….”But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before i sleep.”
Having reignited a much needed tendency Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola who turns sixty four today still has a lot of consolidation of his path breaking intervention ” and miles to go…..”.When he arrived on the scene, the progressive tendency associated in the past with the position that “government must be for the benefits of the many and not a few” was in the sick bay gasping for breath. It took a reconfiguration of forces forged in the fire of the struggle to restore democracy to bring the perspective back to life. In that pivotal struggle Aregbesola was in the vanguard as a key strategist and operative.Through the exciting thrust of eight years as the infrastructure czar of a Lagos state in dire of rebuilding to the two path breaking terms as the path – breaking governor of the state of Osun, the symbol has remained faithful to the core definition of progressive intervention. There are however “miles to go…”. We are at the moment permutating about what the economy and society will look like as a gradual recovery is made from the Covid – 19 pandemic. The progressive tendency with people like Aregbesola at the vanguard must be conscious of the necessity of now and the historical imperative. For the tendency to stampede into a return to the discredited neo – liberalism of the structural adjustment program will rear its head. It has to be resisted, those like Aregbesola who demonstrated the efficacy of an ” alternative perspective ” must be at the forefront of producing and implementing a new program for a different world order. Such a program will once place human development as the overriding purpose of government.In navigating perilous waters we should be reminded of the admonition of the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci at a similar period of turmoil and heightened anxiety: “The old is dying and the new cannot be born. In this interregnum there arises a great diversity of morbid forces”. Brave hearted committed progressives like Aregbesola will once again be beckoned forth to contain the retrogressive ” morbid forces “.The clearest testimony of Aregbesola’s intervention is the adoption of the social programs pioneered in Osun state by the federal government and many of the states. In doing so he has achieved that most necessary thrust of political action, he shifted the territory of the discourse and entrenched a new way of looking at things, an hegemony.If the sensible objective of pulling a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty by the end of the century is to be achieved that hegemony must be sustained and today’s celebrator must be at the heart of it. There are great miles of achievement still to be covered for a progressive who in words and deed continues to symbolise an alternative perspective which gives hope that “life more abundant” can be achieved.
Kanmi Ademiluyi is a veteran journalist based in Osogbo