Osun 2018, Politics Of Zoning, And The APC’s Big Gamble, By Olalekan Adigun

Keen observers of Osun politics are never caught by surprise about its unending drama especially during election seasons. Things got to the climax during the preparations for the 2003 elections which saw some of the darkest and lowest periods in Osun political history.

This period saw unimaginable forms of barbarism, savagery, and disorder manifest in the shape of broad daylight election rigging, political thuggery and violence, and series of assassinations (and disappearance) of well-known political figures including the yet-to-be-resolved murder of Chief Bola Ige, Cicero of Esa-Oke, former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

As though these were not enough, 2007 elections in the state refused to win turn pessimists to optimists as all known attempts in the books were deployed to steal the people’s mandate by the powers that be. Nothing was spared to achieve this objective. Fortunately, in 2010, the tables turned when the Court of Appeal, sitting in Ibadan, against all odds, delivered a landmark judgment in favour of Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, the rightful winner of the 2007 gubernatorial election.

Needless to say that Rauf Aregbesola will later win the 2014 governorship election to become the first governor in the state to be re-elected in a free and fair election since its creation in 1991. The rest, as they say, is history!

This background is necessary, first, for those who may not be too familiar with developments in Osun since 2003. And, second, for those who may be familiar, it serves as a reminder about the immediate dark (and bloody) past on her path to the present.

With Governor Aregbesola’s successful completion of tenure later in 2018, understandably, the competition among other contestants for the exalted seat is gradually heating up.

The political landscape of the state shows that two leading parties- All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)- have fairly equal strengths and weaknesses. For analytical purposes, we may add the Social Democratic Party (SDP) who will fancy its chances with the party’s latest acquisition of Senator Iyiola Omisore, a former deputy governor of the state.

While the two APC boasts of the current governor Rauf Aregbesola and a retinue of influential figures in the state, the PDP on its part lays claim to the governorship seat with its profile as the former ruling party in the state.  Also, of the three Senatorial seats in the state, APC has two as against PDP’s one which it got in the recent landslide victory (winning 9 out of 10 LGAs) in the Osun West Senatorial by-election. On the surface, things may look rosy for the ruling party, but things are in fact, murky especially for lovers of the party if it fails once again to respond to the challenge from Osun West.

The recent by-elections in Osun West show that there have been questions APC strategists are not answering. And this is very strange!

This writer is not a big fan of “zoning” in electoral democracies. But, as a keen observer of Nigerian politics (which is strongly based on primordial sentiments), this author thinks there are good reasons why the APC must zone its ticket to Osun West.

First, let us do some political reality checks. The 2014 governorship election results show that the APC candidate won elections in 22 out of the 30 local government areas of the state scored a total of 394,684 to defeat PDP’s Omisore (as he then was) who got 292747 votes from 8 LGAs mainly from Osun East and two from Osun Central. The difference between the two candidates is 101,937 votes.

From this, let us remove the votes from the 10 LGAs in Osun West and give them to Omisore. With Omisore winning (assumedly) 18 LGAs against Aregbesola’s 12, this will produce one of two situations most political strategists will prefer to avoid: first, a possible re-run, if the votes from Osun Central (especially Osogbo) will still be strong enough to charge APC on in the election.

The outcome of such situation would have been largely unpredictable. Second, with 18 LGAs against 12 and with PDP armed with the power of “Federal might”, the party may just kiss the governorship goodbye like it happened in Ekiti.  And with the 2015 elections in sight, the morale of the party’s supporters would have been seriously dampened!

Let us also take a look at the merits of the argument of the people of Osun West for the governorship. Late Senator Isiaka Adeleke was elected during the Third Republic under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as the first executive governor of the state for a period that unfortunately ended after 13 months.

In the Fourth Republic, Osun has had a total of three Governors: Chief Bisi Akande (1999-2003), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola (2003-2010) and Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola (incumbent). Of all these, both Akande and Oyinlola from Osun central while Aregbesola is from Osun East. Other zones have spent 19 years against Osun West’s 1 year! Isn’t it just logical and natural for the Governorship to return to Osun West after over 25 years of waiting, yearning, and agitating? Who best should lead this charge if not the APC? Who benefits more from returning the exalted seat to Osun West than APC? If not now, then when?

If Osun West will get it soon, how SOON is soon? For how long should people from Osun West wait and endure? How are we so sure their patients aren’t running out?

Let us look at another possible scenario. If the PDP fields a candidate like Senator Nurudeen Adeleke (who recently signified his intention to join the gubernatorial race), who is from the influential Adeleke dynasty in Ede and APC fields a candidate from another zone, even if APC can brag about bulk votes from Iwo, that will still be a big gamble it does not want to take going by figures from the latest Senatorial by-election and the damage may be incalculable.

Even though Iwo has been the traditional fortress of progressives in the Osun West, recent experiences should have taught the APC leaders the bitter lessons of assuming too much that “Iwo will always respond”. To avert a messy situation in the forthcoming election, APC leaders should field a strong candidate from Osun West. If they are to take my line of arguments and field a good politician from the zone, such may serve two strategic functions: first, it will placate the seeming eternal yearnings of Osun West people on their chance to produce the governor; second, it will neutralise the threats parties like the PDP might pose thereby reducing complications that might arise from other unpredictable areas like Ife which might prove really damaging to the APC’s chances.

APC leaders will be engaging in a big gamble should they fall for the temptation(s) to choose their flagbearer from Osun West. Too much is at stake in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state. Some of us are old enough to know the consequences of returning to our immediate dark past.

One good reason to return to this past will be APC’s choice of flagbearer outside Osun West. This will be a massive gamble with terrible implications!

Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and author of the fast-selling book WITNESSING THE CHANGE. He can be reached on +2348136502040, +2347081901080 or email: adgorwell@gmail.com. He tweets from @adgorwell. He blogs at http://olalekanadigun.com/

 

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Joe Igbokwe, Nnamdi Kanu And The Emperor’s New Clothes By Olalekan Adigun

The story is told of an Emperor whose obsession with clothes is second to none. His love for clothes was so much that he spent all his money on being well dressed. He cared less about state functions like warfare, people’s welfare, recreation, going to the theatre, or going for a ride in his carriage, except to show off his new clothes. He reportedly had a coat for every hour of the day, and instead of saying, as one might, about any other ruler, “The King’s in a meeting,” here they always said. “The Emperor’s in his dressing room.”

The interesting this about this story, writes Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, in his The Emperor’s New Clothes, is that, unknown to the Emperor, the King’s council members an equivalent of today’s cabinet, for fear of being seen as unfit for their positions, have perfected the art of making the King believe he’s always on new clothes. The members of the Council and his weavers who cannot get quality fabric, the Emperor thought he “…could tell the wise men from the fools.”

Incidentally, we have a new Emperor in town in Nigeria today. He has been referred to in different names by his most fanatical supporters. Some have described him as John the Baptist, laying the foundation for the coming of the Lord. Some ridiculous ones have even put him in the place or on equal footing with the Lord Himself. He is regarded by others as the “Supreme Leader” of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or the Igbos. He can do no wrong. His word is Law. If he issues any “command”, such “must be obeyed” without question. This new Emperor’s name is Nnamdi Kanu who dreams of leading a nation he calls Biafra!

Kanu, like his supporters, are deluded. His supporters are the most unfortunate. They echo whatever the Emperor says like a chorus. Like Boxer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm who’s never tired of saying, “If comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right”. Boxer is about the strongest of the animals in the farm, even stronger than Napoleon himself, yet he’s one of the least intelligent. It is on the army of this mass that the Emperor derives his power. Their ignorance is his is his wisdom; their poverty, his wealth; and their death, his life; their misery, his happiness; and their loss, his gain!

Few days ago, Joe Igbokwe, one of the few Igbos that refuses to see new clothes on the Emperor published his story in obvious response to Kanu who called him a “slave”. Joe published his “rags to riches” story of how he came from his village in Nnewi to Lagos in search of better life and economic prosperity. He explains why he owed everything to Lagos and why he always appreciates the state.  He served three different Governors (Tinubu, Fashola and Ambode) in high capacities even though he is Igbo, a feat even “indigenous” Lagosians cannot boast of.

Rather than his supporters to tell the Emperor he is walking naked and urge him to publish his own story, if he has any, many of them went on to tell Joe to keep quiet. Some of us fell the Emperor should simply have told us how better he is than Igbokwe. He should have told us how he graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He should have told us the businesses the Emperor engaged in while he was in London. We waited patiently to hear the jobs he did before he was appointed as director of Radio Biafra. It appears we will have to wait longer to hear all these. Some things are better kept secret!

Understandably, our Emperor’s won’t give up without a fight. On Friday 4 August 2017, I read an article under the title THE GAPS IN JOE IGBOKWE’S STORY by one Onyebuchi Ememanka published online by Scan News.

When I saw the captivating title “THE GAPS…” I felt it was time to demystify Joe Igbokwe. I thought it was time to see the lies, or exaggerations made by the APC  Lagos image maker. I became more excited I read the writer’s claim when he said, “For starters, I know Engr. Joe Igbokwe personally and I must say that he is a man I respect a lot.”

He went further to write, “For the seven years I spent in Lagos, I attended the same church with Igbokwe – St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church Aguda Surulere, one of the most powerful Anglican churches in Lagos and indeed Nigeria, both in terms of the quality of membership and evangelical depth. A full time Igbo church in Lagos, St. Barth’s is in a class of its own with one of the most fiery and charismatic Pastors, The Venerable Ben Nwanekwu.”

My excitements depreciated as I went on reading Onyebuchi’s article. There were no real “Gaps in Joe Igbokwe’s Story” as the title claimed. There were no exaggerations in Joe’s story either. The writer also made no attempt(s) to introduce irrelevances into his own story when he brought in a time when Lagos PDP Gubernatorial candidate visited their Church which saw the “entire church erupted in applause when he arrived.” The question I asked myself was, What “gaps” in Joe’s story does this fill?

If Joe’s offence was that he served in APC’s government under three different political administration or that he doesn’t make much noise about “going home” like most people do, in my opinion, he committed no offence and the writer goofed. Is Joe not supposed to be an adult that has the right to freedom of association under the 1999 Constitution? Joe is the spokesman of the party in Lagos. He is the manager of a large government agency in Lagos. He lives, like many of us in Lagos. He has a job to do in Lagos, what do you want him to always say? These are no easy jobs!

For the records, I am Igbomina from Kwara state. My father moved to Lagos before Independence with nothing. By sheer efforts, he built nine houses in Lagos. His only house in Ajase-Ipo was built for his aunt. I was born in Lagos. Apart from my two-year National Diploma (ND) in Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin in 2006, I have not visited the state. Does that make me less “Igbomina”?

If the Emperor’s supporters are sincere, they should be able to tell he is naked rather than saying he has new clothes!

Olalekan Waheed Adigun is a political risk analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns based in Lagos, Nigeria. Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.comadgorwell@gmail.com.  Follow me on Twitter: @adgorwell.

He is the author of the new book, Witnessing The Change.

 

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After A Pyrrhic Victory! By Olalekan Adigun

It has become a pastime for me to write about political parties and movements since I submitted my first degree dissertation, Political Parties and Democratization: The Effects of Party Politics on Nigeria’s Democratic Experience (2003-2011) at the Department of Political Science, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2012. My fascinations with political parties and elections started when I worked as a polling clerk, in a ward at Itire (in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos state) during the 2003 general elections which gave me insights into the drama of politicians (then in the old Alliance for Democracy, AD, and People’s Democratic Party, PDP) and elections. Writing about political parties and elections has become some sorts of hubby for me.

I gave this background against the request by someone who wondered why I am “always attacking the PDP” in all my write-ups. My response to him was that I never attack the PDP or any other political party for that matter unfairly at any time. I point out what they are not doing well for them to improve and commend when they are getting it right so that our democracy can thrive!

Before the “victory” (which I will call a Pyrrhic victory for obvious reasons) about a week ago, I was among the first commentators to warn PDP about making Ali Modu Sheriff its National Chairman. Understandably, blind party supporters who thought Governors Ayodele Fayose and Nyelsom Wike could do no wrong told me to mind my business which I did immediately after writing the article, PDP, WHO STOLE THY THINKING CAP? What happened later, as they say, is history!

After the “victory” I want to sound another warning. If the news making the rounds is anything to go by that Femi Fani-Kayode is interested in becoming the party Chair, I submit that things can only get worse, not better, for the crises-ridden party. Some people will ask or wonder why I made this point. Like Modu Sheriff, people like FFK, as he is fondly called by his supporters, are motivated by blind and unregulated ambition for power, money and in most cases, women. Femi does not hide the fact that a bowl of porridge is just enough to sell his birth right. Like Sheriff, he is a bad market for the already “brandless” PDP.

I am one of those who still maintain that one of the main reasons former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election is FFK.  GEJ’s appointment of someone like FFK to handle his media in a make or mar election like 2015 made things easier for the All Progressive Congress (APC) to unseat the PDP. It was goofing after goofing for the Ife man. He got nothing right and got everything wrong. The only thing he’s good at is insults, which has never won any arguments. Let me make this clear that the APC 2015 presidential campaign was not spectacular in any way but was made easier by poor agents like FFK.

Also, FFK as far as I know him has never headed any responsible party position successfully. He headed the 2015 GEJ media team which led to disaster. The Aviation ministry he headed is better not talked about. His profile in party management is nothing to write home about. Let me not bring in his father, Remi Fani-Kayode. That’s another story altogether!

Another candidate jostling for the position is Chief Bode George. I understand apart from his military career, he’s played active roles in PDP for several years. He’s also, from what I know, a loyal party man. Unlike FFK who can sell the party when its members are asleep if the price is right. George, was elected as PDP Deputy National Chairman (South) which makes him understand the internal workings of the party.

The greatest George’s undoing is his conviction for Corruption. Even though he was later pardoned by GEJ after being cleared disappointingly by the Supreme Court, many still see him as integrity-challenged. This was why I posted some days ago that the difference between George and FFK is like trying to look for the eldest among puppies.

While I think PDP will struggle hard to convince most Nigerians that it’s no longer the looting party it’s known to be should it elect Bode George, electing FFK will bury the party earlier than predicted!

Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and an independent political strategist for a range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/

Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080

Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com

 

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Political Suicide And Desperations In Obvious Quarters By Olalekan Adigun

They have killed him several times, yet he refused to die. They have told us he would never win, yet he won. They said that, by this time in his presidency, all Nigerians would have become Muslims. To actualize their claims, they cloned websites, including those of reputable media stations, just to prove to us that he was dead or as the lousiest among them said, “a walking corpse”. Since none of this will work, they resorted taking us back a familiar path, a military coup!

Some days after President Buhari proceeded on medical follow-up, some of our noisy neighbours came up with their usual display of ignorance once more. In compliance with section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) the President transmitted a notice, required by the clause, to the National Assembly indicating he had handed over the governance of the country to the Vice President, Professor YemiOsinbajo. Since it was clear they won’t read, they resorted to infantile criticism to a letter that cited portions of the Constitution.

After these detractors failed abysmally this time again to convince us of their intelligence, they needed something to divert public attention. They probably considered several options and settled for a coup d’état!

When I got the news that some unnamed junior military officers were planning a coup in the absence of the President, I knew there was no smoke without fire. They never denied it. In fact, one of their supporters, on Facebook (when asked if they could not wait till 2019 to acquire power through the ballot box) said the coup was necessary so they could not wait since the nation will be on fire before then. It was at that point I knew frustration had combined with the desperation which is the surest way to committing suicide!

For anyone to think of planning a coup in 21st century Nigeria, such a person must be far out of his mind. As I write, in Africa, virtually, if not all political leaders are now democratically elected. Since military takeovers are no longer celebrated in the continent, this convinces me that the era of military rulersis long gone. Africa has joined the rest of the civilized world in adopting democracy. The world, Nigeria inclusive, has and continue to condemn coups. So whoever is planning a coup in Nigeria today may just be on a misadventure. It’s the surest way to committing suicide!

Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN is a political analyst and an independent political strategist for a wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

His write-ups can be viewed on his website http://olalekanadigun.com/ Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080;

Email: olalekan@olalekanadigun.com, adgorwell@gmail.com  Follow me on twitter @adgorwell

 

 

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