Progressive Politics, Aregbesola And Posterity

Progressive Politics, Aregbesola And Posterity
  • PublishedMay 24, 2024
Reflections with Nurein Adebisi
Reflections with Nurein Adebisi

ALL over the world, the two most influential political ideologies that have survived over time are progressivism and conservatism. While some of the other known ideologies like anarchism, corporatism, fascism, and liberalism seem to have faded and are no longer practiced by many leaders in this 21st century, another political ideology that was embraced by a few leaders of some nations and still surviving today is nationalism.

The political philosophy and ideals of most of the parties participating in democratic governance today can easily be linked to either progressive or conservative ideological leaning, depending on the beliefs, ideals, or philosophy of the groups that came together to form such a movement or party.

For example, in the United States, the two major parties: the Democrats and the Republicans are offspring of these basic ideologies. The ideological beliefs of the Democrats are rooted in progressivism while Republican’s ideologies are more inclined to conservatism in words and practice. The same can be said of Liberals and the conservatives of the British parliament.

Political ideologies have two dimensions: the first is the goals which focuses on how society should be organized and administered while the second is the methods to be adopted and applied in the most appropriate way to actualize this goal. Both are critical in driving the political ideology of a group or party which will later influence how the affairs of a nation will be managed.

As a political philosophy, Progressivism is concerned about ideals, plans, and programmes that seek to improve the human condition, through social reforms which are primarily based on anticipated development and improvement in social organisation and citizens’ welfare, irrespective of class or social status. In fact, records have it that most of the world leaders with monumental performance and achievements belong to progressive ideological schools of thought.

In Nigerian political history, the late avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, remains the foremost and legendary leader of Progressivism whose record has not been surpassed till today. His vision, mission, and passion for an egalitarian Western Nigeria were driven by a very strong progressive will. This made his achievements as the premier of the Western Region cut across boards and every stratum of governance.

From free education to physical development, the establishment of farm settlements and government forest reserves in the agriculture sector, free healthcare service, transportation, and the establishment of the first television station, the commerce and industry sectors were not left out. The progressive ideology of the Action Group provided the opportunity for the government of the western region under Baba Awolowo to score many firsts in Nigeria. Progressives believe in using the instrument of political leadership to make a solid impact and create everlasting legacies that will make life more abundant for the people.

Since his days as a student union leader, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been radiating with very brilliant progressive ideas. His progressive revival mission for Osun started in early 2004 with the birth of the Oranmiyan group, a platform that later served as a rallying point for the progressives in Osun to stage a comeback to government. Ogbeni endeared so many people to himself with his revolutionary approach to the struggle, and one of his tactics was the production of a handbook titled “ My Pact with the People of Osun” which we referred to as the Green Book.

The book highlighted the details of his six-point integral action plan.  Also, in 2006, when the progressive revival mission took us to Kaduna where the SYMBOL (Ogbeni) was hosted to a grand reception by the Yoruba community, one of the Yoruba leaders at the event who was attentive to Ogbeni’s manifesto for Osun asked a question “ E joo, se gbogbo nkan yii yo see se sa? (Can all these be achieved?) and Ogbeni answered: “With God on our side, we will achieve them.”

With strong determination and his inbuilt progressive zeal, typical of any focused leader alike, he vigorously pursued his words, which translated to action and actions later transformed into verifiable legacies throughout the Osun landscape. No sector was left untouched; there was where the impact of governance was not felt. The Aregbesola era brought an atmosphere of hope for the masses where children of the poor in their primary school were eating the government meals while sitting in the comforts of their classroom, wearing a government-provided school uniform in a beautifully landscaped compound of government elementary Schools across Osun.  The Rauf era brought unprecedented education infrastructure development in Osun with the construction of the government High (Mega) schools, where children of the poor received the same quality of learning and training as their counterparts in private schools.

Apart from education, the physical infrastructure development witnessed a giant upliftment. Before 2011(20 years after the creation of Osun), Osogbo, the state capital, could hardly pass for a local government headquarters. Nothing on the ground in Osogbo signposts a state capital but the progressive vision of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola through his urban renewal agenda transformed Osogbo in a fashion similar to Augustus, the Emperor of Rome when assessing his rule, said: “I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble”. The Oba Adesoji Aderemi circular road speaks for others in this regard.

The “O” series of social intervention programmes of Ogbeni were all aimed at wealth creation and employment generations. There are countless numbers of people who started to earn a living through their participation in O’ YES, O’ MEAL, O’REAP, and others. Such is the hallmark of a visionary and ideal progressive leader. The social intervention programs while generating employment also prevented crime and criminalities in Osun.

In his true version of a progressive and a welfarist, Ogbeni took the same spirit to Abuja as the minister of interior. His genuine passion and concern for humanity made him secure a future for the inmates in Nigerian prisons with the opportunity to write JAMB and further their careers in the open university while serving their jail term, a feat that earned him an award from the national body of the National Parent Teachers Association of Nigeria.

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has secured his place in history and posterity will be kind to him for the apparent fact that his programs and achievements were humanity inclined. 

As the Symbol clocks 67, it is my wish and prayer that Almighty God shall continue to preserve him for the good of humanity and I will conclude this piece with my late mother’s usual prayer for him. 

“E maa ba mi ki Ogbeni o” 

“Gbogbo ohun ti won ba nfe ni Olohun yoo ma ba won fe o”

“ Aarin awon ati Olohun Oba ko nii daru o” 

And I say big Aaameeen.

Congratulations and happy birthday to our own legend, Ogbeni.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not represent the opinions or views of OSUN DEFENDER.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *