OGBENI GOMINA @ 60: IN IJESALAND; THE DRUM IS SILENT! PULPITS, TOWN, AND GOWN REFUSE TO DANCE!!

By Bobaseye Akinyemi Olusegun Fasakin!

“If there be any in this assembly,

 Any dear friend of Caesar’s,

To him I say, that Brutus’ love to Caesar was no less than his.

 If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar,

This is my answer: —

” Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” -( Brutus at the funeral of Julius Caesar)

This is an apt intro into my long epistle. Please read along and be patient for it will sure be for long haul indeed!

I am Ogbeni Aregbesola’s apologist, l am his die-hard supporter at that and l have no hassle to flaunt this. I put everything in me to support him .My support for him even as of old till date amidst his trials and challenges,was never and would never be for pecuniary reward,financial gain or material obsession. Neither is it to attract or curry political office or favour from him or his government ,l stood with Ogbeni believing in him and also believing that his ascension to power as our own son will bring unprecedented development not only to our beloved State of Osun but to ljesaland, particularly ILESA, his hometown visibly.

Please be patient with me my people and let’s go on memory lane first before l go to the heart of my message to you all!

Before Ogbeni’s emergence as the Governor of the State of Osun, occupying the highest political office in Osun State was top of the agenda of our race – THE IJESA, as it had eluded us for almost two decades until Aregbesola’s divine emmergence! And to fulfill this dream, every Ijesa son and daughter both at home and abroad contributed immensely towards achieving this goal. Our paramount ruler, the Owa Obokun Adimula, Oba Gabriel Adekunle Aromolaran also gave his all, even risked his esteemed stool! He was on sheer mission of having one of his sons govern the state which was created in 1991 by the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, even not minding the price to pay. Out of the 30 local governments in the state, six of these belong to Ijesaland. They are: Ilesa-East, Ilesa-West, Obokun, Oriade, Atakunmosa-East and Atakunmosa-West. Permit me to state that Obokun and Oriade still remain the largest Local Governments followed by Odo-Otin and Ejigbo Local Government. Oriade alone is larger than Boripe, Boluwaduro, Ife North and Egbedore combined!

Although, two indigenes of Ijesa earlier had opportunities of holding the position of Deputy-Governor; it must be noted that even in the old Oyo state where Osun was carved out, Ijesas had a fair share of power as Chief Bola Ige, an indigene of Esa-Oke, a town now in Obokun LG served as the first civilian Governor of the state between 1979 and 1983. Late Ige ruled the state on the platform of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s political machinery, the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

And in Osun, before Ogbeni Aregbesola emerged as the governor in 2010, Prince Adesuyi Hastrup from Ilesa served as the Deputy-Governor to Late Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke of Ede between 1991 and 1993. Adeleke’s tenure which was expected to end in 1995 was brought to an abrupt end by the military regime of General Sani Abacha. Also, in the present political dispensation which kicked off in 1999, another Ijesa indigene, Erelu Olusola Obada from Ibodi in Atakunmosa West emerged as the Deputy-Governor to Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Okuku and they both served from 2003 to 2010. In 1999, two prominent Ijesa sons showed interest in the governorship race. Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa of Erin-Ijesa wanted to govern the state on the platform of Alliance for Democracy (AD) and Prince Hastrup was intending to fly the banner of defunct All Peoples Party (APP) but both were not presented by their respective parties.

The “Ijesa must be Governor’s Project”, was intensified in 2003 when two Ijesa sons, Tunde Odanye and Femi Alafe-Aluko seriously contested for the position with the then governor, Chief Adebisi Akande of Ila-Orangun on the platform of AD. Then, in the opposition’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), out of the 27 people that came out as governorship aspirants determined to unseat Akande, over 23 of them were of Ijesa extraction. Unfortunately, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola got the ticket while Erelu Obada (an Ijesa lady) who was then a gubernatorial hopeful under the PDP emerged as his running mate.

 In 2007, four prominent sons of Ijesa secured their party’s tickets to contest the gubernatorial election of April 14. They were Tunde Odanye of AD, Yemi Kayode-Adedeji of PPA, Oladipo Akinola of NDP and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on the political platform of Action Congress. These four men battled for Oke-fia Government House with the then incumbent governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola of PDP.

Please, endure my narratives as I am laying foundation to what exactly is bubbling in my innermost chest!

Our determination to produce a governor was on course when Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola emerged. Following his 2005 launch of Oranmiyan Movement and declaration of intent to replace Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the Governor of the State of Osun, Ijesaland witnessed unprecedented thuggery, nefarious violence,serial assault and wanton destructions of lives and properties, sponsored by the proteges of then Governor mindlessly. Ijesaland became embroiled in an orgy of violence unleashed in various towns and villages; across the six Local Governments of Ijesaland, our people were oppressed, assaulted, terrorized, brutalized, dehumanized and humiliated simply because an Ijesaman had the gut to contest for the office of the Governor of Osun State with Oyinlola. We cannot forget even in a hurry, vandalization of vehicles and physical assault of harmless noble persons who took it upon themseleves to attend the get-together lunch organized by Ogbeni’s friends and supporters, to mark his 48th birthday in Ilesa, on May 29, 2005 in spite of the charged atmosphere spoiling for blood.

At the then Ilesa City Stadium ,unarmed supporters of Ogbeni who were majorly ljesa  were attacked by gun-wielding thugs who had backing of Governor Oyinlola, at a Mega Rally, preparatory to the 2007 general elections, held on March 26, 2007. Innocent people were attacked during the rally and injuries inflicted on many. Many Okada riders suffered untold horror; mobile policemen were reportedly machete to death by the hoodlums. Our land was turned into a theatre of brigandage; indiscriminate arrests, killing, assassinations and arson became the order of the day. Life became brutish in the face of political intolerance and bitterness.

However, on April 14, 2007, Governorship Election Day, our people demonstrated unspeakable boldness and determination to effect change with their sufferage, even in the glaring gory face of death. There was widespread deployment of thugs- armed with guns and dangerous weapons- by the party in power to harass innocent voters, hijack ballot boxes, kill and intimidate INEC officials to create rooms for massive rigging during the elections. Across the six local government areas, election was marred by high-level violence as there were shootings and hijacking of ballot boxes. The thugs, were, however, met with stiff resistance in many of the towns including Ibokun, Ilase, Esa Oke, Esa Odo, e.t.c. Voting was glaringly disrupted in Esa Odo, Ilare, Imesi-Ile, Otan Ile, Osu, Ijebu-Ijesa, Ipetu-Ijesa, Erinmo-Ijesa, amongst other places.

The trend of violence against our kinsmen climaxed on that day, with the killing of Gbenga Sogo, a polling agent of the opposition party, in Ilesa. Four electorates in Ibokun, two in Osu and another two in Ifewara were killed by wanton bullets. The electorates put their lives on the line and voted overwhelmingly for Engr. Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, amidst siege laid by PDP’s gunmen across our local government areas.

To the dismay of the electorates, the incumbent governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was declared as the winner of the election as it was fashionable then. Upon the declaration of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the Governor re-elect by the Independent National Electoral Commission.Whereas, authentic results of the election showed that Aregbesola won with a very wide margin. This was however changed through Oyinlola’s connivance with Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), led by Reverend John Dansu in the state, and Suleimon Fakai, the then state Commissioner of Police. Osun State, most especially the towns and villages in Ijesaland were engulfed in post-election crisis following the fraudulent declaration of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as the winner of the governorship election. Our people felt robbed as they protested against their stolen mandate, several houses were razed and property worth billions of naira destroyed. In a bid to intimidate and pervert the cause of justice, Oyinlola and his cohorts engaged in vindictiveness against the ljesa people

Ijesaland became embroiled in an orgy of violence unleashed in various towns and villages. Armed soldiers were drafted from the Second Mechanised Division, Ibadan, Oyo State, and the Army Regiment Centre, Ede, to lay siege in Ilesa and its environs. In the futile bid to silence our people, trample on their democratic rights and forcibly take away their mandate, the soldiers were ordered to shoot blindly at our people and kill them with no remorse. Acting the script of Olagunsoye Oyinlola, they indeed shot, molested, arrested, harassed, flogged our people and looted their properties; our people were brutally harassed and oppressed by the military all because they massively voted for one of their own in the 2007, April 14th gubernatorial election.

Several of our kinsmen were killed by the soldiers under the supervision of the then General Officer Commanding, Major-General Mohammed Saleh. The soldiers were hurriedly withdrawn when it was becoming an embarrassment to the military authorities to explain the pogrom which their officers and men committed in Ilesa and her environs against our people. Sorrows, tears and blood were left in their trail; the wounds yet to heal. After the withdrawal of the military men from Ilesa, political thugs being led by the chieftains of the party in power with the executive backing of the government, went on to wreak havoc in our towns and villages. The scars of the brutalization and dehumanization are still obvious there on the people who survived.  Chief Ade Komolafe was not lucky to scale this grave moment in our land! We lost him!

Until his gruesome attack, Chief Ade Komolafe was, an industrious son of our land, a frontline industrialist, Chairman of Global Courier firm, DHL Nigeria Limited, a patron of ‘Ijesa Sports Club’ and many social organizations in the State.  With members of his family ,he was on 15th day of November 2009, attacked and beaten to a coma at a filling station in Imo area of Ilesa; Komolafe’s battering were alleged to have been led by a Local Government council official of PDP membership. The government official was said to have attempted to jump the queue but was stopped by the late Komolafe, who had queued up patiently and peacefully to buy fuel. With Apparent feeling of humiliation, the government official let loose, in annoyance, his men and unleashed terror on Komolafe and others. The late Komolafe, his wife and mother-inlaw were beaten up; other motorists suffered the same fate. His Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) was among the vehicles damaged by the hoodlums. Chief Komolafe became history from injuries sustained from the attack.

Just in like manner, a 72-year-old man identified as Chief Agboola Obadare died from the head injuries sustained by him when he was attacked and beaten by political hoodlums of the same council official. Information has it that Obadare’s driver, who was assaulted also died. The council official was later invited and detained by the police for his condemnable act; No charges were prefered against him.

As if these were not enough! For merely being  Ogbeni’s admirer, Miss Tosin Ajakaye, aged 17, a Senior Secondary School Student at llesa, was abducted and violently raped by a gang led by a 70 year old PDP chieftain. The innocent girl was raped because she would not do the bidding of the PDP leaders as she stuck to her political belief in a guaranteed future of hope, renewal and democracy which the Governorship Candidate promised and which he’s determined to deliver to our people. According to the narration from her ordeal, she was forcefully taken away from her residence located in the Isokun area by PDP thugs who subsequently subjected her to torture and rape. She was stripped naked and her pubic hairs forcefully shaved and forced down her throat. She was made jest of and hot drink poured into her private part. Her private part were poked with sticks and broken bottle while laughing her to scorn. There is no doubt that the act as narrated by the victim is odious, shocking and horrifying.

Certainly, the girl has been traumatized for life and only a clinically administered psychological care-giving would help her recover from the trauma.

To cap it all, Royal Fathers were not spared in this madness!  Personal and verbal assaults were severely unleashed on quintessential institution and symbol of the entire Ijesa nationhood.  Oba Adekunle Aromolaran was rubbished as the paramount ruler of Ijesaland, got a dosage of insults from Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in an attempt to barazzenly justify and defend the mandate he overtly stole from his archrival of Ijesa extraction. Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola bared his fangs and openly accused the Owa-Obokun of Ijesaland of fraud. One does not need to be a sage to know that it was a wholesome insult on all the sons and daughters of Ijeshaland across the globe. Oyinlola, during his monthly image laundering radio and television broadcast tagged ‘OPEN FORUM’, accused Oba Aromolaran of stealing and embezzlement of the 5 per cent statutory allocation due to Obas and Chiefs out of the regular monthly handout from Abuja. Oba Aromolaran’s persecution in the hands of Oyinlola was basically for political vendetta! A transferred political aggression summarily for his sons’ effrontery to vie!

Oba Aromolaran refused to soil his elegant robe for the crumbs and heinous proceeds from the Government. He stayed on the side of his people’s decision and defended them when the need mattered. The rest remains history!

Oyinlola did not hide his distaste to the Paramount Ruler for his alleged support for Aregbesola, who also hails from Ijesaland, before, during and after the 2007 elections. It should also be noted that it was during the post-election violence, precisely on Saturday, July 21, 2007, the 927 years old Owa’s Palace at Ereja Square was mysteriously gutted by fire. Artifacts, traditional costumes, historical documents and indeed the last crown worn by the progenitor of the Yoruba people, Oduduwa were lost to the inferno.

We are compelled to the conviction that our people that suffered humiliation, oppression or got killed by sponsored political hoodlums suffered the cruel fate because they were Rauf Aregbesola’s kinsmen. We the IJESAS gave Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola our support in the dark days of fighting for his mandate when we could have stabbed him and pierced his boat aligning with the rouguish regime for fear or favour. We are Oniyan, very honourable race, God fearing people, steadfast scions and men with scupple!  We will always stand for principle; righteousness and good governance.We are Yoruba defenders, always fighting for what is right with nothing to show for it. We are always ready for a fight and our unrelenting vigour in the face of adversity is what has earned us the infamous “Agidi Ijesha” {resilience} and truculence titles. Yeah,That would not change our history!

The cross of consistent neglect and underdevelopment served with a dose of sarcastic malevolence is ours to bear as a people of the royal stock called the IJESA Kingdom. We have been systematically side tracked by various governments of motherland Nigeria and by the various governments of the State of Osun. It is therefore not surprising we in ljesaland made Ogbeni’s battle our battle and his victory at the tribunal in his first term and his relection almost four years ago our victories!

But hold my hands and let’s ask ourselves in all sincerity, what have we got for so many bullets that we had eaten for Ogbeni’s cause?  Have we been treated well by our son? Even Joseph treated His brothers that sold him into slavery better than our lots? Has all our support and loyalty to him been appreciated? Maybe tomorrow!

You see, l do not know what your answers to these questions might be but to me, it is with a lot of regrets and sharp cut in my heart, to say l have been jilted by a man we married our cause and l think l need to start drafting my apology letters to some ljesa patriots like Egbon Ayo Aluko-Olokun and Alhaji Lateef Bakare now.

Humanly as it may, I placed so much hope in Ogbeni but it’s beginning to take semblance of mirage.

Let’s’s take stock:

1.Ultra modern Atakumosa Market at llesa (Atakumosa Market was the 2nd biggest market in the then Western Region). Now shadow of its old glamour!

2. Double lane road from Omi-Asoro to Ereja square, maybe tomorrow!

3. Upgrading of Osun College of Education llesa & Esa to University. This will remain a crime he might not be forgiven by Ijesa for a century!

4. Revamping of Games village in Ijebu- ljesa to meet the dream of Uncle Bola Ige, so much reptiles there as their ecosystem.

5. Ijesaland with no drinking water for the past 40 years.Sad we could not be served water by our own. Our old still wake in the nick of night to scoop water!

6. Who did these to us????? (Feel free to add your own)

The earliest cycle time for Ijesa to assume that office is 40 years, except for Providence! Tell him, he is fast concluding our shot; power will rotate back to ljesaland in 2030 with Ife to take her turn. The two other districts would rule for another 16 years before Ijesa can take turn again. Just add these to your age! Shall we ask strangers to overhaul leaking roofs abondoned by our child without remorse? This is not palatable!.

So l ask!!! Where do we go from here?

When a leader we look up to and we put all our trust on can publicly  denounce our land by announcing to the whole world that he has no single house in a place he called home.We do not need to be told again that he is not one of us. The good book says ‘your heart is where your treasures are laid”.

When a leader we look up to will rather prefer to be a Senator of another land than of where he claimed to be from,then it is time for us to take our fate into our hands.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola might claim to be ljesa and personally l have come to the conclusion that he is no doubt by birth but his heart and love domicile in Lagos State, an act that lends credence to comments from his avowed traducers!

My people, evil thrives where those we call our political elders and leaders in Ijesaland who should speak against these viles, remain tacit for covert misguided declaration of patriotism but give illicit approval to some opportunists among us in ljesaland again in 2018. We must reject them; reject everything and anything that has to do with them.

Change does not stop on the wheels of inevitable but comes through continous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs, put our hands in the plough and work for our freedom. A man cannot ride you unless your back is bent. We should allow the ungrateful to rent spaces in our heads again!

We should be weary of leaders who the only thing they could only boast of throughout their tenure in the government is the digging of Bole-Holes in their various constituencies, how clever they were, to have been able to form an empty Foundations to give false scholarships and fake empowerment ‘goodie-goodies’ to our people. We should not be raped the third time!

It is time we rose up and took back our vineyards! We have credible tested and untested lads and young adults, who are cerebral in Ijesaland. Please let us STOP those that have pierced our hearts, jilted us and made us look like fools in the market square even when they don Awo’s caps or glasses yet descrated his graves with broken promises and catalogues of betrayals!

Needless to tell you l am really irked and l am not in any mood to celebrate any ‘dakaraka jigini’ 60th birthday of a hero that has turned his back to his people.

Loyalty begets reward! Aregbe remains ungrateful to those who put their lives in lines. He bellittled the crying blood of low and might ones that were shed at crossfires. He refused to repair the leaking roofs in his backyard,yet busy painting other lands in colour.Tell him ,charity begins at home and that,you need to show us how clean and elegant your backyards are,for strangers to really appreciate your sincerity!

Nevertheless, l hold no grudge against those who are celebrating him, yes those that are being hypocritical! Because I realise that not all men cherish their root, some are great patriots and ambassadors of thier native land, some pay lip service, some are deceptive to reap undue political benefits and some do not even care at all.

Yes, I love Aregbe but I love motherland and respect her dignity than I would ever love him!  Dignify my root and I will love you the more, but when will that be?  I am saying these now for I know I will still engage Ogbeni Gomina the more upon completion of his term if without imprints in my motherland lest they call me coward and ass-lickers!

Today however, the questions arise, where do you stand?

WHICH GROUP OR CATEGORY DO YOU BELONG TO?

One day all men shall account for that which they have done with the opportunity, time and chances given to them by GOD to impact, positively, influence and affect the course of history, the lives of their people and events. It’s a matter of time.

But, tell Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola not to maul the river bathing once, more Ijesa people might drink these sediments of dirt!

I will be back again. Until then, rememeber, I am not drunk and I want to tell you I love Ijesaland more than any political office-holder!

And to those patriots l have bruised in the past while ‘standing with my Ogbeni’……l am sorry

Baba re a gbe!.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s