By Abiodun Komolafe
Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State deserves a pat on the back for instructing the three senators representing the state in the Upper Chamber to “mobilize support for former Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s nomination as Minister” during last week’s screening exercise. Of course, it is a gesture that could not be caged!
But beyond sheer propaganda, did the senators’ support amount to anything? Are we saying that, as senators, they cannot reason or talk unaided? If Osun senators have spoken against Nominee Oyetola, would the senate have rejected him and would the president have dropped him? How many ministerial nominees have been so rejected in the past?
Just the same, a section of Nigerians are already alleging deterioration of leadership value in the Adeleke-led administration. They are saying that it is nepotistic: a ‘na-we-spend-all-our-money-to-win-the-election-so-we-are-beyond-reproach-from-anybody’ government. This set of Nigerians believes that it’s wrong for the Commissioner for Finance to have come from Ede and that the Ministry of Works, being the biggest spender, shouldn’t have been held by the governor, who is from Ede.
“Apart from the governor, Ede also has the Chief of Staff; Executive Secretary, Osun State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB); Chairman, Local Government Service Commission; Rector, Osun State Polytechnic, Iree; and Corps Marshal, Amotekun, in its kitty. In this government, the town alone has 7 Commissioners, 7 Permanent Secretaries, 4 Special Advisers and 3 Boards’ Chairmen. Others are still coming!
“Yes, people love entertainment. The very serious-minded people are small. The governor understands that psychology and he’s playing on it; and he understands that leaders can continue to purchase pleasure while the led recycle poverty”.
On the sack of the teachers employed by his predecessor in office, the people insisted that Adeleke should have handled it in a more mature way. And, on the Osun State Anthem which was recently repealed by the State Assembly, they posited that the governor was bent on destroying whatever was of Afenifere and/or Obafemi Awolowo’s legacy in the state.
That the Adeleke administration opted for electric generators to power the disputed 332 boreholes in an age of solar power and allied cutting-edge technology is also generating a furore in some quarters. What about the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) where it has become easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for patients to get ordinary paracetamol tablets; and Osogbo, the state capital, where median strips have become breeding grounds for snakes and other dangerous reptiles due to bushy roads? But for time and space constraints, lots more!
Politics of plurality is a fraud, and a shameful one at that. Take, for instance, why do people talk about ‘Ijesa politics’? Why do they say ‘Iragbiji politics’? In reality, there’s nothing like that! If the political gladiators understand the mix and the correct sentiments underpinning it; and, if the moment is ripe, it can propel its adherents to any height. In transactional politics, people also base favours on transactions. In this ‘chop-I-chop’ system, one who is idle eats nothing but one who is intelligent enough to ‘belong’ will surely have something to eat. One who is in politics but not intelligently brilliant is likely to eat very little.
One may not even eat anything, because those who are prepped up to eat most, if not all, have already positioned themselves; and they are many, and they are ruthless; and they are increasing in number with each passing day. And, since society that’s expected to curb the menace is the owner of the initiation, nothing is going to change! Thus, it begs the question: on which platform is democracy actually built, especially now that everything is in a flux?
So, who will muster the courage to tell the ‘Dancing Governor’ that politics is over; and that what Osun needs is real governance? Who will advise him that it’s only a transactional administration that will give its members rice and beans before winning elections but, during the last Ileya festival, the rice and beans would almost disappear completely? Who will tell him that all the promises he made during the campaigns have long dropped out of sight?
Go to L.A. Primary Schools 1 & 2, Imo, Ilesa and you’ll see an edifice overgrown with weeds!
A visit to Jehovah Jireh African Primary School, Ijebu-Jesa will also reveal the rot that’s become the fate of education in Osun. Founded in 1930, the school has practically become a den of criminals and a breeding ground for deranged youths and misfit toys who daily converge on its old, dilapidated classrooms to puff smokes into their lungs and pump alcohols into their systems. The few buildings that are still standing have had their roofs removed by those trying to eke out an existence.
At Jehovah Jireh African Primary School, Ijebu-Jesa, pupils and weeds now compete for courtesy. Here, the archaic ‘shot-put’, open defecation saw an opportunity and capitalized on it; and it’s as if the potentials of humanity were heading in the dark ages. With close to 200 pupils, the school has only 6 teachers, including the headmistress.
Perhaps these informed the decision of Digging Well Foundation, a United Kingdom-based charity organization, to see what can be done to return the school to its old glory. With its plan to build modern toilets and dig a borehole for the school, Nigerians wish the Foundation well.
‘If the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do?’ Pity the poor pupils who are being exposed to chain smokers and drug addicts so early in life, courtesy of their learning environment! For God’s sake, what foundation are we laying for our future leaders?
Jehovah Jireh African Primary School, Ijebu-Jesa is an indictment, not only on the government but also the religious community, particularly the Ijesa Diocese of The African Church. Sad that people’s lives and destinies are being wasted because of unhealthy politics, insensitivity and lack of institutional values. That the sweats and efforts of our heroes’ past are now lying in ruins portends a tragic future, if not remedied!
For obvious reasons, that the Osun government is sleepwalking is no surprise. For reasons also best known to the opposition, that it is thinking that 2026 is 100 years away, or that victory is a fruit pluckable from a tree is no longer news. If not, the opposition ought to have known that its job goes beyond issuing Press Statements; that it’s a real job, all-encompassing and very challenging! Interestingly, Nigerians are hungry. So, they can hardly read! Besides, many things are working for the ruling party in Osun: an extremely rich Adeleke dynasty, power, state resources and the people’s sympathy which again, for obvious reasons, is presently tilted towards the party in power.
Among the central functions of the opposition is the protection of Nigeria’s political integrity. For the opposition in Osun, August 9, 2014 ought to have shown that ‘our party holds the centre’ or “our man is Nigeria’s No 1 citizen” is not enough to covet victory in any serious election. One has to work for it! Taking the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osun State Chapter, as a case study therefore, preparations for 2026 should start with disclosing the findings of its Repositioning Committee to show that the party is truly picturing the future and that it takes the people seriously, because Nigerians are anxiously waiting. Unlike religion, democracy is not a project whose dividends should be delayed till one gets to heaven. No! Here on earth is a better, if not the best place!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
*KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ([email protected])