Aregbesola and the "Omoluabis" among us

In Yorubaland, Olu-iwa is regarded as the custodian of good character.

The concept of Omoluabi was derived from Olu-iwa. It was Omo ti Olu-iwa bi (the child of Olu-iwa), which was shortened to Omoluwabi and later Omoluabi.

In Yourubaland, an Omoluabi is someone who is of impeccable character.

Simply put; Omoluabi is the word in the Yoruba language that describes an individual, male or female,young or old that possesses the following qualities: hard-work, honesty, integrity, fairness, egalitarianism, respect for elders and constituted authority; and fear of God among other virtues.

However, last Monday, a brand new definition was given to the concept of Omoluabi by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola.

According to Aregbesola, all that is needed for an individual to become an Omoluabi is for such a person to belong to the ACN, a political party that controls six out of the 36 states of the federation. "Anyone who is not in the ACN is an Amulumala, not an Omoluabi," Aregbesola said.

Apart from redefining the concept of Omoluabi with his tirade against the Labour Party (LP) Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Aregbesola also stormed the City Hall, Lagos venue of the Afenifere Renewal Group organised event with a retinue of bodyguard from the 'Osun Apalara team. The bodyguard held flags of Aregbesola's supposed republic.

I cannot agree less with Aregbesola on his new concept of Omoluabi.

After all, how can someone be an Omoluabi if he cannot speak with both sides of your mouth, he is not an expert in propaganda, forgery of documents, planting of flowers and palm trees on extremely bad roads, demolition of houses and shops without any compensation to the victims, scrapping of higher institutions, increment of tuition fees, name dropping, commissioning of uncompleted projects and projects completed years before he assumed office and award political offices (both elected and appointed) to his wives; children; in-laws; and concubines?

Definitely, if you are a governor in any of the Southwest States, award of scholarships, building of infrastructures, construction of roads, establishment of schools; including tertiary institutions, provision of health care facilities, offering of free health and education, etc can no longer guarantee you a place in the comity of Omoluabis, going by Aregbesola's school of thought.

If all that you are is a cleric, traditional ruler, professional or even house wife, and you have not joined Aregbesola in his broom-carrying party, you are simply an Amulumala, and not an Omoluabi!

All that Aregbesola wants us to know is that only membership of the ACN can guarantee us a place in that exalted comity of Omoluabi.

Even if you a criminal, the moment you align with the ACN, you are a saint and you will remain a saint for as long as you remain in the party.

That explained why former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar who was abused, criticised and castigated by the ACN suddenly turned to a progressive when he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As the presidential candidate of the then Action Congress (AC) in 2007, Atiku was a saint, whose planned presidency we were told would take Nigeria to the new world.

However, the moment Atiku left AC and returned to the PDP, which he co-founded, he became a tainted politician. That is an Amulumala.

Few months after the 2007 presidential elections, AC spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had reacted to reports of the appearance of posters in certain parts of the country, urging Atiku to return to the PDP, saying; “We regret to say this, but the feet of the men in the PDP are made of straw, and their integrity has taken flight. They are only men in their bedrooms. Now they need a real man to lead them.''

Then, Atiku was the REAL man PDP desperately needed as its leader.

However, when Atiku finally dumped the AC and returned to the PDP, the same Lai Mohammed, who had described Atiku as "a real man" said; "He

(Atiku) only devalued himself by returning to the PDP. Infact he has done more injury to himself and he may never recover from it politically."

The case of former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu was not different from that of Atiku. I mean in the world of the self-styled Omoluabis.

As EFCC chairman, Ribadu was described as the attack dog of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. He however turned to a saint when he joined ACN and emerged the party's presidential candidate. Today, Ribadu has lost his Omoluabi toga simply because he accepted to serve as chairman, Petroleum Task Force established by President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP.

As for Governor Mimiko, he was an Omoluabi until last year when he refused to join the ACN as expected. Since then, Mimiko, who was the one that provided the needed shelter and comfort for Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and other ACN leaders inside the Alagbaka Government House in Akure on October 15, 2010 when the Tinubu-induced Salamic judgment was delivered, has lost his Omoluabi credentials and turned to an Amulumala and a non-performing governor.

For his refusal to join ACN, Mimiko has become an "Iroko" that must be cut down. He has become a failure, a governor who does not have the interest of the people of Ondo State at heart. The same ACN hatchet writers, who celebrated Mimiko are now the ones disparaging the governor in the media, with Adaba FM, an Akure based radio station owned by ACN National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu being at the forefront of the local onslaught. Interestingly, this same Adaba FM was at the forefront of Mimiko's struggle for governorship. What an irony of life?

To Aregbesola and his ilk, opinions of the people of Ondo State do not matter as to who a performing governor is; it is party affiliation that matters. Once you are not of the ACN family, you cannot perform.

And the question is; if tomorrow, Mimiko decides to join the ACN; will he be celebrated as a performing governor and an Omoluabi? Your guess is as good as mine.

Honestly, since Aregbesola released his new definition of the concept of Omoluabi, I have not stopped being amused.

I have not stopped asking myself if there is anyone who knows where Efunsetan Aniwura, Bashorun Gaa, Oyenusi, Lawrence Anini, and even Judas Iscariot were buried. I need to hoist ACN flag on their graves so that they can become Omoluabi too.

After all, if Tinubu's men in the Lagos State National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) that have been killing themselves since late last year over control of the union are Omoluabis, even Kabiru Sokoto, the arrested Boko Haram kingpin also has the chance of being called an Omoluabi once he can identify with the ACN. All he needs to do is to declare his membership of ACN in detention and he will not only become an Omoluabi, but also a progressive!

Olayinka, a journalist writes from Okemesi-Ekiti

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Articles by Lere Olayinka