By ISAAC OLUSESI
The twists to politics, then gone bizarre, haywire in a non election space in Osun State almost caused the assassination of Governor Gboyega Oyetola during the #EndSARS protests, Saturday, October 17, 2020. Assassination, what? It was dirty, and inauspicious for Osun politics and development. But recently, he laid bare the high values he ascribes to human life by his compensation programme, the #53,290,000:00 financial support to the victims of violence and deaths from #EndSARS police brutality, aimed at “redressing past wrongs, set our society on the path of healing.”
In Osogbo, state capital, amidst the protest that had weird and wild absurdities with brazen violence, there was sudden breaking, bouncing, burning, battering, bulleting as anything in sight became, like in all mob actions, a ready target and people ran helter-skelter from brute force and criminality of the ill-begotten moment. While Mr. Governor was spirited out to safety, no single shot or canister was heard from his security architecture. Unlike in a counter insurgency.
The tyranny on Oyetola is here unreservedly condemned again for more reasons than one. One. Oyetola did not deserve any such attack but the power seekers dangerously after his seat were hell bent at supplanting him in office.Two. Oyetola did not deserve any such attack. Has his governance of Osun ever for a day reduced to the application of tyranny, brute force or harshness to have warranted corresponding payback in the Hammrahi-Moses “an eye-for-an eye,” to cause the curtain to fall on Oyetola? The answer is no!
Three. Oyetola did not deserve any such assault as he never for a second launched any offensive against #EndSARS protest. How? The nooks and crannies of the state, not re configured into any network of official or extra official spies on anybody or group. Four. Oyetola did not deserve any such tyranny. He has constantly watched out against scenarios akin to tyranny, capable inflicting acute depression on the Osun well acknowledged value integrity, dignity and socio-political discipline, coded _Omoluabi_ ethos.
Five. Oyetola did not deserve any such tyranny. I can vouch that between Oyetola and Osun youths, a good number of them on licit, lawful #EndSARs protest, there is a pact that points up Oyetola as a father, honestly and consistently expecting to see the youth, acquiring a certificate of excellence in any worthy endeavour, not a certificate of death; and he sincerely expects to see the youth’s golden fleece, not a wooden casket. He has not failed in the role of _loco parentis_ . As a humanist, fated in the ability of Osun youths to chart own course within the ambit of the law, he is proud of the state youths, “60per cent of them voted us into government and had embarked on peaceful road walks with us several times in the past, delivering with us a better and prosperous Osun,” Oyetola proudly recalled.
Six. Oyetola did not deserve any such tyranny. As Governor, he has not shirked his responsibility of providing sufficient avenue for the citizenry to realize their potentials or be at their best to contribute to the development of the state without fear or intimidation. He lays very high premium on fairness and justice, giving concrete expression to them that put paid to any propensity, penchant for tyranny in Osun. And the state moves on the wing of justice. Seven. Oyetola did not deserve any such tyranny. He detested any tepid handling of #EndSARS protest, and evidently, didn’t stall the path to social justice as he pledged government solidarity with the legitimate protest cause, and assured that the protest demands, forwarded to the Presidency were getting Mr President’s attention.
And Oyetola did not deserve any such tyranny. Had he, in a moment, declared his might against any such violence as no government could be so benevolent to have its authority undermined, the oppositions would have assumed that the government was too hasty; and if the government had moved cautiously as it were, then the assumption would have been that the government was too slow. And in the respective cases, the opposition further assumptions would be that the government had hurried justice or delayed justice.
Thus, the tyranny visited on Oyetola, unwholesome in incidence and magnitude, the rotten kind of unbridled ambition extant in the agitated, was articulated in the wrong direction, the more reason the #EndSARS crisis in Osun remains a disaster, with the state government’s monetary payment to the victims or survivors and the families of the dead after-the-fact of the strategy. Why? Between 23 and 24 October, 2020 there was chilling pillage of the government facilities which simultaneously stepped up horrible plunder spree on private business premises and personal houses with princely properties looted.
As an insurance professional, Oyetola had to give effect to the Osun Judicial Panel of Inquiry’s curative recommendations, objectively determined by the magnitude of the bodily and material injuries suffered by the victims on the basis of medical records and property valuation. No one victim, dead or living fought for fund compensation but government felt a strong compensatory strategy, testamentary of “a further commitment of our administration to peace and rule of law” as though “our decision to pay compensation ordinarily is not the responsibility of the state since the police is not directly under our control,” Oyetola stated at the state event where he presented cheques of #53 million as compensation for the 13 victims out of the 21 cases heard.
The compensation indemnifies lives lost, bodies maimed, livelihoods wrecked, property damaged and human rights breached. Interestingly, the Osun government on the heels of the calamity, gave proper medical treatment to the wounded. And no reported cases of victims’ premature death while struggling to pay medical bills. All such bills, other bills as well, were borne by the government. In the after effect, none of the victims of the #EndSARS fiendishness, brutality was made to suffer abandonment by the government through political neglect or the victims had to endure conditions that affixed on them the status of living dead due to the victim’s political belief, leaning or affiliation.
The Osun monetary redress for injuries from the #EndSARS savagery counterbalances for the unwholesomeness or undesirability of the violence. It’s Oyetola’s social intervention in another direction, intent to offset the physical and psychological difficulties in the corollary of the crisis.
The All Progressives Congress (APC)-Oyetola government’s fund compensation cannot be a defence mechanism for welfare failure as oppositions in the state are wont to make Osun residents believe.The compensation tells so much about the consequential values Oyetola ascribes to human life, so tectonic, having large and important positive effect, building trust, maximizing empathy with the beneficiaries, managing their speed recovery, other expectations while on reflex, defining further Oyetola’s own eligibility for re-election as Osun governor, ordinarily and extra-ordinarily well deserved.
None of the victims of the #EndSARS barbarity felt let down by the Osun panel justice. The panel did not spare any misfortunes that bore semblance to police tragic shootings of innocent citizens. Outright murder, attempted murder and wounds with intentional hostility or recklessness to injury did not earn police any acquittal or exculpation in the panel’s reports. That’s in order. After all, force must be reasonable, even in pre-emptive shooting. Neither did any victim injured while being lawfully apprehended qualify for any compensation. In other words, only the innocent victims of police atrocity or force of violence who survived and the families of those who did not ought to get the attention of the panel. And indeed, they had it.
While #EndSARS debacle lasted, property owners in Osogbo and elsewhere in the state, out smarted at gun point by the crisis actors, reportedly recited, depending on their faith, the psalmist verse: “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and Quranic lines: “Lailah illa Lahu, Walahu Yasimuka mi na Nasi, Laula Walau uwata Ilabi Laluli Asim.”
The Oyetola fund renumeration is a sound public policy outing that offers the victims and families a recoupment haven to process the emotional raw aftermath of the #EndSARS apocalypse. The compensation is not a one-off welfare response. It is building on what he had done before. His monthly free 5kgfood evolution, tagged Osun Food Support Scheme for vunerable households has continued to cause positive social relationships, with improved quality of life of the beneficiary, and the Osun economy gets effectuated as business men and women in the distributive economy of the state, profoundly draw on the accruals from the scheme’s purchases.
The Oyetola fund compensation and free food scheme cannot go for a make up for any welfare failure. Rather, the two are ‘patented’ in cousin tinderboxes: free food scheme is imbedded in the COVID-19 global complications, hunger related; and fund compensation is ingrained in the #EndSARS gunpowder of savagery, with resultant deaths, a dozen, a dime. The compensation is a good thing, the last in the processes of healing. A total number of 46 different items in multiple numbers looted from multiple points were recovered in the corollary to the #EndSARS protests, and the loots valued at #142million by independent valuers were officially returned to their rightful owners by the Abdullahi Adeyanju Binuyo Loots Recovery Committee after security verification that never caused truth to die and justice to suffer.