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Monday, 28 January 2013 00:00
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Ogun 2015 – Rumble in Sagamu

Sunday 13 January 2013 hosted the Annual New Year Thanksgiving Service held by Otuba Gbenga Daniel at Abraham’s Tabernacle Church in Sagamu. When you have hosted an event for seven years as OGD has done concerning this thanksgiving, nothing should recommend it for a special interest.

Okay, perhaps you may want to say it becomes a test of true popularity for a governor who has left office and the trappings of a huge band of hangers-on. But OGD left office in 2011 and has hosted one or two public events, including the burial of his father, Reverend Adebola Daniel, since then.

The real significance of this thanksgiving was the assessment of whatever was left of OGD’s crowd pulling capacity. Is the man finished by the battery of EFCC charges against him at the Abeokuta High Court? Or has the veil been lifted off the propaganda assault against him as a thief and a murderer that his traducers, including the incumbent governor of Ogun state Ibikunle Amosun, managed to smear him with towards the end of and immediately after his tenure as governor of Ogun state?

The Yoruba people say when a woman has not lived with different husbands she will not be able to assess the virtues of the better husband. Almost two years into Amosun’s tenure, the public profile of OGD is rising in Ogun state like the early morning sun. Charges or no charges in court, the people are seeing the difference between well planned equitable governance and chaotic gerrymandering of Ogun state. Any person who has suffered the kind of bashing that OGD has received since the political assault against him began can easily withdraw into the shell of oblivion.

Betrayal by some of those who profited immensely from his government was an icing to the cake of troubles. Perfidy not on account of the failure or incompetence of the government; or on account of the guilt of the government of charges preferred against it by its adversaries. No; but perfidy on the platform of self preservation. Defending the actions of the government was a matter befitting only for bedroom discussions for even some top officials of the government. I overheard that one principal officer said it was apolitical for him to speak up for the OGD government because his wife had some outstanding payments from the Ogun state government and Amosun would not be inclined to pay if he ever raised his voice to defend a government in which he played a major role.

I guess God was teaching OGD some lessons. He perhaps was too carried away by the glib talk and lies of men; the deceit of the mouth that lacked any commitment of the heart. Many men have been brought to ruin by allowing themselves to be drowned in the sea of false and contrived accolade. God permitted the interregnum in OGD influence in Abeokuta Government House [for an interregnum it is truly by the measure of current events] so he could see the true faces of men and allow himself to be properly guided in the days of God ordained activities that lie ahead for him.

So the 2013 Thanksgiving Service was the barometer of political recovery and public acknowledgement and acceptance of OGD. I do not offer an opinion on this barometer reading of public alliance but I report most faithfully the comments of His Eminence Dr S. Ola Makinde, Prelate of the Methodist Church who, overwhelmed by the huge crowd that turned out for the service, said that he was aware that some persons referred to OGD as Ogidi Omo [Prime Child], but that he has confirmed by the number of people who came to the church to honour him and the quality of such persons, that he [OGD] was truly an Ogidi Omo. Those who stood over the last two years, those who ran away, those who stood on the fringe, all were there and Oh! what a big reunion for the OGD political family, their friends, well wishers and sympathisers.

Surely a herald of great things to come. Yes, the tone was set at Sagamu 2013. The significance of the Sagamu event as a major political signpost was not lost on the gubernatorially ambitious. Someone told me that even the opposition took a plaid interest in the gathering. The convoy of the incumbent governor passed twice in front of Abraham’s Tabernacle while the event was on. If you say the governor came to spy the crowd, that conclusion occurs in your mind not mine.

Gboyega Nasir Isiaka [GNI], Tunji Sarafa-Ishola and Adesina Kawonise, all OGD’s men. They were fully on ground on that day, as the politicians put it. What better place to sell yourself to the family than at the Patriarch’s family gathering. Perhaps you forget, Gboyega Isiaka was the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Party of Nigeria [PPN] in the 2011 election. He lost to Ibikunle Amosun. Tunji Sarafa-Ishola was the Secretary to the Government of Ogun state in OGD’s first term. He was nominated by OGD for a ministerial appointment under Umaru Yar’Adua and became the Minister of Solid Minerals. He later fell out with OGD and numbered among his traducers. Apparently he has repented and returned to the family. Adesina Kawonise was Commissioner for Information and Orientation in the last 18 months of OGD’s government. Of the three, the newest in the family but has been thrown up by events as the alter ego of OGD.

‘Igba iponju l’a nmo ore’ [you know your friends at the moments of trial], is a saying that wise men keep to heart. Kawonise excelled in his loyalty to OGD at the height of his political trials. As Information Commissioner he was everywhere defending and explaining away the spurious social and political charges made against OGD. I heard someone say towards the end of the OGD administration that if Kawonise had come on board earlier, the propaganda that robbed that government of a successor would perhaps have been nipped in the bud. Such was the man’s effectiveness.

But the real test of loyalty came for Kawonise when the team left government. Many thought OGD was finished politically and distanced themselves from him. Kawonise stood firm and steadfast. From Channels Television to Silverbird to newspaper houses, this man waged a relentless war against those who sought to rubbish OGD and his political machine. Association for Greater Ogun State which he heads, has been unsparing of governmental negligence or inappropriateness in Ogun State. It no small thanks to Kawonise and a few others in the family that the OGD machine has become virile today such that it is the issue in the politics of 2015 in Ogun State.

Many believe that Kawonise who is currently recuperating from gunshot wounds was targeted for assassination by opponents of the OGD political family and only escaped with injuries by the grace of God. His loyalty and steadfast work for the family was not unrecognised at Sagamu 2013. His arrival, though on crutches, was heralded by thunderous shouts of SK for Governor, SK is OK. Not a few people were moved to tears when the congregation sang ‘The bones shall arise again...SK shall walk again...’ As the congregation sang, my mind drifted to the appreciation that the black people of South Africa showed Nelson Mandela when he returned from prison. He had suffered on their behalf and a grateful nation offered him leadership. When prayers were offered for his total recovery, an array of Yoruba fatherhood stood with Kawonise. Chief Rueben Fasoranti Afenifere leader, Papa Ayo Adebanjo, Basorun Seinde Arogbofa Secretary General of Afenifere, Chief Femi Aduwo and others stood to testify before God that Kawonise deserved His blessings and mercies.

Whether it is SK or GNI or Sarafa, the OGD political family has served notice that the hurricane of 2003 that swept OGD to power in the state has resurrected and is set to blow away the broom that is lazily and carelessly sweeping the horizon of Ogun State.

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