Rauf Aregbesola

Olumuyiwa Jimoh pays tribute to Rauf Aregbesola, former Governor of Osun State, at age 63

The month of May floods me with great memories. This is not just because of the great events that mark it out but because it heralds the rising into mother earth of a man of destiny. A man whose life has impacted and has continued touching many lives here and abroad positively. A quintessential leader and a proud son of Osun; a man who bequeathed State of Osun with great testimonials of service to the masses.

I have always held the opinion and consistently found it to be truly so that the Almighty God has a purpose for all that happens to a man. After all the sage, Obafemi Awolowo once boldly assert in a moment of great trial that “whatever happens to a man happens to him for his own good! It is therefore not by coincidence that God will chose the month of May to bless the world with a unique man of purpose; Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.

Rauf Aregbesola was born into and bred by humanism. He grew learning the art and science of struggle for emancipation. His adulthood was thus baptized into a life that could best be described as embodiment of the struggle to emancipate the downtrodden! He was not deterred by the unpalatable experiences and difficulties growing up in less privileged environment; having not been born with the fabled silver spoon! Rather, he deployed his humble background as a tonic for sharpening progressive ideological worldview. Imbued by the circumstances of deprivation under which he was raised, he became determined and committed to championing the cause of poor masses.

His quest to pursue progressive ideals with passion has continued to define political activism and leadership. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a man driven essentially and irrevocably by progressive ideology. His tenure as governor of State of Osun did not only transform infrastructural architecture but also impacted on all facets of human capital development as manifested in education, health, and social development sectors. Not withstanding the limited resources at the disposal of the state and considering the huge personnel cost thrust upon the lean revenue base, Ogbeni Aregbesola transformed the lives of the people through series of social development initiatives in demonstration of his firm believer in the power of the people to create and energize development in any clime.

Under his stewardship as governor, the State of Osun and her people have recovered lost glory and indeed found greater voice in Nigeria by becoming a reference point in many instances. His government became a model of how best to deliver effective governance to a people within the context of meagre resources. Ogbeni Aregbesola deployed the commission of office of governor for exceptional creativity in all aspects of governance.

Ogbeni Aregbesola’s feat as governor was however not surprising given his antecedents, beliefs and avowals as a revolutionary with Marxist-Leninism ideological pedigree. He is today a proud scion of revolutionary school of thought in Nigeria as he has not betrayed the ideology during his tenure as Governor of the State of Osun State.

Aregbesola’s governance model in the State of Osun has indeed rekindled the hope of the of pro-people leadership in Nigeria. He boldly re-enacted the promises which democracy holds for the progress of humanity. He is a man under whose guidance the State of Osun acquired value for every Naira and Kobo channelled into execution of projects. He consciously refused to join the maddening crowd of looters but rather painstakingly insisted dividends of good governance must be delivered to the people. His style of progressive governance ensured great achievements were recorded in State of Osun at minimum costs.

It is therefore our duty to celebrate the birthday of this illustrious cadre of popular struggle as a shining star of our democratic quest. Present and future leaders in Nigeria especially those in executive positions at the three tiers of government should be encouraged to emulate the virtues of Rauf Aregbesola by providing impactful leadership that will uplift the status of the society and all categories of citizens. Making leadership counts for the greater interest of all and sundry precisely should be attraction for celebrating icons of selfless leadership and one of the ways of entrenching people-centred democracy in Nigeria.

Ogbeni Aregbesola is a man blinded to primordial sentiments. He is not ruled by where you come from and what religion you practice but believes in rewarding excellence and exceptional talents. He is not afraid of seeking out talents, nurturing them and encouraging them to grow and become better so that the community and the Nigerian project can become better served. This disposition has become a virtue with which Ogbeni Aregbesola is presiding over the affairs of Ministry of Internal Affairs where he presently serves as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Without sounding immodest, we would boldly say that Nigeria is blessed to have Ogbeni Aregbesola as minister of the highly strategic Ministry of Internal Affairs at a time the country is facing enormous social and security challenges. His achievements as commissioner under the able leadership of Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in Lagos speak for themselves as the signature achievements of that regime which laid the foundation for the great standards Lagos state has today become in the nation’s governance structure.

Ogbeni Aregbesola has provided guidance and mentorship to many young men and that explains the nature and number of young men who form the nucleus of his government in Osun State. Providing opportunities for the youth and believing in their ability to perform has truly open the doors for many including my humble self to participate in the nation’s democracy and contribute positively to the nation’s governance.

As we celebrate this great son of Nigeria on his 63rd birthday, we pray that God Almighty will continue to be the source of his strength. We celebrate a worthy achiever, an astute yet humble leader.

Hon. Jimoh is Member, Lagos State House of Assembly (Apapa II Constituency)