After several clandestine attempts to force the Deputy Governor, Engineer Raufu Olaniyan to throw in the towel through the backdoor; the retired permanent secretary’s indifference seems an exercise in understated bravery. He has refused to be cowed; defusing all manners of explosives thrown at him with ease, humor, and candor. Where his adversaries expected him to cry over spilled milk, and constitutional issues, stoically, the man has learned to keep mum, going about his life with mirthful poise.
In the face of life-threatening intimidation, Engineer Olaniyan appears to have devised an unimpeachable emotional fortress and profound resilience, one that now forced his foes to go all out for their mission – impeachment, the last and dangerous ammunition in their arsenal. Save for a few strings of interviews he granted in the build-up to his defection some weeks back, it’s almost impossible to read Engineer Olaniyan talks about the horrendous persecution and oppression he has endured in the government he helped put into power. He was always in practiced silence; watching as events mystically and magically unfold.
Engineer Olaniyan is likely to go down as Nigeria most victimized deputy Governor in history. But he’s put up a spirited fight in all spheres. Apart from being stripped of his constitutional duties; the Igboho-born technocrat turned politician has sustained eerily scores of attacks on his personality and property. His feud with the Governor even had metastasized to his family; snaking into an attack on his wife’s petroleum station, an operation carried out by members suspected to be PMS boys, Mr. Governor’s sacred cow.
In essence, curious minds in the state are still baffled and bewildered, wondering what exactly the handlers of the state want to profit from that bloodred shenanigan. By plunging the state into another avoidable crisis; the state government is setting the stage for anarchy; the proportion of which no one can ascertain. Not surprisingly, history they say always repeats itself. Expectantly, one would have thought successive governments would smartly learn from history.
Unfortunately, the handling of deputy Governor Rauf Olaniyan travails, it’s crystal clear this current administration has thrown lesson gleaned from precious and similar fracas into the dustbin. The 2011 hotly contested election readily came to mind. The 2011 gubernatorial election pitched former Governors Alao Akala of the PDP and Senator Abiola Ajimobi of the ACN together; to say the election was keenly contested would be an understatement. It was an election that shook the state to the ground; a democratic exercise in which the announcement of the result was followed by a statewide curfew.
Throughout the election, the state was gripped by fear. People held their hearts in their hands, praying the state survive the hard times. In a sense, the late Ogbomosho strongman endured an avoidable running battle with the power brokers in the state. It was a battle that would eventually cost Otunba Akala, the second term and which ultimately sent him to the political backseat. “I regretted engaging in those needless war,” he confessed long before his demise.
In a way, Engineer Olaniyan’s enemies are neither resting on their oars nor giving up on their mission, evidence of this is the way he was coerced to vacate his official duty post for his private enclave where he busies himself more with private affairs than official tasks. Late Alao Akala once narrated how he used to read newspapers at his office as the Deputy Governor, an indication that even in his official quarters, Engineer Olaniyan is unlikely to make a difference in the business of the government.
Through a letter dated the 9th of June and addressed by the Speaker, Adebo Ogundoyin, the Oyo state House of Assembly said that Deputy Governor Raufu Olaniyan is guilty of five unpardonable sins: Gross misconduct, financial recklessness, abuse of office, insubordination, and absence from official post. To complete its hatchet plan, the state lawmakers gave seven days ultimatum for a written response to those allegations, failure of which would mean the second citizen is found wanting, and therefore deserved to be relieved of his job. For a House that has been so fingered in a series of financial misconduct without thorough investigation, alleging the deputy Governor of the same financial recklessness is akin to a kettle calling the pot black, allegations that run contrary to every ounce of logic.
There is no denying the fact that the planned impeachment of Deputy Governor Olaniyan is politically motivated. He was being hunted not because he decamped to the opposition party. And by not getting him as a PDP member, his assailants have tipped their hands in a very desperate jar. They have allowed the man to gather more friends. He is proven difficult every day, like a cat with nine lives. Right when he saw the handwriting on the wall, he appears uncared about the government and looks unperturbed at various mud being thrown at him along the way. When PDP and Governor Seyi Makinde had their best chance to remove the Deputy Governor from office, they failed, and now they are jittery. Strangely, the man is now a friend of the Bourdillion!
Removing the deputy Governor from office adds no political or electoral value to Governor Makinde’s re-election struggle. Likely, the impeachment may turned out to be a very costly, big political miscalculation, one that will clearly paint the Governor as a true undisputed ‘Emperor’ in democracy as next election beckons. Often, it is conjectured that every Governor in Oyo right from the return to Democracy always contend with one nemesis or the other. What Adedibu was to Ladoja, Alaafin to Akala, and Abiola Ajimobi to his tongue! This time around, is deputy Governor Raufu Olaniyan the political nemesis of his boss, Governor Seyi Makinde?
OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion on issues in Oyo state published every Saturday. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and 09065176850