As the political scene begins to boil and bubble in Osun State with the looming approach of the 2014 elections, the confident calmness of the leading contender for the state’s governorship ticket, Senator and former deputy governor Iyiola Omisore is simply enigmatic. His enviable political pedigree dwarfs not just the CVs of his fellow PDP aspirants but even that of the ACN incumbent governor. Senator Omisore continues to win the hearts and minds of the Osun electorate by simply being there for them whenever and wherever they need him. Can you imagine a recent weekend search for the senator finding him in the thick of the downtown wedding ceremony of retired teacher’s daughter, avidly doing justice to a dishful of amala, ewedu and goat meat in the midst of joyous folks of the area?
Yet this is the same Omisore over whom ACN Governor Rauf Aregbesola has been having bouts of migraine just to come up with propaganda vile enough to turn the masses against their political hero. From bellicose billboards to acidic articles raking up hideous hoopla, nothing seems to work against the Omisore political rollercoaster. Even the Bola Ige murder scarecrow had lost steam long before Saturday 20th April, 2013 when two former aides of former President Obasanjo, Prince Segun Seriki and Mr. Richard Odusanya appeared on SaharaTV to reveal some startling dimensions and antecedents of the killings of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige and Chief Harry Marshal, which further debunked the so-called Omisore link.
To rattle the Osun government more, Senator Omisore’s strategists have been relentless in harping about the judicial anointment of the Aregbesola governorship as rendered by the infamous Tinubu-Salami midwifery of ACN’s electoral insurgency into PDP Osun stronghold, a short-lived scoop that is already unravelling under the pervasive populism of Omisore’s political campaigns. Not to mention serious posers which question the lack of accountability in several Osun government programmes and spotlight cases of bad governance due to inexperience and arrogance of power.
For the state government and other “victims” of the awesome political enterprise entrenched by Senator Omisore in Osun State, another dilemma is that of widespread appreciation and celebration of the exemplary track-record of the senator in people-oriented activities not linked with partisan politics. These episodes of spontaneous salutation of Senator Omisore’s philanthropic qualities constitute landmarks of constant reference and recollection all over the state by people of all walks of life, especially the needy and the vulnerable. One such occasion which significantly boosted the soaring profile of Senator Omisore took place in Osogbo on May 11, 2013 when the Multiple District 404 Nigeria of the distinguished Lions Club International conferred its highest award, the coveted prestigious Melvin Jones Fellow Award on him for outstanding service to humanity.
That was the occasion where Governor Mimiko made the much-quoted remark that Senator Omisore is “a most misunderstood Nigeria whom God will vindicate in the fullness of time”, a fully-loaded observation and forecast that can only add to the tribulations of the senator’s political detractors and rivals. Mimiko’s candid comments captured the uniqueness of Senator Omisore’s political career and the significance of his impact on the lives of so many common people across the country without political considerations. Little wonder that what was billed to be a convention banquet of the Lions Club turned out to be a festival to which the people of Osogbo trooped in multitudes to endorse the recognition of Senator Omisore as a worthy leader of his people. No less impressive was the long convoy of vehicles that snaked through Osogbo-Ife road well after midnight to escort the senator home.
Evidently, Senator Iyiola Omisore’s strongest arsenal in any political contest is “people power”, the ultimate determinant of the genuineness and superiority of political leadership qualities, that enables him to be so comfortable in the midst of the common people. Such selfless reaching out to bring succour and hope to the suffering and the ill-fated like sponsoring vital but costly treatment of indigent patients, establishing a micro-finance bank to empower widows and less privileged artisans and a scholarship scheme for indigent students in tertiary institutions or walking into the OAU Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife just to settle outstanding bills of hapless patients are uncommon acts of charity that are bound to summon uncommon opportunities to serve even more people.
Beyond the confines of local politics of governing Osun State, Senator Omisore is no less influential at the national level of leadership politics having occupied several positions of authority and responsibility with enviable records and still remaining relevant today. Indeed, this is yet another hard nut to crack in decoding the secrets of the assured successes of Senator Omisore in his political endeavours which also accounts for his characteristic calm confidence in the face of desperate contenders for OSUN 2014.
HAMID HENDRIX wrote from Osogbo
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