BY DAPO AKINREFON
IT was former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who introduced the phrase ‘do-or-die’ into Nigeria’s political lexicon prior to the 2003 general elections. All the states in the South-West geo-political zone, except Lagos State, escaped the tsunami unleashed by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Aside, the likes of former Attorney-General of the Federation and Afenifere stalwart, Chief Bola Ige and Odunayo Olagbaju, who were murdered 10 years ago continue to ring a bell.
Chief Ige, an erstwhile Alliance for Democracy, AD, member serving in the ruling PDP government, was murdered in cold blood in his home on December 23, 2001.
This was about a week or so after a mob removed his cap during a visit to his friend, the Ooni of Ife, who was installed by Ige during his governorship about two decades earlier.
Olagbaju was a member of the Osun State House of Assembly, representing Ile-Ife constituency, between 1999 and 2003. He was murdered near Moore police station, Ile-Ife, on December 20, 2001.
Return of do or die politics in the country
Following the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) allegation that the life of Osun State Governor, Engr Rauf Aregbesola was being threatened, there are fears that do-or-die politics is returning in the country especially in the South-West ahead of the 2015 elections.
Osun was the state out of the 17 southern states that President Goodluck Jonathan did win during the 2011 presidential polls. In fact, it was the only state the ACN, Candidate, Nuhu Ribadu, won.
Previous threats: This is not the first time that the ACN would be alleging of threats to the lives of its leaders. In December 2010, it raised similar alarm over threats to the life of one of its founders and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
In ta statement, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the two-pronged plan being hatched by some agents of evil involved using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to intimidate and put away Tinubu, as well as trying to compromise his security to expose his life to danger, ‘a la Bola Ige style.’
“The recent justifiable reverses suffered by those who have arrested the nation’s progress through their brand of politics, which involves massive vote rigging and the perpetration of violence under the theme of ‘do-or-die politics, have so scared them into seeking unorthodox ways to stop the man who, through legal recourse instead of self help, is behind the successes,” he said.
Aregbesola’s threat: On Wednesday, Aregbesola, through his party, ACN, raised an alarm that his life was under threat. The plot, it was alleged, is to provide an avenue for the PDP to have inroad into the South-West, which it lost to the can ACN at the 2007 polls.
According to Lai Mohammed, the threats are within “the context of a dastardly plot being engineered by the PDP to destabilise the South-West and soften the ground for the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections.”
The ACN said Osun State, which is the State of the Living Spring, is being targeted in the pilot scheme “of this act of desperation by the PDP because it is hell bent on causing chaos in the region.”
“The architects of this plot believe that unless the PDP destabilises the South-West and gets rid of the man they see as an implacable foe of the party (PDP), the President’s putative plan to run for re-election in 2015 will be in jeopardy, especially as they are afraid – for reasons best known to them – that the President will not get the backing of the North-West and the North-East in his quest for re-election,” the party alleged.
Besides the party urged the plotters to have a re-think before carrying out their threat noting that previous attempts to destabilise the region have ended in catastrophe.
“We hope that the plotters remember that since the First Republic, all attempts to destabilise the Southwest have ended with dire consequences for the nation.
Also, such acts have always been motivated by the desperation to win federal elections. The ACN will, therefore, like to put the PDP and its collaborators on notice that it will guard its mandate in Osun and other states jealously against political hawks.
“The so-called intelligence report should be shredded and packed in a dust bin where it belongs because it is nothing but the PDP master-plan to destabilise Osun State, in particular, and the South-West region, in general,” it warned.
PDP denies allegation
Not to be seen as a lame duck, the PDP in the region felt it was necessary to refute the outrageous claim made by the ACN.
While reacting to the allegation, its Vice Chairman (South West), Engineer Segun Oni, said that his party would not be cowed nor blackmailed to abandon its resolve to rescue the South west from those it described as “predators”.
Describing the statement as concocted by the ACN, Oni said the party was in a desperate attempt to cover up its now exposed alleged grand plot to destabilise Nigeria as a nation.
The former governor, however, pointed out that the PDP could not afford to stoop so low as to embark on plots to destabilize the nation. As a law abiding party, “we will always be opposed to the reign of these haters of the law and enemies of truth and peace,” he said.
While he maintained that the utterances of governor Aregbesola was unbecoming of a governor, Oni said: “Our position is that actions and utterances of Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State suggest that he is championing plot to disintegrate Nigeria and the evidence(s) are there.”
“Is it not true that Aregbesola is sending student activists to Cuba? Is it not true that he goes about with security guards other than men of the police and SSS? Is it not true that he goes about with flag of his imaginary republic? Is it not also true that there is a facebook account named Oduduwa Republic, with flag and map of a republic?,” he queried.
“We therefore wish to reiterate our call to security agencies not to succumb to the blackmail of the ACN, because issues bordering on threat to corporate existence of Nigeria are a serious security matter and security agencies in the country must go the extra mile to investigate these allegations,” he added.
When Vanguard contacted the National Leader of Pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, he called on politicians to exercise restraint in order not to over heat the polity.
In a telephone chat with Vanguard, Fasorant said: It is strange to me. I am not a member of the ACN. It is an allegation and it has not shown any sign. It is a false alarm because they are trying to call the attention of security agencies to it. It is neither here nor there.”
The Afenifere leader called on the leadership of the PDP and ACN to sheathe their swords in the interest of peace just as he stressed the need for Nigerians to take a cue from the past.
“We have to be careful because the temperature in the polity is being heightened now. We have to learn from the past and go about our campaigning in an orderly manner. Allegations and counter allegations can only lead to the heating up of the polity. That is my advice,” he urged.