Ogbeni remains the issue; By Abosede Oluwaseun Safety.

Only God is the omnipotent, omniscience Who knows tomorrow and beyond.

Premised on the above, the statement credited to Hon. Lasun Yusuf, the ex-Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives few days ago on a radio program, stating that the former Osun Governor and immediate past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, is now irrelevant and can never become the leader of any political system in the State is simply what it is – a faithless and mean statement aimed at belittling a man with an obvious growing influence. Lasun is an energetic and steadfast individual in the South West progressive family. In the progressive family, debates and differences are accommodated and sorted out with eventual concession to the most superior position, which every genuine progressive politician then differs to. That is the tradition bequeathed by the Avatar, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Criticism and differences are never taken for enmity within various caucuses as the objective remains the same – the building of an egalitarian society for the greatest good of the majority; life more abundant for all. We remain committed to that ideal in our tendency and do not make enemies out of those whose understanding of life is incomplete, thereby spurning errors in words and deeds. Any genuine Christian and Muslim especially, must believe in the primacy of Devine will over all Earthly decrees and accept total submission to the will of God. It is statement like that of Lasun that shows the difference between being religious in mouth and spiritual in practice. But what could have made our respected and energetic Hon. Lasun submit as such?

Sometimes in 2015, Mr. Lasun Yusuf polled 203 votes to defeat his opponent, Mr. Tahir Monguno, who had 153 votes, to become Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. This feat was achieved at the expense of the Speakership agenda of Hon. Gbajabiamila, who was loyal to the leadership of the ruling party and had been collectively anointed by the entire Progressives in the South West as the man to lead the 8th Assembly. Rather than adhere to the Party agenda, Hon. Lasun broke ranks, aligned with the PDP, and saw to the emergence of Rt. Hon. Dogara as Speaker, House of Representatives. This led to Hon. Lasun becoming an outcast in the progressive family as he became the Progressive Achilles heels that made the Party lose the main Speakership. It is on record that Ogbeni Rauf AREGBESOLA eventually reconciled with Lasun after the deed had been done and made spirited efforts to lead him to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, an act which Mr. Yusuf turned down till he parted way with APC. Hence, there was nothing personal between him and Ogbeni then and now. Ogbeni is a man of organisation and loyalty to majority position. What could he have done then, as sitting governor of the state in which a rebel against the party position had emerged? He simply followed the majority line, while moderating his longstanding personal relationship with Lasun.

Although, no mortal could have everything his or her way at all times, since first attempt at the ballot till date, Ogbeni is point of reference in the Progressive Family vis-à-vis ideological direction and dedication to the people welfare with Omoluabi virtue especially in Osun and Lagos to the extent that his stance usually determines the outcome of every electoral process in these states. Whether he talks to give direction for voters or keeps mute, his gestures and body language have portent meanings to the extent of deciding every electoral contest that touches him. As long as God preserves his life and he is interested in any electoral contest even if push comes to shove in such contests, people simply follow him and respond to his algorithms and the tendency he represents. Like or hate it, this is the obvious reality in Osun especially which Hon. Sulaimon Lasun Yusuf and his likes find difficult to accept. The masses do not love and follow Ogbeni simply because he is Rauf Aregbesola. They follow him passionately because he is faithful to the ideals of progressive politics bequeathed to Yoruba especially, and Nigeria at large, by the founding fathers of progressive politics, Obafemi Awolowo foremost, along with Aminu Kano, Balarabe Musa, Ibrahim Waziri and the likes of those pantheons.

It is amusingly laughable that Hon. Lasun Yusuf, who earlier on had left the AD for PDP before returning to ACN and recently in-between 2022 and now, has been in APC, Labour Party and PDP after coming Cap in hand, seeking Ogbeni blessing during the defunct TOP era, will now be denouncing same Rauf. That is human but it simply further exposes Lasun as an inconsistent element who blows hot and cold as he deems fit based on self interest without any iota of lofty, pro-people principle to which he is faithful. Anyhow, Lasun political strength is simply paper weight as his talks is cheap and dismissible, any day, but a jolly fine gentleman in progressive politics if God allows him to redeem himself. Or how would one describe a governorship candidate that couldn’t win his ward and local government in his own election ?

The future of us all, religiously speaking – Christianity or Islam – and in Yoruba cosmogony belief, rests squarely in the hands of Almighty God who is the best planner of all. Having conceded to God’s omnipresence, omnipotent and omniscience, one with the people will forever be a majority as the voice of the people remains the voice of God. The people might be for a time helpless but they always wield a simple but implacable logic, and they know their own. By staying with the people and loving them so, Ogbeni will continue to harvest their love and solidarity and the favour of God, thereby remaining the issue and reference point in progressive politics. The wise may accept and harvest his large goodwill and exemplary lessons in good governance, fools living in denial do so at their own political and electoral peril.

Abosede Oluwaseun Safety
Ward 10
Boluwaduro LG
Osun State.

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