The return of the mythical Oranmiyan to Ile Ife, considered as the source of all Yoruba could not have been a strange thing given the well-known Yoruba mythology. Perhaps, this was what made the flag off of the re-election campaigns of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, popularly seen as symbol of the Oranmiyan phenomenon, to be seen as somewhat an electrifying event that would be memorable for a long time to come.
Some called it a political fun-fare. Some said it was in celebration of a political figure who symbolises the new thinking and perspective in political re-ordering. Whatever it is called, the Ife federal constituency re-election campaign of Governor Aregbesola brought the Ooni Okunade Sijuade’s Ile Ife to a standstill on Tuesday May 27.
The whole town was agog. From the main entry point through the popular Lagere Road down to Enuwa, the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Sijuwade, people poured into the street in thousands to welcome the campaign train of the governor.
The first point of call was the palace where Aregbesola was received and regaled in a grand manner typical of the demonstration of Ooni’s majesty. The significance of Aregbesola’s straight journey to the palace was not lost on the people.
The monarch’s Iwure (royal blessing) and endorsement that followed put paid to all insinuations that given the fact that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore, is of Ife stock, the Ooni might be tempted to blindly throw his weight behind one of his subjects who is eyeing the same position.
Not only did the Ooni pray for Aregbesola, his words were believed to be profound enough attestation to the royal support he is poised to offer to the governor, whose sterling performance he affirmed.
Ooni Sijuade, in a prayer that appeared to have jolted the opposition, said in Yoruba, “Olorun to fi e s’ibe ko de ni mu e kuro” (meaning God that enthroned you will ensure your continuity in office).
He also said: “All you have been doing are not for yourself or for your people. You are striving for the good of the entire Yoruba race, for the country. God will always be with you.” The monarch commended Aregbesola for his numerous achievements in all sectors of governance.
Armed with the royal blessing, Aregbesola’s campaign train left the palace snaking through the city on its way to the campaign ground at the Ile Ife Technical School playground. At the campaign ground, speakers after speakers x-rayed the performance of Aregbesola, which they said is uncommon, unrivalled and unarguably unassailable at the moment.
Senators Jide Omoworare, in whose hand Omisore had suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2011 National Assembly election, in the Osun East senatorial District and Professor Sola Adeyeye, representing the Osun Central senatorial District, said Omisore has no mental capacity to serve the state.
The lawmakers averred that the job of administering the state is enormous and Omisore is unprepared and lacks the know-how to rule the state. Aregbesola said that seeking re-election is to perfect the establishment of genuine and credible leadership that only aims at delivery of service to the people in the state.
Reeling out his administration’s achievements in Ife federal constituency, Aregbesola said: “We have touched lives in all facets of human endeavours. “In the constituency we have constructed more the 50 km of intra-city roads; built six new schools, several boreholes, distributed 1,473 pieces of Opon Imo tablets to high school students.”
Campaigns or Dodo Ikire carnival? It was this streak that blazed down to Ikire on Tuesday June 3, when the campaign train berthed at Isokan/Ayedade/ Irewole federal constituency.
Aregbesola first paid homage to the traditional ruler of the town, Akire of Ikire, His Royal Highness, Oba Olatunde Falabi, who commended the governor for what he described as a revolutionary touch in the state.
Oba Falabi said the people did not need a soothsayer to tell them that the government of APC has brought huge development to the state in the past three and half years.
A leader of the party, also one time PDP chieftain and Chief of Staff to Oyinlola before dumping the party for APC, Elder Peter Babalola, in his campaign speech said PDP, in its seven and half years in government performed abysmally, saying: “Today, my constituency is better than when the PDP and I were in power.”
A middle aged woman, confounded by the motley crowd, preened here and there, telling bystanders in local dialect “Aregbe ni jare; e je a gba f’Olohun’ meaning ‘It is Aregbe. Let us just accept that this man is God-sent.
It was this gathering that former governor of Osun State, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who had a week earlier defected to the APC, addressed, telling them to allow the incumbent governor to continue his positive transformations of the state.
He said: “I want to plead with our members and Osun people to use their vote to bring back Aregbesola because he has worked tremendously for the development of Osun, you should make sure that we score 80 per cent of the votes.”
Aregbesola said his achievement in his first term in office will be dwarfed by that of second term if elected, telling the people to expect more than the 88 boreholes which had been sunk in the constituency; 2,299 Opon Imo distributed to secondary schools and the beautification of Asejire to Gbongan on Ibadan-Ife Expressway.
Aregbesola also listed 5 newly built ultra-modern school buildings; intra and inter road networks totalling 60 km among other things in Isokan-Ayedaade-Irewole Federal constituency. His words: “We believe, and are of the opinion that power is responsibility. But PDP believe that power has no responsibility.
That is the difference between the two of us.” Like in a carnival, dodo Ikire, a popular delicacy made of mashed ripe plantain was served in excess to all that came for the campaign that day. Just as the people went hysterical with the campaigns, so they savoured the pleasure that had been part of the economic life of the Ikire town for decades.
Ila Orangun stands still for Ogbeni When the campaign train of Aregbesola arrived in Ila-Orangun, the crowd that received him and his team appeared to have dwarfed those of Ife and Ikire. Perhaps, being the homestead of the former interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, it was not unexpected that a tumultuous crowd came forward to assure Aregbesola of his second term in office.
For those who witnessed the maiden campaign at Ile-Ife and that of Ikire, they would all agree that Ila-Orangun went extra miles in demonstration of love for Aregbesola.
The Bisi Akande factor was one that brought the crowd out. Ila, On June 11, was therefore a beehive of activities as the people trooped out in thousands to give their governor a rousing welcome.
The arrival at the palace of Orangun of Ila, His Royal Highness, Oba Abdulwahab Adedotun, was in grand style as human and vehicular traffic freely mingled to form a long and unbroken cavalcade on which the governor rode into the waiting arms of traditional rulers and their chiefs who were all eager to offer their blessings.
These included the Oba Adedokun Abolarin, the Orangun of Oke-Ila; Oba Samuel Oladosu Idowu, Akesin of Ora Igbomina; Oba Isaac Adetunlurese, Onirun of Oke- Irun; Oba (Dr.) Taiwo Adesoji, Owaloja of Kajola Ajaba; Oba Sikiru Adeseun, Oluresi of Iresi; Oba A. A. Oladipo, Edigbo of Edemosi; Oba Samuel Bamidele Oyediran, Eleripa of Eripa; Oba Rasaq Abidoye Adeleke, Owa Magbon of Ila Magbon and Adeniran Ayepola, and the representative of Owa of Igbajo.
The Orangun of Ila, launched into the royal blessing after which prayers were also offered in Christian, Islamic and traditional modes. Armed with the royal blessings again, Ogbeni came out to the waiting hands of the now impatient crowd, which had formed an unending line at both sides of the road, chanting, singing, dancing and with re-invigorating gusto, waiving their flags of APC and broom.
Akande, while speaking, described the crowd as uncommon and an unthinkable assemblage of people, describing Aregbesola as a unique leader, who promises and delivers on those promises.
He said the governor is a God-sent to the State of Osun to place it on an enviable height, averring that most of the laudable programmes of Aregbesola sometimes look impracticable.
“But he has demonstrated to us through his political sagacity that they, in actual fact, are achievable,” Akande said. Characteristic of his appearances in Ile Ife and Ikire, Aregbesola also highlighted some of the successes his administration has recorded in the area to the admiration of the people.