By Sufuyan Ojeifo
“Ojo ola Oyo”, transliterated as the future of Oyo state, is an inspirational electioneering theme, which encapsulates the spirit that propels the 2019 governorship aspiration of a seasoned journalist, businessman and politician, Alhaji Kehinde Isiaka Olaosebikan on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is a much deeper concept that calls attention of every indigene of Oyo state to the imperative of development of infrastructure, institutions and human capital for the benefit of the collectivity that the state typifies.
The concept is an essential summation of the commitment to take back Oyo state from the privileged power elite of the political hue, which has solely controlled the mechanics of governance over the years, and put it directly in the hands of the people. Olaosebikan encourages the people to be involved in the process that produces their governor. There is therefore a unique sense in which he has decided to mainstream all the indigenes in the collective decision on who becomes governor in 2019.
That unique sense is informed by his conscious effort to galvanise popular support for the realisation of his aspiration that approximates the promise and assurance of development. The sincere expectation is that the idea will enjoy the buy-in of everybody. Surely, the philosophy of collective ownership of Oyo state together with its destiny is intended to resonate perfectly with the people as a first step in the journey to freedom; whereas, the pragmaticality of the movement is remitted to those between the ages of 18 and above.
Significantly, Olaosebikan’s clarion calls to members of this age bracket to participate in the development and politics of their areas are indicative of his resolve to provide leadership in harnessing the possibilities of collective action towards development that abound in the state. The involvement of the youth populations is of the essence, and it is, in fact, the core of the electioneering theme. The fundamental strategy is to get the youth populations to engage with and own the issues of development and the processes that are geared towards giving the best to Oyo state today and for a better tomorrow.
Since the entire political enterprise is about a greater future for the state, the youth populations who are leaders of tomorrow are thus primed to buy into it. This is the allure of the spirit of “ojo ola Oyo”. Its magnitude is more than the Olaosebikan persona that propels it. Olaosebikan is just an agent that has saddled himself with the responsibility of offering a different approach to development that is underscored and underpinned by populism rather than elitism.
The governorship candidature of Olaosebikan thus represents a breath of fresh air that inspires all and sundry to commit to a governance process that will harness the abundant development potentialities in Oyo presently for the greatness of the state. In fact, students in Senior Secondary Schools and tertiary institutions across the state are prepared to key into the concept and are enjoined to launch it in their respective schools as part of the statewide momentum for the actualisation of the collective vision of development.
It is a clear departure from the mundane slogans and rhetoric of the past. Olaosebikan has blazed the trail by his audaciousness to mobilise the people against existing tendency by political leaders to use the people to get to power and once in the saddle turn their backs on them in a brazen betrayal of the social contract which had always been couched in clauses that put the people and their interests at a great disadvantage.
One of the ultimate objectives is to ensure that power is not donated, pro-bono, to political leaders without the imposition of commensurate burden of responsibility and accountability. Therefore, it is significant that the people become conscious stakeholders and determiners of the character and direction of government and governance since a people would always get the kind of government they desire and deserve.
Besides the personal political gains that Olaosebikan stands to harvest through the instrumentality of the “ojo ola Oyo” electioneering theme once it gets the people’s buy-in and becomes the moving spirit of a people in quest of the much-needed development, is the potential for it to approximate an institution of sorts that will be indicative and representative of a developmental and transformational template for future governments and governance in the state.
It is instructive that Olaosebikan had chosen to unveil the electioneering theme at the New Garage under Oluyole Local Government Area of Ibadan as he had once been in the saddle as Caretaker Chairman of the council. This makes it easier for the people in the area to connect his persona and antecedents in office with the theme and the magnitude of its offerings. This, indeed, provides the basis for the people to magisterially propagate the message to other local government areas in the state.
Now that the stake has been raised in the direction of pursuing governance differently, all indigenes of Oyo state must up their antes whether as candidates or voters to keep fidelity to the commitment to ensure that a leadership that benefits from the people’s consensus emerges and takes charge of the journey to the destination of greater Oyo.
The collective development of the state must remain an article of faith. This is the crux of Olaosebikan’s governorship enterprise. To be sure, working in concert with the people and deploying his background as a journalist, he is poised to fittingly write and, where and when necessary, rewrite the development narrative of Oyo state for satisfactory public appreciation and for posterity, if given the chance to serve in the office of governor.
Ojeifo, an Abuja-based journalist, writes this piece via firstname.lastname@example.org