Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State is the current poster child of erring governors; governors who have not been able to pay workers’ salaries for a long spell. In Aregbesola case, the man has not bothered to pay his State’s workers or retirees’ pension since sometime last year. The governor has received a lot of drubbing in the media for that singular crime so much so that he now wears a permanent, lop-sided smirk.
I’ve always wondered why the governor was singled out for such trenchant beating when a few other governors also owe State workers salary. Well, it turned out that those beating up on the Ogbeni know him well. It’s turned out that Aregbesola is an exemplar of what is generally wrong with the Blackman.
Some days ago, I saw a loud report, accompanied by a YouTube video and about one million colourful photographs of the commissioning of the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo, Osun State. You see, there was always a park in Osogbo. For some odd reason, it was called Osogbo Freedom Park. When the great man, Mandela passed on in December 2013, the park was renamed after him by the State governor. All of that was appropriate and even commendable.
What was not appropriate was when Aregbesola embarked on the second phase development of the park recently, poured a lot of money into its renovation and facelift and then commissioned the park on Thursday, 6 August 2015. This, while Osun State workers and pensioners are starving.
It is the height of insensitivity, and misplaced priority – the bane of Black leaders everywhere. At best, the governor earned himself a public relation disaster; at worst, it was another exhibition of frightful incompetence.
How can any parent prioritise the beautification of his home over and above his starving children? Even if (as I suspect) the money for the project has been earmarked from another time, is now the most auspicious time to be doing this? Then the governor proceeded to offload a proper owambe for his daughter’s recent wedding rather than have a more sedate, small family affair. What message is this chap sending to people?
In February 2013, it was this same governor who, perhaps out of boredom, bought a helicopter. His government officials claimed the helicopter cost N500 million, a figure no one believes. Aregbesola said the thing will be used for surveillance. But for more than two years, the chopper has not surveyed anything. Allah only knows to what use the chopper is being put. My guess will be occasional leasing and government official use. Because as at July 2015, the governor was still hoping that “central government will issue us the sort code” to enable him use the chopper for aerial surveillance.
That’s not all.
Believe it or not, the governor also bought several Armoured Personnel Carriers. This is what Ogbeni had to say on that: “Despite our ranking as one of the least state with crime in the country, much still needs be done to get rid of the little criminals still hanging around the state.”
Meanwhile, the people you are purportedly protecting remain hungry and sick. This is the strange logic that propels most of Black leadership. And when they run out of ideas, they shove religion down the people’s throat – a scam for which the governor is well known.
Osun State depends almost entirely on Federal monthly handouts. I have been to the State once – September of last year in fact. All I saw were posters of the governor everywhere. The only thing that looks slightly threatening in that State is something they call Dodo Ikire. It is the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen in your life. It is supposed to be some kind of snack: tiny, greasy, charcoal black with specks of what looked like sesame or large pepper seeds; packaged in what I assume were used Pure Water sachets.
Are these what Ogbeni wants to survey from the air?
A lot of good Osun people are just too relieved to have a governor who didn’t openly steal an election and pilfer everything in sight like the previous occupant of that office did that they readily give Aregbesola a pass. But evidently something is not right. And when a few brave voices rightly express their concerns, the governor’s cortege of ‘yes men’ rise up from their various crypts and shout them down. Where shame, embarrassment and contrition ought to be shown, haughtiness and callous arrogance is instead on display.
Furthermore, Osun State government house has become a Mecca of sorts for all manner of felicitating groups and associations. Every other day, the governor is visited by a delegation of The Licensed Carpenters of Gbogan, The Suya Seasoners of Nigeria, or some other obscure well-wisher. Haba! What are they all looking for there?
Instead of food, Aregbesola has given his people a first-class freedom park. Whenever they’re hungry or cannot afford to pay kids school fees, they can at least head to the park, sit down and have a good think about things. Perhaps bumble bees and bird droppings would give them a different perspective on life...