On Saturday 18th August, 2023, the National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Ajibola Basiru, hosted his supporters and some party members in Osun State to a civic reception following his announcement as the new scribe of the Party. The event, held at the Nelson Mandela Freedom Park in Osogbo, had in attendance members of APC, particularly those loyal to former Governor Gboyega Oyetola, and other invited guests from outside the state.
Expectedly, Sen. Ajibola Basiru, seized the opportunity of the event to criticize some respected leaders of the party who, in all senses of responsibility and fairness, are the real pillars of the APC and the genuine representatives of progressive politics in Osun. Their unwavering commitment to the tenets and ideals of progressive politics is the primary reason their names resonate at every political and public function in the state.
While Sen. Basiru labeled the event a civic reception in celebration of his new position, many political observers who monitored the event felt that it was more of a grand celebration of the removal and exit of Otunba Iyiola Omisore as the National Secretary of APC, rather than a celebration of Mr. Basiru’s political elevation. This sentiment arises from the events that transpired during the occasion.
Before the announcement of Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje and Sen. Ajibola Basiru as the National Chairman and Secretary of APC, Mallam Salihu Lukman, the former National Vice Chairman (North-West) of APC, consistently asserted that Omisore was detrimental to the party’s interests, both in Abuja and Osun. Among other allegations, he accused Omisore of gross mismanagement of campaign and election funds, which led to the party’s poor performance in the state governorship election in July 2022 and the overall loss of the party in the 2023 general elections, where APC lost all the National Assembly seats and 25 out of 26 in the State Assembly seats.
While it is not easy to celebrate and associate failure, it is unfortunate for Omisore to suffer double humiliation, both within and outside. He was unceremoniously removed in Abuja and welcomed back home with a less-than-flattering ‘civic reception’ for his successor by those who could be considered his associates in the state APC. By their actions, they appeared ready to benefit from the crisis that engulfed him and enhance their own prominence in the party.
The aftermath of the civic reception has revealed that all is not well for Omisore as an APC stalwart at any level. He is now alone and deserted compared to the level of relevance he enjoyed as the scribe of the ruling party. He has been stripped of whatever remaining relevance he had in the APC. His political guarantors cannot be blamed for distancing themselves at this time, given the high hopes and expectations they had in him before appointing him as the national secretary, and now the disappointment and shame he brought upon them.
The dismissal of Omisore left all of them as casualties of their misplaced expectations, which justifies their decision to isolate him during the civic reception. I do not sympathize with him since he obtained the position through an underhanded political maneuver aimed at eliminating Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. The Apesin of the Source, once a valuable asset to the Ilerioluwa group of Osun APC, has now become an outcast.
One of my favorite books is Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” because of its rich portrayal of the customs and traditions of the pre-colonial Igbo world. In the book, Achebe provides a practical description of an outcast or “Osu” (in Igbo language) as “a thing set apart – a taboo forever, and his children after him.” In the current APC landscape, Omisore seems to perfectly fit the description of an “Osu.”
However, it wouldn’t have been a bad idea for Senator Ajibola Basiru to offer some words of goodwill about his predecessor during the occasion, if only for the sake of their past working relationship. A gesture of partial image rehabilitation before some of their supporters, acknowledging Omisore as a worthy predecessor to emulate, would have been appropriate. Unfortunately, Senator Basiru, who positioned himself as a superior replacement and pursued this opportunity vigorously, chose not to do so. His immediate desire for relief from the painful defeat in the last election drove him to seize the available opportunity. But for the circumstances of his replacement of Omisore, he might have openly adorned Apesin with words of praise and prayers, perhaps even thrown some insult jabs at their ‘detractors’. However, it appears to be taboo for the shrewd former spokesperson of the Senate to associate with a perceived villain.
What is certain is that Omisore will continually regret his decision to listen and work with Ajibola Basiru during the last party primaries. No honest APC member in Osun will quickly forget the manipulations and how some candidates were handled by the duo. The embarrassment caused to the party during the candidate selection process was unprecedented and significantly contributed to the party’s failure in the elections. Surprisingly, they shifted the blame for their failed strategy onto others, which is indeed unfortunate.
Regardless of the circumstances, Omisore came, and saw, but did he conquer? Let the final judgment be left to the annals of political history.
Fundamental Observation: Sounds and Insights from Osun West
I have a healthy respect for the West, as any good student of history should, because significant events often originate from the West. In many cases, when the West experiences something, other regions also feel its effects.
During the recent senatorial meeting of the APC Ilerioluwa group in Iwo last week, various perspectives emerged on the meeting’s subject matter announced by the senatorial chairman, Hon. Omolaoye Akintola. While some called for caution against emotional displays on the matter, others embraced recklessness in expressing their opinions.
Most interestingly, many attendees highlighted errors and alleged partiality in the compilation of those accused of anti-party conduct during the last election. They argued that fairness should be applied to all members.
However, the most unfortunate incident was the use of uncouth language against Baba Akande by one of the speakers discussing the composition of Agba Osun. Such behavior is unwarranted. In times of intra-caucus conflict, groups should allow their elders to ‘breathe’ without undue provocation.
The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not represent the opinions or views of Osun Defender