By Yinka Odumakin
AREMO Olusegun Osoba is known as one of the most celebrated journalists of the old era alive in Nigeria today. He was a hardworking and very mercurial practitioner of journalism and media manager who brought great panache to the industry in his active years in journalism.
He was editor of Daily Times the medium by which anything newspaper was called in the rural communities in those days. His days as the Managing Director of Daily Sketch still remain indelible.
He was one of the few media gurus who worked closely with the sage Obafemi Awolowo and were like ex-officios of Papa’s political establishment.
The first hand information acquired in the process has made him an archivist of a sort for that movement and at every critical moment when the falsifier of Owu goes on his historical vogage, Aremo is always on hand to flog him with the merciless rod of truth .The latest was the foul yawning of the Ebora on the making of a Yoruba Leader.
By the time the grandmaster waded in, the boisterous general literally “pick am for race” unable to “dey kampe” again. May the tribe of Osoba never go into extinction.
It is the tragic twist to our political trajectory that has pushed the kind of values Osoba represents in Yorubaland to the background while elevating the weird mercantile politics of strange children.
For a while, many thought Aremo had also surrendered his conscience at the altar of Baal in Bourdillon in the years he had to be pragmatic and play what Yoruba call we eat what is available if what we normally eat is no longer in supply.
But that phase did not kill the innate and essential Osoba and the Don was not totally at peace with him. He was however tolerated because he brought on board what all the heist cannot buy: a good name and historical links with the legacy they are appropriating.
I recall one meeting a group I belonged to had with the former AD governors in Lagos years back. It was so enervating as Osoba went down historical lane to draw from his witness to progressive history. When it appeared the husband of Beere was becoming the toast of the day,the Don also tried to chime in. All he could say was that he was part of those carrying crates of Coke to Ikenne when the progressives were meeting in Awolowo residence.
There was a mild drama at the inauguration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun when he was being sworn in 2011.The seat next to Amosun was tagged for the Don until a former Governor went there and put Osoba’s name where they reserved for the Don muttering “even in Ogun state”.
I knew from that day that it was just a matter of time. The rest as they say is history. It got to a point that Aremo could take it no more and he had to pull his supporters out of the ACN /APC.
They moved to the unknown SDP and campaigned like never before in all nooks and crannies of Ogun state. There wasn’t much electoral dividend to all the efforts given the sham nature of our electoral process.
They were up against the most sophisticated rigging machine the south west has ever known in history. A machinery that ensured those who had packed out of government houses months before elections returned with landslide. Those who were owing salaries for months were waving brooms in victory in celebration of the conquest of our people.
But Akinrogun has carried himself graciously ever after. He has not displayed any streak of opportunism as he goes on his life at peace with his conscience and God.
His group lost the elections but they won their dignity. Aremo today is in a better stead than those who won elections but didn’t win power.
There comes a time when a man should know that what is left is not worth having. Aremo knew that moment and that is why he has finished well even if he ends his political career today.
Justice Oloyede and Osun Skelewu Orchestra
By By Ifeoluwa Y Laroosin
‘I am propelled by the desire to see the pains of my fellow human beings ameliorated and to possibly, help take away the reproach of our state as “a bankrupt” and “a failed state”. – Justice Oloyede Olamide Folahanmi.
IT is well over one year since the governorship elections in Osun state. The campaign was fierce and contested. Omisore-led PDP in Osun state identified the urgent need for a ‘Rescue Mission’, calling for prosperity and development that leave no one behind. On the other hand, Rauf Aregbesola celebrated his ‘achievements’ in four years, dancing from local government to local governments of chants of ‘Aregbe l’ekan si (Aregbe once again). The rest of the story is history, as the electoral commission declared him winner of the elections and the Supreme Court based on the evidence before it has asserted that victory. Our votes, whether they counted or not, is not the matter of the moment.
Beyond the campaign and our one vote, there is a valid expectation that the commitments of the elections and the denial of all the campaign allegations of Omisore’s PDP will play themselves out in good governance and sustained progress. Sadly this has not been the case. Civil servants and pensioners have not been paid. The allegations of reckless financial management and fraudulent procurement practices are not false. Federal allocations were received and diverted to personal purses and indeed many of the proposed infrastructure touted during the campaign are nowhere to be found. The N8.4 billion Opon Imo (Tablet of Knowledge) is no longer in any institution in the state. The school feeding programme and the perverse ‘OYES’ initiative are all gone with the wind of ‘skelewu dancing’. So bad is the situation that Osun state has been described as being in a humanitarian crisis, with religious organisations and many local charities as well as private donations directed at its citizens. Although the Governor had on national television asserted that he has no solution, he hangs on to power, converting his sacked commissioners to consultants and continuing his lavish ‘skelewu dancing’ at his daughter’s wedding which he chose to hold in Lagos, far away from his people in Osun State!
One lady did have the moral courage to speak out and stand tall! Justice Oloyede Olamide Folahanmi in a letter to the House of Assembly, raised several issues that she as both a citizen and leader in Osun state felt that those elected in the State Assembly need to pay attention to. Prior to petitioning the State Assembly, Justice Folahanmi had tried without success to have audience with the Governor to discuss her many concerns.
Silence of good men
Several appointments were reneged. In her petition, Justice Folahanmi asserts:
‘I verily believe, that the desired power, prestige and good image for our country that the majority yearns for can only be achieved when we all cooperate to fight ineptitude, corruption, greed and abuse of entrusted power in governance. I am also convinced of the fact that loving one’s brethren means doing that which will benefit them, which includes having them corrected and/or punished if they refuse to understand and persist in acts which are damaging to others beside themselves’.
It is indeed widely acclaimed that evil persists, only when supported by the silence of good men.
Highlights of Justice Folahanmi’s petition include (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):
- Failure of the governor to pay 8-11 months of pensions,salaries and allowances to workers while personally enjoying outrageous emoluments and perks of office.
- Borrowing beyond the capacity of the state to repay
iii. Embarking on bogus and extravagant projects to siphon state resources
Since she has raised these issues, Justice Folahanmi has been the object of attack and not reward. Rather than the EFCC inviting Rauf Aregebsola to respond to these questions of large scale fraud and financial mismanagement, it is Justice Folahanmi that has been under perverse scrutiny, in both her official and personal space. Leading legal luminaries who should protect public accountability have called her to question in the most bizarre of all the interventions.
The State Assembly has denied her, and the public access to the response of the Governor. It matters not whether the petition is written by the Governor’s political adversaries or not. The important thing is that we all know that Osun state and its people are in dire straits, workers and pensioners are unpaid and the Governor should be held to public accountability. Justice Oloyede has articulated the grave situation of the state. A response in the public space is required, as well as action where appropriate. Freedom of Information is a mirage without responsibility to answer and obligation to act. We all would like to know.
- Ifeoluwa Y Laroosin sent this piece from Ede, Osun state.
To be concluded.