THE political war of attrition between the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, and some of the leaders of the party like governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun) and Rochas Okorocha (Imo) is yet to abate. Like the controversy trailing President Muhammadu Buhari’s certificate, it has become like the proverbial coconut leaves – the more you cook it, the more ferocious it becomes; it does not just rain, it pours. Why WAEC joined the fray to soil its hands remains to be seen but the controversy over whose brainchild the initiative was – Buhari’s or WAEC’s – is enough to rubbish the initiative and call the integrity of the “attestation” issued to Buhari by WAEC to question. Buhari has contested elections since 2003; why was the latest WAEC “attestation” option not explored on those occasions rather than the tortuous and difficult-to-comprehend option of court affidavit? Rather than lay the controversy to rest, WAEC has only helped Buhari sink deeper in the miry clay in the same way the festering crisis which has engulfed APC over its primaries daily exposes the doublespeak and hypocrisy of all the gladiators.
For instance, the impunity that Oshiomhole perpetrated in Edo state when he was governor, fighting to the finish with his deputy and imposing the new governor, is the same he is now railing against in Imo, Ogun, and other places. If Oshiomhole has faltering memory, many other Nigerians do not. Shouldn’t what is sauce for Oshiomhole also be sauce for Amosun, Okorocha et al? Oshiomhole rails against emperors and dynasty-builders but who is a better culprit than his godfather, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whose shenanigans the APC national chairman so unabashedly supported and advanced in Lagos state while shooting down the kites of others? As mouth-gaping as Okorocha’s empire-building project in Imo would appear, can it be worse than Tinubu’s vice-like grip over Lagos state? Why is Oshiomhole railing at and frustrating one but helping to consolidate the other?
In his scantily-concealed diatribes against “emperor” Tinubu, Amosun pretends not to know that the Ogun State where he holds court today is part of the empire conquered by Tinubu in 2011. Before then, Amosun had sought the governorship but fell short. It took the “war efforts” of Tinubu’s rampaging political armada to collect Ogun for Amosun in 2011. Has he forgotten? Amosun is meant to be a mere “Ajele;” Ogun over which he presides being an outpost of Tinubu’s political empire headquartered in Lagos. But history records many an Amosun who turned rebellious and broke ranks with varying degrees of success or outright defeat. Amosun’s efforts to assert his independence and create his own dynasty are now being frustrated by those who planted him in power in the first place. What atrocities has Tinubu perpetrated in Lagos or elsewhere that is worse than what Amosun himself has done and wants to advance in Ogun in his audacious efforts to impose his whims and caprices on the state, not minding the presence of a sitting Vice President and other political juggernauts who have a stake to the state?
Facing Oshiomhole, Amosun reminded the rampaging bull in APC’s china shop that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. In that, the Ogun governor is damn right, but are his own hands cleaner than Oshiomhole’s? How can a man like Amosun, who has been in the fore-front of APC’s “demolition squad” perpetrating electoral heist in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun speak glibly of justice? Is he not aware scripture stipulates a man necessarily must reap what he sows? A man who sowed tears and sorrow in other people’s compound must return to reap same in his own backyard. The Law of Karma! What goes around comes around! But let Tinubu or Oshiomhole and others such as Obaseki in Edo, Akeredolu in Ondo, Fayemi in Ekiti, and in-coming Oyetola in Osun and everyone else who had a hand in the daylight election robberies perpetrated in those states never think they will escape their due recompense. Justice is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. The Lord told the prophet Habakkuk that it may tarry but it will surely come. It is Amosun et al’s time of retribution today; others will take their turn down the road. But as Amosun plots his next moves; he should read what follows. Titled “Will Amosun repeat OGD’s mistakes”; it was first published in my “Treasures” column in the New Telegraph newspaper of Wednesday, November 8, 2018.
George Santayana’s words and those of other sages like him remain immortal; to wit, that if there is any lesson history teaches; it is that men seldom learn from history. And those who fail to learn from history are often condemned to repeating its mistakes. The pair of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels also posited that human memory is very short. Human memory must be very short indeed for Gov. Ibikunle Amosun to be contemplating the very same mistake that his predecessor, former Gov. Gbenga Daniel aka OGD, made less than eight years ago. If Zik is right in his polemics with a Colonial officer that you cannot execute the same wrong policies and get a different result, then, it follows that if Amosun repeats the same mistakes that OGD made in 2011, he will most likely get the same disastrous results that OGD got in 2011. Incidentally, OGD’s mistakes of 2011 paved the way for Amosun to snatch victory in that year’s governorship election in Ogun state, under the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-inspired Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), beating OGD’s candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI), who contested under the platform of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) hurriedly put together by OGD to spite Obasanjo; and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, retired Gen. Adetunji Olurin, imposed by ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo and OGD had turned Ogun State into a political battle-field of sorts; having suffered the excesses of Obasanjo as sitting president for a gruelling four years (2003 – 2007), OGD in his second term (2007 – 2011) decided, after due consultation with his kitchen cabinet, “no more”. OGD leveraged on his position as sitting governor and leader of the party in the State but ex-President Obasanjo and his forces, which at a point included the dreaded Kashamu Buruji, fought back so ferociously that they made Ogun state virtually ungovernable for OGD. The State House of Assembly soon became the epicentre of many battles for supremacy, with the removal of OGD’s crony, Mrs. Titi Oseni, as speaker.
GNI was a brilliant and smart technocrat; one of the “Young Turks” credited with the OGD economic blueprint that produced stunning results which rapidly transformed Ogun from a sleepy civil service state to an investor’s destination of choice. Truth be told, OGD’s first tenure (2003 – 2007) brought massive economic transformation to Ogun; had he thrown in the towel at that point, he would have left the scene when the ovation was loudest. His second term (2007-20110) was marred largely by the many battles for survival that he had to fight. Up to a point he rode the storms and had the upper hand. After he finally settled down for GNI as his choice as successor out of a motley crew of jostlers, everyone around started seeing and addressing GNI as “Your Excellency” People had started currying favours from, and worming themselves into GNI’s heart. The governorship all appeared signed, sealed, and only waiting to be delivered. GNI at that point must also have started seeing himself as “governor-designate” All of a sudden, however, the tables turned. OGD could not get the PDP ticket for GNI; Obasanjo used his bigger and stronger political flexes to muscle OGD and his godson out of the way. OGD’s political group decided to move into another party, hence the PPN – but OGD himself faced a dilemma. He did not want to be seen as an antagonist to circumstantial President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2011 presidential ambition. Moreover, OGD was appointed the South-west coordinator of Jonathan’s campaign. So, OGD got stuck in PDP even though he had pushed his vibrant political forces into PPN, where they became rudderless and leaderless, so to say. Confusion and uncertainty set in. Many began to retrace their footsteps to PDP; others left for other parties, including ACN. OGD was a sorry sight to behold: A PDP sitting governor sponsoring a governorship candidate under the platform of another political party; a South-west coordinator of Jonathan’s campaign who asked his supporters to vote PDP in the presidential election but PPN in the governorship!
Jonathan won as president but GNI lost the governorship. It was a three-horse race between GNI, Amosun, and Olurin. The balkanisation of PDP’s votes paved the way for Amosun to win the laurel. The combination of PPN and PDP’s votes surpassed Amosun’s. One would have thought that fair is fair; after all, life itself is: win some; lose some! Unfortunately for OGD, politics is not like that. You must have heard politicians say that all politics is local. Once a leader loses his political base, he loses relevance and dangles in the air. He may become an “Abuja politician”, as they are derisively called; and that is if he is lucky to land an appointment there or gets himself into the Senate as many ex-governors are wont to do these days. If, in his ongoing face-off with the APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, over the party’s primaries that have become “yonpon-yanrin”, Amosun toes the path that OGD toed in 2011, it is likely he ends up in the same cul-de-sac that OGD ended up in, in 2011. He cannot remain in APC to campaign for President Muhammadu Buhari and send his political forces into another party to contest the 2019 Ogun State governorship election. A Yoruba proverb literally interpreted says if you want to be a leper, be a proper leper; and if you want to be blind, make sure you are blind in both eyes. To be blind in just one eye causes confusion. That is when you see an elephant and say you have just seen a grasshopper. Amosun cannot have his cake and eat it. I hope Baba Onifila Gogoro is listening!
LAST WORD: Ekiti PDP’s ongoing tomfoolery can only happen to eni ti edi mu. Ekiti APC’s famous incantation and enchantment powers must be working wonders. More on that next week, God willing!