Adeleke V. Aregbesola’s legacies in Osun: When a co-conspirator betrays a traitor

By Jimoh Olorede, Ph.D

Preparatory to the July 2022 governorship election in Osun State, and since thereafter, until recently, the ex-governor and immediate-past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, a top beneficiary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, as a two-term commissioner in Lagos, two-term governor in Osun, and minister consecutively, suddenly became an abettor and a conspiratorial ally to an opposition gubernatorial candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, against his party, APC, and his successor, Adegboyega Oyetola, who served as his Chief of Staff, succeeded him as governor, and was seeking a reelection! The gubernatorial election was held, Adeleke won, Oyetola lost, but subsequently appointed as minister, while Aregbesola left the political stage as minister and got back home!

Oyetola’s open and obvious sin for which he must be crucified, and was actually dealt with, at least, in the myopic estimation of Aregbesola and his co-conspirators, was ‘reviewing and reversing his Schools Reclassification Policy,’ by which Oyetola actually rekindled people’s hope, and what they perceived as a retrieval of their ‘lost glory and education origin’, with his return and reversal of the changed public schools’ founder-cum-original names and unique uniforms to the status quo. This happens when a government is consent of the governed.

His (Oyetola’s) hidden, how-do-we-say-it sin for which he must be punished was what Ogbeni would term ‘deployment of his magic wand’ with which he was able to pay full salaries of the state workers, which Aregbesola could not, or perhaps did not, given the inherited jugular-strangling and throat-squeezing debt into which he plunged the state. These were Oyetola’s obvious and hidden sins for which the ‘political structure and APC house’ built in Osun by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, through Aregbesola and others, must be demolished and totally rent asunder.

Since the creation of Osun State, ten people have served as governor, with four military governors and six civilian governors. While the first (military) governor, Leo Segun Ajiborisha, served the shortest term of four months, from 27 August 1991 to 3 January, 1992, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola so far, served the longest term of eight years as governor, from November 27, 2010 to November 27, 2018. However, within this period of eight years of the longest-serving governor, so many things had happened in and to the state. One of those things was the changing and renaming of the state from Osun State to “State of Osun.” The ex-governor must have seen an error which none of his seven predecessors who had ruled the state before him could see.

He also created and introduced a different state Anthem, Logo, Crest and Flag. Apart from the humongous loan repayment, Oyetola also inherited these “Aregbesola-personified legacies” about which he had to be silent, as it was a moral burden, and rather maintained and sustained the status quo throughout his administration, feigning pretense as if he didn’t see anything wrong just to avoid crisis or rift with Aregbe.

Alas, Governor Ademola Adeleke eventually betrayed his ‘mission-fellow’, an abettor and co-conspirator, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who maliciously joined forces with him against his own party and successor. He has obliterated all Ogbeni’s known legacies in the state. No sooner had the governor taken the oath of office than he started repealing Aregbesola’s legacies right at the venue of his inauguration. While delivering his inaugural speech, governor Ademola Adeleke publicly said, “Consequently, I hereby issue the following directives which will be backed up with appropriate Executive Orders.

“. . . Three, and immediate reversal to the constitutionally recognized name of our state – Osun State. All government insignia, correspondences, and signage should henceforth, I repeat, should henceforth reflect ‘Osun State, rather than ‘State of Osun’, which is unknown to the Nigerian Constitution.”

Nigerian politics is a treacherous game. There’s no permanent friend or enemy in politics, as politicians deceitfully use and dump each other. Adeleke knew Aregbesola was smart; he consequently cynically stooped to outwit his smartness, and Ogbeni unwittingly misconstrued his betraying kindergarten dancing posture for stupidity.

Also, while Oyetola maintained and sustained the legacy, and retained the nomenclature “OYES” (Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme) as birthed and christened by Aregbesola, governor Ademola Adeleke dissolved the OYES Corps to be renamed after his ‘Imole Youth’. The governor, through his spokesperson, condemned what he referred to as ‘content of the programme’ which, according to him, turned people to grass-cutters and market sweepers. Similarly, on many occasions, I have heard Adeleke-led PDP condemn Aregbesola’s government in the media, bemoaning that he failed to complete any road in eight years, and so on.

Eventually, the scenario turned out to be Adeleke paying Aregbe in his own coins! Based on malice and ill-will, and for his immediate ego satisfaction, Aregbesola sacrificed his party’s future gains, jeopardising the fortune of many, thinking he was ‘dealing’ with, and whipping Oyetola with political lashes. Paradoxically, as Ogbeni whips, Oyetola laughs while many, including Ogbeni himself, weep as direct recipients of the whipping! As a Yoruba adage says “Papa npara e, o lo np’aja” meaning a tick, like a sheep-ked, is unwittingly ruining itself thinking is undoing its host-dog by sucking its blood.

In June 2023, Ogbeni Aregbesola while speaking at the palace of Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Oyetunji Larooye II, after he had returned to Osun State consequent upon the expiration of his term as minister, said “I was born in Ikare Akoko. It’s surprising that a boy born in Ikare Akoko became a commissioner in Lagos and governor in Osun. That’s the work of God. He used Asiwaju to lead me to the path of success. I thank God who brought me to Lagos through the assistance of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He is the architect of my success.” He added that Tinubu directed him to come and take over “my fatherland – Osun State, that it was my next place of assignment.” Can you imagine, Aregbesola saying this after the deed (a grave damage) had been done! This is exactly how traitors behave – joining forces with conspirators to betray their benefactors.

Dr. Olorede, a strategic communication analyst, writes from Osun via [email protected]/08111841887

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