By Wale Ojo-Lanre
I never knew Senator Ademola Jackson Adeleke, the governor of Osun State could ever exhibit such a behavioural pattern in this life and even in life to come. Never!
If I was not in the company of the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, which made me a witness, I could never believe that a governor could do this to a former governor of the same state, even though they are of different party affiliation.
My brother, it was very unexpected. I am very sure that Tuesday 27 March, 2023, will never be deleted from the memory of the former governor of Osun State, His Excellency, Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, who is the current Minister of Interior in Nigeria, and some of us his friends, aides, and political associates, who accompanied him to the inauguration of the Passport Production/Front Desk Office of the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, Ilesa, Osun State.
If anyone had warned and foretold him that he would be treated and washed with avalanche and humongous vicious embarrassment right in his state, Osun, and in his town, Ilesa, by the state governor, who is not from his party, he would have told the diviner to drop the prediction in Osun Osogbo River.
Honestly, nothing ever signposted that the maverick former governor of Osun State, who is regarded as one of the best-performing ministers in Buhari’s cabinet, will be subjected to such an unforgettable humbled moment in his life.
For, this is a state which he has not visited in the last two years, primarily because of national assignments and majorly, because of the double jeopardy threat emanating from his immediate successor, Alhaji Adegboyega Oyetola, a man who belongs to the same party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, with him; a man who served Aregbesola as his Chief of Staff, CoS, for eight years, and who people then believed that he, Oyetola, was the defacto governor, while he Aregbe was the demure. And a man, who people believe, Aregbesola did all things humanly possible (legal or illegal) to make a governor and a worthy successor.
However, the double jeopardy threat for Aregbesola, was immediately after Oyetola was sworn in, he declared his predecessor, Aregbesola, who did everything ‘conceivable’ on earth to make him the governor a sworn enemy, who must be politically crucified, smashed, crumbled, suffocated, crushed. despised, hated, killed and buried.
And a man whose legacies, which they planted together, must be subtracted, extracted, stamped out, deducted, and deleted eternally from the face of Osun State; and must be blotted in the memories of the citizens.
Not only that, all those who are close associates of Aregbesola, either remotely or closely must be ex-communicated from the political administration and sharing of compensations, no matter their immeasurable contributions to the party.
It was an operation to extinguish, decapitate, and eliminate Aregbesola politically, crush him socially, and relegate him to the background in the political relevance space of Osun State.
Thus, all major policies, legacies, projects, decisions, and resolutions passed by the government of Aregbesola, in which Oyetola, was the defacto governor were reversed by Oyetola, with the hope that these will whittle down Aregbesola’s political influence.
Realizing the futility of his crude strategies against Aregbesola, which turned out like tying climbers around an Iroko tree with the hope of truncating its growth – edidi ti won fi ndi Iroko, ara lo nfi san – he, Oyetola, inebriated by power, declared Ogbeni persona non grata in the state, as if he has the power to enjoy such prodigal illegality
Aregbesola, being a statesman, a nationalist, and not to endanger the lives of his supporters in the state, particularly those who have been sidetracked, emasculated, and cut- off in the political jobbing in the state, technically applied wisdom and checkmated his voyage to the state, like the proverbial Oniyangi and Elepo encounter.
Aregbesola, as a political pundit of many years standing, has more to lose and protect than someone who is just a gratuitous tourist in Osun politics, who was just fortunate to be made a governor.
If Aregbesola has been mindful of visiting his state when his own appointed candidate was there, a man God used him to plant in the saddle of power, then he should be extraordinarily careful to venture into the arena, when the state is now under the rule of an opposition fellow, a young what’sup guy, who can dance from Lagos to Atlanta, Georgia!
However, the national assignment must be accomplished as the project to be inaugurated is planted by the Nigerian Immigration Service, a parastatal under the Ministry of Interior, which Aregbesola superintends over.
Hence, no invitation was sent from the Office of the Minister to the Office of the Osun State Governor.
Aregbesola must have thought of sneaking into Ilesa quietly, but his personality, aura, charm, and accomplishments in the state, and interactive traits are not characteristics that can be covered under the bushel.
As his convoy, which made the Ibadan-Ilesha road at under 100 kilometre per hour, meandered into Wesley Hospital in-let road to Ilesa, via his residence, located in the Amuta area, the people trooped out wildly in their hundreds to acknowledge and applaud his presence.
After observing a prayer session in his mosque, Aregbesola attended to the deluge of visitors, some of who later joined his convoy to the newly constructed Passport Production/Front Desk Centre of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Ilesa.
Aregbesola, who enjoyed a triumphant welcome at the venue was in his usual manner enthusiastic and excited, he was unaware that a bogus embarrassment would be meted upon him by the time the brand-new governor of the state, Senator Adeleke, who has been invited by
the workaholic Comptroller-General of Immigration, Alhaji Jere Idris, would arrive.
The arrival of Governor Adeleke at the venue raised the excitement beyond expectation, as the wild shouting of ‘Imole De’ rented the air space.
Governor Adeleke commenced his onslaught of embarrassment on former Governor Aregbesola, immediately he alighted from his car.
Instead of him copiously and excitedly acknowledging the cheers from the multitude of people praising him, he gaited like a full-blown Olympic football, being bounced by Segun Odegbami at the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium, Ibadan, and charged towards Ogbeni Aregbesola as if he was about engaging him in a duel!!!!
And just before the glare of everyone, the governor of Osun State, Adeleke, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, publicly launched the first embarrassment at Ogbeni Aregbesola, a former governor of Osun State, a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by rejecting to shake hand with him, or hugging him, but instead stoutly displayed to the world that he is a cosmopolitan, international and a first-class thoroughbred Yoruba man, who has no temperament to shake a former governor of his state, but rather must give honour to who deserves it by doing it in the Yoruba way – half prostration, because of the space and a dignifying bowing down for Minister Aregbesola before other courtesies like handshaking!!!
If Aregbesola thought that was the end of the embarrassment, subsequent verbal lashing from Governor Adeleke must have shocked Aregbesola beyond his imagination.
Goveenor Adeleke described Aregbesola as the pride of Osun State, who he and the generality of Osun indigenes are proud of, both when he was the governor of the state and as a minister.
He told Aregesola that he is a distinguished and eminent Osun icon, who deserves to be cherished, honoured, pampered and adored. Governor Adeleke said that no one can ban Aregbesola from entering his state at any time he wishes.
He assured Aregbesola of his immense respect and can knock on the door of the governor’s house any time.
Governor Adeleke commended Aregbesola for all the projects planned, executed and completed during his tenure and assured him that his government will complete all the projects which were ongoing during Aregbesola’s last tenure, but which his predecessor, Oyetola, abandoned and refused to complete.
Governor Adeleke commended Aregbesola for commencing the erection of a befitting Governor’s Lodge for Osun, which Oyetola avoided like a plague.
He assured him that he would not only complete the project, but that Aregbesola would not only be the one to declare it opened, but also be the first to sleep in there!!!
Governor Adeleke praised Aregbesola for doing extremely well in the Interior Ministry and thank him for facilitating the Passport Production and Front Office of the Nigerian Immigration Service in Osun State.
He described Aregbesola as the foremost progressive minded politician who never used party affiliation to google development.
As part of honouring Aregbesola, Governor Adeleke attended the event with his son, his deputy, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, the Secretary to the Osun State Government, SSG, and top executive members of his government.
Capping the embarrassment, Governor Adeleke lured Aregbesola into a dancing competition, which thrilled the guests and people unending, as they praised the duo for an unimaginable show of maturity, equanimity, thirst for development and a sign of good fortunes for Osun State.
As someone remarked, “This is the finest moment in Osun. A day when a governor from an opposing party publicly bestowed on a former governor, a deserving honour that his successor in office from the same party and a man who he brought to power through all means refused to. It only shows that Governor Adeleke is not an ‘omo alaijoberi’ like his predecessor in office, who allowed the stupidity of greatness to becloud his sense of reasoning. Oyetola quickly forgot his source of luck, but like a foolish man, exhibited ingratitude…such men always die wretched, while people like Governor Adeleke will not only soar above imagination, but will always be a conqueror.
‘Gedegbe l’owo Ademola Adeleke a yo ju ori e lo.’
Thanks for reading the mental and emotional embarrassment, which Governor Adeleke subjected Ogbeni Aregbesola, former governor of Osun State and the performing Minister of Interior to in Ilesha.
•Ojo-Lanre writes from Ibipeju Oniru Chamber, Upper Ogudu River, Irede Estate, Temidire Street, Usi-Ekiti; and can be reached on 08033490986.