Iyiola Akogun Oyedepo: The Countdown Begins NOW, By Rotimi Atere
It is exactly two months since the Chief Iyiola Akogun Oyedepo-led State Executives Committee (SEC) of the Kwara PDP officially assumed office as the first democratically elected party executives in the contemporary history of party politics in Kwara State. With two months gone, Chief Akogun and his co-travelers in the PDP have just nine months to go, this is if the electoral timetable as released by the INEC is put in reckoning.
On the 19th April, 2014, just a day after he took his oath of office, I published an unsolicited advice on my facebook timeline. I asked him to ‘run and run for his dear life, for his reputation and never look back.’ I asked him to be the true man of history that his ascension to party leadership truly depicts. I asked him to tarry not because his time has started to click long before he was even elected! This was in the hope of providing him with an unsolicited mirror with which to look at himself from then on till the conclusion of the 2015 general elections.
Sadly, with two of his almost 12 months gone, Akogun seems to me to be unable to define his own road map, setting up a topsy-turvy journey on a bad road in an unmaintained mammy-wagon driven only by his reputation. Today, with just roughly about 9 months left, most of which will fall into the no-man’s land of preparing for the 2015 election, I think it is only fair to remind him again that Time does everything but wait.
Today, Mr. Akogun has 270 days left in charge of what is remaining of the PDP. After the elections, if he allows the pendulum to swing back to the far right, where it is presently, then he has only himself to blame. He shall thenceforth be saddled with the agony of presiding over the burial of a dead party, because by then, Bukola Saraki would have had his baptism, and there would be no stopping him thereafter for the rest of his life, till another Saraki (jnr) takes up the baton from his dad and the godfather. Funny, hmnn? But that is the bitter truth. So, Akogun has a choice to perform, or postpone.
This is why I have come out with this novel idea of a Countdown Calendar. For I believe every achiever has some kind of work plan. It would outline not only the success he seeks, but also timelines and deadlines aimed at achieving the objective. It is known as strategic planning. Timelines are a key component of strategic thinking; they help the planner keep his deadlines and warn him he may be running out of room to run.
As I said at that time, the Calendar is a perpetual reminder of the time available for good or evil, accomplishment or excuses. A tool of this nature helps a man to focus on being a man. Among other things, the Calendar can help the serious leader ensure he does not sleep too much (as Akogun is sadly appearing to me to be) or read too many banal speeches (as he did when one Akeem Lawal came calling).
It bears repeating that Akogun came on board PDP leadership with sterling credentials and huge public goodwill. So, what Chief Akogun does next now, politically, could maim his legacy, or make it. The Countdown, as a work tool, can ensure that not only does he always remember those debts that he owes his admirers; but that he is conscious of the limited time he has to pay them. The Calendar will remind him of the people waiting for him to do his magic as a foremost and unbending opposition leader. It will help remind him that his 270 days should be a busy one spent not on countless of meaningless meetings and courtesy calls but on action, protests, serious party building, fund mobilization, etc —and that he ought to be consistently busy in order that he might announce achievements, not offer apologies; and celebrate milestones, not seek hiding space. It will help combat the temptations of amnesia, hypocrisy and indolence.
Hopefully, Akogun grasps the linkage between power and responsibility, and that the challenge before him is about commitment and fortitude, and not about how much he is able to gather at an Abuja fund-raiser.
The truth is that for as long as the focus is on power and money alone, not performance and party building, no amount of time will ever be long enough for Akogun and his men. In my view, the only way for him to make a significant impact on Time now is to, like the politicians will say, hit the ground running!
For certain, a few people will tell him that under his leadership, Kwarans are yearning for action and not sweet speeches or empty press interviews about how weakened the Saraki dynasty has become; all they want is serious party building that cuts across the 16 LGAs and the 193 wards. This is so that the defeat the PDP seems to have suffered in the hands of its former members could be redressed.
Personally, I am prepared to cheer a leader who pursues the best interests of his party and the state, but when a leader is dragging that party and the state into the depths of despair, the only thing a citizen can do is ask to be set free.
So, to Akogun Oyedepo, please wake up, please remember that you still have 270 days ahead, and with 270 days, miracles are still possible.
Can you summon the character? I am not holding my breath.
ND: I send my warm regards to my brother, Mallam Abubakar Baba Sulaiman. I am sorry I have not had time to react to his beautifully put ‘rejoinder’ to my piece. It’s been a hell of a job up here at the airport, especially with this World Economic Forum on Africa(?) and weekend things!
God’s willing, I shall get back asap.
In the meantime, I can be reached on email@example.com. In the alternative, he can ask after me at the FAAN extension at the Abuja airport. Perhaps, I might be privileged to sip a bottom of Malta Guinness or Fura with such a great mind.
My regards sir.
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