By Stephen Chidiebere Ikebude
Only a few people can categorically say they know the personality of Ogbeni Rauf as he is fondly called by those close to him, cronies of his and family members. Also included in this group are those he met while working within the political mechanisms of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, a part that formed the ruling All Progressive Congress.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola started his political history under the tutelage of the former governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. During the reins of the latter, Rauf Aregbesola was appointed a commissioner, to oversee the affairs of Lagos State in areas of works and infrastructure.
Rauf Aregbesola learnt a lot while working for former Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a man acclaimed to be one of the smartest politicians and great networker of our time. During Bola Tinubu’s time as governor of Lagos state, he utilised his abilities to network with people and in the process, built a political empire that upped his societal profile which made him the most powerful politician in the Yorubaland.
Historically, the political build-up of the former governor of Lagos state, Senator Bola Ahmed birthed a periphery for candidates’ selections, impositions and anointments. Bola Tinubu’s political position, strategy, influence, experience and experimentation colossally increased as he waxes stronger with his political clout, network and depth. Bola Ahmed Tinubu grew his team, acquired the supports of Lagosians and decided to test the waters in other southwestern states.
Eventfully, while testing the waters, Tinubu’s loyalists were anointed to vie for political elections outside of Lagos, in other Southwestern states. The electioneering campaigns and electoral processes were fully funded by Action Congress of Nigeria, a political party formed by the great man of Lagos politics.
Unsurprisingly, Action Congress of Nigeria practically won most key political positions in the Southwestern states either through official results announcements by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC or via judicial pronouncements asserted by courts of competent jurisdiction.
The landslide victories at the polls in the South West emancipated a new Tinubu. A man who fought against the Federal funding of the People’s Democratic Party to make his party a regional political icon of worth. At that moment, Tinubu ceased to be the local Lagos champion. Tinubu became a political enigma who ably took control of southwest, with his loyalists being governors and senators within and outside Lagos state.
The former governor of Lagos is renowned for his abilities to select and anoint candidates for political offices. And he does so with thorough scrutiny to avoid disappointments and failures from any of his handpicked loyalists. Preventatively, a resourceful and result oriented loyalist wouldn’t want to discard, denigrate or fruitlessly trash the political reputation, efforts and influence of his godfather.
What dumbfounds me is Rauf Aregbesola is one of those loyalists handpicked, anointed and selected by Bola Ahmed Tinubu to run the state of Osun state. A handpicked Fashola did so well during his reins in Lagos after the tenure of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Fashola grew Lagos state in several steads, making his political tutor and godfather prouder in all fronts.
But, the candidature and performance of Rauf has brought most criticisms in recent times. After the job as a commissioner, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola was chosen to contest for the gubernatorial position in Osun state against former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. The PDP candidate was declared winner after the polls but Rauf reclaimed his victory from the court through an appellative proceeding.
As a former activist, a lot of people expected drastic and people-minded policies to grow the state of Osun to favour the people of Osun. Many indigenes of Osun state voted Action Congress of Nigeria then and re-elected Rauf Aregbesola under the APC because they want results. But, these results have been hampered for far too long. Aregbesola seems to have forsaken his people and the dictates of his mentor. Rauf has suddenly become so withdrawn from Osun people to the extent of abandoning the institutional foundation of the people.
How else will anyone explain the prolonged, endangering and unwarranted closure of a tertiary educational institution in Osun state? Bola Ahmed Tinubu didn’t ask Rauf to act in such cowardly manner. In fact, I consider the abandonment of Ladoke Akintola university by the state governor inimical, treacherous and anti-people.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s nonchalance towards the demands of the students and the dangers posed by the continued closure of the school is alarming. Every concerned parent knows the pains caused by this. Governor Rauf Aregbesola does not care because none of his children attend the school but his withdrawnness and unconcernedness kill the educational fortunes and prospects of thousands of Osun people and Nigerians who are academically attached to that school.
I am not from Osun state but I am this concerned because I know the effects of denying people educational progress. I am a product of a progressive and structured educational system, seeing people denied their rights even when they are paying is a slap on the cheeks of our policy makers. Rauf Aregbesola is a catastrophic mess to his people and a political minus to the Bola Tinubu political school of thought.
The leadership antecedents of Rauf have clearly shown that he is a failure among those he governs. His inabilities to create alternative sources of incomes, pay workers’ salaries as at when due and coordinate the educational institutions of his state clearly show he is underqualified to manage the Government House of Osun state. His failures also undermine the principles of his long-term activism and portray him as an activist motivated towards political power.
If you are a friend of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, call him and advise him accordingly. Let him understand that he has failed the trusts given to him by the good people of Osun state. Make him understand the educational retrogressions he has caused everyone attached to Ladoke Akintola University of Technology that has been closed since 2016. I believe Gov. Aregbesola can do well to correct this mistakes before his tenure ends except he is indeed an enemy of Osun people.