Op-Ed Osun

Osun: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Osun: Looking Back, Looking Forward
  • PublishedAugust 10, 2018

Guess how the Osun governorship electioneering would go?

Davido belts out sexy and seductive music.  Uncle, and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke aka Jackson (though, no Michael) turns instant amoeba, with neither shape nor form, in a fit of free-wheeling caper.

The dancing senator, in his true elements, earns boisterous and thunderous roar, as the merry campaign partisans catch the fire!

Reminds you — doesn’t it? — of the Biblical King David, doing his vigorous twist-and-turn, before the Ark of Covenant; a wild gyration that drew an instant rebuke from Queen Michal, Saul’s daughter, who felt it was scandalously un-kingly?

But that itself drew David’s counter-rebuke: Michal’s womb would never bulge with babies; or her legs ever leap with joy, while cuddling infants — a dire decree with Jehovah’s final seal!

Still, this Jackson caper can’t be to high Jehovah?  No.  But to the low voter, baited to use his heart, not his head.

From the Iyiola Omisore end, if the impasse over the Social Democratic Party (SDP) ticket gets resolved in his favour?  Perhaps bewitching claims bordering on flagrant untruths; and threats, rude and crude, bordering on the sinister.

And from the Osun traditional politicians, progressive, conservative or reactionary?  Hot bile over “Tekobo” (returned Lagos emigre) versus the home-bred — sterile controversies that add nothing to wise voting.

Then, blatant lies; vicious and virulent personality attacks, laced with wicked rumours, that turn the voter into an unthinking, self-destruct mob.

It’s the old Osun bile-driven electioneering, to whip up base instincts.

But it has always proved the Biblical wide and merry way, that leads nowhere but perdition and eventual gnashing of teeth, by that same mob, when the emotions ebb.

Flashback 2003.  Governor Bisi Akande — not the best of glib politicians, being blunt to a fault — was heckled out of office.

Baba Akande got pummelled, as the hated apostle of enduring present pains for future comfort.  It was a classic mob verdict, all passion, no reason.

But his replacement?  Almost eight years of near-total paralysis, under Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola.  Of course, you can’t claim Oyinlola did “nothing”, as excitable partisans are wont to argue and ripple.

But whatever he did, almost everything about Osun headed south, until the Rauf Aregbesola restoration years, starting 2010, after a three-year judicial battle to reclaim the stolen mandate of 2007.

Even then, the Osun Government Secretariat at Abere, complete with the Bola Ige House, the Governor’s Office Complex, was the grand vision Akande left behind to mock the Oyinlola-era ruins — and the voters’ grand folly.

So, what should the Osun voter do, in the midst of the unimaginable din of electioneering?  Look back, before looking forward.

That way, (s)he can make an informed decision on the ballot.  How was Osun seven years ago?  How would (s)he want it to be four years from now?

Security?  Kwara was created, first as West-Central State; shortly later, Kwara State, in 1967.  It was one of the original 12 states, created from the four 1st Republic regions, of North, East, West and Midwest, by Gen. Yakubu Gowon.  Osun was created in 1991.

Yet, the Offa robbery of 2018, probably the worst in that state’s history, caught Kwara napping.  For Osun, however, it was a glorious “so near, yet so far away”, for Offa is virtually Osun’s next door.

Crime could happen anywhere.  But it was no accident such a hideous robbery didn’t take place in neighbouring Okuku (in Osun) or even relatively far-away Lagos.

The difference is clearly the rigour Osun put into its security architecture, these past eight years, contrasted to the relatively sloppy thinking across the border.  Yet, Osun is 26; Kwara, 50.

Yeah, at a time, such robberies were common place in Lagos, Kwara’s 1967 contemporary.  But again, by sheer superior thinking, such became history in Lagos.

Education.  Eight years ago, how many of those futuristic schools dotted the Osun skyline?  How many kids were being daily fed, at the lowest rung of the Osun school system?  Indeed, how many of these kids, from the poorest of the poor, were even in school?

Yet, barely two years into the period of reference, the Nigerian economy collapsed, no thanks to the cumulative rot in the Goodluck Jonathan presidency, precipitating the nationwide salary crisis.

But pray, how many states lugged that burden, yet didn’t allow its education and youth empowerment vision to be impaired?  Again, ode to superior, if punishing, thinking!

Infrastructure.  For eons, the Gbongon junction, on the Ibadan-Ife Expressway, like the Mobalufon junction, Ijebu Ode, on the Sagamu-Benin Expressway, was the grave of many travellers, victims of avoidable road crashes.

Now, that junction boasts the Bisi Akande trumpet bridge.  Sure, many may crow about its beauty, as a novel landscape.  But its most vital intervention, again thanks to smart thinking, is saving life.  Travellers, that Gbongan grave is sealed, forever!

Still, that trumpet blares Osun’s great infrastructural strides, these past eight years.  Yet, it was a period of high adversity!  With high prosperity, what might it have been?

The Oba Adesoji Aderemi ring road, Osogbo, serves as the bewitching beauty of that new thinking, which manifests, like dazzling pearls, in the Osogbo city centre!

Yet, there is nothing like infrastructure for infrastructure’s sake.  Though still work-in-progress, history would laud these efforts as critical drivers to prise Osun off its economic puddle, as “civil service state”.

A civil service state is a euphemism for economic stagnancy.  That had been the fate of Osun, since creation in 1991, till these past eight years.

Despite this delicate upswing, if you peruse the Osun Media & Allies Forum, a WhatsApp Osun community news forum, you could sense some renaissance flaring, on the Osun plain of sports.

Sundry posts, on that forum, include a community cricket test at Ilesa, the Ogunjobi Gold Cup, a yearly youth football championship for U-20 and below, some Osun youths winning continental titles in weightlifting and canoeing, and some inter-collegiate basketball championships, using as hubs, the courts in the new government high schools.

Again, these are just no accidents.  They are natural responses to certain policy stimuli, which is the way to go — just as the raft of hotels and event centres, that now dot the Osogbo city centre and other Osun major towns, are the logic of business following better infrastructure.

As electioneering hots up, a lot of passion would burn around “afsa” (the Osun cynical street lingo for “half salary”).

The “debt burden” would be amplified and especially vilified, with sloppy thinkers and blabby talkers waxing poetic but empty.

Opposing partisans would howl, scream and bawl about scandals, real or imagined, in a sweeping condemnation of the present order — hardly undemocratic!

Still, all things considered, even after addressing the valid queries, is Osun better now than it was eight years ago?

Osun’s future is best secured by a higher notch of the current policies.  Anything less, the state risks a tragic drop into Oyinlola-era ruins.


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