THE long-awaited month of July for the conduct of political party primaries for governorship race is here. It is the month the Osun people have been eagerly looking forward to as regards what political fortunes beckon at her. The bone of contention is who will succeed Mr.Rauf Aregbesola, the incumbent governor of Osun State. Certainly, July 17th and 19th 2018 are defining dates for Osun State when the ‘boys’ will be politically separated from the ‘men’. It is not going to be a tea party, but a survival of the fittest. For some months now, it has been ‘feverish’ but lively, as many aspirants from different political parties have erected giant billboards in strategic places, particularly Osogbo, the State Capital. The campaign billboards came with different themes and message. It is either ‘Idera De; Irorun De; Itura De; Aanu De; Ibukun De’ Ore-Ofe De; Itunu De; Imole De. These are the theme without any indepth analysis as to how these slogans will be implemented. It is a war between ‘the old domitable’ and the new reliableS in the political turf.
There is no way the present politicking in Osun State would be practised without due reference to the big vacuum created with the glorious transition of late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, the first executive governor of the state. He was since 2016 miles ahead n the preparation for his emergence as the governor of Osun State come 2018. I remembered vividly, a particular day in August 2016, when my late boss, Senator Isiaka Adeleke put a call through to me from Abuja and firmly instructed me in his usual velvet voice, to issue a press release in my capacity as his Special Adviser (Media & Publicity) to the effect, that he was out for Osun governorship race come 2018.
Senator Adeleke, unlike many of the latter day aspirants without clear cut ideology, pointedly told me further to adopt as his campaign theme: Life more abundant to all, as encapsulated in a nine point agenda that include rural re-integration; establishment of cottage industries and mineralisation of Osun through the exploitation of her vast mineral deposit and other natural resources; sound entrepreneurship training for school graduates; robust welfare package for civil servants and pensioners to make them have a truly living wage; solid development of local government administration to make it the centre piece of his administration. These are the robust programmes, Senator Isiaka Adeleke had envisaged to make Osun grow in leaps and bounds. God Almighty, we thank you for his noble and memorable life. That was the man, the good people of Osun state were eagerly waiting for as their next governor. The man who has fully prepared to make Osun a pride of us all.
Here we are today, grappling with gubernatorial gladiators whose contributions to the development of Osun in years past is suspect. They are here to have a piece of the action, only to go into political recess after July 17th and 19th primaries. They will not identify with us again until 2022. Nobody is quarrelling with their constitutional right to try their hands on the plough. The issue, is what are their antecedents in years past to improve on their immediate catchment areas. The likes of Senator Isiaka Adeleke and his lineage are shoulder high in the development of their place of birth through far-reaching development projects, benefitting hundreds of people through gainful employment opportunities. There would be sustainance of his legacies as one of their own, Senator Ademola Adeleke, is effectively in the race. It is now left to the delegates to party primaries and voters in the general election to put round pegs in round holes as far as governorship candidates from parties are concerned.
We should put in place a new governor, that will make the welfare of the civil servants and pensioners, a top priority in its agenda. The comfort of the civil servants and pensioners is the comfort of the people of Osun State, since this is a civil service-oriented economy. This indeed was the primary concern of Senator Adeleke with a marshal plan to that effect; copies of which are in possession of this writer for implementation at the appropriate time. Definitely, Senator Isiaka Adeleke is the missing link in Osun 2018 governorship race. The central issue in Osun politics, whose glorious transition has changed the political equation of the state of the living springs. The race to Bola Ige House, come September 22 is a serious issue, that requires the services of the strong-willed. It is not a job for the lily-livered and chicken-hearted ones, who are without blueprint. It requires an home-grown democrat, that truly knows where the shoe pinches the people of the state and would be ready to identify with them through the thick and thin as was the practice with Isiaka Adeleke of blessed memory.
He was a shinning star in this regard. Osun was Isiaka Adeleke. Adeleke was Osun, while at this divide. May his spirit give us direction in the present game. Isiaka Adeleke was the man, who gave Osun state a solid foundation and identified with her yearnings and aspiration. The first governor of the State, who ensured, that the economy of Osun is for Osun for use by its people without mortgaging her interests into the hands of non-indigenes. Surely, the legacies of Senator Adeleke shall endure forever. This time demands, in the history of Osun State, a governorship hopeful that will rise above political squabbles and pettiness. A candidate, who will be very accessible like Senator Adeleke who gave us his large and golden heart. The tasks ahead are gargantuan but not insurmountable, with a charismatic leader like the late Asiwaju Of Ede, Otunba Of Ejigbo.
All the aspirants are not push over. The only problem is that, they should employ decorum and love of the people in the conduct of their politicking. Whoever emerges as our next governor, should be ready to make governance, the exclusive property of the electorate who voted him into office.
Nobody, should ever see himself as a tin-god, who is untouchable in the administration of Osun State as the governor. God is the ultimate giver of political power and only him would judge how well one has utilized it. Between 2010 and 2018, how time flies? The rest is account of stewardship before God Almighty.
A time like this demands a man, who in this innermost heart is pure and thorough; a leader who will not be bought or sold. A man who will be ready to make himself a genuine grassrooter; straight in deeds. An incoming governor, that will sustain the relative peace and tranquility we are enjoying presently in the state. Our roads are nothing to write home about in some major towns in Osun, particularly my native Ede, Babangida way from Ede to Barracks, Ejigbo road through Ara and Iragberi; Ede-Iddo Osun-Offatedo. God help us.
The next governor of Osun State, should be able to forge his own identity to help him administer, without taking orders from any god-father. This is where Senator Isiaka Adeleke stood out. The electorate in Osun should be regarded by such governor as his political god-fathers and mothers that voted him. That is the pact and covenant he should have with us. There are more than enough eminent Osun indigenes to pilot her affairs in whatever capacities. As time tickles into days and hours, the would-be-delegates of various political parties, should be guided by the resolve to elect candidates, that would make Osun State prosperous in the final analysis and not mainly consideration for wads of naira notes from the aspirants. Four year is around the corner and should not be gambled with for a pot of porridge. A million naira buy-out for a delegate may not last him one year out of the four year tenure of a governor, who may not give him any chance to be nearer him again.
Without doubt, the best out of the rest should emerge as our next governor. A man who will be truly one of us inside out. An incoming governor, that is vibrant, resourceful, dedicated and fully ready to raise the bar of governance for the benefits of the voiceless and helpless in the society to the admiration of the founding fathers of the state. And this is very important and salient. For Osun 2018, aspirants and their supporters should imbibe politics without bitterness as enunciated by its apostle, Senator Isiaka Adeleke. This brings to the fore the unguarded outburst of one Professor Lasisi of LAUTECH Hospital, Osogbo against the Adeleke family as published in some newspaper and I quote him: “they have material wealth, but they don’t have knowledge”. This is most uncharitable and very sour to the sweet memory of Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who was an eminent member of that family. I am duty bound to defend the legacies of my late boss and his family interests, hence I want to ask Professor Lasisi, whether he is aware, that the Adeleke family prides itself with a world-class university, with tens of outstanding and re-knowned Professors on its payroll, not to mention eminent past and serving Vice-Chancellors in its Governing Council. Honour and integrity reign supreme in that family like many others. A word is enough for Professor Lasisi. Let him ponder on my take on his statement. We are polished.
Let us try to avoid belly-aching, run-him-down syndrome and cheap blackmail in the race towards Osun 2018, particularly among aspirants. Osun State is greater than any individual or group of individuals.
•Lawal was Special Adviser (Media & Publicity Affairs) to late Senator Adeleke
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