By CHIDI OBINECHE
On Tuesday April 18, 2017, 29 months into his second term, the governor of the State of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola finally unveiled a list of his commissioners/special advisers nominees to the state House of Assembly. It was better late than never. The governor has volubly displayed right from his first term a dripping distaste and reprehension for commissionership, a position he rose from to become governor. It took a sustained public outcry before he appointed commissioners in his first term.
The deed joins a thrilling list of characteristic deviations from the customary. His style and mien conform to nobody’s expectations or parameters and often waver as the ocean. No sooner had he taken the oath of office than he declared the state to be known and addressed as “State of Osun”, a clear departure from the hackneyed cliché of “Osun State”. He floated a “coat of arms” and state anthem that was sung with soul and gusto across the state.
Lost in his weird cosmology, he launched an advocacy for unique ways of transactions in government, forcefully took over Christian missionary schools inexorably stoking the embers of discord between Christian and Muslim students with the attendant macabre donning of choir robes and other outlandish outfits and repertoire as counterpoise to the Hijab wearing students.
Aregbesola may have trodden miles in bringing infrastructure and comfort to his people, he may have conquered space in the minds of his people, he may have walked and worked as the proverbial ephemeral ghost, constantly rare, amazing, extraordinary and unlike others; he may have taken a “leap” in time, in tune up with the secrets of the sands, implanting and shaping a different pattern in the cloud of probabilities in the state, showing resistance as uncommon to the unusual; but he has shown through the words of Mehmet Muharat ildan that “ Unusual doors often take you to the unusual worlds!” Ogbeni, as he prefers to be called is indeed a songbird, a daisy on a roof, a whistling rhyme.
The world needs them in all their aberrant whims because the unusual has the power to shake the mind. As he wades through the mass of incandescence and wilderness of abnormality, Ogbeni throbs with writing the right, and like seals is committed to performance. He is a unique snowflake, yet a dancing crap of the world. He is different, a little weird, a nerd and not one of the herd.
He was born on May 25, 1957. He is a 1980 graduate of Mechanical Engineering from the Polytechnic Ibadan. He worked at Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited and Lagos Airport Hotel. Later he founded his own company, an engineering firm, Aurora Nigeria LTD. He has held the position of Commissioner of Works and Infrastructural Development in Lagos.
In 2007, he contested for the governorship in Osun State and was not declared the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. However, the Election Appeal Tribunal on November 26, 2010 declared him winner of the election. On August 9, 2014, Aregbesola was returned as the governor for another term of four years. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (FNIM), Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), Fellow of the Nigerian Association of Technological Engineers (FNATE) , and Fellow of the Certified Marketing Communications Institute of Nigeria (FCMCIN) As a pro-democracy and human rights activist, he was a major participant in the demilitarization and pro-democracy struggles of the 1990’s. He is married with children to Alhaja Sherifat Aregbesola.