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Suspension virus: A forcible rape on Democracy (1)

By Josef Omorotionmwan

UNARGUABLY, members of even the best-run organisations cannot always escape moments of profound crises, when they must break faith either with the team or with themselves. These crises occur when the leadership of the group suddenly – or gradually – embarks on a source of action that is incompatible with members’ private ethical standards or judgments.

Again, politics is concerned with the allocation of scarce resources – who gets what, when not everybody can get everything? This is where political intrigues take over. In any case, the role of superior leadership goes a long way in determining whether the organisation shall survive or die. In this analysis, the recent imbroglio in Uhunmwode Local Government Chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, comes readily handy as a Case Study. The dexterity with which the State Caucus of the Party under the leadership of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole handled what could have easily blossomed into a major catastrophe is highly commendable. The intervention of the Caucus provides a good lesson in party organisation and management.

The entire Uhunmwode problem started from the selfish ambition of one self-acclaimed pseudo despot. The Charles Idahosa misadventure had a four-pronged approach:

1. All those who supported a particular aspirant during the primaries leading to the governorship election were to be destroyed. This has been most nauseating. Does this group think that a coherent adult cannot decide for himself who to support in a political contest?
2. Suddenly, the Principal began to nurse the ambition of returning to the new Administration as a Political Adviser – a position he occupied throughout the tenure(s) of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. He should have known that his education (or lack of it?) was to constitute a new barrier to this ambition.
3. In his pseudo despotism, he promised to distribute all appointive positions to his cronies – to the total exclusion of those he had earmarked for extermination.
4. According to him, those exterminated have not seen anything yet. During elections, they are going to suffer the worst humiliation over. What happened during the appointment was going to be a child’s play. Those interested in seeking for elections will not even see the colour of the nomination forms. In a single swoop, they suspended 31 most viable members of the Party from Uhunmwode; they suspended the 15 Local Government Executives out of the remaining 24 members; they sacked the former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, the Rt. Hon. Samson Osagie, his Ward Chairman and the Local Government Youth Leader; they swept Isi North (Ward 07) clean by sacking this writer, his wife who is a Ranking National Delegate to the Party’s Conventions and his son, a former Education Commissioner in the State; they sacked a former LGA Council Chairman, Hon. Roland Alari, from the same Ward with the principal aggressor; Mrs. Esohe Idemudia, LGA Women Leader and Mrs. Mary Iyegumwena, former Edo South Senatorial Women Leader were not spared.

The list is endless. It became clear that reason had long departed them when they suspended a former member who decamped to PDP more than a year ago! Idahosa and his co-travellers are not bothered about the fate of the party. What concerns them is their instant gratification. The fair weather politicians are known to have negotiated the next party to which they will export their emptiness if the APC drops dead. God forbid!

When David Thoreau (1817-1862) was faced with the Uhunmwode-type situation, he asserted, “If the situation is such that it enables just people to be imprisoned unjustly, the only just place for any just person is also the prison”. Indeed, any APC member in Uhunmwode who was not suspended should consider himself a political neophyte, no thanks to the Idahosa conspiracy. The Idahosa group may have been attracted to the nebulous phrase “anti-party activities”, without knowing what it means. Or, it was a Freudian slip in which they were reporting to the world, what they actually did. Otherwise, was it by accident that the accused brought all the winning votes while the accusers lost abysmally in all their units?

They threw due process and fair-hearing to the winds. In the name of democracy they destroyed democracy. What a reckless delusion of impunity! Our elders are right in maintaining that any child that says his mother will not sleep will himself also see no sleep. Idahosa and his cohorts must have realised that they murdered sleep in their escapade. We took them up and gave them close marking. They had no breathing space. Following due process and rule of law, we informed everybody who needed to know.

Alas, a Daniel has come to judgment with the intervention of the highest organ of the APC in Edo State, the Party Caucus, under the Chairmanship of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The caucus promptly impaneled a five-man Investigation Committee under the chairmanship of Senator Domingo Obende to look into the matter. Based on the Committee Report, the Caucus decided that “the decision to suspend the members was totally misplaced. Since Charles Idahosa and his group could not prove the allegation of anti-party activities, it cannot stand. The suspension orders were therefore quashed. The Caucus noted further that since the suspension orders did not follow due process for disciplining erring party members, it was null, void and of no effect whatsoever. Finally, Caucus recommended that those who were suspended were not fairly treated and that the State Government should find a way of compensating them, particularly with appointments”.

We commend the APC caucus for a near-perfect job. For the health of the party, the decisions were perhaps not far-reaching enough. There should have been the need to impose a sanction on those elements that virtually succeeded in putting the party on the path of perdition, if only as a deterrence against future occurrence. Who were they afraid of? An empty sack that cannot stand erect? It is ludicrous to see people running around in circles, trying to save Idahosa from himself! Where do we go from here? What role for the leaders and the led?


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