Governor Aregbesola of Osun State has been made to take the centre stage in our national discourse beyond the level that is permissible in a democracy. Those vilifying him are not mindful of the operational setting where Osun State in one out of 36 States and where Nigeria’s chequered history has recently frowned at any attempt to secede given the crushing of the Adaka Boro andBiafran attempts.Aregbesola’s worldview and the style he is employing to modernize his state must be deeply appreciated, but not misunderstood, in the context of a united and indivisible country where the federal system of government operates. As anavowed socialist, he submitted himself to the dictates of popular democracy and embraced the philosophy and programs of a people’s party, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to solicit support. There is nothing in the ACN constitution that runs counter to Nigerian constitution. Nigeria is a creation of ethnic nationalities whose customs are stilla part of their lives and which adds to the true federal spirit which galvanises the country.
Most, if not all ethnic nationalities have their ethnic anthems or pledges which stir the soul of its adherents. The Hausas, the Yorubas, Igbos and the Tivs and other ethnic nationalities keep drawing from their common history without reducing their commitment to our federal constitution. There is nothing in the so-called Osun anthem which competes or conflicts with Nigeria’s national anthem. The singing of such local cultural anthems to stir the minds of people before our national anthem amplifies the supremacy of the latter over the former. Osun State is not alone in having its own local anthem. At the meeting of select committees of the House of Representatives organised by NEITI in Calabar in Cross-river State at the Metropolitan Transcorp Hotel, the anthem of Cross-river was rendered before the national anthem. It did not mean that Cross-river was declaring its own secession.
The same for Tiv nation whose anthem was rendered on the 19th April 2012 at the occasion of the Tiv national conference with the Governor of Benue State Rt.Hon. Gabriel Suswam in attendanceThe eyebrows raised that, Osun state is sending people to Cuba to import socialist militancy downplays the potency of Cuba as a centre of excellence for the developing world.
Cuba’s medical feat in providing a good ratio of doctors to citizens is a challenge which advanced countries are still working to meet. Any third world leader will be inspired by the Cuban example. Cuba as a country is sliding gradually from the socialist orientation to an open society that is free democracy. Even if you airlift hard core Marxists to Cuba today, they will come back with a new perception of socialism under transformation. Good enough,
Aregbesola’s initiative of sending his subjects to Cuba is geared towards understanding the critical mass of labour which is fast becoming a tier of government in Nigeria. Other states such as Rivers, Imo among others are sending scores of their citizens to the Republic of Benin for months to under study techniques of agricultural production. The search for models in other countries will remain the preoccupation of our leaders until such a time that Nigeria learns to set the pace in key human endeavours which other countries will come to study. Aregbesola’s quest to establish the priorities of his choices should never be politicised because of his ACN persuasion. He is neither a bigot or jingoist but a humble leader who understands the permissible limit of his mandate.
He cannot declare Osun State a sovereign state neither can he promote it as an Islamic State. Nigeria has had two cases of secession which all failed;The Adaka Boro and Ojukwu attempt. Until he makes a formal declaration tosecede,let us sheath our swords. The current threat to national fragmentation arising from the Boko Haram, Niger Delta militancy, Biafran radio should preoccupy our critical searchlight.Aregbesola’s anthem should not be exploited against him as most states do have their anthems. What is good for PDP Cross-river is good for ACN Osun State.
In a virile democracy, the opposition should be accommodated to avoid the tyranny of dictatorship.Leave Aregbesola alone.
Dr. Sen. George O. Akume ,Senate Minority Leader
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