The month of May floods me with great memories. This is not just because of the great events that mark it out but because it heralds the rising into mother earth of a man of destiny! On the May 25, 1957, heavens bequeathed the mother earth the gift of a man whose life has hugely impacted his generation and who has continued to be a source of inspiration to millions of admirers at home and outside the shores of the country. I joined millions of well-wishers across the globe to celebrate a quintessential leader and a proud son of Oromiyan; one of the famed progenitors of Oduduwa race. A man who has chosen to write his name in the annals of history with great deeds and meritorious service to his people truly deserves to be celebrated on the graceful occasion of attaining a new milestone of earthly sojourn.
I have always held this opinion and have consistently found it to be true that the almighty God has a purpose for all that happens. GOD has reasons for throwing up actors, for a particular season, on whose shoulders the responsibilities of leadership would rest. It is therefore not by coincidence that God will chose the month of May to bless Nigeria and humanity with the calibre of leader Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has come to exemplify. A thoroughbred cadre of the Marxist philosophical worldview, Comrade, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola attainment of 64 years on Wednesday May, 25, 2021 is nonetheless attributable to the Grace of Almighty Allah who superintends over the affairs of man and to him all the glory must return.
By the circumstances of his birth, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola grew up in life internalizing the challenges of eking a living though the turbulence of struggle and survival. He was thus baptized into a life that could, at best, be described as an embodiment of the struggle for the emancipation of the downtrodden in the society. He was not born with the proverbial silver spoon but rather instead confronted with the inequalities and denials that combined to refine him, so to say, in the furnace of struggles to make meaning out of the vicissitudes of life. While he experienced difficulties while growing up as a child, it was however the unpleasant circumstances in early life that shaped his world view; imbuing him with the determination, passion and orientation to always be on the side of the masses whenever the opportunity for struggle for emancipation avails itself.
His romance with mass-oriented progressive platforms as a young student and much later at all stages of his endeavours has been largely instrumental to the passion with which he approached responsibilities in the sphere of governance. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola testimonials of selfless service and consummate leadership are already public knowledge and therefore need not overemphasized. His political assiduity and governance model as Governor of State of Osun as well as the current minister of Interior cleanly demonstrate the stuff of a giant in an environment fraught with numerous challenges. His commitment to implementing a robust policy for transforming the Interior Ministry within the limited resources available clearly attests to quality of leadership and further reveals him as an untiring motivator who is ever keen to mobilize and reenergize momentum for development in any clime.
It is indeed gratifying that the Ministry of the Interior under the watch of this amiable Minister has recovered its lost glory and has indeed become a reference point in evaluating performance of governance. Under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Ministry of Interior has become a model for how best to deliver effective and efficient services to the masses. Exceptional creativity of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola in deploying the instrument of governance at the disposal of the masses should provide a useful template for exploring the role of leadership in overcoming the miseries of governance in developing democracies.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeso’s feats are however not surprising given his antecedents and beliefs in people oriented governance. He has become a proud scion of Marxist-Leninist movement in Nigeria. He has not betrayed the ideals of genuine progressive; mass oriented governance in his handling of public affairs as Governor of Osun State and currently as the Minister at the Federal Ministry of the Interior since his assumption of duty in 2019. He has practiced what he preached and the Ministry of the Interiors is clearly better for it. Ogbeni Aregbesola remains transparent, accountable and moderate in the exercise of the commission of office and in his openness to public scrutiny in conformity with expectations of the trust reposed in public office.
Celebrating Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as a shining star of our democracy on the auspicious occasion of his birthday is not only incumbent on us his lieutenants. More importantly, drumming the virtues of this unique leader is a fitting responsibility that must be exercised in furtherance of genuine passion for promoting leadership values that best serve the interest of democracy in Nigeria.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is a man blinded to parochialism and primordial sentiments that divide rather than unite the people. He encourages leadership development and admires excellence and exceptional talents. He is not afraid of seeking out talents, nurturing them and encouraging them to grow and excel so that the community and the Nigerian project can become the better for it. His achievements as Commissioner for Works and Housing during tenure of His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu speak are evergreen are remain the laudable performance indicators of that administration that would eventually be reputed to have laid the foundation standards Lagos state has continued to showcase in Nigeria.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has provided guidance and mentorship to many young men who are actors in governance at different levels. Providing opportunities for the youth and believing in their ability to perform has truly given many; which include people like my humble self the opportunity to participate in the democratic process and contribute positively to governance. This great son of Nigeria we celebrate on his birthday has tenaciously pursued programs that empowers the youth to make them emerging leaders who would imbue democracy on account of virtues that entrench genuine democracy. Changing the mind-set of the youth by repositioning them wealth creator rather than depending solely on the vagaries of the public sector for sustenance has been a top priority of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. He believes investing in the future of the youth as critical stakeholders in the emerging industrialized setting is the way to go and no one should be surprised when Nigeria becomes a leader in SMEs in the future.
Extolling the leadership virtues on his birthday is one way celebrating the virtues of excellence! Our wish for Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as he attains a new milestone is that he lives long in good health to see the seeds of good leadership he has sown germinate into great and mighty trees. The trees shall surely become huge shades that would provide the needed cover for the people in the future.
Congratulations to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola!
We join millions of your well-wishers to wish you God’s speed as you march to greater heights!
Honorable Olumuyiwa Jimoh is A Member of Lagos State House of Assembly representing Apapa Constituency2