By Abiodun Komolafe
Clearly, the love Nigerians have for Bola Tinubu obliterates the hatred which anybody may possess for the All Progressives Congress (APC). Otherwise, his recent visit to Osun State wouldn’t have been such a huge success. To this end, the immediate past Governor Gboyega Oyetola and other members of the party in the state deserve commendation for the laudable feat of February 2, 2023.
Well, the general belief is that politicians will always come up with promises but, at the end of the day, nothing happens. Be that as it may, what Tinubu said in Osun brought along with it a higher level of believability. Of course, this has to do with his antecedents. Talking about issues like ‘changing the direction of the economy’; ‘creating jobs’; and ‘ASUU never to be on strike again’, the truth is that Tinubu has been to the university and he has seen how the system operates. In the realm of commerce, the former governor of Lagos State is no doubt a guru. So, he knew what he’s talking about! The presidential candidate also said he would establish industries in each of the six geopolitical zones to create employment opportunities in those localities without our young adults necessarily having to run to Lagos or Abuja to seek imaginary employment opportunities. Surely, any government that does that successfully will discourage rural-urban drift.
With regard to Tinubu’s opponents in the contest, what Nigerians should look for is what they have done. By this, we mean their antecedents. Since little is known about the involvement of the other presidential flag-bearers in the struggle for democracy in Nigeria, let the “accidental democrats” come forward and show Nigerians their credentials and, indeed, what they have done for dear country now that democratic structure is in place.
Tinubu’s visit to Osun is expected to help at resolving the lingering crises within the APC family in the state. Deploying his mighty influence and political balancing will be of great advantage to the party in the coming general elections. Besides, the senseless display of gangsterism by some followers of different factions will be appeased. The loopholes discovered in the last governorship election are also expected to be blocked with all sincerity and sense of sacrifice. These in my personal opinion should be the inestimable benefits from the visit of the Asiwaju of Lagos and his presidential campaign team to the state. After all, the ‘Jagaban of Borgu’ is a voice that can't be neglected, even by his ardent haters and negative propagandists.
In fairness to posterity, one issue that must be pointed out is that Osun APC is still burdened by inexplicable divisions, avoidable crises and self-inflicted conflicts. And that’s what makes it impossible for former Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Oyetola, his successor in office, to reconcile. Truth be told, the town is not smiling even as poverty is playing a major role.
Everybody is poor; and everybody wants to be rich. Therefore, nobody wants to listen to the party. Since the party is also inanimate, zero emotion is emitted. That’s why those who want to scrape the remaining milk are always taking sides needlessly! The more reason the feuding leaders in Osun APC must start eating ‘amala’ and ‘gbegiri’ from the same plate; and Nigerians must see it to be so! If the party structure is intact, then, no individual is bigger than the party. Therefore, to say that Aregbesola has (his) followership, and Oyetola has (his) followership – in the same party; and in the same state – is an anathema to democratic norms.
So, let the party tread the path of caution!
In the considered opinion of yours sincerely, loyalty to a single person in a party is a recipe for chaos. So, it’s mandatory for members to give absolute loyalty to the party. While preference for an individual’s profile in the party may differ from one person to the other, loyalty to the party is ultimately supreme. Otherwise, the party will collapse like a pack of cards; because the loyalty web is the central nerve of any political party. It is actually what holds a party together! That’s how our founding fathers left it! Indeed, that’s why people had to agree with the late Obafemi Awolowo even when his decisions might not be sitting well with their personal beliefs and/or interests. Again, that’s why you’d never see a party man
like Lateef Jakande saying that he’d not accept Awo’s decision. A lot of people learnt so much from Mahtma Ghandi that, long after Ghandi has gone, Ghandhism continues to wax stronger. Ditto for Chairman Mao Tse-Tung! On the contrary, Nigerians are so unreal that they embrace the show but reject the nitty-gritty of the drama presentation. Through interpretive understanding of symbolic interactionism, ‘Awoists’, so called, often wear ‘Awo cap’ to deceive the people; but not a bit of Awo’s character.
Awolowo raised leaders that were younger than him; some of whom, today, are setting the pace globally. Likewise, Tinubu has raised leaders, some of whom are not only better than him but also overtaking him while he is alive. Again, sad that Awoism as a concept was never defined. Otherwise, the likes of Ebenezer Babatope wouldn’t have become a political butterfly, searching for the proverbial nectar hither and thither! Well, the truth of the matter is that, once a journalist features a politician in the class of Awolowo, he or she is already taken for an Awoist!
Prior to the July 16, 2022 Osun governorship election, the popular saying in some quarters was that the electorate would vote for Tinubu but reject Oyetola. But, over time, and with the recent development a la the Osun Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, a section of the populace has ignorantly been holding the notion that Tinubu must have influenced the outcome of the election petition. Therefore, it’s their belief that ‘City Boy’, as Tinubu is fondly called, must be paid back in his own coin. Let’s not also forget that the ruling party and its government are lurking in the dark. Interestingly, they still have the sympathy of a good chunk of the electorate in the state.
At any rate, Nigerians have seen beyond the smokescreen that the leadership trait of the party currently in power in Osun does not portray sympathy for the democratic public administration. For instance, a government which can withhold certain public servants’ salaries – and it’s not losing sleep about negative reports – has already weaponized poverty.
Obviously, what it’s doing right now is to monitor where the state’s resources are allocated with a view to ensuring that the people are muzzled so that, when the election is few days away, the tight grip will be loosened a little bit to allow the song of Osun PDP being the people’s saviour resonates in the minds of the people.
In view of the foregoing, it will be in the objective interest of Osun APC to resolve the party crisis and mop up the votes of the undecided voters and repentant members before the D-day.
It therefore behoves elders and leaders of the party to sit up and speak up so that everybody will queue behind the authority of the party. The party should also pump sufficient resources to lubricate the will of the party machinery. After all, holding the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) is not enough, doing the needful with it is what matters most!
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
*Komolafe wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria ( firstname.lastname@example.org)