The mass arrests opposition members have since started and only God knows when it would end.

May God save us from this calamitous mistake made in 2003.

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