Osun: a future in the making?
By Abiodun KOMOLAFE
Talking philosophically, the seed of tomorrow is always said to be planted today. In other words, whatever actions that are taken today will certainly be giving definition to the future. If, ‘whoever defecates on the floor will later have to contend with flies’, then, it behooves the people to always bear in mind that, in taking political decisions; even for the government in power to implement a particular policy, its consequences beckon, if not now, assuredly, later! It is all about posterity!
When the late Obafemi Awolowo started ‘Free Education’ in the First Republic, that eventually became the tonic needed by the then Western Region of Nigeria to access freedom! As fate would have it, that advantage subsists, till date! Although the region is hated for it, ‘Free Education’ has become a ritual of a sort for parents and guardians in the Southwest geopolitical zone not to let their children and wards end up as almajirai! Impliedly, the culture of ‘Boko Haram’ is strange to the zone because somebody introduced a policy that defined education-friendly future, which is today. Since the past is what we carry along with us into the future, we should rather be circumspect, and think through our issues for informed decisions. For example, it’s true that Awolowo was denied a seat at the helm of Nigeria’s political Administration; but then, who is now bearing the brunt of the wahala that was created as a result of that ignoble decision by the political elite? Of course, it is the poor man on the street!
When the feud between Awolowo and the late Samuel Ladoke Akintola peaked; and the ‘Oloye Aare Ona Kakanfo XIII’ of the Yoruba opted to align with the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), it was like a mere decision back then. But it was also a fitting definition of the future. How? Well, long after the dramatis personae of that crisis have joined their forebears, Ogbomoso is not believed to have hidden its dislike for Awo (as he was fondly called), whatever he stood for, and/or whosoever stood by him! Many decades after, it is doubtful if an Ogbomoso man will contemplate sharing a space with any mortal who has something in common with the late sage. That a former Governor Christopher Alao-Akala is currently eating at the same table with elements within the camp of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which is the nearest to Awolowo’s political family, cannot be divorced from ‘politics of the belly’. Yes, it is all about survival instincts!
History also reminds us of a prominent man of Ijebu-Jesa descent in Osun State, whose 2-storey building was razed in the aftermath of Governor Bola Ige’s re-election loss in the old Oyo State. Almost 40 years after, the one-time imposing structure in my Native Nazareth remains a shadow of its old glory. It is even doubtful if the victim’s twin buildings on a certain street in Osogbo, the State Capital, which were similarly destroyed by arsonists under the same guise, have been rebuilt; or that my kinsman ever recovered from the disaster before he died a fair few years ago.
In the 3rd Republic, Lagos missed the rare opportunity of developing at the right time and pace. For reasons best known only to posterity, the leaders of the now-defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) wanted to exact their pound of flesh; and they got it – through the careless surrender of the governorship of Lagos State to Michael Otedola of the now-rested National Republican Convention (NRC). Of a truth, the aftereffects of that imprudent decision ruined the political structure of the ‘Centre of Excellence’ for a long time to come, simply because Otedola was largely unprepared for the rigours of that coveted office.. Since he won the governorship seat without treading upon the serpents and scorpions, not even the thorns and thistles associated with such a struggle for power, especially, in this part of the world, the Epe, Lagos State-born politician could not fathom how important it was to build institutions in a democracy. And ‘Political Lagos’ paid dearly for it!
Between 1997 and 2003, Ile-Ife and Modakeke communities in Osun State engaged in an intra-ethnic conflict that ended up consuming thousands of erstwhile friends, in-laws and neighbours, in addition to property worth billions of naira that were destroyed. With the benefit of hindsight, has any development accrued to the two communities as a result of that war? A visit to the two communities will bring one face-to-face with the carcasses of burnt buildings, which still litter the two landscapes, decades after.
Once upon an era in Osun, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was in power. Its major preoccupation at the time was crass class opportunism, practically founded and oftentimes funded by paranoid illiterates and political bigots. Apart from the party’s recklessness with our commonwealth, residents of the state no longer felt safe under PDP’s misgovernance. Amidst political frustrations, released fury and unprompted emotional outbursts, all which gave expression to the frustration of the society, impunity thrived! At the right time, the electorate acted with their thumbs! Had PinDiPi checkmated the vanity of greed and sheer illogicality that had taken the better part of its rank and file, it’d not have lost the election of April 14, 2007.
Let’s revisit Nigeria’s Civil War! Those who witnessed it would no doubt have been treated to a bombardment of complicated puzzles as to why the war had to be – and was actually – fought. From Olusegun Obasanjo’s reluctant ‘Will’, to Emeka Ojukwu’s willing ‘Involvement’; even, Frederick Forsyth’s ‘Emeka’, did anyone remember how and why things so fell apart with unnerving rapidity that Nigerians had to go to war against Nigerians in order to rescue Nigerians from Nigerians? And, if one may ask: where were our seers and allied spiritual gymnasts when the war was being concocted by nationalists as well as self-servers? Who actually won the war, who lost it and for whom was it won or lost? If the war was in the end won, what about its resultant peace, hope and consolation? Were they also won, lost or compromised? If, truly, the war was won, where has the peace been hiding that Nigeria’s troubles are growing by the day? If it was lost, has there been a replacement for the lost peace?
In times like this, the disputatious wrangling allegedly gaining currency within Osun APC readily comes to mind. As a society, one can only hope that the import of posterity would not be lost on the political gladiators who delight in fanning the embers of deep divisions and troubling rancor in the state. Be that as it may, history has over the years shown Governor Gboyega Oyetola as a listening, resourceful and courageous leader. So, Nigerians are hoping that he would deploy these much-coveted virtues at a level that will help deescalate the ‘Us vs. Us’ conflict currently troubling the ruling party’s Israel. The otherwise won’t be palatable as it can fatally rupture the internal dynamics of APC, not only in the state but also nationally.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola’s Administration the best in the history of Osun State!