Segun Oni: The Nostalgia Of A People.

By Remi Oyeyemi
Remi Oyeyemi
Remi Oyeyemi

It is an unending nostalgia. An enduring one. A nostalgia that is an admixture of a distressed hope and recalcitrant aspiration. A nostalgia that is draped in the tapestry of an undying desire for a replication. It permeates the air across Ekiti land. This river of nostalgia snakes through the rocky mountains and the deep valleys of the Ekiti topography. The thick forests of Ekiti land shed their dry leaves in mourning, to give way to fresh, lively leaves as an attestation to their undying hope and unceasing desire for an encore.

In hushed tones, they speak of his absence in the Òkè Ayòbá Government House at Ado -Ekiti as if in mourning. When they choose loud voices, they shrieked to show their grief about the unfairness of fate and the conspiracy of circumstances against him, and against their own desires. Their faces, long and rueful, when they speak of and about him, exude inebriating melancholy. Like sensible and coherent drunks, they manifest in simultaneity, their desire and frustrations.

Everywhere you go in Ekiti State, they speak of him with reverence. In their unsolicited extrapolations, one could sense unadulterated love and non - adumbrated affection for exemplary modesty of a political gladiator. They speak of his guilessness. They speak of his humility. They speak of his integrity. They rave about his dignity. He is perceived as being reserved, gentlemanly, courteous and decent. He is seen as considerate, caring and compassionate.

They speak of his love for Ekiti people. They speak of his non - materialistic attitude. They speak of his always being there for those who follow him and those who served and still serve him. They speak of his never being greedy. They speak of his commitment to serve and his dedication to service. They speak of his refusal to be bribed so many times as the Executive Governor of Ekiti State.

Several times, many contractors who took jobs from him expressed embarrassment at how he embarrassed them by rejecting their appreciation in cash and kind with remonstration to just deliver on their jobs. They spoke of how he always reminded them that they were all working for the Ekiti people and not him. They spoke of how his only reward would be the happiness and joy of the Ekiti people in what he was trying to do as their governor.

One of the contractors had told this writer how a Professor at the University of Ibadan, who is also a powerful and well connected politician was his saving grace when Gov. Oni had wanted to void his contract, after he (the contractor) had tried to show him gratitude in cash. He spoke of how livid the former Governor had been and how he had rebuked him vehemently. The Professor had confirmed this story to this writer, when it was brought to his attention.

Those who are politicians spoke of how he was and still is a quintessential political leader who adamantly refused to be a middleman for the manna of his followers. They spoke of how he was always ensuring that they were treated well by each and every political leader who wanted and needed their help for mobilization and support. They spoke of his openness about reward and appreciation. They spoke of him as a stickler for fairness and balance for all. Most importantly, they rave about him how he would deliver messages without having to put his hand in the cookie jar.

In all this, what is overwhelmingly self evident is a nostalgia. Yes, a nostalgia for a honest and sincere leader of Ekiti people. It is an evident longing to regain a lost opportunity of true service. An obvious desire for a reenactment of serious leadership. A hunger, once again, for determination and dedication to the concerns of Ekiti people. A desire for true commitment to the people without any personal aggrandizement.

In the annals of the Ekiti State History, only very few governors, if any, is as revered by all citizens across party lines as Engineer Olusegun Oni as at today. This Ìfàkì son, who was once referred to as "Dejo" for his honesty and sincerity by the Ekiti people is now so much loved, appreciated and yearned for. "Dejo," if you follow the Yorùbá Movie actors, is a character that haplessly exudes stupidity, denseness, naivety, foolishness, dimwittedness and dullness. What a change of fortune!

It is amazing that the Ekiti people could be nervous. They are scared. Obviously, they are agitated. They are very concerned. They are worried. What about? You may wonder. They are worried that Engr. Oni might succumb to pressures from the leaders of the APC. They are concerned that he might fall for their intimidation. They are nervous that he might give in. They are scared that he might withdraw the case against former Governor Kayode Fayemi, a former Federal Minister and reported governor-elect of Ekiti State on the platform of the APC.

Many of them believe that the case instituted in Court against Fayemi is a case on their behalf. They believe that Engr. Oni, by the institution of that case, is performing a serious duty on behalf of the Èkìtì people. They believe he is fighting for justice on their behalf. They are convinced that this is a battle for their interest and well being. Many of them have no doubt that this case has a lot to do with their future. They want him to pursue it to its logical conclusion, win or lose.

They view the leaders of APC in Èkìtì with suspicion. The people of Èkìtì believe that the pressure being exacted on Engr. Segun Oni is not in anyway in their best interest. They are convinced that the APC leaders are anti - people. That the APC leaders could not be trusted. The APC leaders in Èkìtì are considered collaborators against the man on the street. One could not convince them that Fayemi won the governorship primaries. They are settled in their view that the primaries were rigged for Dr. Fayemi.They felt that the people of Èkìtì were denied the opportunity to really have the governor they desired and deserved.

Many of them are actually piqued that one of his aides was assassinated. Yes, Mr. Bunmi Ojo. They are very angry about the death of the young man. Almost all of them felt they knew the source of the young man's assassination. They all rationalised that this is the more reason why Engr. Oni must see the conclusion of the Court case. They think it would amount to a betrayal of and to the memory of Mr. Ojó, should Engr. Oni withdraw the case.

Whether you spoke to the PDP or APC or ACCORD or any of the other parties' sympathizers, one gets the same feeling of love and support for the former Gov. of Èkìtì State. They felt that with Oni as the APC candidate in the last Governorship election, the choice would have been easier for the Èkìtì people. They are very affectionate about him. They think and speak glowingly of and about him. They really want him back. They are nostalgic about him. They really want him back as their governor.

How feasible is this? No one really has any idea. How possible is this? No one could say. Is there a possible path to this paradise? No one was willing to volunteer any suggestion. Is this just a fantasy of the people? Who knows. But it is very important to allow time to tell on this gentleman product of the great University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University.

Could anyone imagine how quick the tide changes? See how fast the time changes. See how History passes its judgement. Engr. Olusegun Oni, the rejected stone by the builders, has now become the cornerstone of hope for and to the people of Èkìtì State. What amazing change of fortune. What an amazing nostalgia.

©Remi Oyeyemi

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