BY ADEMOLA YAYA
PLATO said, “No one is more hated than he who speaks the truth.” From 2021 especially in the period leading to Osun APC Ward, Local and State congresses, I had continuously warned Governor Oyetola and his IleriOluwa caucus to tread softly and accommodate the wishes of majority of APC members. In the July 24, 2021 edition, which was about a week to Osun APC July 31, 2021 Ward Congress, I wrote, “in the newly appointed caretaker committee contraption and aberration unknown to letters and spirit of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, Governor Oyetola clinically ensured that nobody with affiliation with Ogbeni emerged. Everyone who is suspected to be affiliated with TOP is edged out of the local government caretakers. It was IleriOluwa all through! Again, TOP Coordinator in Isokan Local Government, Hon. Tunde Boladale, was invited by the State Security Service (SSS) for questioning over pettiness of an alleged abuse of Governor Oyetola in a heated debate between the Hounorable and an IleriOluwa follower. These developments have polarised the party and put it in a delicate position to win in any future democratic election in the state…….July 31st ward congress will be the template upon which the dangling soul of the party will be rescued or lost.”
Furthermore, on 3rd of August, 2021 edition titled “Fallout From Osun APC Ward Congress” to dissect Osun APC July 31, 2021 Ward Congress where governor Oyetola’s faction of the party, which didn’t prepare for election that majority of the party members wanted, hired thugs and security men to intimidate, harass and chase party members away from voting to choose their leaders, I wrote in the last two paragraphs, “Deceiving people is one thing; self-deception is a path to perdition. Osun APC is suffering from epidural haemorrhage inflicted on it by IleriOluwa caucus. If it is not too late, Governor Gboyega Oyetola and his IleriOluwa caucus must quickly abandon braggadocio and self-deceit, return to playing by party rules and regulations for level contests if they believe they are popular or, if in self-doubt as they are, seek true reconciliation with all aggrieved party leaders and members. A seasoned politician must be able to hold forth his/her party first and aggressively woo other party members, even main opposition, to his/her fold. It is incongruous for a governor to alienate his party Vice Chairman, State Secretary and other leaders only to be hobnobbing with the Chairman and some lesser officers.”
“A tree does not make forest. It is only a cohesive party that can canvass popular votes before elections, defend its votes from being manipulated or stolen during elections and be committed to sacrifice everything to assure victory. A governor earnestly seeking a second term would not actively partake in actions and inactions that will polarise his party. It is against the rule. If the local and state congresses met this messy situation on ground, the caucus 4+4=8 mantra will not only be a farce but an illusion in delusion. A Yoruba adage will say: You’re not wanted in town but waxing song, if the song is ready, who will chorus it for you? A word should be enough for the wise.”
Again, on 27th August, 2021, a week to Osun APC Local Government Congress slated for 4th September, 2021, I wrote, “Meanwhile, Local Government Congress is slated for September 4 and the outcome of the resolution of the controversial ward congress will be the template with which it will be built. If the APC National Secretariat could not resolve the matter before then, Osun Local Government Congress may be postponed. If it is not postponed, other caucuses like TOP who felt cheated may head to court to halt the process or boycott the exercise as nothing can be built on nothing. Whichever way, it is such that apart from a fair resolution of outstanding issues by the National Secretariat, Osun APC is in self-inflicted crisis that has capacity to consume it. I am very familiar with ‘stooping to conquer’, grandstanding to be defeated is alien to me. Governor Oyetola is the one who is ambitious to come back as a governor for second term. Such a person should be tolerant and not be seen as to be alienating and confrontational. Opposition to Oyetola’s ambition within his party is very stupendous because of his alienation and confrontational posture. This is just one leg. Another is an average voter who is not a card-carrying member but studying attitude and disposition of political players in both the ruling and opposition parties to determining who he votes in general election. Except Oyetola knows what nobody knows, vote is a function of number. How could the State Government at all, under his watch, arraign Elder Lowo Adebiyi, immediate past APC State Chairman; Hon. Rasaq Salinsile, Caretaker State Secretary of the party; Hon. Biyi Odunlade, immediate past Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Special Needs and a Chieftain of TOP who recently, after the ward congress appeal hearing, survived assassination attempt and his property and home vandalised; Barr. Gbenga Akano, immediate past Assistant Chief of Staff; Engr. Kazeem Salami, former Commissioner for Works and Transport; Alaba Popoola, APC member in Ilesa and Azeez Adekunle before Magistrate Olusegun Ayilara for a trumped-up charges, following their leadership roles in the ward congress appeal committee with the intention to send them to correctional centre?” I concluded in the article with this, “A pest digs its grave, thinking it is wreaking havoc on its host. Although, no candidate has yet emerged, July 16, 2022 electoral examination is fast approaching and any candidate that eventually emerges and chooses to relegate serious studies to the background but relies on cheating (aka ‘espo’) is bound to fail. Hard work, tolerance, cooperation and wooing opposition to one’s side, having consolidated one’s house, is the potent way to electoral success. A clever physically challenged person does not perish in a notified war. An elderly masquerade dances gently. A word seems to be enough for the wise.”
In February 22 edition, I wrote again, titled, “APC Primaries: Victory Built On Sand” where I exhibited how shambolic the exercise – 19 February, 2022 APC governorship primary – was. On 14 June, 2022 edition which was about 3 weeks to July 16, 2022 governorship election, I wrote under the title, “Osun APC: Getting Political Sense,” “Having won the primary despite the glaring inadequacies here and there, instead of closing ranks and assuage those aggrieved by bringing everybody to the house, Governor Oyetola again chose to look away and further went for the heads of his perceived enemies in the party. Just like 19th February charade tagged primary, exact scenario played out in the May 26, 27 and 29 primaries for the aspirants contesting State House of Assembly, House of Representatives and Senate respectively. As I write, Osun APC is yet to announce winners of the State House of Assembly primaries which never took place but the pattern is clear – write out preferred names of “loyalists” and submit to the national secretariat and INEC as APC candidates. Oyetola/Famodun leadership must be living in self-delusion that holding the list of those it imposed on the party members till after July 16 election will be a face-saving triumph. No, it won’t! People are no fools. Right from the 19th February charade, some APC members have been constantly defecting to PDP. This latest House of Assembly kangaroo with which form was bought at N2million, refusal to conduct primaries and imposition of candidates on the people, especially without refund of their money cannot boost party fortunes. This latest action has forced a lot of APC members, again, especially those aspirants who felt cheated with the kangaroo primaries, to seek other political parties to contest the State Assembly Election. These protestants, with their supporters in droves, will definitely vote for their new parties on July 16. This is a political haemorrhage for APC. Despite that, some hardcore progressives who find it difficult to be comfortable anywhere else passively remain in APC, it has lost and continued to lose so many grassroots mobilisers and canvassers to feeling of disdain from the party leadership as some are being treated like common criminals for no justifiable reason.”
I concluded that, “Oyetola should learn from Asiwaju. Despite bickering, hue and cry against some perceived “ingrates” and “disloyal allies” before the 8th June, 2022 APC presidential primary, immediately he won and became the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju immediately visited all his co-contestants and closed ranks with them that his winning is a collective project. In bourgeois politics, a smart leader will do almost everything to win every member of his/her party people to his/her side and try to genuinely recruit from the opposition if opportunity presents itself rather than alienation and persecution of grassroots party members on an alleged loyalty to a perceived enemy-within who is a potential ally. Three weeks is a very long time in political calculation and permutation. In the July 16 governorship election, no political party will have monopoly of votes buying, use thugs and other anti-democratic tendencies. What will matter most are party structures, dedication of members at grassroots, and the implacable logic of the non-aligned majority of the electorates who had witnessed the negativities of the disruptive proceedings for over three years.”
Therefore, poor management of intra-party crises and poor choices made led to APC defeat in the July 16 governorship election to opposition PDP. The buck passing and blame that Aregbesola factor was responsible for the defeat is illogical. Lessons have been learnt. What matters now is how to come together for Asiwaju victory that is already encountering challenges instead of travelling the same egoistic and foolhardy road that led APC to avoidable debacle in the July 16 elections in the first instance. Only fools do same thing repeatedly and expect different result. I only hope that voice of reason will prevail over inordinate misadventure in politics.