Are the days of brigandage back in Osun?, By Abosede Busayo Oluwaseun – Premium Times


Inevitably, the increasing spate of bloody attacks reminds residents of the ugly days and years when it was almost part of the existential reality of the people to assume that politics and blood are Siamese twins and where you find politics, it must be accompanied by tears and sorrow. But why?
Ayisha Osori caught my attention with her assertion in a recent article titled “Nigeria decides 2023: Will we take the road over-travelled?”
This is because in looking at our politics, Nigerians certainly must decide the new route to the type of country they desire, lest they travel the same overbeaten path that has tragically led us all to the backwaters of civilisation, either in our economy, politics, social or political lives.
She wrote, “We need to break from our patterns in 2023 but this will only happen if we question our default settings about what leadership looks and feels like…To change track, we must reflect on the patterns being created by our acceptance of what authority is: Aloof and abusive; reassess what governance and public service should be; and redefine what it means to make votes count.”
Osori’s article is deeper than what a cursory look may easily give you. It compels us to ask salient questions about the political modus operandi since modern political gamesmanship began in this part of the world.
History books on Nigeria are replete with tales of woes from the First Republic till date.
Till today, the scars of the violence that attended the politics of the First and Second Republics, as typified by the “Wetie” phenomenon, the mayhem of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)-National Party of Nigeria (NPN) political tussle still live with the Nigerian people. Even as recent as the current dispensation, we have had political opponents and security men beheaded in Rivers State, while Youth Corps members have been targets of attacks as a result of political brigandage in different parts of the country.
To me, that definitely is part of the questions Osori makes us to ask in order to determine how well we seek to journey if this country must be saved from the cliffs.
And that takes me to the development in Osun where, last week, the staccato of gunshots deafened the ears of Nigerians, as media reports graphically showed how gunmen, in broad daylight, descended on the popular Oranmiyan House in Osogbo, the state capital, in the most horrendous attack that has been witnessed in that State in a very long time.
The statistics of political brigandage is becoming threatening for the State’s survival and development.
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On March 28, 2021, when thugs attacked a personal assistant to former Governor Aregbesola, Mr Olateju Ishola, it was seen as just one happenstance, and not too strong enough to entertain anxiety over possibly festering criminality in the State.
But then, on August 14, 2021, some other thugs attacked members of The Osun Progressives at APC Secretariat in Osogbo, during an exercise for the submission of petitions to the Congress Appeal Committee that was visiting the State.
On August, 15, 2021, the same set of attackers came back wearing what gave them away as loyalists of Governor Gboyega Oyetola – their “4+4” caps.
Certainly, returning Osun to gun-toting is not likely to be one of the records Oyetola would wish to bequeath to Osun. But as it appears today, the seed of violence being planted across the State has grave implications for development and stability.
On September 04, 2021, thugs attacked APC members in Ede North, while holding their meeting in the local government area.
The same thing happened in Ile Ife on September 13, 2021, when thugs attacked APC members during a ward meeting.
On October 16, 2021, two persons were injured when thugs attacked them during a state congress at the Ogo Oluwa area of the State capital.
On November 18, 2021, some gunmen shot into the crowd at the Oranmiyan House when party members were holding a meeting.


On February 1, 2022, another attack took place against APC members in Ìkìrun, after thugs stormed the venue where the APC faction was holding its federal constituency tour meeting.
On September 04, 2021, thugs attacked APC members in Ede North while holding their meeting in the local government area.
The same thing happened in Ile Ife on September 13, 2021, when thugs attacked APC members during a ward meeting.
On October 16, 2021, two of our members were seriously injured when thugs attacked them during our own congress at the Ogo Oluwa area of the State capital.
The attackers became more fearless when they saw that no one has sought to bring them to book. They came with guns on November 18, 2021, during a meeting of our faction of the party at the Oranmiyan House.
On February 1, 2022, another attack took place against APC members in Ìkìrun, after thugs stormed the venue where the APC faction was holding its federal constituency tour meeting.
The build up is frightening for a State that had known peace and was indeed rated the most peaceful across the country at some point.
Inevitably, the increasing spate of bloody attacks reminds residents of the ugly days and years when it was almost part of the existential reality of the people to assume that politics and blood are Siamese twins and where you find politics, it must be accompanied by tears and sorrow. But why?
With the growing state of insecurity, to aid and abet political violence in the name of settling political scores would have grave consequences not only on the people but on their economy. A word is enough for the wise.
Easily etched in the memory of Osun people in their recent political history of Osun are the killings of the late Alhaji Hassan Olajoku, an associate of the former governor of Osun, who was murdered at the Gbongan area of the State. Till date, references are still made to the killing of Ayo Kemba and others in the electoral heist that hallmarked 2007.
Residents of the State easily recall the killing of a former DHL chairman, late Otunba Raheem Ade Komolafe, who was killed in Ilesa by mindless political thugs of the Peoples Democratic Party at the height of its impunity, which was the order of the day.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission platform that was set up by the Rauf Aregbesola administration at the time had opened up cans of worms. But it was an opportunity for the people to begin on a new note that could ensure the return of peace.


And truth, indeed, returned as amplified then by those who should know the implications of certain variables.
Certainly, returning Osun to gun-toting is not likely to be one of the records Oyetola would wish to bequeath to Osun. But as it appears today, the seed of violence being planted across the State has grave implications for development and stability.
And in here lies the irony! Should there be only one person who should know the strategic efforts it took to wean the State from the criminality of youths, it should be Governor Oyetola.
As Chief of Staff under Aregbesola, he could not have played a little role in those policy formulations and implementations that saw criminality beat a retreat from the State.
How can Osun return to an era when a whole Chairman of DHL, Otunba Komolafe was beaten so badly that the septuagenarian died of injuries in Ilesa in 2010? That was a sacrilege planned and executed by a wayward political appointee who was simply intoxicated by the glamour of being a local government chairman.
Political violence is nothing but a small fire being started. Even he who is making the sparks cannot fathom how far the conflagration could go. As a matter of fact, those who ignite violence could end up being victims of their own inflammatory plots.
Already, the State is suffering from infiltrations of hoodlums who carry out dastardly acts in very frightening dimensions.
Bank robberies, rituals, kidnapping and cultism are on the rise. When you find residents say “it’s a long time we experienced things like this,” that calls for caution.
With the growing state of insecurity, to aid and abet political violence in the name of settling political scores would have grave consequences not only on the people but on their economy. A word is enough for the wise.
Abosede Busayo Oluwaseun who writes from Osogbo, Osun State, can be reached through
seunsafety@gmail.com
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