Very often we are reminded that we practise democracy but many in the play betray a military cast of mind. That was what came to mind when I read about the SSS report on Osun State, claiming that the governor was plotting secession. To make the story even juicy, the governor’s enemies added that he was planning to islamise the state.
This sort of mendacious filth was predictable. His enemies are desperate. Desperation thrives on lies and blackmail. They grew up in Goebel’s school of propaganda, which states that if you want to lie, try a big one and keep repeating it until it becomes commonplace and even boring.
I have read a number of commentaries on the ongoing events or nonevents in Osun, and a few points have missed some otherwise sapient interventions. One, there is concern by some commentators on the personality of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. Two, they have forgotten to roll out in their minds the highlight reels of his strides in the over one year he has been in office. The second point pivots the nervous folly of his enemies.
Aregbesola has never apologised for being a Muslim. Neither should he, as some who call for his so-called moderation imply. Those asking him to moderate his piety have no grounds for that. He has never issued a bigoted statement in public, neither has he acted either symbolically or actually to present an image of a bigot or apocalyptic Muslim. For Christians, I should remind them of St. Paul’s declaration that “I am not ashamed to declare the gospel and it is the power of God unto salvation.” No one has accused Paul of fanaticism. The engineer of Osun progress has not even gone that far. He declared in his inaugural speech as governor that he is not a governor of Muslims or Christians.
He is a feisty man, driven to excitement about his dream for his state. He also has uttered very pointed statements about his predecessor and the ineptitude that ruined governance prior to his coming.
All of these could easily have driven his enemies to a state of desperate stupefaction. That is what is going on in the state.
They say he calls his state the state of Osun, and in their view this means secession. To me, those who give play either in opinionating or reporting to such a febrile spin disappoint profoundly. It is linguistic ignorance and a failure to understand the character of syntax that worries them. What is the difference between Osun State or State of Osun other than that one has more words and the other is probably more elegant and majestic sounding like the state of New York. It is not only trifling, it is puerile and riddled with mischief.
To say that because he sent some people to Cuba for training means he was planning secession. Have they come with the content of the training? Is it so easy to plot secession? History of secession implies either a longstanding complaint or agenda against the centre like in Ireland or south of the United States or a sudden slam of injustice as in Biafra. Osun did not experience this, and neither has anything in the profile or history of Rauf Aregbesola suggested this. If he was planning secession, why would he facilitate transportation of agricultural and other goods between Osun and Lagos? And why would he have signed a groundbreaking contract to construct a new road that eases communication within the Southwest so as to reduce the logjam on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. A secessionist would plan only internal roads and weave a methodical strategy to physically cut off his state.
So, the mental overload of foolishness behind this allegation reflects the desperation to tarnish a man. But more fundamentally, it is only a psychologically disturbed set of people who can come up with such casuistry that an anthem implies sovereignty. Even football teams have anthems. I won’t go further than that.
That is where I refer to the military cast of mind. Let us not forget that Osun State was a virtual military camp prior to Aregbesola’s triumph. On a whim, many innocents were arrested, maimed, mauled and killed. The police was a lord unto itself, and the rule of law was adhered to in subversion. Those are actually the features that predate secession.
But because these people think like soldiers in the pre-democracy dispensation, they see any act that promotes federalism as undermining the centre. It is because they are still under the spell of our military past that they don’t understand that a federal state disavows concentration of powers and activities in the centre as we have it today. If we ran a true federal system, even the SSS would have understood the hollowness of its so-called security report. The military mind is unitary, not federal. They are trained not only to be arbitrary but to be anti-democratic.
If a state has an anthem, and calls itself a state, and hoists a flag and picks up the tempo of democratic rituals, how do they transform to secession or plots of same? What is wrong for a state to call itself a state!
On islamisation, they claim he asked the students to wear hijab. Where did that allegation come from? Is it because he asked an inter-religious council to look into the matter? This is another example of illiteracy on the part of the accusers. Interreligious does not mean one religion, if I need to let them know this. Again, was it not the same governor who hosted Enoch Adeboye, the overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Patrick Ashimolowo as well as other Christian leaders? And the media reported all these.
If he plans to islamise the state, we should have seen him fire or raise tension with his Christian deputy governor, or send the Christians in his cabinet on tenterhooks of sack or marginalised. No one is complaining.
The kind of security report we expect from the SSS is not forthcoming. Boko Haram is ravaging the North, militancy is on the rise in Bayelsa and high crime in the Southeast, we need the SSS to do its work and not concoct tales like Sherlock Holmes’ “the giant rat of Sumatra,” a rat that was supposed to take over a ship. The rat was only in the imagination.
I predict more of these fictional rats from the feverish depositories of lies. They are not only foolish, they are scared. They see the work the engineer of Osun’s progress is doing in the areas of financial re-engineering, education, infrastructure and agriculture and jobs. They just lost their flamboyance and power. They are fretting and therefore desperate.
( April,22, 2012)