By Oma Djebah
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State’s current buzzword is that he must hand-over the reign of government to Adekunle Akinlade in 2019. This has opened a new can of worms, triggering open the Pandora box and raising several questions: How? Why? Why the reckless verbal churn? Ours is a country of laws not of men. No matter how highly placed you may be, you are subject to the Laws of the land like everyone else. It’s therefore awfully tragic, most bizarre that the Governor hasn’t come to terms with this reality. Or put differently, he doesn’t seem to understand this logical, sensible rule.
Amosun’s threat to use the instruments of office to “impose” Akinlade, his surrogate on Ogun State is highly gratuitous, inordinate and most egregious. ”I’m in APC but I ‘ll work against Dapo Abiodun. In fact, Akinlade has my full support”, the Governor vowed after his acolyte lost the APC ticket in a classical game of wit and strength! Sadly, the Governor’s behaviour reminds me of the calamitous narrator, a character in Ralph Ellison’s ground-breaking epic, ”Invisible Man” which won a US National Book Award in 1953. Everywhere the narrator went, he had to contend with extreme adversity, stumbling, connected chains!
The Governor should understand that we are in a Constitutional democracy and no one can thumb his nose against the Constitution. Freedom and Rule of Law are two vital pillars that underpin our democracy. Threats to these vital elements signal a sunset, a breach of Law and an aberration. As in every elections, voters either choose a candidate to protect the store-house or another to re-tool and revamp the storage, leaving strong, fierce divides in the process!
In this era, where the voice of the media-especially digital media- is much stronger, deeper, much more resonate in its narratives of key public institutions, Governor Amosun should realize that history could judge him pretty harshly. Throwing a perilous pill; a game that might set the hand of the clock back is an ill-wind fraught with pomp danger. Nigeria is already at critical cross-road; she’s faced with a blend of idealism and cynicism-bad politics, defective economics, lumbering infrastructure amidst grand ideas, great people. Amosun’s attempt to clasp the political institutions in Ogun State and impose his stand-in is like a throw- back to the First Republic. It’s an action that might implode with devastating consequences. Curiously, it’s really hard to decipher what’s pushing him into giving a fling at stomping-out the door against his own party!
For during the Party’s governorship primaries, these actors behaved in a manner comparable to gangs of pig-thieves pretending to be animal activists, dressed in bio-hazard suits, sneaking into the farmlands simply to snatch the priceless piglet. But the short, unswerving man with tall vision unmasked the antics of a dolorous man striving to build a political empire on a quick-sand. With knives sticking out of his back, the fugacious APC czar hewed the deal! And the Governor reacted with impetuous, imprudent verbal assaults!
It’s really difficult to find much coherence in this shenaniganism. Why the preference for a perceived political dilettante? The peril: the political battle for Ogun, will likely fluctuate, oscillate in a flux-ending in a frenzied three-way horse race: Gboyega Isiaka (ADC), Dapo Abiodun (APC) and Buruji Kashamu/Ladi Adebutu (PDP). This unusual political setting has created a riveting campaign atmosphere.
What is the issue? As the story goes, Amosun, who had reportedly nominated Kemi Adeosun to represent Ogun State as Nigeria’s Finance Minister in 2015, (a lady whose alleged crooked misdeeds for reportedly forging an NYSC certificate had brought global opprobrium to Nigeria and denigrated the reputation of Ogun State), plotted to impose yet another political pop-gun. Expectedly, there was revulsion. Why not attenuate the awful blunder over Adeosun? The political hustle which brims with opportunism, poor knowledge of history is akin a harlequinade push!. Yet Ogun State is the home State of our own legendary “Aiyekooto”, who once governed the State with admirable finesse and bold vision.
Amosun’s language since Akinlade’s defeat has been intemperate, provocative with contradictory impulses and red-wave memes. He said he had briefed President Buhari but in the same breath, Akinlade was hustled into APM. Given the fact that the APC itself is already going for broke in the upcoming elections – at a time the nation is equally broke -with the slide into recession announced by NBS (National Bureau of Statistics), it’s sad that these combatants are set to throw Ogun into a frenzy. Sadly, Ogun is part of old Western Region, once presided over by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, with exemplary vision, utmost dedication and panache. To think that Ogun State was part of the erstwhile Western State which General David Medayese Jemibewon, one of the finest, most cerebral retired Generals that I’ve ever known, once governed with inspiring dedication, compelling knowledge and awesome sense of patriotism, is most shocking!
No government should under-rate the citizens capacity to push-back on the side of the Law. In Sweden where I did graduate studies many years ago, violence, protests were rare sights. It’s one of the best countries in the World. But in September this year, a masked gang of angry citizens ran amok on the streets of Gothenburg, one of the country’s largest commercial hubs, and set several vehicles ablaze. “Treat us like animals and we will behave like animals”, a masked man speaking on a video declared, accusing Swedish politicians of various wrong-doing! The result: the ruling party lost the elections in Gothenburg! Amosun’s perilous pill is an ill-wind of imminent crisis.
* Oma Djebah, a global journalist and public policy strategist has served as a member of the United Nations Secretary-General’s panel on Media and Governance in Africa and is currently at the School of Communications Management, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada and a PhD candidate at North West University, working on global media/ peace communications and the Niger Delta Question. e-mail:[email protected]. Follow him at:https://omadjebahsthoughts.com