Osun PDP State Congress and Senator Iyiola Omisore’s Macabre Dance By Olayiwola Ojo
As the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) prepares to hold its ward, local government and state congresses as well as the National Convention to usher in a new set of leadership for the party at all levels in the country, different political camps and divides have sprung up within the party across the states where the congresses are to be held, pushing forward one permutation or the other in support of their standpoint on how best to address the issue.
Due to the enormous rebuilding and repositioning tasks ahead of the party, it became crystal clear that the next set of leadership must be fairly constituted, equitably distributed and be a set of effective people, who can adequately carry the people along in order to restore the lost glory of the PDP across many states and at the centre. This applies most importantly to Osun State, where the PDP has been out of power for over six years despite its wide spread and solid presence in the state, which is largely believed to be a PDP state.
Not a few people were aware of the unity and strength of purpose in the PDP before the run-up to the 2014 governorship election, which literally shattered the peace and understanding within the party. Selfish ambition and lack of political compromise battered the chances of our great party but we soldiered on after the emergence of a governorship candidate albeit with a depleted force, going into an election with about half of the PDP members teaming up with the opposition APC. The rest, as they say, is history. But must we continue to play the kind of divisive politics that has continued to cost us the prize even when bookmakers and informed political observers have, based on empirical evidences and political reality, tipped us to win election? For how long are we going to sacrifice the happiness of teeming party members and the people of the state who were wounded economically by a spendthrift and callous APC government?
Bearing in mind the popular saying that one cannot do the same thing all the time and expect a different result. Notable and credible leaders in the PDP in Osun State had then concluded that forming an all-inclusive and fairly-constituted State Working Committee, which will have the input of all stakeholders and be open to all, is an important precursor to returning the party to winning ways. This, of course, will hurt individuals who have hitherto operated a winner takes all style and took everything for themselves at the expense of the party’s successes. But compromise and consultations have always been key in politics and the stakeholders had decided and explored all the options.
Unfortunately, we have watched the political developments in the party in recent times and continued to hope that these individuals, who have allowed themselves to be blinded by sheer over-ambitiousness and inordinate desire to lord things over others, will come to their senses, toe the path of honour and, for the first time, allow the party to choose its leaders and not impose in a business-as-usual style. The effort to constitute the new State Working Committee (SWC) for the Osun State PDP, therefore, took the positive direction of consultations and deliberations, with all key stakeholders in our great party involved on the need to ensure adherence to our zoning formula and other important parameters. Recognising the need for rebuilding the PDP and strengthening it ahead of the all-important 2018 governorship election in the state, which keen watchers of politics in the country have said is for the taking for the PDP going by the massive impoverishment and destruction visited on the state by the ruling APC, elders and leaders of the party set different machineries in motion to raise a viable executive for the party. But while this goes on, some other individuals, notable among whom was a man we all sacrificed a lot for and followed committedly as a governorship candidate in 2014, a man whom we supported through the thick and thin, Senator Iyiola Omisore, had a different plan. Their plan, which not uncommon in a democracy, is to sponsor different candidates from the one agreed upon by the majority of party faithful and leaders. Of course, congresses are all about elections and in a democracy; it is known that differences of views is allowed.
However, one was quite disappointed at the way and manner Senator Omisore has been conducting himself in recent times regarding the forthcoming congresses, acting as if Osun PDP is a private business and pouring vitriolic on innocent and respected individuals with views opposed to his. The governorship candidate, who should join others to rebuild the platform he used and destroyed, had decided to work at cross purposes with other stakeholders but no one took it against him; we had all respected his freedom of choice. Unfortunately, he took his petty and pedestrian politics too far when he showed in a recent rally he organised to campaign for his candidate for the chairmanship of the party (on 18th April-2016 at the State Party Secretariat Osogbo) by showing that he lacked the capacity to respect the views of others.
Omisore had, in an audio recording of the event held on Monday at the premises of the state party sectariat in Osogbo attacked the personalities of those not in support of his candidate, describing them as “omo iran k’iran” [those not of noble birth], “thieves” and “people he took from the gutters and made something,” and so on. For the information of those who do not follow the politics of Osun PDP, the stakeholders are desirous of a departure from Omisore’s politics of imposition business as usual and hijacking of party machineries for selfish reasons include but are not limited to Omisore’s running mate in the 2014 election, Rt. Hon. Adejare Bello; two-term member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Wole Oke; the PDP’s 2015 senatorial candidates in Osun East, Osun West and Osun Central, Chief Ade Fadahunsi, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi and the Oluomo of Iresiland, Chief Oludaisi Oluwole Aina; former FERMA chairman, Dr Jide Adeniji; the PDP House of reps Candidate from Ifelodun/Boripe/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency in the 2015 general election, Hon.(Barr) Kayode Oduoye; Omisore’s 2014 Campaign Coordinator, Akogun Lere oyewunmi; Chief Kunle Alao and several other notable names in the party who have resolved to reposition it and ensure that Omisore does not drive it into more mess. It is these people that Omisore called “omo iran k’iran,” leaving one to wonder what that makes him. He also boasted of making some people and bringing them from the gutter as if he is God. But the point is, even God does not make such vainglory. In any case, Omisore knows those he made and even if he did make or create these people, must they remain subservient to him forever? Must we all out of loyalty follow Omisore to the abyss that his self-ambition is dragging the PDP in OSUN to? While I will not like to hold brief for any of those Omisore claimed to have made, the manner he spoke was unbecoming of a leader and a governorship candidate whose ambition consumed the times, energy and resources of all these people in the past and his attack on anyone who followed a different choice from his showed his largely undemocratic tendencies, and living a life of illusion which he had always displayed to the detriment of the party.
In fact, Omisore’s age long politics of use and dump has been exposed by the fact that he could quickly turn against those who served as his foot soldiers and field generals in the not-too-distant past and describe them as “omo iran k’iran” because they chose to exercise their democratic rights; those who left everything and followed him to the nooks and crannies of Osun State, campaigning and facing different degrees of insults for supporting him. Or shall we say that the senator lacked the quality of a good leader to have been unable to know that his supporters in the 2014 governorship election and even way before then were “omo iran k’iran?”
We have since taken the insults and attacks from Omisore in good faith, knowing that like a leopard who cannot shed its skin, some individuals can never rise above their pettiness and thuggery/hooliganism politics, but we sincerely hope that he does not graduate from insulting to physically attacking the leaders who support a different action plan for getting the party out of the abyss he threw it into with his self-conceited ambition and power-drunk tendencies in the last four years.
We want to demand some level of civility in the way we play politics so we can lay the right legacy for the upcoming generation. We therefore call on Otunba Iyiola Omisore to retrace his steps and provide a public apology to the members of our great party he referred to as “omo iran k’iran” for publicly supporting Hon. Soji Adagunodo as the incoming state chairman.
We also call on the teeming supporters of the PDP in Osun State to remain resolved and courageous in the face of all deceits and plots by those against the progress of the party. They must all come out and speak with one voice in electing credible leaders for the party at various wards, local and the state level which will take their party from the hawks and overbearing individuals with political shenanigans.
In any case, since Omisore boasted to his followers that he would win at all cost and rode roughshod on others, noting that they would soon return to him to literally feed from his hands, we hope he too will bury his pride and be bold enough to accept defeat in the aftermath of the congresses when he would have burnt his fingers and return to team up with others to build a virile and better PDP in Osun State.
A word is enough for the wise.