Nigeria: Ogunmupe - Victory Prospects Between Aregbesola and Omisore
By Bayo Ogunmupe
CERTAINLY, there are prospects for Iyiola Omisore's victory in the forthcoming gubernatorial election next month, given the Ekiti State scenario in which the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ayo Fayose swept the polls against the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC). This development, coupled with unlimited funding from Aso Villa, even without any appreciable policy platform, appears to have set the stage for an electoral enterprise in Osun come August 9, 2014. Surprisingly, the Ekiti governorship election of June 21, 2014 has enthroned a bizarre concept of an election determined by the building of the stomach infrastructure rather than dividends of democracy in Nigeria.
As a nation suffering from oil curse, that means too much oil money coming into the hands of a people lacking in intellectual honesty; the era of come and dine with me is finally overwhelming the last bastion of participatory democracy of Southwest Nigeria. Thus, Omisore and counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) appear set to repeat the Ekiti experience in Osun.
But Osun is different from Ekiti State. While 90 per cent of Ekiti is Christian, Osun is divided into three main religions of Islam, Christianity and African Traditional Religion with majority of them being Muslims. Moreover, the gladiators: Rauf Aregbesola, an Ijesha engineer who cut his teeth as a Lagos businessman and Iyiola Omisore, also an engineer with huge business interests in Lagos, are seasoned but iconoclast politicians.Aregbesola, the incumbent governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC), came to power on November 26, 2010 when the Court of Appeal declared him the winner of the 2007 gubernatorial election in Osun State. He garnered his political experience in Lagos culminating in being appointed Lagos State Commissioner for Works for eight years. Aregbesola is regarded as a rabid Muslim, but his progressive and studied outlook shows him as accommodating and tolerant.t has been said that his rabble-rousing rhetoric and oratory earned him the title Ogbeni - meaning comrade, the outcome of his campaign in 2007. Aregbesola is imbued with the progressive rhetoric which is motivated by ending poverty, injustice, the desire to help those unable to access opportunities, to help those who aspire to better themselves, and achieve their utmost potential. In context of the Nigerian reality, Ogbeni was a change agent who seeks to transform a state living on the edge of naked existence to a well-educated and fully employed people.
As a progressive, he espouses a philosophy which in essence, does not lie in a particular set of solutions but in a way of thinking and a lifestyle that isn't time bound, but perpetual. Because they are set to modernize the country, their ideas are dynamic, not static. Progressive values are reflected in Aregbesola's achievements in Osun. In terms of service, he is focused on empowering the state in the areas of agriculture, development, full employment, quality education and social security.
Aregbesola's vision for Osun is cast in a six-point programme of banishing poverty and hunger, provision of health care for all, skills acquisition, and education that creates employment for all. Aregbesola has gained in four years what the PDP could not attain in seven years.
Aregbesola introduced free feeding in schools and proper dressing. Only recently, it was discovered in a research carried out in Ghana by an American University that 60 per cent of Ghanaian girls left school owing to inability to buy sanitary pads. Besides, it has been discovered ages ago that inadequate nutrition impairs the Intelligent Quotient of children. It is not surprising therefore that Ogbeni's efforts at providing adequate dresses and nutritious food is boosting students' enrolment in the State of Osun.
Moreover, Aregbesola is the first state governor to be mindful of security by building Emergency Security Centres where calls can be directed for rescue operations in situations of emergency. Unfortunately, the Federal Government isn't helping on security matters. This is because the security centres cannot function due to the withholding of a short security code by the Federal Government. With the provision of such a code, a helicopter could touch down within 20 minutes anywhere in Osun to identify violent spots.
Only recently, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, the Director of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Abuja debunked the PDP blackmail that Aregbesola's government is indebted to the tune of N350 billion. Surely, the DMO director refuted the PDP allegations, declaring that Osun State status is sustainable since it does not borrow beyond its capacity. Aregbesola introduced the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O-YES). Through it, he has empowered 20,000 volunteers across Osun's local government areas. He plans to empower 80,000 volunteers in eight years. Through the O-YES scheme, each person receives an allowance of N10,000 monthly, providing community services in return. By this scheme, Aregbesola has injected over N200 million into the state economy each month.
The O-YES has skills acquisition programme to arm the volunteers with practical skills with which to make a living. What is more, Ogbeni also established the Osun Rural Enterprise Agricultural Programme (OREAP) to boost agricultural development. Through OREAP, Aregbesola aims to make Osun the food basket of the Southwest. By these schemes, restiveness, idleness and joblessness are being tackled among the youths of the West. By these schemes and policies, Ogbeni deserves a second term as governor of Osun State. For the PDP, with a myriad of problems the Federal Government is facing, it is inconceivable that it can win in Osun. With its 15 years in power at the centre, it has not brought jobs to the people; peace has eluded the populace as a result of bombing by the Boko Haram insurgency; and regular electricity outage has crippled the business sector. The PDP's victory in Ekiti State is a hoax, as Ekiti people, under normal circumstances, can never vote for a party that cannot rescue more than 200 Chibok (school) girls kept in captivity for more than 100 days. This is the real burden of Omisore, the party's standard-bearer in Osun.