The comparison with “Gary Hart” needs further clarifications for Nigerians who cannot make the connection between Governor Oyinlola of Osun State and former US Presidential candidate, Senator Gary Hart who had to drop out of his Presidential bid, after daring the Press to come after him, if they could. He was so sure they could not dig up any dirt on him and any illicit relationship or flirtation that might have occurred between him and a girl friend in a saga that was then popularly referred to as the “Monkey Business”, if I recall it correctly.
The American Press returned him the favor in full measure. They had gone after him with vengeance, like he had demanded. When the encounter was over, Gary Hart was no longer smiling. He eventually dropped out of the race in total disgrace and his chances of ever running and becoming President, despite his glaring talents, had gone up in smoke. I have a feeling the same fate may yet befall the current Osun State Governor who, like Gary Hart, is evidently counting too much on his luck by mistaking sheer Bravado or Foolhardiness for Bravery by openly defending the indefensible. He is proudly telling Nigerians that he had done nothing wrong by being listed as one of the President’s men and power brokers in Nigeria to be favored with an allocation of one of the Federal Houses going for sale in the commercial Capital of Nigeria.
Unlike others, he had not denied voluntarily seeking the allocation, because he claimed he is now too big to lie to anybody. He even had the effrontery to tell Nigerians his allocation had gotten the special blessings and clearance of his boss, the President who had earlier on assured all Nigerians there would be no sacred cow in his new crusade to rid Nigeria of Corruption in high and low places. Surely the President cannot have it both ways. He cannot approbate and reprobate at the same time. He is either for or against corruption. There is no middle ground for him here unless he wants his credibility on this issue to come down to zero as feared by some of his nemesis like Chief Sunday Awoniyi a bright and fearless retired Permanent Secretary who, as I know him, usually does not cry wolf where there is none, based on his record in the Federal Public Service. He is a no-nonsense Bureaucrat of impeccable character and integrity.
Governor Oyinlola citing the name of the President in an effort to clear himself is doing more damage than honor to the President in my judgment. In more civilized and less corrupt society the corruption scandal and its aftermath will, in the fullness of time lead to the resignation of the naive Governor when the chips are down. If the corruption crusade must succeed, public officials must learn when to throw in the towel. Governor Oyinlola coming on the heels of Governor Akande is filling shoes much larger than his own, as far as honesty in Government is concerned. I don’t care what anybody may say. Governor Akande is a breed apart, and a far more fiscally responsible Governor than his successor. Take or leave it. That is the bitter truth.
The Press is not only going to go after Oyinlola’s record as a one time Military Governor of the Lagos State, they should go find out how much ill-gotten gains he might have acquired using his position as Military Governor. if indeed he was able to spend as much as 300 million Naira on his campaigns for elective office, as he himself has openly admitted, it goes without saying to find out how he has actually made his money all these years. Even if he was commissioned a Brigadier-general the very day he was born, it is doubtful how he could have accumulated all that wealth from his total earnings up-to-date.. The culture of not asking pertinent questions of our leaders, when needed, is part of the banes of our society. it is also one of the engines fueling massive Corruption in our country and society.
One has to really wonder what kind of relationship exists between the Wema Bank and Governor Oyinlola that the Governor was more or less giving the Bank matching orders to go inspect the property at Alexander Avenue, Ikoyi, and “if it is worth the price, finance it” I am quoting the Governor verbatim.. Just as ordered, Wema Bank had quickly rushed to the premises, did its appraisal, and had returned to the Governor with a Bank Draft for 112 million. No questions asked.. If a State Governor could do that, I wonder what the President and Commander of Chief of the Armed Forces could do, using his office and the fiduciary trust placed at his disposal by you and me as the tax payers What a country?
Governor Oyinlola has blatantly told Nigerians he is not different from you and me. I don’t know about you. I have never, in all my life in Nigeria, been privileged to perform the kind of feat the Governor was able to perform with Wema Bank, just for the asking. We ought to find out what collaterals the Governor had pledged to secure that loan, and what percentage had gone back to the Bank manager as kickback, and what kind of repayment plan he had with the Bank. We ought to find out how long it took the Governor to get the whole process completed, and if indeed due process was actually observed as claimed by Mr. Governor.
The notion of the President of the Republic giving special treatment to a few individuals in the exercise, and saying some of them should be allowed to keep their allocations, is in, of itself, another scandal worthy of being fully investigated. We want to know if the President is being completely truthful to the Nation. There is one Ogunlewe listed among the lucky winners favored by Minister Osomo. I can only hope that the current Minister of Works who goes by the same name “Ogunlewe”, is not the same character named by the President to take over from Mrs Osomo. If that is true, that is another big scandal right there for all to see, because the first thing the new acting Minister of Housing will be doing is to obstruct justice by destroying any documentation or evidence that may be more damaging to the President, to Minister Osomo and to the new Minister.
In a welcome address at his send off party for Mrs Osomo, Mr. Ogunlewe had no qualms telling those present, he plans to uphold the legacies of Mrs. Osomo. If that does not tell you something, you are probably a UFO from the Red Planet. Don’t tell me it is only the Minister of Works, an accomplice in the scandal that can be found to take over from the outgoing Minister. The whole situation stinks, to say the least.
I said it before and I would say it again. With people like Governor Oyinlola and other sycophants still milling around this President, the current crusade against Corruption in our country would continue to lack credibility. It must be drastically reviewed for it to have any chance of success.