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Aregbesola: The Elephant At 63 By Ishola Olateju

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I have been asked severally to describe who Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola is. Perhaps, because I am lucky to be one of the closest persons to him. But I have never stopped asking myself the same question. Whenever I try to talk about you, the same question comes back to me.

Describing whom you are presents difficulties encountered by the six blind men of Hindustan, trying to describe an elephant.

Each blind man, according to the prominent story, was asked to determine what an elephant looked like by touching different parts of the giant wild Animal.

According to the story, “The first blind man who feel the leg says the elephant is like a house pillar; the second one that feel tail says the elephant is like a tree branch; the third that feel the stomach says the elephant is like a wall; while the fourth that feel the ear says the elephant is like hand fan; and the one that feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe.

And the king explained to them that, “All of you are right. The reason you are telling it differently is because each one of you touched the different parts of the elephant. So, actually, the elephant has all the features you mentioned”.

The story above and the problems encountered by the six blind men will be encountered by whoever that attempts talking about Ogbeni Abdul Rauf Aregbesola, who has impacted many life’s in his 63 years on earth. Whichever good ways you describe him, that is whom he is.

Elephants are not just ordinary animals. They are special, rare and unique. Elephants are the largest land animals. They are natural leaders, bold, daring and calculative.

A study on elephants revealed that their personality is expressed through main three traits: attentiveness, sociability and aggressiveness.

The team leader in that study, Dr. Seltmann said: “Attentiveness is related to how an elephant acts in and perceives its environment. Sociability describes how an elephant seeks closeness to other elephants and humans, and how popular they are as social partners. Aggressiveness shows how aggressively an elephant acts towards other elephants and how much it interferes in their social interaction,”.

How then do one describe this elephant? Would one write about Rauf, the politician or Rauf, the religionist. Is it Rauf, the activist or Rauf, the philanthropist. One can even attempt writing about Rauf, the philosopher or Rauf, the pragmatist. These all-in-one traits embedded in you have made it extremely difficult to describe you just like the Hindustan. One can, therefore, conclude that you are a humanist – living for the people.

A further confirmation of your humanism and acumen was proved recently when a Senator from a different region, tribe and political lineage spoke glowingly about you at your confirmation screening at the floor of the nation’s Red Chambers.

Oga, your struggle has been long, tough, and rough but always ends in victory. It has been a great challenge from been a student activist, to one of the best Commissioner’s ever produced in Lagos State and the Most successful Governor in the state of Osun, who also broke the ceiling to serve out two terms of four years – the first of its kind in the land of virtue.

Your achievements in the state of Osun, can not be contested even by your few adversaries as you wrote your name in the sands of time.

This was why it was not a surprise when President Muhammadu Buhari appointed you into his cabinet.

Your eventual posting to the Ministry of Interior has further proved your leadership skill to manage the diversity of our nation. The ministry produced a platform to display your talent in a larger platform, which you have done to the admiration of all. You have shown that you are indeed a detrabilised Nigerian.

Throughout your years in and out of office, you have built a cult-like, army of followers across the nation and South West in particular.

It surprises me when people discusses you in my presence and I stand akimbo, like “is this the same Rauf, my father been discussed? I and all your followers are indeed proud of you, Sir.

As you mark another milestones today, I celebrate you as your son, your friend and the most benefitted mentee.

Sir, I wish you many years on earth and pray God gives you more wisdom to serve humanity.

Happy birthday, the Oranmiyan 1!

Ishola Olateju is the Personal Assistant to Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

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