Yesterday I came across a headline that says ‘Publicly declare your appreciation for someone.’ The first thing that pops into my head was the forthcoming election in our dear state, Osun. I thought I had publicly declared that I appreciate Aregbesola’s administration and his dedication and passion to lead by example, I really have done that. Then it occurred to me that I have not really said much about Dr/Senator Omisore and that is just because I tried to avoid distraction but now I guess one way to further show my appreciation to Ogbeni’s work in our state is to draw attention to more reasons why we as the state of Osun do not deserve to have a leader like Omisore. Here are my reasons:
On Grassroots: I think Omisore went way too far mocking the people of Osun by eating on the road on his campaign trail, all in the name of being close to the grassroots. I am one of millions of people who are born and raised in the village here in our dear state, I have never seen any adult of Omisore’s age sitting on the rooftop of a very nice and expensive car eating on his own while other people around him watched on – all in the name of being close to the grassroots, this attitude only further shows who Omisore is as a person – someone who still lives in years past, today, people in Osun state have manners, when we eat in public, we do it in a way that is socially acceptable – with a group of friends, never like a loner. This is in no way a representative of anyone in Osun. Wearing mix and match ankara outfits was nothing any male adults wear except if you were Baba Sala whereby you were there for entertainment purposes, in which case you would come out with the brightest happy smile, Omisore obviously didn’t do that. To remotely think mix-match outfits is representing us is extreme and very insensitive way of portraying people. Maybe Omisore has being away from real people for too long and might have forgotten how we are. We are people with dreams, we know our limitations and are working hard in all our individual ways so we can live up to our full potentials – eating popcorn in the middle of a crowded road was not one thing we aspire to. He could have tried to recite thought-provoking poetry or two, we would have loved that and respected him for it, he could have tried to give a convincing and intelligent speech about how our cocoa/palm oil trees could be more efficiently managed, we would have appreciated that. Eating in the middle of the road? Omisore needs to try harder!
On Education: I have read all that I could gather about Omisore’s manifestos, there were simply none. For now, all that he said was his plans to waste our limited resources to reverse all that Ogbeni has done, why would anyone do that? Whatever Ogbeni has done can not be all that bad, I believe. As a child of Osun who has interest in the development of the state, when I was completely confused with the new education system, I spent sometime to understand by reading the documents on the state website and it was not too hard to grasp, why can’t Omisore do this rather than thinking the only way is to waste our money reversing projects? On another note, I am so glad that Omisore finally made the blunder of ‘all the rices….’ I don’t care which language my governor speaks as long as it is comprehensible to the public of the state. Omisore has done several interviews with journalists where he wasted time boasting of his PhD status, now with all ‘the rices…’ I hope that would keep him quiet for sometime. Now listen up, hundreds of Osun state sons and daughters have their PhDs, which they worked hard for, here is your time to go back to the professor who passed your thesis and demand money back (if you ever wrote one that is).
On religion: Belief it or not, we are unique people in Osun state, this is because for years the state lived in harmony for the most part. Let us continue to find ways in which all of us can live peacefully together. You will be hard pressed today to see a family that did not have people of different faiths in their family. Our children deserve to be educated in a fear-free environment whereby their talents can shine through and adults too, deserve to live their lives in peace with neighbours. Osun people deserves a leader who is ready to work hard and pull us all together so as to celebrate and rejoice in our unique differences. Our difference in faiths is our strength, let’s embrace it to our advantage.
On Modakeke: If you are a native of Modakeke, then read this as one, to non native of Modakeke, read this area with open mind. Kola Olabisi’s article ‘Osun 2014: Why Modakeke will never vote for Omisore’ prompted this piece. Ko si bi a se maa p’ori aja, ti a ko ni p’ori ikoko ti a fi se. This is our story, our struggle, it will be burying ones head under a heap of sound if anyone thinks Modakeke people forget, no one forgets a crisis that wiped their entire family away and took the livelihood away from most that are living, however, we do forgive and most people have moved on.
Being a native of Modakeke is starting to realise you are less of a person right from the day that you could mutter out a few words. It is watching your childhood friend died in front of your eyes from gunshot wounds – this was Adeolu in 1997. He was a good boy, the only son of his family, he lived at Old NEPA area of Modakeke. Why was he killed? He died for the sins he did not commit, he died because his great, great grand parents settled on the land. Ade was not alone, many young and old people’s lives were cut short just the same way and counting…believe me.
Before you say Modakeke are brave people, let me just remind you of our proverb, ile su omode s’ona, o l’oun l’aya, ti ko ba l’aya se yi o wole ni? This is the reality for us, although we have moved on but the wounds are still raw. The farmers from Ogudu, Osi, Ayeoba, Yekemi whose family have cultivated their farmlands for a very long time were driven away from their farms, these were the lucky ones, some were butchered in the early morning on their mats. This was not a story passed down to my generation, this story happens just over 10 years ago and the perpetual killings still go on. On top of it all, my local village Famia now has a Oba who shares no history whatsoever with us – yet we lived on. Are we really brave? Tell me what you would have done if you were in our shoe?
Egbon Kola Olabisi, you were right, Omisore could have used his wealth of knowledge in positive ways to show that the world is better for us all when we do not harbour hatred especially when the ‘sins’ were our forefather’s and none of the parties are alive today to reconcile whatever their issues were. Omisore’s family were tucked in safe haven of America, the freedom they enjoy was fought for with sweat and blood of African Americans. Omisore could have been the pioneer to shed lights, but he choose to compound our agony by adding salt to injury – still we moved on.
To those Modakekes who for some reasons think Omisore is a changed man, they need to re assess where their priority lies. Everyone is entitled to their opinions. The boreholes, the transformers he donated to a few people are not what we craved for. Nonetheless, the transformers that he gave to Parakin in Ife was quickly retrieved back from those communities shortly after he lost the last senatorial election to Omoworare – something to think about. And ultimately what we crave for as Modakeke is not any handouts, no, that is not enough, we just want to be treated as normal everyday people and most importantly to be represented as fairly as everyone within the state. This will take an intelligent leader, and never a copycat who thinks riding okada is synonymous to grassroots.
After reading Long Walk to Freedom, I felt free and when I stood by the Cape Town pier watching the boat heading towards Robben Island, I knew in my heart that I would never harbour any grudges against anyone because of their native town, not in the least Omisore – afterall no one chooses where they are from.
I just happen to belong to a generation that is tired of being told we are what our leaders are because we vote for them, so this time, I refuse to follow a mediocre, I refuse to follow a leader who makes mockery of his own people, I refuse to listen to a leader who spent so much time talking about his academic achievements but failed woefully to defend it. I deserve a better leader, I deserve a leader that is passionate about investing in people positively and has track records that I can point to, I deserve a leader that I am proud to associate with in public so I chose to show my appreciation to Aregbesola.