The untold story of How Gboyega Oyetola’s Lost Osun State
By Caleb Abayomi
The Governor of Osun State Gboyega Oyetola lost the July 18 gubernatorial election with more than 28,000 votes. Since this tragic but predictable end, many experts, some of who have never visited Osun before, ignorant of the dynamics of Osun politics, the objective and subjective factors that propelled Oyetola’s defeat have come out with conjectured logic, assumptions, lies, deliberate distortion, or untruth fuelled by stark ignorance to justify the defeat. Oyetola has failed to accept his defeat. He is busy setting up mines for the incoming Governor elect. He wants to employ 1,500 workers and also conduct Local Government elections. This is the character of a vindictive and self serving politician who habitually destroys himself with his own hands.
Yet, there are cronies working to paint Oyetola in good light. One is one Idowu Akinlotan who sustains iron grip on the back page of the Sunday Edition of The Nation. Obviously, Mr Akinlotan was not in Osun to vote neither does his analysis indicate he understands the content and form of Osun state politics.
Obviously, he wrote based on hearsay, subjective reason adopting popular cliché sustained through a whirlwind of sham. Let us expose some of Akinlotan’s fiction. Akinlotan is Oyetola’s crony who made a futile pretence at balance. He argued without any proven economic or political index that the former Osun state governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola practiced socialism. It is unbelievable how a journalist who is expected to have some sense of history could come to that conclusion. Socialism entails the collective, workers’ ownership of the means of production. It is impossible to have a socialist state in a country that upholds capitalism as its funding groundnorm.
For a state to adopt socialism in Nigeria, it would require a delink from the country either through armed insurrection or through revolutionary means, that would, therefore, severe Osun state from the Nigerian federation. We do not deny Aregbesola’s welfarist programmes, which had revolutionary contents like the free laptop for school children and the free food for children which in the first one month of its introduction shut enlistment of poor pupils to 28,000.This does not mean that Aregbesola ran a socialist regime eventhough he is a communist by orientation.
For Akinlotan to declare Osun as a socialist state under the regime of Aregbesola is a display of embarrassing ignorance and a stunted acknowledgement of the meaning of socialism. However, it should be expected that when a man is desperate to hang his target, all sorts of dirty games are employed to deconstruct history. Why Akinlotan portrayed himself as identifying Oyetola as the maestro of his own woes, he displayed a veiled act of aggression in his conscious attempt at covering up the gross acts of maladministration, abuse of power, ineptitude of and parochial instinct that rule Oyetola’s four year disastrous rule.
Akinlotan also made deliberate attempts to disparage the outstanding achievements of Aregbesola who came to power after defeating Olagunsoye Oyinlola and his Peoples Democratic Part, (PDP) led gang at both State and Federal levels but also recorded a resounding victory after defeating the PDP again to win a second term, being the first to achieve such a feat in Osun state.
His second term election witnessed the most militarised conduct in Nigerian history coordinated by the PDP from Abuja and their local rookies, but the people spoke loudly by rejecting the PDP. Aregbesola won. When critics talk about debts in Osun, they fail to put in historical perspective. The debt was inherited beginning from the time of Osun’s creation. Osun state is also not the only indebted state in Nigeria. While reflecting on the leadership of Aregbesola, the said Akinlotan glossed over striking milestones like the 27,352 medium and small scale enterprises established by Aregbesola; the 1,596,530 jobs created, the 3,685 new class rooms built, the 11 model high schools, 67 elementary and 49 middle schools, the fact that 70 percent of students passed mathematics and 53percent passed English language. He forgot about the 5billion Omoluabi holdings, which was increased from N300m, the 14,675 rescued from accidents and health emergencies, the GDP that rose from N191m to 398b, while MSMES grew from 481,451 to 1,35,446 creating 1,596,350 full time jobs.
He is blind to the five urban bridges, the 5,000 culverts. He chose to ignore the fact that Osun State according to the National Bureau of Statistic, NBS has the lowest crime rate in Nigeria, while according to the UNDP-NBS joint report, Osun has the lowest poverty rate and lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria with over 60,000 youths empowered through O’YES in the period under review.
The fact is that Oyetola’s penchant for destroying the legacy of a government he served at the highest level as the Chief of Staff in appalling. The Yoruba people say that when you point one accusing index finger to your father’s house, do not forget that the rest of the five fingers would pointing at you. Any critical analyst should recall that Oyetola’s problem began in 2018 when Lagos insisted that he must be imposed on Osun people. Aregbesola had the option to reject, but he allowed the error in deference to Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. Its on record that he pinpointed the catastrophe his choice would unleash on Osun people and the APC. A careful and diligent study indicated that Oyetola was not popular in Osun while within the APC in Osun he was seen as a rash, slippery, less knowledgeable and disorganised political actor. In 2018, the people of Osun revolted against his candidature. The then governor Aregbesola had sleepless nights pleading with APC members to defend him in line with organisational principles. It was a very difficult task.
In 2018, as soon as he emerged as the governor, the first directive principle of Osun State policy was to deconstruct Aregbesola. He chose his cabinet without consultation or input, he attacked the globally acclaimed O’YES, O’MEAL and even the one computer for child programmed was trampled underfoot. He spent the first four years of his government dismantling all the achievements of his predecessor from the same political party, a clear show of lack of wisdom.
He forgot these were not Aregbesola’s personal policies, as an individual, but programmes the APC government initiated after constructive engagement of the people of the state including the legislature. For instance, the Education summit that radically changed existing policies was chaired by Professor Wole Soyinka. The revolution was subjected to debate before adoption. Oyetola could not destroy the mega schools built, if he could, he would have bulldozed them. The fact is that for him, in his four years, the most important item in his budget was to fund the destruction of Aregbesola. He distracted himself from governance and concentrated on dismantling Aregbesola legacies. , in the process the people put a stop to his madness on July 18. It is instructive to note that for two years, Aregbesola bent backwards pleading with him to embrace peace. The vindictive man never gave peace a chance. At a point, he resorted to the display of brute instincts, unleashing violence on Aregbesola and his supporters. He sponsored lies and propaganda including saying that Aregbesola wanted to become the next President of Nigeria ahead of the last APC primary.
To say Oyetola is a shrewd manager of human and material resources is laughable. What resources did he manage? What bridges or roads did he build? What new farm settlements did he construct? They neither exist in newspapers nor on the ground. What new schools did he build? What job did he create? If he was good, there would be no need to hide his achievements . A golden fish has no hidden place. The people of Qsun revolted against him gifts on election day. In the face of daylight bribery of voters, the people spoke in a loud voice that they were ruled for four years by a sly, ill-informed, cruel, dark and steel hearted village tyrant who had no single idea about how to run the smallest and complex state like Osun. Oyetola will go down in history as the most parochial Governor Osun has ever produced. A little illustration: Oyetola picked about 30 personal aides from his town while many communities in Osun State could not boast of one aide in the Governor’s office. While the election was building up, he received billions of solidarity funds from state governors but decided to warehouse the funds denying many of his advisers and aides the opportunity to make any impact during the election. Where are those funds as we speak? Has he accounted for the funds? It is a shame Oyetola is blaming his defeat on his predecessor. He had four years to carve his own image but he cut off his own feet.
He was a man with lowly pedigree that Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu elevated beyond his stunted knowledge and prowess. Handing over Osun State to him was like giving our a laptop computer to a loved Chimpanzee or asking an illiterate truck driver to pilot a new Boeing 737 airplane. He failed to live up to the expectation of his benefactor. He is a man who never connected with the people, a sadist, a vindictive man, acrimonious, difficult to please, cruel but also a man without wisdom who chose to cut off his own head in order to show his anger against his foes. Abayomi is the Chairman of Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) in Osun State