By BASHIR ADEFAKA
“Now, Oshiomhole and others who want the President to severe relationship with Amosun, when the ships were down in Ondo, who among them did the President see when they all acted on instruction of their political godfather against him? The only other person he had aside Amosun and Shittu in the South West was his Minister of Solid Minerals Dr. Kayode Fayemi and some Northern governors including Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State. Now, the APC NWC has gone ahead to suspend the governors and others on claim of anti-party. No problem. Party discipline is good. But he that must go to equity must go with clean hands, else, I hope President Muhammadu Buhari will not be the last President to be elected on the platform of APC and, by so doing, I hope Nigeria that the President has helped taken away from people Nigerians considered to have failed them in 16 years will not return to the old order.”
This was the question that took back some of us in the professional arena, particularly the journalism community committed to “journalism for the interest of country”. Particularly myself I have the interest of Yoruba at heart because it is the tribe of my father but, once it comes to national interest, it becomes the overriding interest in the core of my heart. The only interest that supersedes Nigerian national interest to me is the interest Allah! This is understandable. He made me, provides for my needs and the Lord has even perfected it by the Islamic teaching that, “loving one’s country is part of worship”.
I saw a lot of unfavourable things in the intentions that led to Tinubu/Atiku’s fight that brought Saraki to power at the National Assembly. I rather agreed with my soul to #StandWithBuhari since standing with the President is the best way I could worship my Lord by loving my country and doing things contributory to the development of my country as well as vocally speaking against religion/ethnicity-based fake news, peddling of dangerous rumours and I, vehemently, used my journalism to kick against anti-Fulani/Yoruba/Igbo or even anti-particular faith tendencies that has been prevalent among the people, for no other reason but because a Muslim/Fulani man was in power.
It was that same issue that ACN found internal democracy difficult, being a party never known to doing primary elections but choosing its candidates by either consensus emanating from handpick by the Leader, that led to the crisis that has befallen the ruling APC since late 2018. That led to the recurrent anger in Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Ogun State, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Minister of Communications Barrister Adebayo Shittu from Oyo State, Minister of Niger Delta Development Pastor Usani Usani from Cross River State and the rest of them that had grievances.
They were those grievances that led to the unresolved grouses that Amosun and Okorocha have which, convinced that they were being singled out for attacks and annihilation by certain clique within the APC, made them poised for total showdown, no matter what it would take or how it would look. In any such situation the best place to go is the court. But the APC under the leadership of His Excellency Comrade Adams Oshiomhole even went ahead to sanction the aggrieved for seeking redress, legally, through the court. President Buhari warned against allowing split within the party and directed that the NWC reconciled with the aggrieved which was not done (although we were told steps were taken) until the governors and ministers started taking their own actions.
And when asked, people loyal to the Bola Tinubu-backed Oshiomhole NWC said Amosun’s offence was anti-party like they also claim of Okorocha and they said that of Minister Shittu is NYSC certificate and that of Pastor Usani Usani is backing Rotimi Akeredolu against the interest of Tinubu. But something led to another before you got this kind of situation. You accuse Amosun of singlehandedly handpicking candidates for Ogun State elections. Having read from above, can anyone still hold this against Amosun without having to first of all go back to the root cause and address the whole issues holistically?
In Ondo State, Asiwaju not only sponsored Olusola Oke of PDP to come as AD governorship candidate at the last election but also was accused of using Punch to publish misleading election news against the APC. What can that be called, if not anti-party? I guess Oshiomhole was member of APC at that time. Why did he not complain against it and call for Tinubu to be suspended? Right from the time in Vanguard I have always loved Comrade Oshiomhole. Apart from the fact that his strike action in 2003 made me stranded in Gusau, Zamfara State, I love him because people like him and my former boss Odia Ofeimun and Dr. Emman Shehu I took my frank-talk attitude from. But this selective way of wielding stick against party members in ways that one begins to see you as moving against the President’s men in the party is not good enough.
In Osun, many APC members left the party for other places so much that, despite the brilliant performance of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as governor, PDP had a close marking with APC at the polls. But the inconclusiveness of the election necessitated by clear cases of vote-buying by PDP, APC would have lost Osun to the PDP’s dancing Senator whose philosophy of politics is money “ti-Pounds, ti-Pounds! ti-Dollar, ti-Dollar”, Ademola Adeleke, who is now known fondly called “Gbaga Senator”.
In Ondo State during the just concluded Saturday 23 February 2019 presidential election, APC lost to PDP because the rancour within the party had led Governor Akeredolu to pitching his tent with an APC’s Tunji Abayomi now of AA in Ondo South refusing to support Tayo Alasoadura in Ondo Ondo Central, leaving only Borofrice whose victory in Ondo North was because he has institutionalised himself within his own Akoko community. Today, quite correctly, APC is in shamble in Ondo State and PDP is finding an inroad back to that state of my father and it is painful, same thing back to the South West because of crisis that all aggrieved persons keep mention Tinubu and Oshiomhole for. If these two figures ran successful as governors of their respective Lagos and Edo states, running a political party should not be problem for them.
In Oyo State, it now took Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to go back to Adebayo Alao-Akala to come back to APC because he has seen the handwriting in the wall that if Buhari could lose Oyo albeit with very close margin to Atiku at presidency, the APC would lose the former headquarters of defunct western region to PDP at the governorship. Today campaigns are going on in Oyo State with people telling all sorts of stories about “Penklemess” as a committed Muslims when he reportedly lives in Redeemed Christian Church of God Camp with his wife and children all Christians. Nothing should be issue with that but when politicians do their wrong thing, it must be pointed out. Adebayo Penklemess is not a Muslim.
Back to Ogun State, you accuse Amosun of anti-party, on what ground? Why would issues involving a big fish like Governor Amosun be treated at face value without looking at it from the background? Did Amosun just wake up and throw his weight behind APM, same thing with Okorocha who was being accused of feeding his son in-law as governorship candidate? Like Amosun, Okorocha is first governor to bring physical development to Imo State. If some of his trusted Imo people in APC could because of personal interest talk bad of him despite his achievements, who else could a governor trust with governorship? APC should have allowed Okorocha have his way after all only Tinubu has been deciding who rules Lagos since he left government of the state in 2007. Son in-law? Forget! President Donald Trump nominated and eventually appointed his son-in-law as Chief of Staff to the United States of America White House; no single American raised objection.
The issue of Adebayo Shittu is still there unattended to. That of Pastor Usani Usani is there. I learned that Usani’s problem with Tinubu is because he backed Akeredolu against him in Ondo. Who should get angry between Buhari, who Tinubu worked against for showing interest in who emerged as governorship candidate of APC in Ondo State but who did not get angry, and Tinubu who went on revenge mission against Pastor Usani thereby making him lose his governorship aspiration in Cross River?
Not only that, Tinubu knew well that President Buhari was Leader of ECOWAS mission to The Gambia when President Yahyah Jameh reversed announcement after conceding to Adama Barrow’s victory. While President Buhari, assisted by other African leaders, was planning to get Jammeh out of power for installation of the constitutionally elected Barrow, to the chagrin of all, Tinubu was doing business with Jameh such that the day the guy would move out, it was Nigerian politician’s private jet that flew him without consultation with President of his own country. President Buhari did not complain.
Also when President Buhari wanted to go to Ondo to campaign for Akeredolu, Tinubu was not available to accompany him for obvious reasons. Buhari called on Governor Ajimobi, he tactically turned down the President’s request to let go to Ondo and, of course, Governor Akinwumi Ambode and Governor Rauf Aregbesola, all governors of South West loyal to Tinubu did not follow the President. They left the President to himself. Buhari was in that state only with Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Even Babatunde Fashola, who only recently left as governor of Lagos but now a serving minister in Buhari’s government, he launched a book and invited his just dissolved commissioners no one attended. Buhari was also aware of that.
Now, Oshiomhole and others who want the President to severe relationship with Amosun, when the ships were down in Ondo, who among them did the President see when they all acted on instruction of their political godfather against the President? The only other person he had in the South West was his Minister of Solid Minerals Dr. Kayode Fayemi and some Northern governors including Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State.
Now, the APC NWC has gone ahead to suspend the governors and others on claim of anti-party. No problem. Party discipline is good. But he that must go to equity must go with clean hands, else, I hope President Muhammadu Buhari will not be the last President to be elected on the platform of APC and, by so doing, I hope Nigeria that the President has helped taken away from people Nigerians considered to have failed them in 16 years will not return to the old order. APC should learn how to manage successes else, they are walking on the threshold of regret. I mean, except they are only pushing General Buhari forward to win election and not to be able to succeed, all APC should do at this time, like in 2015, should be to sit down and resolve all issues and see how the setback they had by the 8th Assembly would not happen again by 9th Assembly 2019 upward.
*WAKE UP is strictly the opinion column of Prince Bashir Adefaka, Journalist and media proprietor living in Nigeria. Reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org or Text: 08163323906.