Truth Of The Matter With AYEKOOTO
The Osun 2018 gubernatorial election has come and gone. But its ripple effects will not go away for a long time to come. Ambitions were exhibited at high and low levels, some inordinate, right from the time of the primaries, down to the elections proper. There’s no gain saying that most contestants that came out did not even take proper time to test the waters before jumping into it, and had to beat a three-hundred and sixty degree retreat even before the heat started. Also, there were some who merely came out to be noticed and possibly get some crumbs of appointment when the eventual winner would have emerged. Someone even told me in confidence that some of the candidates or aspirants as the case may be, are into the race for instant economic gains. How this is possible still confounds me. But as in most things that occurred during the election, nothing is impossible or could be ruled out. The rumour mill even had it that a particular candidate was asked to step down after being offered a humongous financial reward by a big-fish and candidate of an opposition party. It is democratic inclusion taken too far to be in a contest for such unserious and selfish reasons. But I often ask myself: what could make one enter into a race not to win and to beat a tactical retreat even before the whistle was blown.
Another disturbing aspect of the election is the winning or losing statistics that emanated from the polls. It shows that we are not yet ready to jettison sectional or what I call clannish bias over competence. We still see leadership as wherefrom as we seriously had during the primaries. For clarity, neither Osun nor any of the thirty-six states in Nigeria has gotten to a stage where running on autopilot, a case where we can comfortably elect ‘just’ anyone to fill the governorship space and be sure that the wheel of governance will still run with little or no hiccup. We are in a developing society. At this stage in our epoch, we need trusted, tested and highly committed leaders to steer the ship of state. We need that person, like Ogbeni, who possesses vision and will not shy away from the mission which destiny has thrusted upon him or her. I’ve said it months back that what we need in Osun is definitely an Adegboyega Oyetola, who has piles of experience in his trail, who has the emotional intelligence as well as deep hands on the job to pilot us through the shaky waves of our developmental journey in Osun. He has the professional and political connections to leverage the enormous tasks ahead.
But unfortunately, many do not see the wisdom behind choosing an experienced technocrat turned politician called Oyetola. What many are clamouring for is a clannish agenda as if that will guarantee good governance which we all crave. In politics, your kinsman can be your undoing while someone from the other part of the state or country could be your messiah. If clannish consideration is what brings far-reaching development, an Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidency would have turned all states in the west of Nigeria to an Eldorado, Ogun being a special reference point. His presidency would have turned the City of Abeokuta, Sanngo-Otta town which harbours his vast farms or an Ibogun village, his homestead, into a mini Dubai. But sadly, the entire west was the worst for it during Obasanjo’s reign. Lagos, for example, will not forget in good time how it was financially strangulated because of a mere constitutional crisis over local government creation, which could have been resolved over the phone or, at worst, through the court processes which was eventually applied.
All the above make me wonder if we will ever make progress in Osun if we refuse to change from our primordially-engendered voting pattern which we witnessed in the last gubernatorial election. Check the political base of the major candidates and see the bulk vote pattern. Candidates Moshood Adeoti, Ademola Adeleke, Iyiola Omisore, as well as even our own Ilerioluwa had their bulk votes from their respective zones or local governments. Even though the incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola was not a contestant in the race, he was an interested party by association. It is easy to say that the candidates are popular in their respective bases, and to even go further to say all politics is local. But developmental politics has moved beyond that. I would have expected a scenario where a candidate may not be outrightly rejected in his or her areas of origin but massively voted for in certain one or more areas outside.
The fact that Ogbeni couldn’t impressively win his area of origin points to two salient points which elude some observers. One, it means that the Ijeshas are probably politically advanced beyond sectional interests. Two, it could point out the person of Ogbeni, like many Ijeshas of his ilk, who does not discriminate between an indigene and a non-indigene in giving largesse. In this case, they might be expecting to be given preferential treatment far and above others.
- To be continued