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Osun guber election: What next?

By Adisa Adeleye
THE Osun State gubernatorial election, bitterly contested has been won by the incumbent governor, Ogbeni Aregbesola in a hard way. Following the PDP victory in the neighbouring Ekiti State, the political pressure was on the APC to show that it controls the political soul of the South-Western zone of Nigeria.

One political factor is certain – it is not easy to dethrone a sitting government. The opposition party lost to APC in Edo State; was defeated by Labour Party in Ondo State, and has just been declared loser in Osun State.

The PDP‘s victory in Ekiti State was an aberration, defying even the classical rigging style of the old gwild, wild Westh (Ekiti was part of the old Western Region). The old fashionable method would leave two or three local areas for the loser, but ensuring that the scores allocated would not affect the total votes awarded to the winner.

But in Ekiti State, the PDP addicted to its selfish principle of ‘winner-takes-all‘ would not favour the loser with any success. The party took everything, thus confounding not only its supporters but also media correspondents and respected columnists. Ekiti State election has just added a new concept to political philosophy – stomach infrastructure which was not unappreciated in Osun (rice and kerosene).

The closely fought election battle in Osun State perhaps, would provide ample room for researchers or political analysts on how election could be won in the face of heavily policed environment. Osun is a Yoruba State with different Yoruba dialects – the Ife (Ife dialect), Ijesha (Ijesha dialect), Ede, Ejigbo, Modakeke, Iwo, Osogbo (Oyo dialect) etc, while the votes of Ife areas (Omisore), and Ijesha areas (Aregbesola) evenly cancelled themselves out, but the votes of the Oyo speaking areas and Igbomina actually determined the winner.

It looks as if any future electoral victory would rest on swings in the votes of Oyo and Igbomina (Ila) speaking areas. However, this factor does not diminish the heavy presence of security personnel as a major factor in limiting voters‘ participation in elections.

Although the principle of democracy has been followed in both Ekiti and Osun States in respect of period elections under multi-party system, the outcome has been the growth of bitterness and divisive tendencies among the Yoruba stock. In Ekiti, the loser, Fayemi (APC) quickly congratulated the winner (Fayose of PDP) which was a demonstration of political maturity. The Osun loser would not see any sense in congratulating the winner before going to court.

However, President Jonathan deserves support for doing the right thing by congratulating the winners in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun on the strength of results announced by INEC. The President‘s support is necessary for INEC to continue to improve in giving the country free and fair elections. This however, does not prevent INEC from improving its cumbersome voting pattern. Why not vote immediately after accreditation of voters?Aregbe-returns2

This is the time to join others in congratulating the winner (Aregbesola) for being returned to power over his performance in his first term and also, to appeal to the loser (Omisore) to accept the situation.

Omisore has seen political good days as Deputy Governor under Akande (AD) and was elected a Senator (when in prison), and a past chairman of Appropriation Committee of the Senators early in this century.

He failed to regain his Senate seat in 2011 and has not been elected as governor according to INEC‘s results in Osun. I believe there are many other ways of serving a nation besides the juicy politics.

From media reports, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan would appear as the most criticized (not abused) President in the past and recent times. I think a former President, Sheu Shagari shared that odious distinction.

Apart from intellectual criticisms from his opponents (Awolowo and Azikiwe) in the 1979 Presidential elections, Shagari was even asked by the late social critic (Tai Solarin) to state how many literature books (English and not Arabic) he had read.

Even Shagari could not escape the acerbic tongue of our own Obasanjo (a past President) who remarked that Shagari was ill prepared for the job of the President and gwanted to be nothing more than a Senator which was no crimeh.

But gentleman Shagari took all on his strides, and after a Buhari coup that toppled his government in 1983, he now resides happily in his modest farm in Sokoto.

The critics of President Jonathan are not his enemies but perhaps, his political good friends who would prefer his role as a Statesman rather than that of a wily political leader he is made to be at present.

Many political and ethical errors are committed by his supporters in his name in order to ensure his re-election in 2015. By his education and demeanor, President Jonathan looks like the ideal Nigerian leader of all times.

However, the glamour of office and the push of the political sycophants often becloud his vision of true leadership and greatness. Hence, the growth of ethnic and religious schism in the country. Before the scourge of Boko Haram and the election of President Jonathan in 2011, the lives and properties of many Southerners have been left in the brutal hands of marauders without compensation except the setting up of series of commission of enquiry whose reports are begging for implementation.

Under the present political dispensation, the religious and ethnic quests for political power in the Centre have continued with unabated fury. A Statesman rather than a foxy politician would look into the formation and the exercise of political power by a central government. It is assumed that such a wise Statesman would often be guided by past historical events.

The political history up to the end of the 20th century is a problem with sordid news of broken empires and countries and also, pleasant surprises of modern states, out of the murky waters of totalitarianism.

The valuable lesson is that a plural society needs an all inclusive government devoid of political divisive tendencies. Some old countries that could not understand or manage their plural existence have ended in disintegration. Those who can manage their own peculiarities like Switzerland and Belgium seem to be waxing stronger in prosperity.

The problems of Nigeria are increasing day by day. From Boko Haram insurgency, mass unemployment, armed robbery, kidnapping, ritual and political killings to the present Ebola virus, the answer lies only in political unity and not in the glaring political prospects of 2015, (but with its prognosis).

The ranging problems outlined above are the real enemies of President Jonathan and the country.


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