Osun’s Liberation: Matters Arising


Gradually the truth is prevailing all around the south west region of the country. At last the house that was built on lies, deceit and falsehood has followed the natural path of disintegration. ‘Bi iro ba lo logun odun, otito a ba lojo kan’. No matter how long lies travel, it will certainly be overtaken by truth. Not even the originator of the political doctrine of ‘do or die’ could stop the furious whirlwind of truth as it travels across the south west with so much fury in its mission for vengeance.

As the victory sound of the Court of Appeal judgement that put an end to the reign of Oyinlola in Osun State reverberates across the nation, it is pertinent to scrutinize the lessons to be learnt from the Osun story as it relates to our democratic experience. For one, it is important that Nigerians who love democracy tenaciously hold on to what they believe. It took several years of un -repentant commitment to justice before the Madiba himself, Dr. Nelson Mandela, could liberate his people from the yoke of apartheid. One unfortunate thing about Nigerians is that they are easily frustrated, easily discouraged and easily defeated , but the Yorubas will tell you that he who is afraid of death cannot take over his father’s throne (‘mi o le wa ku o le joye ile baba re’) . If we are to tell our oppressors that Nigeria belongs to ALL of us, we must be ready to pay the price. We must not look back. We must fight a good fight in as much as we are sure that we are fighting a good course. You could imagine what would have been the fate of Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Osun states if opposition leaders have lost hope and given in to defeatist conclusions. Hard won victories would have been stolen. Truth would have been killed. Dreams would have been aborted and justice would have been miscarried. But for the doggedness of a few Nigerians, we can today say that there is hope for Nigeria.

Also, it is important to state that it is now quite clear that the 2007 election conducted by INEC under the supervision of its former chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, was nothing but a sham. It is the shame of a nation. This has been reinforced by several rulings on the election from across the country. The cases in Delta, Anambra, Osun, Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Cross Rivers among others are pure reflections of this. It is imperative that Nigerians unite against future usurpers of their mandates. We must ensure that our votes count. The time to stand up and be counted is now. We are all boni fide citizens of this country and our voices must not be seen to be irrelevant. We have been too passive for long in taking everything thrown at us by the enemies of our rights. This is the time to join hands with Pastor Tunde Bakare and his Save Nigeria Group to ensure that we have credible elections in the country. Who is afraid of a free and fair election? What does it take for a credible election to be held? Why should someone take over power fully aware that he was not a popular choice? How annoying and hurting to imagine that Oyinlola had ruled over Osun state for over three and half years with a stolen mandate!

Another important lesson to learn from the Osun phenomenon is that it pays to be consistent and principled even in the face of persecutions and treachery. You could imagine the number of progressive politicians who have crossed to conservative parties just to have their hands on the national porridge from Abuja. These are men who could eat their own vommits. They have never been known to stand for anything in the country socio-political history. The late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi ,spent his entire life fighting for the good of the masses even when he had the resources to take care of himself and his family without qualms. Equally, the likes of Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Anthiny Enahoro, Olisa Agbakoba, Mr. Femi Falana and a host of others have remained principled and consistent fighters for constitutional democracy in Nigeria. In the political realm, people like Chief Bisi Akande, Chief Segun Osoba, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Niyi Adebayo, Chief Lam Adesina, Chief Audu Ogbe, Alhaji Lai Mohammed to mention but a few decided to be in opposition while it is not politically expedient to play opposition politics in the country. Today, they could beat their chest and say ‘we are right afterall’. it is very painful to see ploitical opportunists traversing the corridors of power in the country as leaders of the people. But like we have always believed, Nigerians know their real leaders.

Perhaps more importantly, the Osun case has once again brought to fore the whole question of punishments for those who benefit ftrom electoral frauds. In a country where common criminals are thrown into jail for common offecnces, is it not contradictory that people who have benetited from electoral frauds, who have signed millions on naira worth of contracts, who have appointed several political office holders, who have signed budgets ,based on stolen mandates, still walk tall in the society? To add insult to the whole issue, some of them even have the effrontery to put up their candidacy for elective positions! Those who benefit from electoral frauds must be punished. Simple!

Finally, I will like to congratulate the people of Osun state for this political liberation. As a stakeholder in the state I am unshaken in the belief that Engineer Rauf Aregbesola will, no doubt, bring new dimension to governance in Osun State. Ask Lagosians, and they will readily tell you that Rauf was pivotal to the infrastructural resurgence being experienced today in Lagos. A comrade, Marxist and pragmatic man who is not cut out for the usual craze for material accumulation among the political elites, Aregbe will surely move Osun to the right path. Welcome on board, Oranmiyan, the symbol of the struggle!

•Tayo Ogunbiyi sent in this piece from Akute, a Lagos surbub

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