By Abiodun Komolafe And Kunle Owolabi
Bola Bolawole’s article, entitled, ‘Now that PDP is back …’, published in Nigerian Tribune, July 16, 2016, refers.
In his postmortem of how Osun West Senatorial bye-election was lost and won, Bolawole identified three important factors, which, in his opinion, resulted in the loss of the Senatorial District to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by All Progressives Congress (APC). These factors were: the controversy surrounding the death of the late Isiaka Adeleke (an accusation which was laid at the doorstep of the Government of the State of Osun); imposition of (Mudasir Hussain) as the party’s candidate; and the supposedly abysmal performance of the governor of the state, Rauf Aregbesola.
To start from the foundation of his prognosis, the controversy surrounding Adeleke’s death no longer exists as the coroner inquest into the cause of the deceased’s death has laid it to rest. So, we need not belabour that issue again! But this does not detract from the fact that Adeleke was an illustrious son of the State of Osun and his demise will forever remain an irreparable loss to the state and its people.
Again, the postulation that PDP’s victory in the bye-election was as a result of Candidate Hussain’s imposition is a lie straight from Dante’s inferno! And his submission that the loss is a bad omen for the ruling party is not only false, it is also an inaccurate interpretation of the whole political system; nothing but a columnist’s blatant misreading of the situation.
On a serious note, one wonders what some Nigerians stand to gain by deliberately engaging in the misuse of terms. Essentially, if fielding the best candidate for an election amounts to imposition, then something must be utterly amiss. Maybe Bolawole has forgotten that, in the said bye-election. there was no question of imposition in the APC as was wildly claimed by a sectional few. If we may ask, do you talk of imposition where there was a primary to choose a candidate for an election?
In as much as nobody would want his child christened Judas, Christians still reserve the right to appreciate God for Iscariot’s life; for, without Judas, there probably would have been nobody to betray the Stone of Israel. And, without this betrayal, there certainly wouldn’t have been crucifixion and, we doubt if Jesus Christ’s mission on earth would probably have been complete. Had Bolawole feigned ignorance, especially, with respect to issues relating to the emergence of the younger Adeleke, who was never a card-carrying member of the APC, then, his sins would have been forgiven. Had he come to terms with the fact that it was only the late ‘Serubawon’ who once sought succour in the party when the situation in PDP was getting threateningly deadly for him to withstand, we would have understood where the commentator was coming from. Notwithstanding, wasn’t it disloyalty at its peak for Ademola to have connived with some APC ingrates and renegades for the sinister purpose of making him the only candidate in the primary. For God’s sake, what imposition could be more than this?
For Bolawole’s information, the Screening Committee disqualified Hussain; and the Appeal Committee upheld the disqualification, on the ground that the electoral law mandated him to resign one month before the primary. That no doubt was another mis-reading of the letters and the spirit of Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which specifically states in Section 107 subsection (f) that, if (an aspirant) ‘is a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State or Area Council (other than a person holding elective office) and he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from such employment 30 days before the date of election; then he stands disqualified from the election.” It is the law that has spoken here! So, neither Bolawole’s misinterpretation nor his hues’ grievous error of opinions counts! Thanks to the National Working Committee of the party which, in its wisdom, upturned the decision of the Appeal Committee on the ground of ‘error of law.’ On the other hand, what other name should we call a man who got a party’s nod to contest a major election, even when he was less than 6 hours old in the said party?
Sad that Nigeria’s major shortcoming as an independent nation is her clashing contradictions. Nigeria is one such enclave where world changers who are capable of being in effective interactions and competitions with their counterparts globally are reduced to mere means of self-satisfying ends. So far, ours has been a case of “bread and butter” gastro-politicians exploring the womb of primordial innuendos with acidic fundamentalism, geo-political absurdity and socio-economic silliness. Well, one may blame APC and the governor for removing the disgraceful robe bedecked Adeleke by the PDP buccaneers. But to say that Aregbesola sought Adeleke’s help to win the 2014 governorship election is not only fallacious, it is also an attempt by false friends who delight in mischievously and deliberately writing history based only on their standards and viewpoints.
Curious also that Bolawole even chose to refer to some of this administration’s projects as “elephant projects.” He blatantly lied that some schools were demolished and that they were yet to be rebuilt. Funny enough, he did not mention where those schools were located! But facts on ground proved him wrong! If only he could venture out of his cocoon and visit locus in quo instead of relying on some “good friends, who always called me or I phone them to confirm whatever I hear from Osun.” Sitting down in Lagos or elsewhere and passing fatwa on a man everybody – home and abroad – showers encomiums on for his sterling performance is in contradistinction to the ethics of his profession, which pronounces truth as sacred. The imprint of the governor’s performance litters the state and only infantile minds can dispute it.
Aregbesola’s social protection programmes alone have become so attractive to other state governments and international agencies all over the world that a couple of months back, United Nations International Children Emergency Funds (UNICEF) brought fifteen states in Nigeria to Osun to understudy the state’s School Feeding Scheme, aka O’MEAL; the programme for the vulnerable elderly, popularly referred to as Elderly Welfare Scheme); the Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (O’YES); welfare scheme for the widows, called O’widows’ and the rehabilitation of the mentally-challenged persons in the state (O’Rehab). He has so far constructed close to 2000 kilometers of roads and added more than 50 new structures to … Funke Egbemode rightly captured the mood of the moment when she remarked, recently: “One thing is obvious: whether you are in Osun or you are outside the state reading about Osun, you definitely have a feeling that it is a secured state. And one good thing about a peaceful and secured state is that it attracts investors to the state because a peaceful and secured environment helps business to thrive.”
What other confirmation of performance does any armchair critic require?
May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, backfire!
abiodun KOMOLAFE & Kunle Owolabi,