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OYO101: Power, Politics And Death: Inside Story Of 3 Deceased Kings, Makinde’s Disappearance | Muftau Gbadegesin
As the executive convoy of Governor Seyi Makinde snaked into the ancient city of Ogbomosho after a function at Ilorin, Kwara state on the 27th of December, 2021; there was palpable expectation among the grieving mourners that the Governor would stop by, sympathize with them and pay a dignified homage to the city of deceased nonagenarian monarch, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade – the 20th and longest reigning Soun of Ogbomosho land who joined his ancestors on the December 12, 2021 aged ninety five (95). But characteristic of the Governor’s handling and politicization of Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi’s demise in 2020, his large convoy zoomed off in a blazing hurry leaving mourners and admirers in the lurch.
Subsequent demise of Asigangan of Igangan, Oba Abdul-Azeez Adewuyi Aribiyan 11, and the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji just in the space of 19 days typifies whatever rumors, hearsays, and guess-with that may be swirling around the Governor’s penchant and lackadaisical attitude towards the death of high profile people in the state. In a way, the stoics of ancient Greece and Rome implored people to keep death in mind at all times in order to appreciate life more and remain humble in the face of adversaries.
By the way, the subject of death wrapped in mysterious and sometimes unfathomable words is not an exclusive birthright of the stoics of ancient Greek and Rome alone. In his mega best seller, Things for Apart, Chinua Achebe says “A man’s life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.” For an African Proverb, “Death is like a dress that, at some point or another, everyone has to wear”.
Given the way this subject matter has festered starting from 2020, it is ridiculous the Governor’s appearance or disappearance from the demise of high profile people is gaining steam in public conversation. This deliberate and intentional attempt is a bad publicity stunt. And can damage whatever reputation left with him as election draw closer. But the deliberate absence of the Governor when his presence is strategically needed may also be a calculated move designed to further alienate and distance the people from their elected chief servant – a poorly written script that is sure to backfire. Or how best could his Excellency consistent disappearance when notable personality in the state kicked the bucket be interpreted?
Not surprising, this subject matter alone has generated heated debates, dent the Governor’s image and continue to be the centerpiece of tantrums and brickbats from across political spectrums. In essence, public opinion is now being formed in the absence of reasonable, concrete and logical explanation as to the intentional absence of the Governor at times like this. Of course, some of this public opinions are well grounded while others unfounded, the flagrant disrespect to rulers who have joined their forebears can never be accepted in any saber climes.
Thus, before diving into the first in the series of reason the Governor continued to stay away from the eyes of the public in matters of public figures demise; it is vitally important to note that the cordial relationship between the Governor and the deceased Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji is one between the father and his doting son; one that apparently should be enough to force the Governor to stay in the country and pay his homage to the grieving family. But curiously so, what manner of leader disappear to a far away country just because he’s dodging simple responsibility – of showing up to the people he purportedly lead?
What manner of Governor travels and refused to honor his preferred monarch when he’s pronounced dead; absconding physically, emotionally and refusing to show love, care, sympathy to the people who are part of his subjects? What manner of leader send terse, uninspiring statements to the people when he could be there and showed up and identified with them at their most trying and difficult time? What type of leader is that? Indeed the trend being witnessed in the state under this current administration is interesting as to say baffling and dispiriting.
In the world over, there are pictures of Presidents in tears, moody and sad over incidents of death and disaster and tragedy. There is one particular picture of former President Barrack Obama in tears as he emotionally delivered speech over an incident of school shooting in Oregon. Plus there is also one of former president Goodluck Jonathan in Lagos after Dana air crashed in Iju Shaga. Even when the alpha male ego dominates, leaders across the world still found a way to show sympathy and concern when misfortunes befall their people.
In a surprising manner, the sudden demise of former Afenifere scribe, Yinka Odunmakin and the attendant condolences and visits by various political heavyweights is a clear and simple message that death has no party or preferences. Indeed, the condolence visit of APC National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the family of Comrade Odunmakin despite being at the receiving end of his various intellectual and political dogfight remains a classical example of how not to personalize and politicize death. As Williams Shakespeare once remarked: He that dies pay all debts.
To understand what might have informed the Governor’s absence when his presence is crucially needed, it helps to take some steps back into the past. Recall Igangan was the epicenter of murderous rage of some Fulani herders. It was in Igangan the leadership and administrative malfeasance of this regime was laid bare. People saw first-hand the sluggish, reactive, dismissive and defensive approach of the state government to issues of insecurity. It was in Igangan the Governor began to lose his Midas touch of governance.
And it is from that ancient town his constituted authority began to confront its most stiff, tough and acerbic face-off from a non state actor, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho who rose to prominence partly because of government’s abysmal failure then matched forward with mirthful abandoned promising hell for the killers and heaven for the commuters. So, it might be that there is a clandestine axe between the Governor and Igangan people to grind such that the demise of their ruler didn’t moved the Governor an inch to sympathize with them in person.
Furthermore, the Governor may have successfully kept his campaign promise on LAUTECH Ogbomosho, laying to rest the protracted rift between Oyo and Osun states into eternity; but the fallout between the Governor and the Soun of Ogbomosho in the wake of the #EndSARS protest and the hoodlums attack into the Palace of the first class monarch may be as hot as early morning pap. Recalled the Governor promised to donate a sum of #100 million to rebuild the palace only for news to report that a paltry #10 million was doled out for the reconstruction of the ransacked palace. In other words, the actions and inactions of the Governor are instructive to those who believe in his leadership and otherwise.
In short, power may be transient, politics a game and death a must, but is there any justifications or excuses for this continuous, habitual, deliberate and intentional abscence of the Governor when death strikes high profile people or lay person on the street? For if the Governor could shun the burial of crème la crème of the state; what then awaits those of his bootlickers or ordinary folks on the street when touched by death?
OYO101, Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues affecting Oyo State, is published on Saturdays. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850.