The first term tenure of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola was great, peaceful and people oriented. He made Osun fanciful and a state of pride. But his second term in office was nothing to write home about. He failed to organize free, fair and credible council elections in his first term in office. It took him many years during his first term tenure to appoint local government caretaker committee members. It even took him close to three years or so before he appointed board members and other political appointments.
When the Interior Minister of Nigeria who is also the immediate past governor of Osun state adopted the parliamentary system for his proposed council election, Osun citizens welcomed it not knowing that it’s a corrupt way of stealing their mandate and the mandates of the participating political parties.
Till date, the All Progressives Congress (APC) members see Aregbesola as the modern Architect of Osun State; they see him as a political Messiah who brought true dividends to the masses of the state. It would also be recalled that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola emerged as Governor of the state through court judgment which sacked the former Governor of the State, Governor Oyinlola who had almost spent four years in office as governor of the state.
Governor Oyinlola was preparing his own local government council election when the court judgment that sacked him as governor of the state came from Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. That was how the baton of political leadership came into Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola’s hand. Before Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola left the office, nomination forms for elections were given to political parties free of charge, he gave them peaceful political atmosphere to organize their primary elections and he equally equipped the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission also known as OSSIEC to organize a free and fair election. All these preparations of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola went into oblivion when the court case which announced Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola as Governor of the Living Spring.
Nobody even talked about Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola’s government in Osun anymore. Some see his government as spend rift government while others see it as the friendliest government. The opinion of people about his government differs likewise that of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. In the past few years Gov. Olagunsoye Oyinlola has been unstable politically, as he has been switching and moving from one party to another. Though he has officially decamped back to his former party, People Democratic Party (PDP) in recent times.
A day before the Election Day, a popular newspaper published how 10 registered political parties stepped down to the ruling All Progress Congress (APC) then in power under Governor Adesoji Aregbesola. It was later learnt that the 10 political parties that backed out in that election were bribed to do so.
The political parties collected money from Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola led government and it was also learnt that the parties involved were given forms to participate in that election free of charge (though their N100,000 nomination fees were paid by his government) which made it easy for them to withdraw their participation in that election. Though the People Democratic Party (PDP) did not participate in that election they had learnt earlier that the proposed parliamentary council election as coined by Ogbeni Adesoji Aregbesola won’t be free, fair and credible.
In fact, no registered political party contested against the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidates in that local government election. The election was sham, fake and undemocratic; no wonder Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola termed it parliamentary election, an old, uncommon and outdated system of Government. No wonder Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola’s parliamentary election in Osun gave birth to corrupt council councilors and chairmen. We’ve heard of recent how most of them were impeached by their councilors and later brought back to office by Governor Gboyega Oyetola led political administration.
The type of elected candidates the parliamentary election of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola brought to power are not only corrupt but irresponsible mainly because they were elected without strong opposition and serious contenders.
The irony of the undemocratic parliamentary council election organized barely a few months to leave office was mainly set as a trap should be in case the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the winner of the 2018 Osun Governorship election. The same political scenario eventually happened between the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who is now the national deputy Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his successor, Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Barely few months Senator Abiola Ajimobi would be leaving office in 2019, he organized an undemocratic local government elections, though nomination forms were not sold unlike the Osun Council where form was sold at the rate of N100, 000 (hundred thousand naira only), few political parties later participated in that local government election, at the end of the election, the All Progressives Congress (APC) cleared all the seats. When the 2019 General elections were conducted, Governor Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won with wider margins. After he was sworn into office, the elected local government council chairmen and councilors started constituting a nuisance to his government. In short Governor Seyi Makinde scrapped them. The issue resulted in legal tussle, now in Court.
The undemocratic parliamentary election Governor Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola organized before he left office has given Governor Gboyega Oetola and his cabinet a strong headache despite being in the same All Progressive Congress (APC). Almost every month there are always petitions written against two or three chairmen of different councils by their councilors addressed to the Speaker of the House.
The parliamentary council election introduced by the immediate past governor, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Argebesola is a failed system; Governor Gbeoyega Oyetola should not try to repeat the same. Osun Citizens want free, fair and credible elections where they will go out and vote for any party or candidate they want. They are tired of electing candidates unopposed in the case of the last council election organized by Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola. This is indeed a great lesson for Governor Gboyega Oyetola and he should learn from.
Wole Adedoyin is the president of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW) and Democratic Writers Association of Nigeria (DWAN).