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Towards peaceful Ondo guber primaries

By Ayodele Fagbohun


As the count down to Saturday’s Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries draws nearer, it is well nigh and in the nick of time to admonish all governorship candidates and caution their frenzy supporters to stay away from any form of violence, vulgarity, do-or-die mantra that may send wrong and unfavourable signal to the outside world.

The untoward scenario may impugn the integrity of the exercise and put big question mark on our dear state as the bastion of progressive politics in the South West, nay around the country.

All hands must be on deck to ensure a free, fair, credible and transparent party exercise, to be acceptable and consolidate good governance as handed down by the late political icon, the first executive governor of old Ondo State, Ekiti State inclusive, Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin who incidentally hailed from Owo in the present Ondo State.

Be that as it may, political intrigues as past time, remain the essential and edifying feature of practical politics which may be mutually and positively canalised ahead of horse trading and hard bargaining to clinch the rich juicy political offices, (the ongoing top notch and highest position in the land inclusive).

Most intrinsically to regard hardwork, courage,. Industry and public spiritedness even statesmanship to guarantee peaceful co-existence and progress of a just society that we all hanker after.

The above sterling qualities are also no doubt sine qua non to the stability and  prosperity of any nation- state seeking recognition and respectability within comity of modern nations.

However, the ongoing subterranean political intrigues must not be seen to degenerate either covertly or overtly to a ludicrous and irksome level to elicit and precipitate disharmony inter ethnic, regional angst, frivolous tribal and religious disaffection, hatred, vitriolic bitterness and prejudice against the state of our birth.

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Already Ondo State seems polarized by the cavalier activities of some young politicians whom unfortunately by their conduct threw a solemn business of politics and her citizenry into a charades and precarious state of imminent anarchy.

In this connection, electoral violence by guise should as a matter of rule carry stiffer sanctions or penalties not less than capital punishment on the perpetrators of the heinous act.

Some may frown on the strong or harsh punitive measure with far reaching consequence likely repugnant to the outside world. This line of thought is not only outside world. This leaves a product of warped minds riffled with ignorance as electoral violence is sheer anathema, virtually non existent in advanced democracies of the world.

No modern nation in recorded history ever goes on wild and willful rampage in utter bestiality and slaughter her brightest and leading light in the name of elections.

The incendiary proclivity of some political leaders know no bound, as out of greed and sheer lust for temporary power which is tinsel of course, the so called leaders hand on tenaciously in office regardless of the outcry of the people against  misrule. They rather prefer to rule in hell than serve in paradise.

Of course, electoral violence dated back to the chequered history of the nation in the first republic, having attained independence from the British colonial rule on October 1960.

It was a follow-up to the constitutional deadlock in the old Western Region as the late Premier, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola foisted  his splinter group, Nigeria National Democratic Party (NNDP) notoriously referred as “DEMO” which was the new ruling party in the Western Region.

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The NNDP and Akintola tried to supplant the leadership of his leader, Obafemi Awolowo and his political associates serving various long terms behind the bars on trumped charges of treasonable felony and conspiracy to overthrow Balewa led federal government.

The masses in the Western Region stood firmly like rock of Gilbratar behind Awolowo and his Action Group. His deputy, Alhaji Soroye Adegbenro held forte and elected premier under the platform of AG, ruling party in the Western House of Assembly.

Akintola and his splinter group was vehemently rejected in the house. The die was cast. The litmus test to evince solidarity for Awo in jail and his embattled Action Group (AG) party was to unleash overwhelming defeat on a coalition government of Akintola/Balewa led Nigeria National Alliance (NNA) in the ensuring Regional and Federal elections.

Thus, elections in the West was tense, a do-or-die affair to restore constitutional government in the region and to effect, if possible the release of Awo and his colleagues still languishing in prison.

Basking in the euphoria of federal might, Akintola “taku” not willing, very adamant to relinquish the premiership in a free and fair election. Akintola would rather stay put and die in office than to face imminent defeat at the polls which he eventually did”.

It led to brazen and provoked electoral mayhem and violence of large scale burning of precious lives and valuable property which were horrendous and unmitigated disasters known as operation ‘wetie’ i.e where many political adversaries were soaked with petrol and set ablase without any qualm!

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Then the Army struck in January 15,1966 heralding the first coup d’etat that put paid to civilian rule in the country.

It is a matter for regrets that none of the military juntas which imposed their nefarious maximum iron rule on us never deemed it fit electoral malfeasance, wrongdoing and meted out appropriate penalties or sanctions commensurate to the enormity of electoral brigandage to serve as deterrents to others or clean the Augean  stable in long riotous long stay of military despotism and authoritarian hold on the country.

Military rule in Nigeria can aptly be described as a period of “Melancholy interlude” in the nation’s chequered history. Very unfortunate indeed!.

It rankles on ad infinitum. Elections are periodically held but more often than not blatantly  and shamelessly rigged by the powers at the helm to hand on sine die with impunity.

If there is no justice, peace only becomes a mid night summer dream. What on the ground, shall hence be tantamount to peace of the grace yard and the stability of standing still.

As Ondo election beginning from the primaries to the general election in the ultimate, all hands must be on deck to give Ondo State the best candidate to effectively manage good government to the delight of all and sundry.

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