Rauf Aregbesola is one of the most loyal politicians to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, one of the most powerful politicians from the geopolitical.
In this post, we’ll tell you everything we know about the two-term former governor of Osun State.
- Full name: Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola
- State of origin: Osun State
- Hometown: Ilesa
- Date of birth: 1957
- Birthday: May 25
- Alma mater: The Polytechnic, Ibadan (1980)
- Wife: Sherifat
- Children: Kabiru and Sherifat
- Political affiliation: AD to ACN to APC
- Religious belief: Islam (but embraces African Traditional Religion)
Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola who was born on May 25, 1957 is the present Minister of the Federal Ministry of Interior of Nigeria. Prior to that, he was the fourth civilian governor of Osun State. He is hails from Ilesa, Osun state.
Life and Education
Aregbesola is a devout Muslim born into a family of both Muslims and Christians. His primary and secondary education were in Ondo State. Afterwards, he attended The Polytechnic, Ibadan, in 1980 where he studied Mechanical Engineering.
Early Participation in politics
Aregbesola’s concern and participation in politics began during his undergraduate days when he was Speaker of the Students’ Parliament between 1977–1978 at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, and also the President of the Black Nationalist Movement between 1978–1980.
He was also a vigorous enthusiast of other progressive students’ movements nationwide, which got him, for example, a life membership in the National Association of Technological Students.
He became an elected delegate to the Social Democratic Party Inaugural Local Government Area Congress in June 1990. In July of the same year, he was also a delegate to its first National Convention in Abuja.
Aregbesola, as a pro-democracy and human rights activist, was a chief partaker in the demilitarization and pro-democracy struggles of the 1990s in Nigeria.
As the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, he was a ranking member of the Alliance for Democracy, an institution led by Senator Bola Tinubu, who later became governor of Lagos State in the same year.
Aregbesola was the Director of the then Bola Ahmed Tinubu Campaign Organisation (BATCO), who pushed the electoral victory of Bola Tinubu in 1999, and he achieved a similar accomplishment with the platform of the Independent Campaign Group, with which he made sure of the re-election of Tinubu for a second term in office.
Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure
Upon Tinubu’s appointment as governor, Aregbesola was also appointed the Commissioner of Works and Infrastructure, which comprised supervision of the Public Works Corporation and the State Electricity Board.
He not only supervised a huge investment in road infrastructure in the state, but also initiated the master plan that has served as a source for the infrastructural development and increase observed in Lagos even after Tinubu’s two terms in office.
2007 gubernatorial campaign.
In the April 2007 elections, following Tinubu’s tenure as governor of Lagos State, Aregbesola contested on the platform of the then Action Congress (AC) for the Governorship of Osun State.
Aregbesola withstood several efforts by the incumbent state government to cut short his goal, from the failed effort to abort the launch of Oranmiyan, the campaign organisation of Aregbesola, was scheduled to hold in Oshogbo Stadium until the state government deployed force to halt the event.
On 16 May 2005, Alhaji Sulaimon Hassan-Olajoku, was murdered at Gbongan Junction after attending a chain of political events to rally support of Aregbesola. He was a major financier of Aregbesola’s campaign.
In 2005, Aregbesola also escaped assassination plots by a whisker in Ilesha and on Osogbo Oroki Day in 2006.
In conclusion, a petition led to the arrest and imprisonment of Aregbesola for three weeks by men of the Lagos State Police Command pending a High Court rule in his favour and awarded a penalty of N5m against the police for wrongful arrest and detention
After incumbent Olagunsoye Oyinlola was declared the winner of the 14 April 2007 elections, Aregbesola immediately progressed to the courts to overturn this outcome.
In May 2008, Aregbesola called over at least 100 witnesses and submitted 168 exhibits in his petition before the Election Petitions Tribunal, alleging forcefulness and ballot box stuffing in the election.
In an October 2008 interview, he described Oyinlola as “a bully who came from a reactionary military arm”, declaring that Oyinlola had done nothing for the people of Osun state.
He also claimed that 12 people died during the election violence. In August 2009, Aregbesola was detained by the police obviously for his participation in the alleged falsification of a police report during the elections.
By the end of that month, he pursued bail so that he could accomplish the lesser Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
In August 2010, the police sent for him to make a statement about a bomb explosion that took place in 14 June 2007 near the ministry of water resources.
Aregbesola denied his involvement, affirming that he was in Abuja as at the time the incident occurred.
Having undergone the tribunal of first instance, an appeal and a retrial tribunal, the second appeal court, judgment was delivered on the 26 November 2010, declaring Aregbesola governor and ordering that he be sworn in the next day.
The Court was headed by Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, who was fringed by four other justices; Honourable Justices M.L. Garba, Chima Centus Nweze, P.A. Galinge, and A. Jauro.
The court consistently annulled the election results from the 10 local governments appealed for by Aregbesola and set aside the judgement of a lower tribunal which had established the election of Oyinlola, after the judgements of the invalid votes had left Oyinlola with 172,880 votes and Aregbesola with 198,799, thus returning Aregbesola as the duly voted governor of the state, three years after the elections.
Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the Governor of Edo State, presented his congratulations for the delayed acknowledgement of his election success.
Oyinlola purported that there was a telephone contact between the head of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) chieftains preceding the judgement.
He advised the Attorney General of the Federation “to exercise his power of public prosecution entrenched in Section 174 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution by commencing legal actions against MTN Nigeria Limited” after he petitioned the National Judicial Council. The Court disallowed his application for Salami’s call log.
In a response to a memo submitted by Aregbesola to a Truth and Reconciliation committee he had arranged to investigate the assumed atrocities committed by the former government, Oyinlola labelled Aregbesola’s claims as lies.
Rauf Aregbesola’s First term (2010–2014)
Aregbesola, in his first term as governor of the Osun state, defined his aims for the state: banish hunger, expel poverty, expel unemployment, reestablish healthy living, encourage functional education and improve public peace and progress.
Aregbesola aggressively chased after all action points of this strategy in his first term in office. For example, he presented an initiative for generating 20,000 jobs for youths in his first 100 days, which he later accomplished through the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O-YES).
Other initiatives he presented in his first term comprised:
- Osun School Infrastructure Development Project, which has to do with the creation of about 170 new schools,
- Osun mid-regional market (O-HUB),
- Osun Rural Enterprise and Agriculture Programme (O-REAP),
- Osun Tourism (O-TOURS),
- Osun Elementary School Feeding Programme (O-MEAL),
- Osun Special Ambulance Scheme (O-AMBULANCE), alongside other investments in roads and bridges.
Aregbesola did all these while advocating the cause of equality among all beliefs to encourage peace amongst communities.
Aregbesola also introduced Isese Day as a public holiday specially for traditional worshipers to have a good time just like the way it has always been for Christians and Muslims in the state, and he also assumed the title of “Ogbeni” (Mister), while also branding the state’s citizens as “Omoluabi”.
His Second term (2014–2018)
In the 2014 election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), that was in charge of the federal government, pursued to win the governorship to secure a stronger foundation in the south-west region for the general elections to be held in 2015.
National military forces were consequently set up in a bid to bully voters and decrease votes, but regardless of numerous arrests of his key associates, Aregbesola conquered the PDP’s candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore.
Upon his re-election, Aregbesola combined his achievements in his first term. He brought about the Opon-Imo, an electronic tablet circulated for free to students in public schools in Osun state.
He also commenced the commissioning of school structure invested in by his government.
In September 2016, the President paid a visit to the state capital where he commissioned one of the 3000-capacity schools, which have now turned out to be a model emulated by other states.
The governor also revealed a plan to situate an aircraft repairs center in Osun and concluded five bridges in a state which had none before he became governor.
The federal government and some other states sent delegations to Osun to observe Aregbesola’s execution of the school feeding programme.
An Osun State Judge, in June 2015, Justice Oloyede Folahanmi, penned an appeal to the State House of Assembly demanding for the impeachment of Aregbesola on statements of financial misconduct.
And this had been a regular accusation because of the huge investments in quite a lot of projects for the state by Aregbesola. After several delays, a board was set up by the House to probe Aregbesola.
The Governor came before the panel, and was later found not guilty of the accusations raised by the judge.
In 2016, The National Judicial Council endorsed Justice Oloyede for a necessary retirement after it discovered that the appeal was written by the judge “contained political statements, unsubstantiated allegations and accusations aimed at deriding, demeaning and undermining the State Government of Osun, the person and character of the Governor, his deputy and aides”.
Rauf Aregbesola introduced lots of controversial policies during his tenure in Osun in the area of education and infrastructure.
Policy on Education
A couple of months after his swearing in, Aregbesola prepared an informative summit to chart a new way forward in the educational aspect in Osun.
The summit was presided over by Wole Soyinka, and was focused around the primary and secondary levels of education due to the belief that basic education is of utmost importance.
Sponsors at the summit decided on a number of improvements that the Aregbesola administration effected.
This includes changing the education structure from the primary, junior secondary, and senior secondary format to the elementary, middle school, and high school format as the surest way to deliver education to school children, as well as designing operative monitoring and control of the process.
His administration also declared the Opon-Imo (Tablet of Knowledge) Project. This project applied technology to deliver learning content for thousands of high school students in order to assist in their preparation for the Senior School Leaving Examinations.
Opon-Imo acknowledged by a UN-World Summit and was given the Award for innovation as well as certification by UNESCO, the West Africa Examination Council and quite a few others.
Aregbesola’s government also funded the external examination fees for all public senior secondary schools, in a bid to ease the burden on parents and guardians. Afterwards, the state government constructed new structures to help student learning.
All through the state, a plan was put in place to reconstruct 96 school buildings, while boosting the size of each of the schools and increasing the amenities within. Quite a number of these schools have now been commissioned.
In September 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state capital to personally commission the Osogbo Government High School, while raining encomiums on Aregbesola.
The Osun Elementary School Feeding and Health Programme (O-MEALS) was put in place in the state under the Aregbesola administration to deliver free daily meals in school to students, in a bid to inspire school enrollment.
Osun state won numerous endorsements from world bodies including the World Bank. The House of Commons in the United Kingdom invited Aregbesola to lecture it on the effect of the program on child health and education.
Likewise, the United States Ambassador visited Osun state in June 2017, where he commended Aregbesola for his execution of social investment programs.
The O-MEALS program alone caters for about 252,000 elementary school pupils on a daily basis and helped increase school turnout by 25% in 6 months of its commencement.
In addition to that, the scheme employs 3,000 women in the community who are caterers and thousands of smallholder farmers. Today, O-MEALS is being used as the model for the present-day National Government’s Home-grown School Feeding Scheme.
The state government also supervised the regularization of the school uniforms to form a distinctive identity for its students, encourage its culture and motivate the local economy.
The execution of the O-Uniform scheme led to the establishment of the biggest clothing factory in West Africa in Osogbo, Osun, where the uniforms are made and distributed to students within the state.
Aregbesola continuously invested in education all through his tenure in office. The investments in education are already yielding results, as private proprietors have begun to note the loss of students in private schools to the public schools, which are now of increased capacity.
Infrastructure and security in Osun
The Aregebsola led administration transformed and completed 230 state roads covering 368 km. His administration affiliated with local governments to provide 226 council roads throughout the 31 local governments with a total length of 216 km.
His government also initiated solutions in community-based rural road maintenance through the Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP 2) in liaison with the World Bank and French Development Agency.
The state is on course to supply the next batch of 250 km. Osun is one of just six states nominated to take part in this program. In all, the government upgraded more than a thousand kilometers of roads.
The state presently has about five bridges at nearly completion stages when there was none was in existence in 2010 when Aregbesola was elected as governor.
There has also been a related investment in the security of the state, mainly with the obtaining of 125 patrol vans, numerous bulletproof personnel carriers and a helicopter for distribution to security forces.
Social security initiatives
The Aregbesola administration founded a provisional cash transfer scheme called “Agba Osun”. Through this scheme, Osun was able to pull out many people in poverty, and has now become the state with the least poverty rate in Nigeria.
Investments and manufacturing has been on the increase in Osun state. In 2009, International Breweries plc, Ilesa, known for its Trophy brand, doubled over its production capacity to meet up the boost in the local economy.
Tuns Farms, a local poultry company, partnered with small scale farmers, ramped up broiler production to place the state as the second largest broiler producer in the country.
Omoluabi Garment Factory, a PPP between Sam and Sara Garments and the State, became the largest garment factory in West Africa. A local computer assemblage plant, RLG Adulawo, also opened business in Osun state due to the favorable infrastructures available in the State.
In 2015, The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative rated Osun second highest on its Human Development Index among the 36 states in Nigeria.
Also, in 2014, Rennaissence Capital rated Osun state as the 7th largest economy in Nigeria.
In 2017 the NBS ranked Osun as the state with the lowest poverty rate in Nigeria. In Osogbo, the Nigeria Railway Station terminus was renovated and there was urban renewal of the entire city center just before Olaiya junction and the building and repair of roads.
Aregbesola has always received attention from the press for his tactics in respect of human capital development, infrastructure, and education, which have oftentimes pitched him in the center of public debate.
He supports Fiscal Federalism for Nigeria and Regional Integration as a means of achieving sustainable economic development and national competitiveness.
Aregbesola has always supported the development of human values through various extracurricular programmes, such as exercises, the Omoluabi Boys and Girls Club, and other schemes for youths to channel their dynamisms towards a society that encourages the common good.
The Omoluabi ethos
In Yorubaland, Olu-iwa is considered the guardian of good character. The idea of Omoluabi was gotten from Olu-iwa. It was Omo ti Olu-iwa bi (the child of Olu-iwa), which now was cut short to Omoluwabi and later Omoluabi.
In Yorubaland, an Omoluabi is a peron who of flawless character. In simple terms; Omoluabi is the word in the Yoruba language that defines a person, male or female, young or old that holds the following qualities: integrity, hard work, morality, fairmindedness, impartiality, respect for elders and constituted authority; and God-fearing among other qualities.
When Aregbesola decided to begin a rebranding of Osun State shortly after his inauguration, he did so by recognizing the citizens of the state as “Omoluabi”, and driving a robust campaign about the ethics that make an Omoluabi in what was a rallying call to citizens to hold on to such values.
His assistances were acknowledged when, in 2016, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III, a revered Yoruba traditional ruler, named Aregbesola the ‘Omoluabi of Yorubaland’ for being at the forefront of sticking out the Omoluabi ethos.
His Political Affiliations
Aregbesola remained with the same political party even as it underwent quite a few mergers, first changing to the AC, then the ACN and the APC, which later became the federal ruling party in the country.
When Aregbesola decided in 2005 to run for office of the governor, a political support movement was established named Oranmiyan, after the son of Oduduwa, who was considered as the founder of the Yoruba race.
The Oranmiyan group was led by Prince Felix Awofisayo since its inception in 2005, and was a main force in making sure of the success of Aregbesola in 2007. The group has since progressed by merging to become a worldwide group called Oranmiyan Worldwide.
Appointment by Buhari
Ogbeni, a former Commissioner in Lagos State took an oath of office on August 21, 2019 as the Minister of Interior in Abuja along with over 40 others at the State House, Aso Villa, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
His ministry is one of the most powerful ministries as it houses Civil defence, immigration, and Fire service.
Rauf Aregbesola’s wife and children
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola is married to Sherifat Aregbesola and the family is blessed with two children, they are:
- Kabiru Aregbesola
- Sherifat Aregbesola
Rauf Aregbesola’s net Worth
Net worth of Nigerian politicians are not evaluated. As such, the net worth of Rauf Aregbesola, the incumbent Minister of Interior is not known.
Aregbesola’s social media handles
The former Osun governor is active on the major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and partially on the professional platform LinkedIn.
- Twitter: @raufaregbesola
- Facebook: @RaufAregbesola
- Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola can also be found on LinkedIn.
Note: His accounts are verified on Twitter and Facebook. Also note that Aregbesola’s phone number sin’t in public domain