The days of election in Osun are numbered. As the D-day inches closer and closer, contestants in the August 9 governorship election are equally criss-crossing the state – apparently soliciting for votes.
While some contestants do hush-hush campaign, others come to town and leave in haste as if scared of the people they want to seek political favour from.
Undoubtedly, the campaign machine of Governor Rauf Aregbesola, candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) always rolls into town with dignified and electrifying celebrations.
Any constituency Aregbesola visits, the people roll out drums to celebrate the man they see as true, time-tested and trusted leader.
This, they usually say, is in appreciation of a leader, who knows where the shoe pinches his people and works to alleviate their problems.
Thus, in the last five weeks, Osun has stood still any time Aregbesola chooses to come to town and to his teeming supporters, it is absolutely immaterial which time of the day he decides to come out – in the scorching sun or under heavy downpour.
POLITICAL VOYAGE TO THE LAND OF ODIDERE
Iwo, traditionally reputed to be a stronghold of progressives was aglow on 17 June. It would remain forever etched in the minds of the people of Iwo Federal Constituency and those who passed through that route.
It was for no other reason than human and vehicular traffic surge, as people came out to welcome Ogbeni that all roads leading to the ancient city expressed their busiest time ever.
People from the three local governments: Iwo, Ola Oluwa and Ayedire converged on Iwo City Stadium to demonstrate their support for the people’s governor.
The Oluwo Palace was the first point of call where all the chiefs of Iwo and monarchs from the adjoining towns had assembled to give the governor royal blessings and express appreciation for the massive development projects executed in the federal constituency.
The monarchs assured the governor of their support in their respective domains, adding that the people of the state have no other choice than to vote for continuity.
From the Oluwo palace, the governor moved into town to speak with and canvass for people’s votes.
Different political/support groups such as: De Raufs, Rise4Rauf, Aregbesola Victory Group, interest groups, students, old and young had lined the streets, singing, dancing and waving at the convoy, and Ogbeni with his diminutive figure towering out of the open roof civilian bus waving back with a broom, the symbol of his party.
At the Iwo City Stadium, the crowd that greeted Aregbesola was intimidating and the atmosphere was electrifying.
Addressing the people of the constituency, Aregbesola said his re-election come August 9 will be a call to a greater service to the people.
The governor explained that he is seeking re-election so as to complete the ongoing projects across the state, stating that the administration still has a lot of good to offer.
“What you have seen in the last three and half years is nothing compared to the developmental projects we still have in stock for you. We want to continue to work for the progress of our state.
“We are of the opinion that power is a responsibility to serve the people and that is why our government is different from the others,” he explained.
Aregbesola assured the people of the area that the Osogbo/Iwo/Ibadan road will be dualised into a four lane road as soon as possible, stressing that the administration is willing to allow everybody in the state enjoy dividends of democracy.
He urged them to turn out en mass on August 9 to vote for the APC without fear of intimidation as adequate measures are being taken to ensure the security of lives and property before, during and after the election.
Speaking earlier, the first Executive Governor of the state, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, in his campaign remarks, said he has no doubt that the people of the state will vote for APC.
He averred that he can attest to the good things Aregbesola has done in Iwo Federal Constituency.
He said: “I can see the development across the state of Osun. For some years, the Gbongan-Osogbo Expressway was abandoned.
Aregbesola came and started the construction.”
The campaign train then moved to Ifelodun Federal Constituency comprising Ifelodun, Boripe and Odo-Otin Local Government.
ENERGISING OUTING AFTER EKITI
As is the tradition, on entering Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun Federal Constituency, the governor went straight to the palace of Akinrun of Ikirun, Oba Rauf Olawale Adedeji, where all traditional rulers in the constituency had gathered to welcome him.
Akinrun, who spoke on behalf of his traditional ruler colleagues, said the people of the area felt the impact of Aregbesola’s administration, promising that the people will support and vote massively for his return.
Oba Adedeji stated that the re-election of Aregbesola will guarantee continuity as well as ensure that all projects embarked on by his administration do not become abandoned projects.
The Reinhard Bonkke ground in Ikirun, venue of the campaign was filled to the brim.
Aregbesola told an excited crowd that Ekiti can never be compared to Osun in an atmosphere of peaceful conduct of voting and counting process of election.
This was in an apparent reference to the unexpected result of the Ekiti governorship election of June 21.
The song that greeted the governor’s opening remark was the old popular Yoruba chant proverb: “ije ti e je tete, ema je dagunro, dagunro ko se je” (meaning the manner in which you consume the edible vegetable, don’t consume the thorn-laden vegetable).
Hear Aregbesola: “Osun is unlike Ekiti. Osun is a totally different political field which is certainly incomparable in whatever form to Ekiti State.
“If truly people will vote, and vote will count, the people of Osun will speak with one voice by voting massively for APC come August 9.
We are not in any way perturbed. We will come out in flying colour because of what we have done and our relationship with the masses.
“Our next four years in office will shape the next 20 years of Osun’s destiny. We have shown what we can do in just 37 months and I can assure you that this is just a tip of the iceberg.”
The next destination of the campaign train is a familiar terrain – Ijesha North Federal Constituency comprising Oriade and Obokun Local Governments.
Followers of Ogbeni expected the atmosphere to change here because as a son of the soil, taking his campaign to Ijeshaland is a homecoming of a sort.
As he passed through the towns – Ilase, Ilowa, Iponda, Idominasi – the crowd was different, the enthusiasm differed. So were the songs and dances, typically Ijeshaic.
It boldly showed in the faces of the elated crowd that this was their own event. And they wanted to celebrate with uncommon fervour in honour of their own son.
From the gathering at the palace of Obokun to the road show and onward to the campaign venue, LA Model Primary School, the momentum peaked and remained alive.
Blessing came double that day – both royal and divine with heavy downpour. Despite the heavy rainfall, supporters of the governor remained rooted to their spots, all drenched, yet defying the torrent in honour of the man of the moment.
Ogbeni also got drenched with them, as a mark of leadership that comes with humility, respect, regard for the people he seeks to govern.
By this typical Ijesha defiance, the people of Obokun reaffirmed the age-long Yoruba believe that nowhere is as absolute and secure to return to than one’s home.
Aregbesola told the people that his first term’s wonderful performance that they are talking about is just the beginning of good things in the state.
His second term, as he puts it, would be a remarkable experience to be remembered in the annals of the state many years to come.
He told the people to close ranks and work together so that the goal of the second term could be jointly realised.
“What you see and praise now is just the preamble, the beginning of life much more abundant to come.
“Our second term will be remarkable, splendid and highly beneficial. What does the opposition have to offer us again after seven uneventful and destructive years?
“We have demonstrated our capacity to turn things around for the better. This we did in just three and half years.
“If we have achieved this far in less down four years, should you not imagine what can happen in eight years?
“Therefore, turn that imagination to reality. And you can only do this by voting for us to continue the good work,” Aregbesola said.
His remark was met with resounding and thunderous affirmation of “yes, you can do it again,” and added to it is a vow by the people to stand by the governor come rain come shine!