By James Ogunnaike – Abeokuta
Nineteen years after he left office, former Ogun State Governor Aremo Olusegun Osoba said that he had put the events of the 2003 governorship election behind him, saying that it is already a bygone.
Osoba, who spoke at public presentation of a book, titled, ‘Colour of Perception,’ an autobiography written by Chief Kayode Odunaro.
The book presentation coincided with the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the author who was once the Chief Press Secretary and later Consultant on Media to Chief Osoba while serving as governor of Ogun State between 1999 and 2003.
The APC National leader who recalled that the conspiracies and stiffest opposition to the appointment pf Odunaro as his Chief Press Secretary only came from Odunaro’s Yewa people, described the author as a man of “courageous character” who solidly him after leaving office.
The ex-governor, however, said he disagreed with Odunaro submission on what happened about the 2003 election which he lost to the opposition party – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, saying the author was dodgy in his narrative in an apparent case of not wanting to offend or rock the (the boat).
He revealed that despite knowing beforehand that the outcome of the 2003 general election would not favour him, he still went ahead and doled out N140million on the eve of the election to his supporters, who collected the money but did not ensure victory for him and the then Alliance for Democracy(AD) at the poll.
Osoba said: “The 2003 election I have put it behind me many years ago. 2003 is bygone whatever happened although in his book he concluded that I refused to go to court, yes I did because the evidence was too much and he alluded to some of the evidence, but let’s forget about all that, it has gone, it is gone and the Ogun state people have had the chance to compare and contrast and they have given their conclusions and that is private to everybody.
“The civil servants themselves have been able to compare and contrast and they are able to now give their own conclusions because I can tell you as governor, I never had anything like what they now call Chief of Staff, what is chief of staff? PA this, PA that, retinue of advisers, I had only nine commissioners, I never brought even a messenger into office, the civil servants in Ogun state were the ones that managed the affairs of government. The equivalent of chief of staff, the equivalent of the office of the governor, Sola Adeyemi and co were my PAs the first time and the second time, I used civil servants throughout. I didn’t bring what they now call technocrats.
“Nobody expected that the election would go the way it went, but I knew it will go the way it went because Prof. Adu of FUNAAB who was the returning officer…. the figure had already been prepared. Some of the security people had given me the figure of the result that they were going to announce and I knew, he was referring to me spending money and some people taking my money to sleep in hotels, pocketed the money, I knew because in politics you must learn to na ina ku na (engage in wasteful spending) and you must learn to buy all kinds of lies, that is all part of politics.
“I knew that the election was concluded, I was warned, the electoral officer from Cross River had told me after the Presidential election that, ‘Chief don’t contest the governorship, it is concluded’, but I said no.
“We shared N140million on the eve of the election and I knew it was a wasted money, but I shared it because if didn’t share it, they will say if I had not given them the money, they would have won. So when my son was contesting, I said now you want to contest the House of Representatives, now you are going to ride on the N140million that you quarrelled that I spent at that time because those that I gave the money to, whether they chop it or not, now you are going to enjoy the goodwill.
“When I left office, he was one of the people I took pity on and put him on my payroll. He engaged my successor robustly. They (successor) set to blackmail me, to destroy all that we did, but at every point, he would come out with a robust statement with facts, figures and everything at the risk of his life.
“We all know what happened after we left office, the kind of things that some governments were doing all over the country, how people were missing, yet Odunaro took the risk of engaging that government to the point that my successor had to invite him and the Governor was trying to cajole him to snatch him away from me, but again he stood his ground.”
Senator Solomon Adeola and the Youth and Sports Minister, Sunday Dare who sent representatives, commended the author for putting his work and experience together in a book.
The 318 – page book of 38 chapters was reviewed by a journalist and newspaper columnist, Dr Festus Adedayo, who described it as “seductively inviting” because of its “aesthetic power” and an “elegant work of literature.”
Adedayo added that the book, which he noted is a combination of intellectual richness, is beyond biography but historical rendition of military and civilian administration.
In his welcome address, Oduanro said he decided to write the autobiography to expose his work experience to the world, particularly the upcoming journalists and media managers.
Odunaro announced free donation of the book to all libraries and tertiary institutions in the state.