AMOTEKUN AND CORONAVIRUS: Osun State Governor, Oyetola and his swarming controversies

Some days ago, I sat beside a friend as he listened to local news that he does not like to miss on radio stations. The best way to capture local news is via radio stations. He has no favourite station but always turn to these stations to listen to their “Yoruba news on politics and sports”.

Osun is blessed with many private stations. One of the newscasters in UNIQ FM disclosed that Osun is free from Coronavirus and the only positive case of the deadly disease has been released. A government official who’s also one of the heads of Covid-19 taskforce called in live and joyfully declared the state “Covid-19 free and appeal to people to follow the directives of the government and await the address of the Governor of the state. I was shocked and felt disappointed in myself. Why would such event took place in the state and I would not know being a journalist?

I called friends and some aides of the government, they denied such move and insisted that there’s still a positive case in the state isolation centre. Till the evening period of same day, I was still doubting until the Commissioner for Health debunked the story, described it as misleading and urged the public to follow the directives of the government in curbing the disease. The rest is now history.

Barely days after governor’s aides give different reports on number of Covid-19 cases in the statement, a statement was released by the government through the office of the Secretary that the coordinator of DERAUFs, a grassroots political movement which contributed to the victory of the past governor of the state now Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has been appointed as the DIRECTOR GENERAL OF AMOTEKUN, OSUN STATE.

Chief Amitolu Shittu is a card carrying member of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Besides appearances at APC rallies and campaigns, he was a true follower of the former Governor of the state and a great beneficiary during tenure of the past governor. When I read the statement, I could not believe its genuiness. Why would Governor Oyetola appoints Amitolu Shittu as DG of Amotekun? Oyetola is well read and deeply rich in wisdom and native intelligence to paddle administrative affairs as flaunted by his aides.

Is he not aware of the constitution backing the regional security outfit? According to the laws guiding the security agency, it was clearly stated that “whoever that wants to lead the agency shall be a person of proven integrity with experience in security matters and shall be a retired Law Enforcement or Military officer not below the rank of colonel or its equivalent in security services”.

Osun state is blessed with hundreds of retired military officers and law enforcement officers who have undoubtedly served the country with humility, determination, dedication and carefully distanced themselves away from partisan politics. I sincerely do not know why the Governor sees the state as a cheap and crass entity that lacks people of deep thought and crazy affection for the state except people who have sworn oath of allegiance to him and his party especially when the appointee is still occupying a position with the Osun State Police Command as the chairman of Police and Communities Relations. I still want to uphold the fact that Governor Oyetola is more refined to be in colony of elected public officers who play politics with the lives of their citizens. Such decision can not be taken by a man who has spent 35 years of active service in private and public sectors as flaunted by his aides.

Yesterday, I was about to break my fast when my phone rang, a highly respected colleague in the media industry called me. He told me that he saw a statement released by the ministry of health on 12 new cases of Coronavirus in the state and advised that I should be careful and follow the directives of the government strictly. He further disclosed that they have started testing in Lagos state and commended Osun government for copying Lagos state. We once discussed the uselessness of lockdown if tests are not conducted. He felt happy that Osun Government has started testing her citizens.

Testing her citizens? Osun state? I smiled and thanked him for the call. I later forwarded a message to him that Osun has not announced the commencement of any test and I would love to contact some persons to verify the new 12 cases of COVID-19 in the state. I opened my WhatsApp account and found tens of private messages about Coronavirus and hundreds in groups I belong to, they are discussing about the miracle virus and how it found its way into the state of living spring.

According to the statement, 167 suspected cases were tested by the government and only 12 tested positive. Coincidentally, these positive cases were distributed equally across senatorial districts in the state. There’s no senatorial district without a positive case. Comparing notes of the virus reportage with sisters’ states, the note reaffirmed my earlier position that the current administration in the state is a baby one. The statement is not a detailed one. Where did they meet the 167 suspected cases they tested? Are they school children? Are they returnees, bus drivers or commuters? The state has been under lock for three weeks. Are they victims of communal transmission or what? Did the government just pick up these people randomly across senatorial districts or what? These are necessary details the statement lacks.

In all honesty, the state Government is a victim of misunderstanding, gradually turning the state into a comedy show and its officials are not helping the matter at all with their style of disseminating informations especially poorly scripted statements. The last positive case we had besides returnees tales was three weeks ago and you expected the citizens to accept new cases without explanation and well detailed statement? This is laughable and such only exist in a society led by a comedian.

In one of my recent publications, I once described the sitting governor of the state, Gboyega Oyetola as a titular head whose decisions are not only influenced on daily basis but his appearance in public with fleet of cars, armed security officers and chain of aides only portray him as a sitting governor. The recent activities in the state have justified my position. The same government who felt remorsed about the alleged expired rice distributed by the government and promised to investigate the show of shame.

The second lockdown will soon be over in the state with no palliatives in sight and the overall leader of the state, a supposed excellent administrator has not revealed the identities of people who insulted the sensibilities of the state. Are these rice dealers contacts inside the government who easily influence and allegedly control the state as posited by some citizens? The state and its present state does not depict that it’s under the control of a well read, financial expert and excellent administrator who has spent 35 years in public and private sectors.

Tufia! Beyond grants, our govenror and state need our prayers. Tell those who insist that Oyetola does not need prayers that they both need one; a serious leadership and political deliverance.

Apagunpote Olayimika Chocomilo is my name. I write from Osogbo, the capital of Osun state.

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