Since the abolition of slave trade several years ago, any human being who engages in such is made to face the wrath of the law. It simply means that the life of any human being can no longer be exchanged for money or its equivalent. Anybody who does otherwise is considered a criminal and subsequently made to face the wrath of the law of the land. But surprisingly, there are still some enemies of mankind who, in this century, still think that the precious lives of human beings of which the Almighty God is the Maker, can still be stylishly and cunningly exchanged for any form of a medium of exchange.
I know some people will initially be at sea with the comprehension of this piece, but they would have been saved the rigour of their ordeal as they read further into the text. It happened in Ijesaland, Osun State. The show of shame took place at the precinct of the burnt palace of Owa Obokun of Ijesaland during the 1 billion Naira fund-raising, for the palace of the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Gabriel Aromolaran. It is not unusual for people to raise fund for one project, or the other but when such fund comes from non-credible source, that’s when it becomes a subject of controversy, of which its appropriateness is called to question.
It is absurd that nineteen months after the embattled State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola led his soldiers of occupation that ovrran Ilesa, headquarters of Ijesaland, where so many people were killed, with scores of others wounded, the Okuku-born governor could have the effrontery to lead his retinue of supporters to the ancient town and made a donation of N50million to the building of the palace that was razed under a questionable circumstance.
Oyinlola’s deputy, Erelu Olusola Obada was ubiquitous at the venue of the event, and it was as if she was executing a family agenda. It was all exchange of banters and pleasantries among the movers and shakers of the society in Osun and beyond. Of all the governors that were represented, there was one, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who was represented by one of his aides who caused a stir when he carried a bag containing one million naira cash, supposedly of denomination because of the size of the luggage.
It was not even the Gbenga Daniel donation that was strange but the announcement by his emissary that he had brought Ijebu’s money. There were signs of shock and disbelief on the faces of those in attendance, taking into cognizance the fact that in some decades past, monetary denomination tagged Ijebu’s money was counterfeit.
Earlier, the affable and humour merchant monarch host-Oba had jokingly announced to the gathering that he was considering installing Oyinlola the deputy Owa of Ijesaland. It was noticed that the Ijesas did not take the joke of the traditional ruler kindly as some of them who were people of means in the society annoyingly left the scene, questioning the rationale behind such joke. It was their contention that Oyinlola has demonstrated to anybody who cares to listen or watch that he is a sworn enemy of Ijesa people.
Some of those in attendance even queried the motive of the governor to have donated such amount of money, asking if the purpose was to bribe the Ijesha people for killing, maiming, detaining, suppressing, arraigning, raping and harassing their sons and daughters shortly after the disputed 2007 general elections. If Oyinlola had had the opportunity to listen to what was being said about him by the majority of those in attendance, he might have perhaps considered an option of instant resignation.
A political pundit foreclosed the idea of Oyinlola’s resignation, basing his submission on the fact that he (Oyinlola) had seen worst humiliation but still adamant to stay put when the ovation is at its lowest ebb. One of the traditional chiefs sitting on my right hand side hinted that Oyinlola ought to have tendered his letter of resignation the very day the governorship candidate of Action Congress (AC) in Osun State, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola made a triumphal entry into Osogbo after the controversial general elections.
It was his contention that the turn-out of Aregbe’s supporters when he made the unannounced whistle visit to Osogbo, was a pointer to the fact that the AC candidate was robbed of his mandate by a consortium of poll robbers led by armed Oyinlola. At no time, even during the elections, did Oyinlola command such a large crowd. Aregbesola, perhaps because of his people-oriented manifesto, innovation and dynamism introduced into his electioneering became the toast of all and sundry. There was hardly a town, village and armlet that Aregbe did not touch during his campaign.
But why he was working extra hard for a deserved victory, some people, somewhere with the active connivance of the infamous ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo devised a means of tinkering with the Aregbe and other AC candidates’ elections’ results, forgetting that they (the vote robbers) can only run but not hide till eternity.
One day for the thief, a day for the owner. The sterling revelations at the election petitions tribunals were enough reasons for these political bandits to throw in the towel, atone for their sins and change over a new leaf. For the mere fact that they are neck deep in their nefarious and anti-people activities with ceaseless assurance from their boss, retired Brigadier-General Oyinlola, that they are above the laws of the land, they keep on constituting themselves a nuisance all over the place. With Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s victory at the Court of Appeal which sat in Benin City, capital of Edo State, it now dawns on Oyinlola and his deaf and blind followers that his days in the Government House are numbered.
There is no hiding place for them. What will be causing riot in Oyinlola’s mind and those of his lieutenants and his unrepentant supporters is that the death that is killing one’s contemporary is a pointer to the fact one’s demise is neist. No matter how long it will take, the long arm of the law will definitely catch up with those who temporarily ganged up to deny Osun people from having their choice of governor.
Immediately the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade got to the venue of the fund-raising event, things were not the same again as sycophants were kneeling down and rolling before the monarch. There was a case of a chief medical director of a teaching hospital, in suit, in the area who was rolling on the table before the Ooni. The CMD nearly committed suicide, unwittingly through the trapping of his tie while paying the needless homage. Immediately he was left off the hook, the CMD left the scene with the retinue of his staff.
One remarkable incident on the occasion, was that before Oyinlola announced his donation, he was in a tete-a-tete with the Ooni, obviously receiving royal instructions from his political godfather on how much of the state fund to part with in exchange for the many Ijesha sons and daughters killed in the ancient town in April last year. The Ooni’s visit to the occasion was significant, and it was to reduce the effect of his demystification by Aregbesola when retired General Alani Akinrinade was doing the final burial ceremony of his late father at Yakoyo in Ife North Local Government Council Area of the State penultimate Saturday.
If what a newspaper published that Aregbesola shunned the Ooni was correct, it means the Symbol of Oranmiyan did not disappoint his teeming admirers because they did not expect anything less from him. How else could one have behaved to a father who continues to favour one of his children at a market place? If I were in Aregbesola’s plight, I would have done more than that.
It is good for Aregbesola to show his protest to the Ooni by not greeting him because the Ooni has proved himself to be a non-well-wisher and sworn enemy of the AC governorship candidate through his numerous activities before, during and after the general elections. What type of a play will a lion and a dog engage in?
Aregbe is first an Ijeshaman before he knows himself as a Nigerian. Knowing full well that he has wronged a prominent Ijeshaman who subsequently demystified him at Yakoyo and Lagos, the monarch came on a damage control mission to Ilesa because he is aware that the principle of an injury to one, is an injury to others might come to play. Sources close to the Ooni’s palace showed that the monarch was so rattled with the development, to the extent that he held an informal court in his palace to deliberate on why Aregbe could have shunned him at Yakoyo.
The royal father should remember that an old man who ties corns round his waist has become a contemporary of fowls. It is known to all and sundry that Aregbe has absolute respect for tradition and culture. Things went awry between Aregbe and the Ooni the moment the latter became partisan to the detriment of the former.
The Ooni should know that as things are now, Aregbesola does not need him to realize his political ambition of governing Osun State. The monarch has bungled the opportunity of such on a platter of gold. If he has, all the while, remained apolitical, and relate to both Aregbe and Oyinlola on an impartial fatherly basis, the royal father would have commanded equal degree of respect before the duo. By donating generously to the Owa’s palace building appeal fund, the embattled Okuku-born prince had thought that he could make Ijesa people forget and forgive the genocide he committed in Ilesa in his desperate attempt to rule Osun State when it was apparent that he was not voted for.
That Oyinlola’s donation is a blood money which the organizers of the event should return in a jiffy. No amount of money can be equated with the blood of the Ijesa sons and daughters shed by the soldiers brought by Oyinlola from Odogbo Army Barracks, Ibadan, Oyo State on the eve of last year’s elections. Oyinlola should be made to account for the extra-judicial killings after he might have left office.
By Kola Olabisi