After the elections
By Theo Adebowale
All Progressives Congress (APC) came tops at the end of the last general elections having produced the Executive President of this Republic. The party also has the highest number of Senators, Representatives, Governors and Members, Houses of Assembly. The poor performance of the party in all the elections in Oyo State leaves much to be desired. This has been attributed to the attitude of Governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaka Ajimobi. This column takes a special interest in this case study because His Excellency had danger signals coming so often, but he did not mend his ways. In his engagements with civil servants, students, traditional rulers and even his religious leader, Oyo State Governor did not comport himself honorably.
There was agitation by the Oke Ogun people for a higher institution. It was reported that His Excellency went there to tongue lash them. They were to him, ara oko, that is, bush people, ingrates that would rather agitate rather than appreciate government for giving them good roads. Another report had it that the Chief Imam was saying something Mr Governor disagreed with, he promptly seized the microphone from him. There were many outbursts of the Chief Executive but nobody could call him to order, no one could prevail on him to have a change of attitude. Towards the elections, he was advised to keep off campaigns, particularly for the gubernatorial candidate of his party, but we were told he turned down all entreaties. It is a common saying in Nigerian cultures that if a resident fed on contaminated snacks, his neighbours should prepare for a sleepless night. So be it with the party and associates that have no means of calling their own to order.
Lanlehin and Ladoja among other Ibadan politicians that helped Ajimobi to power, are no longer in talking terms with the Governor. It is beyond the person of Mr Governor now, otherwise rejecting him at the polls to deny him a place in the Senate would have been sufficient penalty for his intransigence. But APC, its gubernatorial candidate, Adelabu (Penkelemesi) and other candidates had to pay for it. Oyo State, renowned for progressive politics has been ‘captured’ by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). This is unlike Kano State, where the ‘talakawas’ gave massive support to the masses party. Followers of the legendary Aminu Kano and subsequently Abubakar Rimi, Kano drifted to conservatism until 2015 when the electorate thumbed up for Muhammadu Buhari and the progressives. But the voters differentiated between mass following and character last Saturday. Ganduje, like Ajimobi belongs to the APC. Both are governors. Both are moslems and are in-laws. But Ajimobi was in the Senate and is serving out his second term as Governor whereas Ganduje’s intention to have a second term was truncated in the last election.
Alhaji Ganduje was deputy to Alhaji Kwankwanso, a man popularly considered to have given Kano State a facelift. However, it is believed that no sooner did Ganduje become Governor than he started to show disrespect to his former boss. He seems to have deployed a great proportion of his energy to tackling Kwankwanso who enjoys public sympathy. Ganduje, he is believed to have allowed power to intoxicate him as it did high performing Governor in Lagos. But while the Lagos Chief Executive learnt to respect party verdict, the Kano man of power went ahead to take a shot. The outcome is failure. Back to Ajimobi and Ganduje. While Ajimobi will not be returning to Senate, Ganduje will not return to Governor’s office. Dr Bukola Saraki will not return to Senate, and may not even return to Ilorin, his constituency, in a hurry.
In spite of electoral misfortunes befalling some politicians and the leading parties, a distinct fact must be noted, where there is a de facto leader who has the final say, stability endures. Since crises, and conflicts are recurring features of politics, the presence of a leader, an effective leader facilitates resolution and ensures durability. A party that was the largest in Africa, was in the saddle for 16 years when it acquired so much through graft, yet it was not able to continue because it lacked a competent leader. Saints do not exist in this part but competence is evident. Many gangs in the Americas have endured because of the ‘competence’ of their leaders, and submission to authority. Calamities and misfortunes will continue to visit parties and politicians. Those who will outlast the perilous times would learn to allow genuine leadership evolve, hierarchy take shape, and submit to constituted authority. This way, internal democracy will also evolve and every member can find a role to play. It will reduce cost of elections and minimise political casualties.
Also, the Electoral Law can find expression. There are several lacunas and development calling for a review of the electoral law, just as we have sufficient provisions in it to facilitate orderliness. But because parties themselves are disorderly and politicians demonstrate so much indiscipline, the extant Electoral Law cannot even deliver, parties would not allow it to demonstrate its capability. Let us begin to redress as participants, observers, stakeholders and operators. Let Nigeria work.
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