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“Oyetola not a Politician”, prefers being at large, to largesse – Jimoh Olorede

Published by on June 30th, 2020.


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“Oyetola not a Politician”, prefers being at large, to largesse

Written by:
Jimoh OLOREDE

Tuesday June 30, 2020

"Oyetola not a Politician", prefers being at large, to largesse - Jimoh Olorede

Nigerian politics is characteristic. So many things make our polity distinctively peculiar among the nations of the world.

Among many others, one of the things that characterise Nigerian politics which this piece mainly addresses, is the personality (the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, psychological disposition, et cetera, that make a person different from other people) of a typical Nigerian politician.

A typical Nigerian politician is different from any other politicians from other political climes. He professes politics as his sole occupation and of course, source of livelihood!

A typical Nigerian politician is highly desirous and covetous of power. He displays inordinate desires for possessions by hook or by crook.

A typical Nigerian politician is a die-hard conservative, who believes in established and traditional practices in politics.

A typical Nigerian politician is a gamer, who uses any means (even if it requires bloodshed) to win a political game for acquisition of power.

A typical Nigerian politician is habitually incorrigible with a high tendency for corruption.

The above expositions portray the personality of a typical Nigerian politician. However, what aroused ‘my instinctive pen’ to write this piece is the unusual, sterling personality of the incumbent Governor of Osun State, Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola.

If I could recall, the only thing both inter and intraparty critics emphasised in their campaigns of calumny during the last gubernatorial race in Osun was that “Oyetola is not a politician”.

I want to agree with the critics that Oyetola is not a politician, and if he is, I know he’s not ‘a typical Nigerian politician’.

As someone who knows Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola very well, I’m sure, left of his volition, he wouldn’t have been in politics at all. His venturesomeness into politics was predicated on some stakeholders’ request for his service which they perceived to be of great benefit to the state.

“This is a tie-down! I hope this assignment would not affect my business interest, and make me a local champion after all!” Oyetola once said, and I quoted.

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In September 2011, I presented two books to the general public: _The Vampires in the Empire_ and _Agenda Setting: Newspaper Coverage of President Yar’Adua’s Ill-health_. The then Chief of Staff, Oyetola, represented Governor Aregbesola at my book presentation. I later went to express my gratitude to Aregbesola through Oyetola in 2012, when I heard him make the above statements, at the Government House, Osogbo, after a year of his acceptance of the appointment and assumption of office as the Chief of Staff to Aregbesola.

The above statements affirm my submission that ‘Oyetola is not a typical Nigerian politician’. Alhaji Isiaka Adegboyega Oyetola is a self-made personage, successful technocrat, Iragbiji-born but Lagos-based insurance expert, and tycoon with a large business empire.

I am sure you know what it takes for a self-made, successful person like Oyetola whose business conglomerate transcends Nigeria to take up a state-based appointment in Nigeria. But for his humility and resolve to serve his people, state appointment as CoS belittled Oyetola.

It will surprise you that Oyetola had already set up a committee that would ensure proper renovation of his private office in Lagos, where he had intended to resume after the expiration of his tenure as Chief of Staff in 2018 before he was persuaded again to contest for governorship election in the state.

“I have come and I have served. What else am I looking for? None of my children is still in school; I have trained all of them, and they are all gainfully engaged working in different spheres. What I have decided as the best thing for me is to go back to my private business and, especially my private life.”

One thing I know Oyetola, who could be described as humility personified, prioritized is his privacy even to an extent that when he ‘blesses’ someone, he doesn’t expect any expression of gratitude from them, let alone asking people to help you thank him.

Oyetola was quoted to have said as stated above when he was being persuaded to vie for governorship in Osun penultimate expiration of his tenure in 2018, as CoS to the former governor. It’s obvious Oyetola prefers being at large (by this I mean being free from constraint or confinement) to acquiring political largesse.

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This is untypical of ‘a true’ Nigerian politician, who would want to remain in power until he died. Even after completion of two terms of four years each, making eight as entrenched in the Constitution, a typical Nigerian politician would want to outwit the Constitution to allow him perpetuate in power.

Honestly, I want to congratulate people of Osun State for having a technocrat, who perceives governance as service, and not as business, as Governor of the State. If Oyetola took governance as business, Osun would not witness the ongoing unprecedented developments in the State.

While this piece only acknowledges Oyetola’s selfless efforts at developing Osun, it should not be misconstrued as praising the Governor. The ongoing developments in Osun, especially in the areas of primary healthcare, road construction, infrastructure, mining, human and capital development, just to mention a few, in spite of paucity of funds in the state, including consistent payment of full salaries of workers, which has since returned normalcy to the state workforce, are obvious.

It is not surprising that all his activities are receiving accolades from citizens and residents of Osun mainly because his governance is government consent of the governed.

If the only offence Oyetola committed, which critics took as heinous, is his not being a typical Nigerian politician, there should be no apology, as his achievements in less than two years of assumption of office as Governor of the State facilitated by his technocracy, and not politicking, is a testimony that convinces us to prefer the former to the latter.

Jimoh OLOREDE, Journalism Lecturer, and research Scholar at the Department of Mass Communication, University of Benin, writes in from Iragbiji, Osun State.

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