By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
Friends and associates of the immediate past Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, have described him as a leader with a large heart, accommodating spirit, resilient mind and a dogged democrat.
According to them, Aregbesola is a rare gift to humanity whose passion for excellence and character in leadership cannot be quantified.
The dignitaries from far and near, especially chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State, spoke at the grand luncheon as part of activities marking the homecoming reception for the former governor of the state.
The event, organised by the Friends of Rauf Aregbesola (FORA) was another opportunity for friends, family, supporters, well-wishers and political associates to felicitate their leader and political mentor.
Chairman of the Planning Committee of the programme and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Najeem Salaam, described the ex-minister is a man of many parts.
Salaam, who appreciated God on behalf of the former governor stressed that in the last 24 years of public service, Aregbesola has shown compassion, diligence, uncommon loyalty and determination to improve the lots of the populace.
The former Speaker noted that Aregbesola remains a window of reference in Nigeria’s political landscape because of his undying passion for mass prosperity and the emancipation of the younger generation.
Those who spoke at the luncheon including his former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Kolapo Alimi, Sheikh Yusuf Oko-Iya Eleko, Mrs Yemi Akande and Senator Mudashiru Husain recalled the numerous impact of the celebrator in their lives.
They said: “Oga is a rare gift to humanity. He combines service to God and people so well. As a commissioner, governor and minister, he was unrepentantly committed to the cause of the people and the leadership that works for the people.
“He is kind to everyone. He has the golden gift and foresight of excellence and service in governance and administering the affairs of men and women in politics. We are all very grateful to have worked with him and share in his common vision.
“He is forever our legend and icon of dynamism in public service. We are proud of your achievements and we are indeed lucky to be associated with you.”
In his remarks, Aregbesola acknowledged the support of his followers, supporters, friends, well-wishers and associates who made the homecoming event a success.
The former minister expressed gratitude to the people of Osun, the state government under the leadership of Governor Ademola Adeleke, traditional rulers, groups and associations, among others for their unrelenting support for him and his ideology.
Aregbesola said in no distant time, leaders of the party will traverse the length and breadth of the state to visit party members, and re-echo the need for them to strengthen the political base.
He said: “I am deeply grateful to you, all. You have all shown me uncommon love, backing and the strength, unity of purpose and the reassurance that you are indeed with us.
“We are grateful. We will not let you down. We will soon begin a statewide tour to see all of our people and to assure them that we are fully back to see to their welfare. We are fully committed to strengthening the APC.”