By abiodun KOMOLAFE
As of July 16, 2022, Iyiola Omisore, a Prince of Ife and a celebrated political strategist and master of the game, was the party’s National Secretary. Still, APC lost very badly in Ifeland. Incidentally, that’s where Sooko Tajudeen Lawal, the party’s current State Chairman, was also born.
Lawal was at the time its Vice State Chairman. Most, if not all those who pretended to be Big Boys from Ifeland who served in the Oyetola-led government lost even their polling units. Was that also caused by Aregbesola? Again, why did APC contentedly slip into its familiar routine in Oriade and Obokun Local Governments? Why did it end up soaking in the enthusiasm of defeat in Iree in Boripe Local Government, despite what the former governor planted in the ancient town?
For Osun APC to have lost 28 out of 30 Local Governments and 1 Area Office, 25 out of 26 members in the State House of Assembly, and all the National Assembly seats, that speaks volume!
But, rather than address the whys and wherefores that broke its heart, among which were greed, indiscipline, uncontrolled lust for privileges and the love of pelf, blame game took over. Osun APC surrendered to the superior firepower of betrayal from the people in power, failure to connect with the people, lack of sense of purpose, lack of shared vision and lofty ideals, lack of cohesion in the party and lack of control, and it was as if the gods were angry.
Whither the roles of the opposition in democracy and why is Osun APC not delivering on its newly-acquired mandate? Take, for instance, reports have it that Adeleke has for over a year been living in his sister’s house but unfortunately, the opposition is not seen to have been hard on an issue which in Yoruba culture amounts to a taboo.
Well, while it’s not unusual for governors to live in their private residences while serving (as Lateef Jakande lived in his personal house, even rode in his famous Toyota Crown car as Governor of Lagos State, which of course could be attributed to his known simplicity and frugality), Nigerians hold the notion that Adeleke opted for that path so that the real masquerades who’re behind the scene can manage him and his excesses, and shield him from those who might wish to exploit his naivety in governance.
Although the governor has his personal house in Ede, he hardly ever stays there, and it is believed that he runs Osun State with the counsel and input from her sister who has her imprimatur on every appointment in the state. She’s even believed to be the de facto Commissioner for Works, a portfolio the governor withheld to himself. So, anyone who cannot cringe in their court had better forget getting anything from the government. Is it any wonder that, in Osun, the fear of ‘Yeye’ is the beginning of wisdom?
When Oyetola was to lose power in 2022, an uninformed cross-section of the public asked that power be taken away from ‘alakowe’ and given to ‘alakori’. In their opinion, if the former could not do it well, why not hand over the destiny of dear state to the latter?
Not unsurprisingly,‘Imole Osun’ has now come to town and … ‘the difference is clear.’ Amidst a litany of avoidable gaffes, the State Chief Judge would have long been removed from office and the governor’s vuvuzelas would have stood up and clapped for the king, were it not for the timely intervention of the National Judicial Council, NJC.
Again, who will help save Osun APC from Osun APC? Well, I have argued elsewhere that opposition roles are very difficult, especially in a democracy like ours. Not even in a situation where the ruling party has many advantages to its bidding: a monstrously rich dynasty, power which it knows how to effectively deploy, resources sufficient enough to play around with, and the sympathy of the electorate which, for obvious reasons, the ruling party currently enjoys.
I have also had the privilege of raising the issue of contact persons or rallying points in some of the localities in the state. For instance, I’ve cited the case of High Chief Dele Faseru, a respected PDP chieftain in Ijebu-Jesa who, for a very long time, has been the face of the PDP in Oriade Local Government and its environs; and the colourful politician has been delivering on that mandate. How many Dele Faserus are available to Osun APC and how many of them are accessible in the real sense of the word?
Like him or hate him, Oyetola is a fine gentleman and a true reflection of himself. He is not a pretender. Some Nigerians even accused the former governor of being accountable to the last penny at the expense of those who worked for him. In their view, it was accountability taken too far when he left N14 billion in Osun government coffers while the arrears of modulated salaries owed workers as well as November 2022 salaries of political functionaries in the state remained unsorted.
Back to the substance of the situation, it needs to be noted that taking Osun APC back on the path of honour demands that Oyetola rethink strategies that can open the gate of hope. To get policies right, politics has to be alive. So, he needs to increase his efforts. He also needs to dig deeper into what variance of illness is actually attacking the party. He needs to look beyond the pathetic admonitions of the swallowers,time-servers and transactional politicians whose personal interests are at variance with the party’s overall interest.
In a word, unless the party is prepared to let past troubles ignite positive opportunities, things will only get worse; and that will be bad for opposition politics.
Politics isn’t a funny game; it’s just that some of its practitioners are simply heartless and exceptionally selfish.
Since ages, sycophancy has also been a big problem in politics. So, the onus is on Oyetola to rise above the deceit of the men-pleasers because money may manipulate the people but it doesn’t actually deceive the enemies. Since all politics is local, it behoves the leadership to instil a sense of trust in the followership and the followership to believe in the leadership, if the battle ahead is to be won.
Who even knows if God allowed July 16, 2022 to happen to Osun APC so that He can use Oyetola to change the course of progressive politics in Nigeria, beginning with Osun State? So, it is up to the current Minister of Marine and Blue Economy to see to it that this House does not fall, for this, not the office he now occupies in Abuja, will define his legacy. While current efforts in that direction are a welcome development, public opinions favour something deeper than the ongoing sensitization ritual. Most importantly, the poor reward system and selection process, which contributed significantly to the party’s dismal outings in the past, must also be reviewed with a view to righting past wrongs.
In all, just as we expect in public administration, that ‘one person cannot know it all’; and, in democracy,that‘one party cannot be omnipotent’,let there be ‘room for admissibility of divergent opinions’.Let ideas be transformed or updated ‘in line with dispensations’. Above all, let those working with Oyetola in this task of repositioning Osun APC bear in mind that politics is not a cult and that what defines it is not always about one geography against another but inclusive winning streaks that will help return the party to its past glory.
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
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