I am saddened by the mad (talking of madness) campaign of calumny raging against Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the young and dynamic governor of my state, Osun.alt

The campaign of falsehood has reached a crescendo of late, from the laughable to the distracting; and everything is being thrown at it, from religion to national security. One moment, Ogbeni is bedridden and on life support, at another he is a Muslim bigot on a mission to Islamize Osun state if not Yorubaland, and those of us who don’t belong to either of their rivaling foreign religions would be thrown into the Osun River. With that failing, Ogbeni is secretly planning to – wait for it – Biafralize Osun State and secede it from Nigeria! How more foolish can it get?

But it ceases to be a laughing matter because we live in a country where the poor and uneducated thrive on rumours and idle gossip; and in sham federalism where power is concentrated in the centre with the attendant risk of someone power drunk raising confusion – just for the heck of it.

Most of this reckless hullabaloo is being sponsored by members of the old brigade – the Ibori brigade – who feel their state-candy has been snatched from them, and their foul merriment curtailed. They are few, powerful and filthy rich from wealth stolen from the people. It is up to the youth of the land, to who tomorrow belongs, to be on their guard and collectively cry: we are sick and tired of this nonsense!

To be sure, we need opposition party for a vibrant democracy. But the opposition we need must be one led by responsible people with an equal appreciation of the urgency of action our underdevelopment calls for.

We need an opposition led by people of intellect and integrity, not one of buffoons and rogues. We need an opposition capable of thinking through and proposing alternative development paradigms to what the government embarks upon. That’s what “our father in heaven”, Obafemi Awolowo would have us do.

We need an opposition with robust and feasible ideas for improving the quality of lives of our people, not one whose sole vision is ‘mainstreaming’ for larger federal largesse. We do not need an opposition that wants to stem the tide of change and development Osun is now experiencing by crying wolf where there is none.

There are two governors in Nigeria after my heart by their direct approach and openness of running their state, shorn of any pretentiousness or vain flamboyance; in the urgency for rapid development they bring to table; in their visionary zeal and intellectual capacity; and in the manner they are galvanizing their people and bringing about renewed values and renewed hope:

One is Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, the other is Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State. These guys are real!

Time to let Ogbeni be.