•Poor Turn-Out Jolts Oyinlola
•Governor, Taju Oladipo Disagree
ONCE beaten, twice shy’, that was the graphical presentation of this year’s (2008) Oroki Day, an annual festival of Osogbo indigenes, as the embattled Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Oba Oyewale Matanmi, the Ataoja of Osogbo, were heralded into an empty Osogbo City Stadium, the venue of the event.
It would be recalled that the last Oroki Day, held at Osogbo City Hall penultimate year, was crisis ridden, as the governorship candidate of Osun State Action Congress (AC), Engineer Rauf Aregbeosla, who was a Special Guest at the occasion nearly got killed in the presence of the embattled state helmsman and the monarch.
It was reported that Aregbesola escaped death by the whiskers, but hundreds of his supporters and his campaign vehicles were not that lucky, as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reportedly unleashed terror on them (Aregbesola and his tourage).
Aftermath, Osogbo Progressive union (OPU), then headed by the elder brother of the Asiwaju Adeen of Yorubaland, Alhaji Tunde Badmus, Alhaji Ajadi Badmus was ambushed with criticisms from some political office holders on the platform of the ruling PDP.
The onslaught finally sounded a death knell on the vibrancy of the union, as the selection of the caretaker committee for the union was said to have politically tilted to the PDP, against election of an independent-minded Chief Adetoyese Olayanju-led executive committee.
Our reporter observed that the number of security operatives surpassed the number of guests and indigenes. Our reporter who arrived the venue of the flopped occasion earlier reported that the indigenes at home and abroad largely expressed their satisfaction with this year’s arrangement, by massively shunning the occasion.
Besides, less than 300 people were recorded, peopled by the governor and his entourage, security operatives, political office holders, political hangers-on and hawkers, who were at the occasion to make brisk business.
OSUN DEFENDER further observed that prominent political leaders like multimillionaire businessmen, the duo of Tunde Badmus and Ahmed Omidiran, the international labour leader, Hassan Sunmonu, Dr. Olu Alabi and the scores of others were conspicuously absent.
However, prominent political leaders of AC from Osogbo reportedly shunned the occasion, for the duo of Honourables Akintunde Adegboye and Laide Ajibola, the two lawmakers representing Osogbo and Olorunda state constituencies; Senator Bayo Salami, Alhaji Fatai Oyedele, popularly known as ‘Diekola’ could not be sighted.
Report has it that the people on the podium cladded in the same ‘Aso-ebi’ were mouth agaped to have been confronted with handy indigenes, who formed the audience.
Speaking with an emotion-laden voice, suggestive of bitter reality of unpopularity within the Osogbo folk, Oyinlola expressed his let-down at the poor turn-out, lamenting that it was an embarrassment in all its ramifications.
“I must say that this turn-out is disappointing, because those who ought to be here are not here; I can’t find the prominent indigenes that I know here. I think, politics has eaten deep into the fibrics of the organizers and I urge our elders to do something about it before the next Oroki Day” said the governor.
However, an Osogbo AC chieftain, Oyedele has observed that as long as the politically-biased officers of the OPU are still holding forte, unity among the indigenes would continue to be a mirage.
He then implored the Ataoja-in-council to start maintaining political neutrality, saying that it is the only panacea for the all encompassing Oroki Day.
“The people on the caretaker committee of the OPU cannot be trusted, we suspected that they are PDP stooges and we are the mobilizers of the people. I advise ‘Baba’ Ataoja to start playing his fatherly role by maintaining a political neutrality. That is the only way out,” said Oyedele.
In a related development, OSUN DEFENDER learnt that some members of the organizing committee of Oroki Day, kicked against the invitation of the five PDP governors if Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State on the platform of AC would not be invited.
Some of the representatives of the OPU branches who spoke to the medium expressed their disappointment at the poor arrangement, which led to the zero turn-out.
OSUN DEFENDER further learnt from sources close to the Government House that the statement credited to the governor became a bone of contention between him (governor) and the Osogbo-born National Vice-chairman of the PDP, South West, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo.
It was gathered that the latter expressed his disagreement with the governor on the statement, but the former was said to have insisted on his words, saying that if the opportunity repeated itself, he would say it again.
By GOKE BUTIKA