By Ismail Omipidan
Ogbeni, as he is fondly called, has lost his magic wand. He was in town yesterday and Osogbo was not locked down. Ilesa, where he comes from and from where he began his home coming trail was cool and calm at the time of his visit. No long convoy of vehicles and motorcycles to indicate that an important personality was within the vicinity.
The scanty crowd around him in Ilesa, from the pictures officially released by his men, was a clear indication that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has lost it.
From Ajegunle area to Old Garage, Osogbo, where in the past, people abandoned whatever they were doing to catch the glimpse of the man who once called the shot in Lagos and Osun State, there was nothing to indicate ‘Ogbeni ti de (Ogbeni has come).’ A few who tried to show interest asked rhetorically ‘se bi ati pari election…(since elections over, why the shameless streets show).’
At the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park, where his men used the photographic effect to convey the impression that they had a crowd, all the spaces that in the past would be filled to brim were empty. It happened because Ogbeni has lost the broom. He could not even brand it yesterday. That was his talisman. That was his logo. But they are all gone.
The strategists around him too compounded the Wednesday’s outing for him as they were confused as to which narrative to portray in the media. While journalists who covered the event reported his ‘contrite’ comment, I will return to that later, Osun Defender, Ogbeni’s newspaper which he deployed to spread false and misleading stories about the Oyetola’s administration, reported something else, making it look like the journalists misrepresented him.
In fact, in most of the WhatsApp platforms I belong, I saw staffers of the paper insisting that what the journalists reported were false. But by the time I got hold of the video this morning, I realised that it was those around Aregbesola that were being economical with the truth. They were being clever by half. But I am not surprised; it is their style, always trying to play the victim.
Back to Ogbeni’s ‘contrite’ comment, without going too much into the details of his Ikire’s statement of ‘I used two years to beg Oyetola…’ which I know was untrue, I will leave members of the public and my readers to do a contextual analysis of the message below and draw their conclusions if indeed it was an apology:
“…I did not request for anything from my successor talkless of being denied such thing but some people just feel envious of our presence. Despite all of these, I seek forgiveness from those who felt offended with some of our actions.
“After this, I will not beg anybody again. We didn’t offend anyone and we don’t believe anyone offended us. But it’s possible that they believe we offended them, that’s why we are seeking forgiveness”, Aregbesola said.
Regardless, Allah knows immediate past Osun Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, did everything humanly possible to cover up for Ogbeni to the chagrin of a section of Osun people. He received blames and insults for actions carried out by Ogbeni Aregbesola. He served Aregbesola faithfully and diligently and ensured his weaknesses were never exposed. Is it during the labour wahala, when Aregbesola could no longer walk freely in Osun even as a sitting governor? Or the financial wizardry that was deployed to ensure Osun did not go insolvent? I can go on and on.
Oyetola meant well. If he could manage his relationship with Senator Iyiola Omisore, to the extent that Omisore decided to join APC fully before emerging as the National Secretary of APC, he could never have shied away from managing Ogbeni. But our man refused to make himself available to be managed. Today, we can all see the results.
Omipidan, a journalist and Public Affairs analyst writes from Ile Olorisa Compound, Eyindi, Ila Orangun.