By BASHIR ADEFAKA
“The inconclusiveness should be seen by Adams Oshiomhole as yet another opportunity to mend his ways and fences. He should realize that the same Asiwaju that is being accused of using him also brought his predecessor, Odigie, but see how Odigie ended. Now you are on the saddle, when the ships are down, nobody will call Tinubu. It is your name that will be tagged for all the failures. Don’t be surprised. APC cannot progress by this frenzied fighting that you are staging with Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu, Shittu, Pastor Usani Usani. Go back to the roundtable, like that respondent advised, and settle rifts with those governors and ministers and move along with all APC governors including Kaduna’s Nasir el-Rufai straight up North and claim your victories in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states.”
A reaction published in this newspaper on Wednesday reminded me of my stand, up till present, with governors of Ogun State Ibikunle Amosun, Imo State Rochas Okorocha and Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu against the ill-timing of acclaimed party discipline being brought to bear against them by All Progressives Congress (APC) for alleged anti-party activities.
The respondent said in the report and I quote: “Take it or leave it, Amosun remains a strong force in Ogun State politics. Did I hear you say he lost with his APM candidate? Do you call that one loss? Have you seen the number of votes he was able to secure for Akinlade with a party unknown from Adam? I just hope that APC’s Tinubu and Oshiomhole will have to accept the need to discipline themselves by simply coming back to roundtable with these figures they are losing: Amosun, Shittu and Okorocha, others and then move straight together to the North including Governor Nasir el-Rufai and trash the opposition out against their mounted onslaughts going on there in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states.”
Sad to know that, if not for the interest of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who is being eyed for Presidency 2023, All Progressives Congress (APC) would have lost the last Ogun State governorship election to APM although Amosun, bankrolling or promoting the Candidate of the “Cassava” logo party, had intention of only proving a point that no one would come from Lagos or Ekpoma and dictate to him concerning the politics of his state not with intention to decamp or work against President Muhammadu Buhari.
Whoever is describing Amosun as going to be another Bukola of the Saraki’s ‘Barlin Wall’ that recently fell in Kwara, standing on the neck of APC is only being mischievous. Those who are attacking him know his worth and politic al clout and know what he could be up to in term of popularity. Like it is said that politicians look at the next election but a real leader in government look at sustainable good governance, Amosun’s persecutors are looking at 2023 election even while just after winning presidential but still having governorship elections yet undone.
Therefore, they had gone too fast forward suspending the man whose only lost election, ever, was to the rigging machine of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when he contested as governorship candidate of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) against PDP’s Otunba Gbenga Daniel in 2007 while his long time political ally, General Muhammadu Buhari, contested and lost to the same PDP via its candidate Umar Musa Yar’Adua at the presidential election. The point I am making here is this; Amosun that APC is playing rough game with at this dangerous time is not a small fry.
Thank God not only that Yar’Adua confessed that the election that brought him to power against Buhari was fraught with fraud made possible by presidential pronouncement of “do-or-die” which characterized the process with clear military’s unpatriotic gagging of opposition at that time but also, recently, INEC’s official records had revealed that there were no results in the 2007 presidential elections that produced him President. No thanks to Olusegun Obasanjo mago mago (dubious) electioneering conduct making the “independence” of INEC to be nothing but farce.
To me, known to everybody that Amosun’s alliance with President Buhari is one that it will be difficult for anybody to come in-between, for His Excellency Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to still go ahead and do all of these sakamanjay (pretexts) he is doing to him – albeit it is said he is being used by a particular leader within the party for his 2023 ambition – it is an affront to the person of President Buhari. Not even after several warnings by the President to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party not to fight anybody for taking his grievances to court and not to allow any member of the party to slide into another party especially at a time that all hands needed to be on deck to collectively fight the #CorruptionFightBack elements wanting to collapse the young party in power for them to return their corruption and impunity to the public life of Nigeria and Nigerians.
If those elements had done well in power, would over 15 million Nigerians have remembered to sweep them out of power? But the implication of APC’s NWC at this time fighting its own main factors in present day Nigeria’s politics is that, those unfortunate conservative elements are regrouping and comforting themselves, exploiting the ongoing intra-party crisis with the seeming inexperienced ruling power to restrategise towards today (take key states of the North, East and West) to pave easy return for them in 2023.
If you have seen Amosun backing Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, APM governorship candidate, as anti-party, the question we are asking and which we will continue to ask and insist on having an answer for is that, what time did punishment for anti-party begin to be found in the constitution of the party? Just today? Only recently during the Ondo State election, the particular party leader that Amosun is openly telling us is the one using Oshiomhole to expunge him and others from APC did worse than Amosun has done but, despite our cries for justice at that time, this Oshiomhole was there as an APC leader although Chief Odigie-Oyegun was national chairman but he did not raise a voice.
Recall how an APC national leader sponsored Alliance for Democracy (AD)’s governorship candidate, Olusola Oke, against the All Progressives Congress (APC), his own party’s governorship candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu. I personally had contact with Gani Dauda, a supposed Muslim running mate they used to penetrate the Akure Muslim Community where my father is the Galadima and my claim here is indisputable.
Not only that, we all saw how Punch was publishing fake news regarding the results of the state solo governorship election as they trickled in, claiming that at the last count the AD had won APC by 100,000 votes. Whereas, some of us that were also all-eyes on the elections knew that APC was the winner but we calmed strained nerves warning that “no election results being reported must be believed in until they were officially announced by INEC”. No such party discipline was brought to bear on that leader.
Why now and why is it on Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu, others? Anti-party? How? That for instance Amosun made public statements that he would not support a candidate that was chosen through what he believed to be an abracadabra by NWC against congress he knew about as leader of the party in Ogun State and a governor? It is not enough!
After all, we all knew sometimes in the past when the Afenifere that claimed to be representing the entire Yoruba race, even though we knew Afenifere never represented Yoruba race because it never believed that Muslims existed in Yoruba Land, misled the Yoruba into accepting the whims and caprices of Olusegun Obasanjo while he was planning to use his Vice President Atiku Abubakar to rig the AD states from the progressives, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the leader being accused now by all the APC governors being battled by the Oshiomhole-led NWC, stood his ground against the then generally revered Afenifere and said: “NEVER!”. And it was never! And Tinubu was then right as those Babas were tactically taking bribes from the conservatives in form of brown envelops (cash!) and to an extent even the LEADER of Afenifere had to fall for Obasanjo’s ploy to further destroy the Yoruba socio-culture group by making his daughter Minister of State for Defence (Navy). It was that bad!
That was how, even while Chief Segun Osoba, Pa Lam Adeshina, Chief Adebayo Adefarati, Chief Bisi Akande and Otunba Niyi Adebayo all lost their states of Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti from progressives’ AD to the Obasanjo’s conservative PDP, Lagos remained intact in the hands of the progressives. It was the beginning of the more shining stars of the man who thereafter rose to becoming the Garrison Commander of Lagos Politics and that was the very beginning of my LOVE for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for knowing when to respect a supposed regional umbrella group called Afenifere and when to disrespect them over their self-centredness.
We also knew that it was the same Garrison Commander who backed this embattled Amosun (I don’t believe anyway that he is embattled) while issues cropped up between him and Chief Osoba, who was supposed to be Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and later All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State and Bourdillion could not provide solution but stoked more fire to the existing impasse between the two leaders until Chief Osoba, out of anger, led his group out of APC to the Chief Olu Falae-led Social Democratic Party (SDP). I, with another colleague, Olanrewaju Kolade, who was then Ogun State Correspondent of Vanguard and later appointed Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, found it as a slap on father of journalists and we stood on the side of Osoba against both Tinubu and Amosun. Senator Gbenga Kaka can testify to this because he was one of the aggrieved at the time.
Sensing, although it was not correct to so claim that President Buhari had marginalized him from relevance in APC, but it was the realization by the same Garrison Commander who came to the need to mend fences with old friends which led him to settling with Chief Osoba, Musiliu Obanikoro and a host of others; not for anything but to ensure he would not be cast out in the 2019 politicking. Thank God, Atiku led himself out of APC and it became easier for President Buhari to draw Asiwaju near. Remember the President’s “I can work with anybody”’s disposition towards the power struggle between Tinubu and Atiku made him to stand aloof from influencing not only the party but even party members in national assembly and it was that, that was misconstrued by Tinubu, even his wife, Oluremi, and his supporters to be marginalization of their husband and leader respectively. Yet, this same marginalized party leader had more men and women holding strongest positions in Buhari’s government than any other APC member.
But, going forward, the Garrison Commander also knows quite well that Amosun had already gained ground not only in Ogun State politics but also national. No wonder when his boy, Yayi, tried to relocate to Ogun State to contest for 2019 governorship, the Owu-born Governor Amosun made sure that he cut all the wings that he grew, which flew him into the state until Yayi ran back to his godfather in Lagos who then retained him for his Ogun West senatorial seat. He has now won a re-election and will in June, Insha Allah, be inaugurated into the 9th Assembly. I have no problem with Omo Yayi, who is supposed to be my Senator in the part of Lagos where I live. He is a great man! But politicians are just one kind.
It is therefore not expected Amosun could be cast out of relevance simply because he said he should have a say in who takes over from him as governor. Is that just the offence? But it is! Nothing else! They are now accusing him that he singlehandedly wrote list of candidates to contest for elections. But Amosun is not the only one to do it. In fact, in Lagos, it is the way of life of the leader. How come it is then an issue that Oshiomhole could not wait for President Buhari’s presidential re-election victory to settle and governorship elections concluded first before he moved swiftly and suspended Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu and others? To save the party from ruin by insisting on party discipline? I disagree! Tell me other reason!
Same thing to Owelle Okorocha, it should not be out of sight that it was because of this same Tinubu-infested Oshiomhole, as they claim, that Ondo State Rotimi Akeredolu overshot the runway to hand PDP’s Atiku the win by slim margin during the presidential election. Thank God that Governor Akeredolu listened to the voice of reason and mended his way as he clinched the clear majority for APC in the state assembly election in the state. Even at that, I am told that APC is also planning to suspend him too like they did to Amosun and Okorocha.
Worst still, when these APC leaders are at it, they care not about losing critical point in politics. I hope they would learn their lessons. It is expected that Saraki’s experience would teach them lessons but, they are taking the Saraki’s lesson through the wrong way. They claim they don’t want repeat of Saraki, reason they are disciplining Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu and others. Why should disciplining party members as cogent as those figures lead to suspension? How under the firmament of our country would anybody ever think that Amosun has any resemblance with Saraki? Amosun is a Buharist to the core, to the extent that even when he fought these APC leaders he did not allow it to affect his resolve that President Buhari win his Ogun State with wide margin.
Ditto Okorocha; Buharist to the core, who refused to be provoked during the Owerri campaign as he was publicly seen to be stomaching his anger but telling President Buhari that, “Mr. President, we are here because we respect you. People who have been asked to talk since are not the people who should talk but because of you, we let it go and we assure you that we are in charge and we are going to deliver for you”. And the only votes that Buhari had in Imo was not by the Saraki ally Hope Uzodinma the APC imposed on Imo but by Okorocha alone.
But Akeredolu’s anger couldn’t allow him to dedicate spirit to APC’s campaigns such that Buhari, unfortunately, lost by slim margin to Atikub. That notwithstanding, however, Senator Borofrice saved the day with his own APC senatorial seat. Akeredolu however is not as wholly blamable as we were made to know because, checks revealed later that Senator Tayo Alasoadura, who is Saraki’s man to the core, was imposed on him as APC candidate whereas he wanted Dr. Tunji Abayomi. That caused the issue but he has corrected himself with the huge wins at the state assembly elections. At least, that will continue to keep APC in power till the next solo governorship election in the state. Before then anyway, let me advise Asiwaju Tinubu and Comrade Oshiomhole that they should allow Ondo APC people to choose their governorship candidate at the next primaries because, by nature, Ondo would never allow Tinubu to dictate to them just like it is now clear in Ekiti State. That is the only way for APC to keep the state and Akeredolu should please come down a little from his high alleged arrogance and listen to his people.
No one should lose sight of Oyo State. This same APC leadership’s issue with Dr. Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu is key factor why President Buhari lost presidential and the APC candidate Adebayo Penkelemess lost governorship elections. The angle that affected Ajimobi clarified it all. Even Ajimobi did not want Penkelemess, he had to accept him because that was the man imposed on him too by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and it was the reason Oshiomhole moved fast, after his NWC appointed screening committee had cleared him, to disqualify Shittu from the governorship race. Does this show any sign that this APC’s NWC knows how to select winning teams? See everybody including President Buhari, despite his good governance and a lot of achievements, struggling to defeat a party as profoundly corrupt as PDP!
It is the same reason, and I now return to the respondent reported by The DEFENDER, the APC has issues in Northern Nigerian states of Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Banue, Adamawa and Plateau. How? The PDP realized that the winning party, APC, was preoccupied with infighting and they swung into action rigging their ways in those states until Almighty Allah exposed them and INEC voided their plans and declared elections in those states inconclusive.
The inconclusiveness should be seen by Adams Oshiomhole as yet another opportunity to mend his ways and fences. He should realize that the same Asiwaju that is being accused of using him also brought his predecessor, Odigie, but see how Odigie ended. Now you are on the saddle, when the ships are down, nobody will call Tinubu. It is your name that will be tagged for all the failures.
Don’t be surprised. APC cannot progress by this frenzied fighting that you are staging with Amosun, Okorocha, Akeredolu, Shittu, Pastor Usani Usani. Go back to the roundtable, like that respondent advised, and settle rifts with those governors and ministers and move along with all APC governors including Kaduna’s Nasir el-Rufai straight up North and claim your victories in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states.
*WAKE UP is strictly opinion column of an Isolo Akure, Ondo State Prince, Lagos-based Journalist and media proprietor. Reach him via his email: email@example.com or text: 08083689552.