Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oyinlola: The 'peace-maker' cometh

GOVERNOR Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State is fast acquiring the reputation of a peacemaker. I am not so versed in the Bible, but at least I read a portion some 20 or so years ago while I was preparing for the then Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, (JAMB) examinations, that eulogised the peace maker. I had to double check to be specific that it was in Mathew 5.9. It says: "Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called children of God."

In recent times, the governor of Osun State has made great moves that may give him the tag, 'child of God'. Some couple of months ago, I read in the newspaper how Oyinlola 'completed the peace initiative between age long enemies, the Ifes and Modakekes that resulted in the ruler of the acclaimed 'minority' Modakeke going to the palace of the Oni of Ife, the leader of the 'majority' tribe of Ife, to pledge allegiance. It would be recalled that the Ife and Modakeke were engulfed in a bitter ethnic battle some couple of years ago. The fight tore the thin thread of any filial relationship (if it ever existed) between the two communities because the casualty in terms of human and material was too much. Thus, forgiveness, was not in the minds of the warring parties who perhaps were still nursing (if they are still not at present) huge ambition of carrying outreprisal attacks on each other.

Then, Governor Oyinlola pulled out his now famous peace wand, and made the ruler of Modakeke go to the Oni's palace, what no one thought would happen in a long while. There is peace, at least for now. Trust a politician that Oyinlola, a former military officer is, the 'achievement' was politicised, newspapers were awash with reports of how only someone as 'enigmatic and charismatic' as Governor Oyinlola could pull this through. I don't have any issue with that, 'a labourer deserves his wages', according to the Bible.

Then the one that shook the entire nation, was the shock appearance of immediate past Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, at the doorsteps of the Manor of Ota farm, immediate past 'Head of State' Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. These two for about six years were embroiled in a bitter struggle for the soul of the country. Atiku wanted to succeed his boss (which is natural), but Baba Sege as Obasanjo is sometimes referred to, would not want any of it. He wanted a third term in office, according to his former political allies. Unless you were not on this planet, then you would not have had knowledge of the mudslinging that happened between the duo. At any given opportunity, Obasanjo reminded the world why he was opposed to Atiku's ambition, was (and still is, because at BBC HardTalk show recently, he made allusions to the fact that Atiku was a thief) because Atiku had the habit of dipping his hands into government coffers.

Only Obasanjo was a saint in the eight years he ruled this country like Herod the Great. Now back to the Ota peace accord brokered by the effervescent Oyinlola. It took only a few weeks before it crumbled like the famous cookies. Both Atiku and Obasanjo from all indications are back in the trenches, where they have been for years now. That was a dent on the reputation of Oyinlola as the peace maker of our time.

Then just recently, on Wednesday, June 10, 2009 to be precise, I was again confronted with the picture of our dear Oyinlola with Major Saliba Mukoro, a 'repented' coup plotter (?) and the master of them all who is generally believed to have a fair share of blame for the nation's woes today, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (IBB) on the front page of Daily Sun. With the screaming headline: How Oyinlola reunited ex-president and the man who wanted him dead. With a rider: I have forgiven him - IBB. The story was also in The Guardian of the same day and perhaps other newspapers. Major Mukoro (rtd) was one of the major players in the Gideon Orkar coup that nearly toppled Babangida's regime while he was military Head of State, on April 22, 1990.

Again, the governor of Osun State had scored a 'major' political point, at least the one he would use to fight his present-day nemesis, Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola, if the tribunal orders a re-election in the ongoing election feud in Osun, where Aregbesola is hotly contesting the 2007 re-election of Oyinlola, alleging heavy malpractice. Only time will tell if the peace joker our dear governor is dealing, will come to play then. Aregbesola is the Action Congress Party candidate at the heavily rigged 2007 elections. Oyinlola belongs to the 'ruling' People's Democratic Party (PDP). Before one starts to misunderstand me, I want to state that I am one Nigerian that is apolitical. I have no affiliation to any known political group, and may never do so, at least, not in Nigeria, where guns and army, police uniforms as well as thugs with cigarette and Indian hemp-stained teeth are necessary tools needed to win elections. And of course, a 'cooperative independent' INEC boss.

Sorry for the deviation. Now back to the peace-maker. Many people have left different legacies behind, I believe Oyinlola's legacy is to be remembered as one that brokered the peace between sworn enemies. So, we have not heard the last of his breakthrough, peaceful resolutions of thorny issues. But hold on a bit, how peaceful is the retired military officer? Was Oyinlola not a major player in the violence that rocked Ekiti State during the re-ordered governorship elections that PDP as usual 'won'?

Was it not alleged that the same Oyinlola was caught on tape boasting that he would supply military hardware weapons and uniforms for the 'field soldiers' that would prosecute the Ekiti do or die elections? He denied the allegations, but a certain newspaper urged all to playback the audio of the statement on its website. Well, it is left for forensic experts (one wishes Adrian Forty is still alive) as well as voice pros to determine if the voice on that tape actually belonged to Oyinlola. Eventually, with the able assistance of Iwu, Adebayo Ayoka, Oyinlola and the PDP 'won' the Ekiti charade called an election.

What kind of a peace-maker is Oyinlola? A man who is named in connection with violent orgies (Ekiti, Osun states elections) today, and tomorrow he is busy resolving issues between people? Is peace-making in the mind of Oyinlola, a divertive past time? Only time will tell.