Osun State Is Broke

•Govt Functionaries Go Aborrowing • Debts In Geometric Leap

THINGS are no longer at ease with Osun State, as many projects will have to suffer; arrears and
entitlements have to be paid piece-meal; for the account of the state is in red.

According to investigations conducted by OSUN DEFENDER, the state treasury, is near empty, a situation that has taken toll on the finances of the government and lately the sign of bankruptcy has clearly manifested in all government dealings.

Findings revealed that the political intrigues, spend-thrift and debts servicing are the festering sores that have drained the coffers of the state; a situation that has compelled some political functionaries to go aborrowing.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the fear of the unknown over the litigation, resulting from the electoral dispute that greeted the declaration of the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the winner of last year’s controversial governorship election, was an area that a political pundit pointed at; as a cause of reckless spending.

It would be recalled that the State Action Congress (AC) standard-bearer, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola, last year, dragged Oyinlola, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police to the election petitions tribunal that sat in Osogbo.

When it was also reported that one of the respondent’s lawyers, Mr Kunle Kalejaiye was having familiar but secret conversations with the tribunal chairman, Justice Thomas Naron and one other judge, Aregbesola expressed his dissatisfaction with the tribunal’s ruling that further confirmed the victory of Oyinlola and appealed on eleven grounds, why the verdict must be upturned.

Information at the disposal of OSUN DEFENDER has it that the heat the reported secret conversations and the attendant hues and cries, which have succeeded in drawing the attention of the bar and National Judicial Council (NJC) into the probe of the matter has reportedly sent jitters down the spine of the ruling class.

It was learnt that political functionaries in the state are currently embarking on spending spree, with a view to creating financial quagmire for the successive government.

As the governor is contending with the electoral dispute at the Court of Appeal, the 30 local government council chairmen in the state are also negating their fate at the same Court of Appeal.

Besides frequent trips of the governor and his deputy abroad have been adopted lately by the council bosses, who have, in turn, added their children and wives to the protocol list, a scenario that has nearly emptied the state and councils’ treasuries.

OSUN DEFENDER further gathered the state is so broke that the last trip made by the governor to China was greased with dried palm, as the people on the entourage are yet to receive their estacodes.

While it was learnt that mountain of arrears and entitlements are yet to be paid, some members of the last House of Assembly have just collected their severance allowances.

Speaking on the development, Osun State House of Assembly, Speaker, Adejare Bello, who granted an interview with OSUN DEFENDER last week; said that the governor should not be held responsible for the hard times, saying that he (Oyinlola) should rather be commended for adhering strictly to the budget.

“We are in the House to defend the interest of our people and to be frank, the governor is a man, who is conscious of legal implications of his every step. So, we have not found him wanton, except some critics who are hell-bent in blackmailing the government.

However, the State Director of Strategies for AC, Mr. Sunday Akere has aligned with the submissions of the political pundits who attributed the empty treasury to the reckless spending of the political office holders and the misappropriation of priorities of the state.

“Osun State has potentials and potentialities to grow and has a fat coffer, but those who are holding forte at our political posts are reckless spenders, self-centred and visionless. So, what do you expect? We condemn their frequent trips aboard in totality. It has no result and of no economic value, but a conduit pipe through which our collective monies are misappropriated;” said Akere.

In his reaction, the founder of Campaign for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP), Chief Amitolu Shittu expressed his disgust about the lean state of the state treasury; saying that the governor and the council chairmen should submit themselves for scrutiny.

“We have an investigation about the state of the treasury and we know how empty it is. This is an unacceptable trend and we are calling for the probe of the expenditure of our governor and council chairmen,” said Shittu.

Osun Council Chairmen And Wasteful Foreign Retreat

With the recent trip to South Africa by the council bosses in Osun State to have a retreat, there seems to be no end in sight to the cultures of exravagance, financial recklessness and wastage of our commonwealth, for as long as the PDP is still sitting at the helms of affairs in this state. Not a few people were taken aback by the wasteful conduct of these council chairmen who travelled to South Africa recently in the name of retreat, even when their duties are left undone.

What is happening in Osun State is a manifestation of the saying that-when the head is bad, the whole body is definitely in shamble. The nitty-gritty concerning the culture of wastage prevalent in the state today is woven round the kind of leadership that the PDP is imposing on the people in the contemporary Nigeria. Leaders who lack vision and who do not posses, even, the modicum idea of good governance can not be expected to deliver the goods. They are absolutely incapable of using power to benefit the people since, ab-initio, they didn’t have a faint idea of what to do with power. From national to state-down to local level, mediocrity characterises leadership as imposed by the PDP through electoral brigandage. This is why it may be tantamount to crying for the moon by expecting any impressive performance from such ‘representatives’.

But it is a worst scenario in Osun State where the helmsman is squandering the resources of the state with impunity. The ‘governor’ of the state today in person of Olagunsoye Oyinlola does not care a hoot about the welfare of the people. Neither does he bother about giving the people the deserved dividends of democracy. No wonder, one of the world eminent scholars, Professor Wole Soyinka recently refered to him as ‘ a misgoverned governor’. This is because he is the best example of non-performing governors in the federation today. Oyinlola’s failure to set a good example in governance has provided an alibi for his council chairmen to also put on the garb of non-performance and engage in profligacy. As if their do-nothing postures are not enough, they have started embarking on useless and wasteful foreign trips in the name of retreat as exemplified by their recent trip to South Africa. By this, they have taken after their political god-father, ‘governor’ Oyinlola who revels in junketing arround the world, wasting the state’s resourses in the name of soliciting for foreign investors.

Indisputably, embarking on useless foreign trips in the name of searching for investors has been the major achievement of Oyinlola since he came to power through crookery and there is no any investment on the ground to really justify his incessant foreign trips. That the Osun council chairmen have imbibed the culture of wastage from Oyinlola is no supprise. It is no supprise because Oyinlola himself has not been called to order by a higher authority since.

While we are not opposed to the chairmen having a retreat – only if such is genuinely aimed at deliberating on issues bothering on the development of their councils, we frown at a situation whereby the chairmen abadon their official duties and responsibilities only to embark on useless trips abroad in the name of any retreat that doesn’t do the state any good. Or of what importance is a retreat in South Africa when those jobs for which they were (un)elected to do suffer negligence? Of what need is a retreat in a foreign land when, of course, there are more than enough comfortable places here where such retreat can take place? The trip, we affirm, is needles. It is basically fruitless. The whole excercise is nothing but part of those gimmicks usually employed by opportunists and squandermaniacs in power to waste our collective resources.

It is in the same vein that we also found condemnable, the idea of council executives using the resources meant for the development of the state to send their wives and children on holiday overseas. This level, to which governance has degenerated under the PDP is the worst form of misgovernance in the annals of this state and it is high time these squandermaniacs at the helms of affairs in the state were called to order by higher authorities. So they dont milk the state dry through their recklessness and acts of profligacy.

We once again call on the relevant authorities-the ICPC and EFCC especially, not to relent on their new-found commendable courage to rid the state of corruption.

Youths Attack Local Govewrnment Council Chairman

CONFUSION reportedly broke out in Ikirun, headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Council Area of Osun State when some youths believed to be from ward I, attacked the chairman of the council, Mr. Sarafadeen Awotunde, over the poor state of roads in the council area.

OSUN DEFENDER learnt that the youths demonstrations nearly degenerated into a total breakdown of law and order, but for the quick intervention of security operatives, who were on hand to calm frayed nerves at the scene.

It was gathered that the chairman, in the company of the Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Abdulrauf Adedeji and a Special Adviser to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Hon. Hassan Adegoke were touring some parts of the town as practised annually as part of the royal visit to all quarters within the ancient town

The entourage, OSUN DEFENDER gathered, while passing through the Otoki area of the town witnessed the barricading of the roads by the youths who reportedly started singing song against the chairman.

“Tell Sarafa Spain to construct our roads for us, afterall, his boss (Oyinlola) has embezzled the money initially meant for the project,” chorused, the youths.

One of the protesters told OSUN DEFENDER that he (the chairman) is a car freak, adding that within a span of ten months of his chairmanship, he has acquired about seven exotic cars, wondering what the number would be at the end of his tenure.

“Look, Sarafa has been so self-centred that he once seized the bus meant for the legislators for personal use, until he was reported to Oyinlola, who had to scold him for his actions,” the source added.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the Otiki road project was part of the “honey comb” projects that had been paid-for by the immediate past administration of Prince Bola Ajao.

The medium also learnt that some aggrieved members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the council area are planning to influence their councilors towards impeaching the chairman for what they referred to as maladministration and corrupt practices. Their moves were as a result of the chairman’s unsuccessful defence of how he spent close to N1 billion accrued to the local government since his inauguration early in the year.

The party, currently enmeshed in various crisis, is currently finding it very difficult to keep a united house as some members are also threatening to recall some councilors, especially the majority leader, who they believe has become a stooge of the chairman.


Husband, Pregnant Wife Remanded Over N1m Fraud

FOR allegedly defrauding a pastor, Mr, Fakorede Emmanuel and other business men and women, an Osogbo magistrate’s court has remanded in custody, one Tajudeen Akande and his wife, Idayat.

The charge sheet read in court last Friday showed that the duo colluded and defrauded the pastor and other plaintiffs of the sum of N1,118,200, under the pretence that they (suspects) would supply bags of rice, beans and vegetable oil to the complainants.

According to the charge sheet: “The suspects between the months of August and September, 2008, in Ikirun, Ifelodun Local Government Council Area of Osun State, collected the sum of N410,000 from one Wumi Okeola, N148,000 from Alhaja Mujidat Afolabi and the sum of N114,000 from one Asiata Babalola”.

It maintained that, the accused persons under false pretence collected the sum of N380,000 from Ayobami Otitoola, N127,600 from Pastor Emmanuel; N104, from Oladimeji Kehinde and N75,600 from Folake Mafikoya.

The charge sheet also claimed that the husband and the pregnant wife collected N104,000 from Olanike Wahab and N35,000 from Shade Oyeniyi, with an agreement that they would be supplied bags of rice, beans and turkey brand of vegetable oil.

Applying for the bail of the suspects, the defence counsel Mr, Wasiu Adebayo, said the litigation against the suspects was a business transaction which later went awry.

Adebayo added that the charge against the accused was frivolous, stressing that the suspects remained innocent until contrary is proved in a court of law.

He assured the court that reliable sureties would stand for the accused persons, pleading that they should be admitted to bail in the most liberal terms.

Assuring that the suspects would not jump bail, Adebayo prayed the court to exercise his discretion in favour of the accused persons.

Police prosecutor, Sergeant John Idoko, objected the bail application canvassed by Adebayo, saying that there was tendency that the husband and wife would jump bail.

Idoko added that a frontline traditional ruler in Osun State has waded into the matter, stressing that the monarch could not settle the matter.

The prosecutor revealed that parents to the suspects were earlier arrested and detained at the Police Head quarters, Oke-fia, Osogbo, in connection with the matter.

Idoko maintained that releasing the accused persons on bail could trigger violence between the suspects and the plaintiffs.

Ruling on the bail application, the magistrate, Mr, Adebayo Ajala, said the accused persons were liable to be attacked by other plaintiffs who did not show up in court.

In view of this, Ajala ordered that the suspects be remanded in police custody till October 11, 2008, when he would rule on the bail application.

Monarch Wades Into PDP Crisis In Ede

THE traditional ruler of Ede, Oba Muniru Adesola Lawal has intervened in the recent face-off between
the members of rival factions within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ede which led to the arrest of three chieftains of the party recently.

The three PDP chieftains were arrested by the police and later arraigned before an Ede Magistrate’s Court for allegedly beating some members of the other faction at Olusokun Compound of Ede after a usual party meeting.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the arrested three PDP chieftains are loyalists of the first executive governor of Osun State, Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke, who was said to be out of the country on a national assignment.

It was also gathered that those assaulted at the party meeting in Olusokun compound were loyalists of the speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Adejare Bello, who immediately ordered their arrest.

Information revealed that trouble started when the speaker gave his supporters a bag of beans to share and the other faction claimed the bag of beans was meant for all PDP members and not a particular faction.

The medium further gathered that the speaker’s loyalists insisted on the beans being shared among them alone, which later led to the face-off between the two factions of the party.

An investigation conducted by the medium also revealed that more than five people were hospitalized in different private hospitals across the town, while the factional leaders were absent from the scene of the crisis.

The three arrested chieftains of the party were later arraigned before Magistrate A. O. Oloyade, who ruled that the\y be remanded in prison custody for what she called the fear of reprisal attack.

The investigation also revealed that the faction loyal to Adeleke immediately called him to contact the traditional ruler of the town, so as to settle the issue at the monarch’s palace.

Impeccable sources revealed that the monarch allegedly wrote a letter to the magistrate to quickly act on the matter to ensure that the PDP leaders were not remanded in prison custody.

The source also revealed that on Alhaji Isiaka Adeleke’s arrival, he reportedly met the monarch, who summoned the two factions to the palace and advised them to allow peace reign in his domain.

He also added that the newly-installed monarch advised the two factions to be under one umbrella and settle their political differences with dialogue rather than violence.


Start Packing Your Load, Odeyemi Tells Oyinlola

TREASURER, Osun State Chapter of the Action Congress (AC), Chief Kunle Odeyemi has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration under the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to start preparing to leave office, saying that his tenure has expired.

Speaking at a prayer session for the victory of the AC governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola at the Appeal Court, organized by the Atakumosa East Local Government Chapter of the party on Thursday at Iperindo, the headquarters of the council area, Odeyemi said that the Oyinlola-led administration has completely been rejected by the people of the state.

The AC chieftain said this, just as party members held a marathon inter-denominational prayer service for the victory of Aregbesola and other AC candidates, whose cases are still before the appellate court.

At the prayer session, legions of AC leaders, members and sympathizers gathered and prayed for God’s intervention over the cases at the appellate court.

The prayer session, which was held in Iperindo Town Hall witnessed the recitation of notable verses of Holy Quran and Bible.

Ustaz Jamiu Anifowose and Ustaz Musibaudeen Mokanjuola led the Muslim version of the prayer, while Pastor Festus Oluwatoyin, Pastor Titus Awe and Prophet Topeoluwa Solomon led the Christian version.

While rekindling the hope of the party members over the cases at the appeal court, Odeyemi landed their courage for remain steadfast, despite all humiliation and harassment from the ruling party leaders in the state.

To confirm his claim that the people at the corridor of power are currently facing the wrath of God, the AC chieftain stated that the ruling party members and leaders are now engaging one another in a rift.

He urged the party members in the council area not to stop praying for the quick retrieval of Aregbesola’s stolen mandate, assuring them to be preparing for a colourful inauguration of Aregbesola, after he might have been declared by the appellate court.

While lauding the AC governorship candidate for his efforts to free the people of the state from the humiliation and brigandage of Oyinlola-led administration, Odeyemi said that Aregbesola has been spending his fortune to bring a new dawn to the state.

Delivering Aregbesola’s message, the AC treasurer said that both young and old in the state would enjoy dividends of democracy when he takes the mantle of leadership in the state.

He then called on AC members in the local council area and the state in general to remain firm and calm, urging them not to take laws into their hands no matter the provocation.

Also speaking, the party chairman in the council area, Deacon James Oni lauded the party members for their courage to pray for the retrieval of the stolen mandate, at the appeal court.

He then rekindled the hope of the people of the state that the judiciary would soon return their stolen mandate to them, urging them to remain calm and firm.

‘Nigerian Politicians Are Self-Centred’ – Don

POLITICIANS in Nigeria have been described as being self-centred and lack sense of purposeful leadership. This description was made by a lecturer, Professor Femi Mimiko in the Department of Political Science at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.

The university don while reflecting on the state of affairs in Nigeria at 48 stated that politicians in Nigeria have failed the people, claiming that they (politicians) are not purpose-driven.

Mimiko also disclosed that Nigerian politicians have failed to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians since the inception of the fourth republic.

He cautioned public office holders to see running the affairs of the country or state as a very serious business, adding that if the level of corruption among the politicians is not checked, it could spell doom for the nation.

“We talked of military regimes as being a problem for this country, but politicians have not made things easier almost a decade since the inception of the fourth republic”, he said.

He further disclosed that Nigerian democracy should be a model for other African nations, adding that being the most populous black nation in the world, ought to be a strength rather than weakness.

He also stressed the need for the Nigerian politicians to learn from the former South-African President Thabo Mbeki, that is it better to give-in to people’s request than leading them against their wish.

Corroborating his position, the Vice Chancellor of Babalola Memorial University, Prof. Adeola, said that Nigerian politicians have constituted a nuissance to the development of the country.

‘I don’t know how a group of people, I mean 5 per cent of our population have been enriching themselves to the detriment of the remaining 75 per cent They have become another type of problem for the masses and they don’t realize that they are leaders because the people want them to be and the day the masses take to the street, no weapon can break them”, he added.

Learn To Accept Defeat, Osun Speaker Counsels Opposition

•We Won’t Negotiate With Usurper -AC

SPEAKER, Osun State House of Assembly, Honourable Adejare Bello has acknowledged the essentiality of the opposition in the parliament; saying that it keeps the executive on its toes in every dealing.

Speaking to OSUN DEFENDER at his official residence in Osogbo, Osun State Capital on Friday, Adejare said that with the members of the opposition party in the house, the fear of the executive on violations of rule of law is sustained.

“There is an advantage in having an opposition members in the house, it goes a long way to keep executive on its toes, and there is always a fear of what the opposition will do in case violations of rules,” said the speaker.

Adejare also disclosed that the opposition parties ought to have got some quotas in the formation of unity government earlier proposed by Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola if not for the violent protest that greeded his declaration as the winner of the April 14, 2007 controversial governorship election in the state.

“I remember that Mr. Governor called me on telephone, when he was declared the winner of the election and said that he was ready to consider members of the opposition for some commissionership slots; until we found out that the opposition was not ready to play ball through the 2007 April 15 violent crisis, where houses, cars and other properties were burnt,” said the speaker.

The Ede-born politician then called on the state chapter of the Action Congress (AC) to eschew violence, saying that politicians should learn to accept defeat in the spirit of sportsmanship.

Responding, the state AC, Director of Reaserch and Strategies, Mr. Sunday Akere said that, the speaker goofed on the sharing of potfolios in the state; insisting that AC won the governorship seat and could not have shared its mandate with usurper.

“Mr. Speaker is wrong to have said that we should learn to be a good loser, because he knew that the AC won the last year’s controversial elections. He ought to know how the polls were marred with violence orchestrated by his party.

“We are bit losers and we cannot sit with a mandate thief to negotiate”, said Akere.

Osun Police Commissioner Spanked For Representing Oyinlola On Independence Day

THE unusual relationship that existed between the embattled Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State and the controversial former State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Suleimon Fakai seems to have been revived as the current police boss in the state, Mr. John Moronike has become a political functionary as he now represents the governor at official functions.

This allegation was confirmed on Wednesday, as the police boss –stood in for the state governor during the recent Independence Day Anniversary celebration held at Osogbo City Stadium.

Oyinlola, who shunned the celebration, OSUN DEFENDER gathered, was the only governor in the South-West of the country to avoid the celebration of the Independence anniversary.

It would be recalled that opposition political parties in the state have questioned the independence and neutrality of the state police boss, arguing that the number one police officer in the state has compromised.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the Action Congress (AC) condemned the absence of the governor at the occasion, saying that his representation by the state police boss was appalling and nauseating

in a press statement signed by the party’s Director of Research and Strategy, Mr. Sunday Akere made available to OSUN DEFENDER in Osogbo on Friday, the party stated that Moronike’s acceptance to represent the the governor at the celebration had completely ridiculed the Nigerian Police.

According to the party, Oyinlola has again exhibited his absolute contempt for democracy and lack of dedication to nation building, adding that the state police command under Moronike has chosen to conduct itself as an arm of PDP in the state.

The statement read: “Most appalling and nauseating is the profound absence of any of Oyinlola’s so-called senior aides who are supposed to be democrats at the said celebration.

“Prince Oyinlola, our noble Nero by his absence, shows his lack of dedication to nation building and absolute disregard for democratic ethos. In other states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), civilians and supposed democratically-elected representatives were represented at the independence celebration by either the vice-president ministers, deputy governors speakers of the house or any of their civilian collaborators.

“Bad enough, Prince Oyinlola exhibited his absolute contempt for democracy by deciding to have the Commissioner of Police, Moronike to stand-in for him.

“At the time Prince Oyinlola was supposed to attend this special function, he will rather prefer to dance away at a Lagos club where he attended other social function, instead of gracing the event which symbolized the liberty and freedom of the people.

“Oyinlola’s absence to us (Osun AC) is nothing but admittance of his rejection by the people and lack of democratic credentials because since stealing the people’s mandate in the April 14, 2007 governorship election, he has made it a point of duty to cleverly avoid public functions that will bring him face-to-face with Osun people.

“Moronike’s acceptance to represent the governor ridicules the Nigeria police and calls to question, the supposed independence and neutrality expected of the force. Osun Police Command, as the opposition parties have been saying is compromise, the party stated.

Osun AC then advised the state police boss not to take up such responsibility again, warning him to leave the governor also to carry what is called his doomed cross alone.

Water Scarcity Looms In Osun

PEOPLE of Osun State should start preserving their streams and well water in anticipation of looming water scarcity in the state, as our investigation has revealed that 250 metric tons of industrial alum earlier supplied is about to be exhausted.

OSUN DEFENDER reliably gathered that the epileptic water supply in some parts of the state may completely go dry, if an urgent step is not taken by the administration of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to halt the looming crisis.

Findings revealed that a contractor that was asked to supply the industrial alum, worth 6,000 metric tons could not supply more than 250 metric tons for water treatment at Ede Water Works.

It was learnt that the contractor, while scouting for funds to execute the project, was tipped to watch his back; as touching any debt the state could owe him.

OSUN DEFENDER gathered that the contractor’s contact in government specifically laid emphasis on the litigation over the election of the governor at the Court of Appeal, telling him (contractor) that he might run into a hitch should the judgment turn against the current state helmsman.

It would be recalled that the State Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate, Engineer Rauf Aregbesola had dragged Governor Oyinlola to the Court of Appeal, having lost to the alleged bias of the election petitions tribunal that sat in Osogbo, Osun State capital.

According to an investigation conducted by OSUN DEFENDER, 75 per cent of the communities and settlements in the state have no access to potable water; a situation that has compelled some communities to settle for unwholesome well water and streams, while less than 18 per cent that are privileged to have access to pipe-borne water are experiencing epileptic supply.

According to a source in the state Ministry of Water Resources, Osun State Government is very broke now, for the state chief executive has committed whopping funds on white elephant projects and automobiles.

An expert who confided in OSUN DEFENDER on the development said that 6,000 metric tons could have gone a long way in ensuring regular flow of water for considerable number of months; saying that 250 metric tons could only last for a couple of months if regularly used.

However, it was learnt that the ministry top officials had spoken to the senior officials at the State Water Works, Ede, to slow down the rate of pumping in water into circulation, as well as coverage to forestall total dry-up.

Going round the state capital, our reporter found out that potable water has become a scarce commodity, a situation that has forced some residents of Osogbo cosmopolitan city, who could not afford privately sunk boreholes to be scouting around for water.

If the state capital, Ede, a neighbouring town and certain parts of Egbedore Local Government Council Area of the state could be celebrating running of taps fortnightly, some cities like Ilesa, Ife, Ikire and others spread across the state have permanently contended with unhygienic water.

Meanwhile, the boreholes previously sunk by some political office holders in the state as constituency projects have become decorative structures that could not produce water.

Speaking on the development, a resident of Ilobu in Irepodun Local Government Council Area, Mr Sikiru Oyelami said that the problem of wholesome water in Ilobu has become perennial, as pipe borne water is no longer a right in the ancient town.

“We are not even bothered about the tap water again, our people have permanently settled for streams and well water; and let it be known that the boreholes dug by our councillors, chairmen and House of Assembly members are all fake,” said Oyelami.

PDP House Divided Against Itself

Showing great forensic skills, analytical intuition and a gift for clairvoyance, our bearded Prof Wole Soyinka famously described the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as a nest of vipers. This particular set of vipers don’t take prisoners either. Grim reaper like, the evidence of their bloody intrusion into the Nigerian political terrain is everywhere.

The incursion of the PDP into the politics of Nigeria has come at a terrible cost. For one, the party, which has developed a penchant for fouling-up the air, has re-defined politics as a ‘do-or die’ affair. The evidence of this is everywhere. As has been aptly observed by Tatalo Alamu, the cerebrated columnist of the Sunday Nation, the electorate has since been abolished? Many people as well as potential voters now consider it more prudent to stay at home rather than take part in the electoral process.

For those who do not want trouble, this is a prudent thing to do. It is one thing, of course, to exercise your civic duty, indeed in a democracy, it is the right thing to do; however under the rule of violence championed by the PDP, the cost could be enormous. The last set of elections was, without a doubt, the bloodiest in the nation’s chequered history. The elections left in its wake broken limbs, unsolved assassinations and a general state of fear and heightened anxiety. The scars, both physical and emotional are still with us.

If this country is to make a transition from a ‘semi’ to a full blown democracy, the PDP must be reformed. For the debauchery of the PDP is aided by its access to control of the machinery of the state. Vital here is the vice like grip of the party over the security forces. The PDP in its anxiety to have total and unimpeded dominance over the terrain, has gone all out to subvert the ethos of the security forces. Large swathes of the police now see themselves as not just members of a vital organ of the state’s apparatus, but as adjuncts of the PDP. In Osun State, for example, our own Moronike clearly sees himself as Chief Security Co-ordinator to the PDP. In this, his loyalty is not to the Nigerian Constitution or the Nigeria Police, but to the PDP, a political party. His type and thinking run across the police force.

It is for this reason that a dominant segment of the police have become in return for pecuniary gain, willing accomplices in the rape of the constitution and the democratic ethos. The Moronikes abound everywhere and which have to be reformed, if democracy is to make headway in our country. The task will be difficult. For it is akin to asking the PDP to commit political suicide. From its opportunistic hastily cobbled up inception, the PDP appears to know no other route than that of violence and misadventure. To wear it off this path, will be difficult. Yet, it has to be weaned-off if democracy is to survive in our country.

There is an important reason for this. The year of the Lord 2011 is menacingly around the corner. All the old certainties are over. Some dangerous fault lines are already developing. For example, the sensible belief in the independence of the nation’s admirable judiciary is being eroded by the day. The PDP appears to be quite happy about this, seeing it as a continuation of the enforcement of its sovereignty. The omens are however not comforting. For, if the belief in the independence of the judiciary is eroded, the country might end up going the way of Kenya. In that East African country, the battle cry was, “We won’t use (President) Kibaki’s courts.” The result was 2,000 people dead and 300,000 displaced, some of them permanently. It must not be allowed to happen here.

For the sake of the country, the original founders of the PDP – the Alex Ekwuemes, Solomon Lars, Adamu Ciromas and so forth must be encouraged to take their party. Only an end to the domination of the Obasanjo-led ‘garrison commanders’ will rescue Nigeria’s democracy. The task is urgent, for time is running out!