Aregbesola: One Finger Of A Leprous Hand

By Damilare Adeleye

As the Federal Executive Council rounds off its activities, it is important we review the trajectory of some of the cabinet members in order to forecast the political future of these privileged Nigerians.

We review, first, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Interior Minister who defiled the family purity because of his greed, prejudice and excessive arrogance. Aregbesola is a classic case of falling from grace to grass.

The Minister can't stay back in Abuja because, given his disastrous antecedent, there is no future for him in the incoming government of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his hitherto goodwill in Osun state, where he served as governor for eight years, is in shambles, hence is not welcome home. He is therefore confronted with two monstrous options.

His tenure as governor ended in ignominy for he left the state in debt of close to N400 billion, according to his state governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke.

At the time, a civic advocacy organisation, BudgIT, grouped Osun alongside few states that exceeded their debts to net revenues by more than 650 per cent, in a clear violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007) which states that loans shall not exceed 50 per cent of the revenue.

He borrowed for every little thing, including borrowing N16.5 billion to build 13 secondary schools, many of which almost collapsed before they were even inaugurated, on account of poor building materials supplied by his blood brother, one of the contractors.

What of the N8 billion impulsive Opon Imo project, which he and his son mismanaged? Of 40,000 tablets touted to have been procured, barely 5,000 were available when he left government.

Rauf's record in education, like in many departments, is uninspiring, despite enormous resources poured into that sector. Of the 36,171 students that enrolled for WAEC in 2018, students numbering 21,395 failed the examination.

In his time, Osun also became the corporate headquarters of impotent MoU ( Memoranda of Understanding). No fewer than eight of these documents died a natural death. The partnership with a chocolate manufacturing company in Malaysia, Asa Palmilk, for instance, gulped N300 million of taxpayers' money, but no chocolate was ever produced in Osun as planned!

In the case of the International Breweries Ilesa, what was due to Osun was lost as a result of Aregbesola's long-throat and indiscretion. The story goes thus: after signing an MoU with the company, Aregbesola heckled them with taxes and failed to provide land for their expansion policy, thus frustrating the company to move to Sagamu where they built their $250 million factory.

Since his appointment as minister, Rauf has repackaged his deep-seated incompetence and made it a national embarrassment. Under his headship as the minister of interior, supervising correctional centres in the country, there have been no fewer than 16 incidents of jailbreaks across the country where more than 5,000 escaped inmates have not been found till date. The impact of the jailbreak is that more criminals are now out of custody to perpetrate heinous crimes.

His ineptitude knows no bound. Even in the immigration service, his tenure is unarguably the worst. The more Nigerians complain of hardship in acquiring their travel passports, the more he and other incompetent officials in the ministry shop for justification to shield their uselessness.

Besides his fantastically poor record in public administration, Aregbesola is also a political infidel who uses his clout to undermine the interest of Asiwaju, the man God almighty used to deliver him from Alimosho gutter. Not only did Aregbe support Abubakar Atiku in the last presidential election, he also mobilised his political devotees to work for PDP candidates in all elections in Osun State, thus fuelling crisis in the party that offered him a platform to thrive.

Despite this abhorent conduct of his, the enfant terrible is everywhere whipping up sentiment to earn a leverage. But in truth, Aregbesola is now an irritant that everyone avoids like plague. No one wants to identify with the charlatan he has become. And the handful, like the big mannequin in the seat of power in Abere, who court him, do so for his nuisance value. No one, who is intentional about success, needs such a calamity in his or her life. His is a finger in a hand infected by leprosy: all associated fingers risked damnation.

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