OSUN DEFENDER man, Bunmi Akintayo last week had a chance meet with Professor Sola Adeyeye who spoke on sundry topical issues concerning the nation at large and Osun State in particular. Adeyeye is the senatorial candidate under the aegis of Action Congress (AC) in the election which result is being contested at the Election Petitions Tribunal, Osogbo.
It is two months now that elections were held and results announced. But peace remained elusive in Osun State. Why is this so Prof?
The absence of peace in any society is directly correlated with the absence of justice. What we saw in April 2007 was a naked abuse of federal might to subvert the mandate of the people in Nigeria, particularly in Osun State. The people are severe prodding of terror and tyranny. And the tyrants are doing everything to break the spirit of the people. But we thank God that they will not succeed.
Only recently, the PDP too started to place paid advertorials in the media to portray the AC as the masterminds of political crisis in Osun State. All along it had been the AC accusing the Governor-Oyinlola-led PDP as the architect of oppression and terrorism as well as the aggressor. How do you view this latest twist?
I pray to God that very soon in His omnipotent, he will expose the lies of the PDP. The truth of the matter is that, the AC did not and presently does not have the apparatus of power in Osun State. So the AC is in no means positioned to terrorize the PDP. What we have had before, during and after the election has been the use of the apparatus of State to intimidate, harass and hound our people all over the place. People who are innocent are being arrested over concocted charges. People are even being locked up before they are charged. People are being wounded physically and the truth of the matter is that the PDP knows that its members are the aggressors. The party knows that it is the terrorists. It knows that its members are breaking the laws of God and man. And by the grace of God, it would not be long that God will recompense them in full measure.
In 2003 when Oyinlola was declared the winner of the gubernatorial election to unseat Chief Bisi Akande, there was no noise. Why do we have so much noise and rejection from the people in 2007, four years after because Oyinlola is returned to office?
The truth of the matter is that there is a pattern throughout the Yoruba land. In our history as a people, it has become the norm that if you rig elections the first time, the people are usually taciturn; they usually give the system that benefit of the doubt to self-correction. But when you go further to inflict the same pain on the people a second or third time, it a natural human tendency to say, we have had enough.
Particularly, the people of Osun State have had the opportunity to compare four years of the administration of Akande with the four years of Oyinlola. And quite frankly, the people, throughout the length and breadth of Osun, have found Oyinlola to be very wanting.
And therefore with their thumbs, overwhelmingly, the people rejected continuation of Oyinlola in office. They trooped to the polling booths, they voted for the AC gubernatorial flag bearer, Aregbesola and other candidates. But unfortunately, the PDP used the apparatus of incumbency to pervert and thwart the election process.
But we are confident in God and in the process, that the election petition tribunal will soon do that which is right. So, personally, it is easy for me to understand why the cup of iniquity of the PDP, having run over, makes our people to boil with righteous indignation.
And yet despite that, our people have maintained a posture of peace, believing that it is in our own interest to allow peace to reign, except that the PDP forgets that peace never reigned in a society that is run on the platform of injustice.
The PDP is predominantly conservative and the Yoruba South-west has all along being the base of the progressives. But in 2003, the conservatives made an inroad into the South-west politics. Many believed that the tide would change in April 2007, but the PDP held on to all the states in the zone except Lagos. What is responsible for this? Can we conclude that the Yoruba have bidden progressive politics the final bye?
Absolutely no. What we have right now is a fraud. What we have right now is an imposition and quite frankly, what we have is a civilian coup. It is the use of the instrument of terror to subvert the electoral wish of the people. But I don’t think it will stand. And I have always told my people to be patient and allow the tribunal to run full course. But I am confident that the overwhelming lesson of history is that on the long run, no matter how tortuous the journey may be, the tyrants always meet their waterloo.
You see, there is something in man, an indefatigable spirit that makes him the image of his creator. The spirit will always attract itself, always rise to challenge and triumph over all forces of tyranny and oppression. That is why I am not entertaining any doubt that when this process would run full course, the PDP would have found itself the loser, not only in Osun State, I believe, in the vast majority of the South western states.
The leadership of the security agencies in Osun State had come under severe criticism of members of the AC. Specifically, the leadership of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Police was often accused of aiding and abetting the Oyinlola administration to victimize the opposition. In two quick successions, both the SSS director and the Police Commissioner were moved. What does their exit portend for Osun State?
I hope it is the beginning of a ray of hope, though it is too early to say. But as for the removal of the Commissioner of Police, all I can say is that it is good riddance to bad rubbish. While he was in Osun State, the Commissioner of Police reduced the Ngerian police to PDP police. For four years, I have the pleasure and with responsibility of representing the people of Ila/Ifedayo/Boluwaduro Federal Constituency and I can tell numerous tales of the harassment of the opposition.
In effect, the Commissioner of Police tried to reduce Osun to a one-party state. of course, he would give you a semblance of not being partisan, but when the chips were down, there was no question that the Police Commissioner in Osun State was partisan and was far from being fair to the people of Osun State, especially to members of the Action Congress.
Almost every member of your party is relying on the election petition tribunal for justice. What gives you the confidence that what the INEC denied you through the ballot would be given to you in the court of the tribunal?
My confidence is that in the last 18 months, we have seen ray and beams of hope from the nation’s judiciary that it cannot be teleguided. That it cannot be turned into engine of victimization and harassment. That it cannot be turned into an appendage of the executive to impose the will of a cabal on the nation. I am praying to God that the judiciary will live up to this most glorious and inspiring trend that we have seen of late. That’s what gives me the confidence.
But how long will this struggle go? Won’t the expectations of the people wane?
It would go for as long as it will take. John F. Kennedy long ago said that those who made peaceful change impossible will make violent change inevitable. I subscribe to the doctrine of the Prince of peace, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I am a good student of the Great Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. who preached social change through non-violence struggle.
But I am also a student of history, and I know that dialectical processes can never be circumvented. So if these power mongers, the cabal that hoisting their evil machinations throughout the length and breadth of our republic continue to do so, it is a matter of time, before they will create a vortex that will carry them to their own doom.