Afolabi Olawole: Rarity Of A Stand By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
In the last few weeks, I have followed with keen interest and a discerning mind, the story of Mr. Afolabi Olawole, the Councillorship candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party in Shawo South West ward in Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State. This young man, being presented like an outcast because of our definition of politics, should be our new national hero, a role model to would-be young politicians who deserves to dominate national discuss with its attendant media hype.
But what do we have, the young man is what Nigerians call a “loner”, claiming he his neither here nor there. Disowned by Peoples Democratic Party( don’t ask me if the Old or New), cautiously watched by All Progressives Congress(APC) and according to reports made available to press from his hiding place, his life at present is in danger. As expected, nobody has responded to the threat to life claim, the Nigeria Police are more concerned about preventing the New Peoples’ Democratic Party(nPDP) from opening a secretariat than looking after a “political misfit” who does not know how to sit on stolen mandate.
When we thought all was lost, that Nigeria has descended beyond redemption in the face of heightening disregard for rule of law, the rising delusion in calculating simple arithmetic as occasioned by the Nigeria Governor’s Forum Election, amongst other falsified attempts to make majority out of minority by PDP and its cohorts, there came this young man who is not comfortable with the status quo. Before now, there is this misconceived believe that the incumbent party at the federal, state or local government must win every election either violently or by subverting the decisions of the electorate by announcing non-winners as winners.
The trend of announcing non-winners as winners was prevalent in Lagos and the Action Congress of Nigeria controlled states (now All Progressives Congress), but the delusional most popular and biggest political party in Africa,PDP, is fast catching up. Either ruse or real, a new trend of moral discipline is edging up in the way politics is being played and would be played come 2015. Just as Afolabi has shown, the correction starts from below not above although starting from above would have had a more explosive effect. Let’s imagine a President Jonathan agreeing his election was flawed and won’t allowed to be sworn in or a Gov. Fatai Ahmed of Kwara state being true to his Islamic faith and not take what rightfully belongs to Belgore! So I see Afolabi’s act as beyond politics that some are trying assiduously to attach it to.
The absence of morally rooted culture has enervated the likelihood of morally upright folks in our body polity. Politics is seen as being dirty, but in the context of what the word means, it should connote negotiation, fairness, responsibility, sportsmanship and compromise, just as it is viewed in other climes. Politics should not be a zero sum game where the winner takes all. It is about understanding the commitment to service which can come as an active driver or active critic. I have not seen where monotonous system succeed exceedingly, there need to always be divergent opinions that keep the ruling party on its toes, appraise performance and its failures even if sentimentally.
The Nigerian populace rather then melt out the required flak to Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission(KWASIEC) via a people’s revolution baring the obvious manipulation and demand the electoral body return the mandate having gotten a renegade in its scheme of shamefulness, the world is keeping quite. We need understand that this is not a matter of Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) handling all elections or Local government getting autonomy or getting justice at the tribunal, but the discipline of purpose and the need to take responsibility. Past experiences had shown that both the Judiciary and INEC have been armpitted by the government in power.
General Muhammadu Buhari,GMB(Rtd) few days ago conferred on Afolabi and the KWASIEC presiding officer in Offa, Mr Akeem Oyetunji, who also insisted that the result announced by KWASIEC in favor of PDP was not the one he signed and collated, ” Ambassadors of free and fair election”, I cannot but be grateful to GMB for leading in this regard and I hope the organisers of The Future Awards are already coining an award for Afolabi too. Anything short of this would put a question mark on the claim that “The Future Awards” is meant for people who strive for excellence and uphold integrity. I also urge the Civil Society Groups and integrity Associations to buckle up support for Afolabi in his future quest.
To the younger generation like myself, who were not too privilege to have witnessed GMB’s military administration, this action reaffirms what we have read and heard about the unblemished character of GMB. Because it is only a leader with likely character who would encourage Afolabi’s action and call on others to take likely actions. For just this, I am seriously considering support for the old man, if he attempts a shot at the Presidency come 2015.
For PDP, this is a rare opportunity to overlook its current impasse and celebrate this young man, the attempt by PDP-Kwara to disregard, disassociate and discredit Afolabi, would only give the party away as a bunch of unrepentant crooks. PDP would be shooting at itself and its chances to retain power in that state if it does not reconsider its stand on the Offa election. Electorates are not blind any longer, a bowl of “wara” cannot be used to take the people’s mandate anymore, this broad daylight robbery shouldn’t be condone.
As against general believes, Afolabi’s action, discredit APC’s sole claim of being the party with progressives( even though Elder statesman Ebenezer Babatope, a confirmed progressive from the days of Obafemi Awolowo is in PDP). For all I care, Afolabi is a worthy progressive than any of those parading themselves as such; this is a man that could have stay glued to unmerited power but for his Islamic principle decides otherwise, nothing can be more progressive.
In other climes, where precedence and principle have significant impact on who one becomes, an Afolabi would be nurtured to take higher leadership responsibility such as Chairmanship or even Governorship. In democratic systems with enlightened voters not cowed voters like ours, the selfless and courageous character exhibited by a mere councillor would have propelled the person in question to greater heights.
It is never too late, if only we can learn to do things right. From my back stage room, I award Mr. Afolabi Olawole, “The Pillar of New Nigeria Democracy”, and also volunteer myself for service as part of his campaign team irrespective of the party or post he might be vying for. I celebrate him for his resilience, I celebrate him for his courage, I pray God protect him and bestow on this nation more of his kind. Be Safe.
Twitter handle: @sanity0407
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