Osun Bank Robbery: Again, Aregbesola vindicated

-Adebayo Rasheed Mabayoje

Good governance, as stated in Political Science is synonymous with security of lives and property of the people. In the same sense, section 14, Sub-Section 1(b) Chapter 11 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the Fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy provides that, “the Security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government”. It is upon this two references that the Ikirun bank robbery incident is viewed in this piece, vis-a-vis current administration in Osun.

 

The first major record of headlong aggressiveness of the Osun governor, Rauf Aregbesola against robbery and his passionate concern for security of the lives of Osun people and their property came on Friday, April 5, 2013, when he commissioned 100 brand new Police Patrol Vans. The security patrol vehicles were shared out to the police, immigration, customs, NDLEA, civil defence and the FRSC. The governor disclosed at the commisiioning that armoured personnel carriers and motorcycles would also be purchased for adequate policing of the state against crime.

And Aregbesola made good his promise on July 10, 2014 when he commissioned and handed over 22 Armoured Personnel Carriers, APCs to the Osun Police command in Osogbo. The state-of-the-art security vehicles were procured at the cost of N1.3billion. During the commissioning, Ogbeni, as he is popularly referred noted that “Security is the most essential responsibility of a responsible government. When a government fails to provide security, it has no business in power”.

Between that time and now, only Lagos state and probably two other states in Nigeria would match Aregbesola’s records in the procurement of security equipment and general welfare of security personnel. Yes, Osun government ensures that “morale of security operatives in the state are well groomed”, even when they are employees of the Federal government. Aparently, Aregbesola’s attention is on the Osun people whose security is constitutionally placed on his shoulder and not the Federal Government whose seat is in Abuja.

By the time Ogbeni started the huge investment on the security of the Osun people -and as he still does till today, despite current economic challenge- opposition in the state lampooned his efforts, as they still do now, even regarding other areas of initiatives of positive and direct impact on the people.

While social criticism is allowed in democracy; and reasonably too, it however amounts to cynism when anybody or group says “N1.3billion on security is absurd and misplaced”. A chieftain of the PDP from Ife was alleged to have asked Osun people to “stop” Aregesola from “wasteful spendings on what the Federal government was planning to do under former President Goodluck Jonathan.  Speaking on a private radio station in Ile-Ife, the PDP chieftain who was also contesting the 2014 governorship election, claimed he had concluded arrangements with former president Goodluck Jonathan to provide heavy security equipments for Osun, once he was sworn in as governor. He lost woefully in the election. The man is fond of insubstatiable claims, especially when he speaks on that particular private radio station in his home town.

Let’s even pause a bit and imagine what would have happened in Osun if Aregbesola had not carried out one of the basic essence of being the Osun governor in term of security.

One of the earliest manifestation of insecurity is capital flights – a situation whereby financial assets and capital would moved from a state. Business owners and investors woukd no longer have confidence in the security arrangement over their lives and investments so they would move out of such state. Today, under the Aregbesola administration, investments have rather increased particularly in the banking, tourism and retail sectors. A trip within the Abere -Olaiya axis of the state capital is a vivid attestation, just as other businesses keep opening up along Oroki Estate junction and Agunbelowo area, towards Okini town. Eateries, Petrol stations and other retails are adding up every now and then in Osogbo, the Osun capital. This, no doubt, is an expression of investors’ confidence that their capital and investments are safe going by the security put in place by government.

More than ever before, wealth are relatively being distributed evenly because of the increasing records of growth of small and medium scale industries across Osun. And contrary to what the opposition say, the standard of living has continued to increase among the majority of the people. The yardstick arriving this fact is simple -investors and investment are attracted by patronages. Banks and other increasing businesses and investments in Osun today would not have been if Osun people were not economically viable enough to patronise them. Invariably, what has manifested thus far in Osun is that -in addition to providing enabling environment for private investments in the state, the immediate of which is security- various people oriented initiatives of government have positively impacted on the people, and have thus improved their living standard.

Protection of lives and property transcends provision of security vehicles and other equipments. Social security is key as far as general security is concerned. And the most affected critical members of the population at this point are the youths. The 32nd United States president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Opinion like this, no doubt informed the youth empowerment initiative of the Aregbesola administration. Social security for Osun youths ensures general sucurity for the present and builds them for great morrow. Otherwise, large scale unemployment and street unchins would have pervaded the entire space.

Socially, the arliest form of security arrangement in Osun under Aregbesola was the engagement of 20,000 Osun youths, whose hands had hitherto literarily been the ‘devil’s workshop’. So far, under the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme,  OYES, over 40,000 youths have had reasons to pray for Aregbesola who had made them earn some money every month -no matter how little- fifth year running. Realising the positive effect of this social security idea of the Osun government, the Fedral government, under a Word bank programme in 2013 was in Osun to understudy the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme, OYES. The programme has be replicated in many states across the country.

Probably, by now, a version of the Bokoharam troubles or kidnappings and street gangsterism would have held sway in Osun but for the brilliance of the man at the helm of affairs in the state. Governor Ibrahim Gaidam of Yobe state painted the possible scenario last year when he flagged off of the Yobe version of the youth empowerment scheme. He said “Youth joblessness breeds idleness and related vices including tendency to commit robbery, drug abuse and others”. While social vices like fraud and massive stealing, robbery and assassinations, drug and human trafficking, child labour/abuse, emergence of militia groups and hostage taking are being reported in some climes, Osun continues to enjoy the lowest records of any of the aforementioned in Nigeria.

Like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of the leading figures of modern Nigerian nationalism was late Chief Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe usually referred to as “Zik of Africa”. He was popularly reported in 1983 to have said “History will vindicate the just”. Perhaps, circumstances relating to what this great late nationalist said were not quite as important as its relevance to Aregbesola’s initiatives on Osun security since November 2010 and now. Apparently, the “history” refered in the Zik’s quote implies the whole series of past events connected with a particular person. In the Osun/Aregbesola context; and as part of what makes up a history, incidents like that of the Ikirun bank robbery last Friday has thus far vindicated the Osun governor. There is no better way to situate the fact that the smothered bank robbery in Ikirun is the biggest and loudest vindication for Aregbesola -in recent time -regarding his huge spendings on Osun security since he became governor. The commissioner of police in the state, Mr. Kola Sodipo was apt, when in -a statement regarding the Friday robbery incident- said “The armoured personnel carriers provided by the Osun State Government assisted the police to engage the hoodlums”.

Vindication is a sweet thing. No doubt, the Osun governor has once again been vindicated. Just as he has been in the social security aspect. He gets vindication as he is being proven right or justified by security agents and Osun people, especially the Ikirun residents. Vindication voices continue to come loud, such as coming from the Oluwo of Two land, Oba Abdulrasheed Adewale Akanbi (Ilufemiloye Telu 1), who said “There is no doubt that Osun is impregnable for criminals and this is commendable. This can easily be attributed to the foresight of Governor Aregbesola in considering security most paramount. I am aware of the state’s heavy investments in security equipment. I am aware of about 25 highly sophisticated Armoured Personnel Carriers provided the police which are so common on our roads in Osun. I am ware of the many patrol vans. Everywhere you, there is a sense of security because you see these highly motivated men and women of the police and other agencies prepared for their jobs.

Such vindication is against the the falacies of the opposition aimed at destroying Aregbesola’s legacies.

Suffice therefore to express that just as the security spendings in Osun under Aregbesola has been justified lately, other initiatives of government under Aregbesola are already being appreciated and -would more so be- even after 2018. By then, the roads, the schools, the agriculture, the social welfarism, and all would be credibly referenced legendarily.

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