By Oladineji Odeyemi
Like John the Baptist, Comrade Timi Frank has been a lonely voice in the wilderness of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) since the party came into power, calling attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and other national leaders to some of the injustices he had seen even before they now finally out of bags.
One might be forced to ask whether Comrade Frank is a prophet? If he is, the saying that prophet has no honour in his house might have played out against the deputy publicity secretary of the APC, having fought for the dethronement of his kinsman from Bayrlsa, Former President Goodluck Jonathan and meaningfully contributed to the enthronement of APC government.
Before the 2015 general elections, the People Democratic Party (PDP) was strongly in charge of the South-south, the home of the then president. For this reason, not many sons and daughters of South-south could boldly speak out against the government of Ebele Jonathan but Timi Frank did. On principle, he fought his Jonathan’s government to standstill. He exposes a lot of injustices against the nation at the detriment of his brother (Jonathan). Frank risked his life to ensure that APC became acceptable in a region that was predominantly known as stronghold of PDP.
As luck will have it, APC in 2015 emerged the governing party but that marked the beginning of Timi Frank’s persecution. The Bayelsa born young politician was one of those who strongly supported the emergence of Sen. Bukola Saraki as Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Speaker, even when the party did not believe and rejected them. Today, both Saraki and Dogara are making the nation proud and Nigerians are praising them.
The most clearly done injustice against Timi Frank, was when he was denied the right to occupy the position of the National Publicity Secretary of the party, when Lai Mohammad, who he was deputising got appointment as Minister of Information. Instead of allowing the only young man in the National Working Committee of APC to rise, forces against the truths Frank has been talking about manipulated the party’s law and illegally brought Bolaji Abdullahi, as a result of a kangaroo zonal convention.
The young man cried, shouted and even took the matter to court but nobody listern to him. He wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, it was ignored. He called on national leaders to rescue the party but the responses were not forthcoming.
When the division within the APC started, Frank was the first to raise alarm but the party led by Chief Oyegun, denied the existence of crack in the party.
For example, as far back as Oct. 3rd 2016, Frank had written an open letter to the president warning about the crises rocking the party that if nothing was done to assuage the feelings of the aggrieved persons, APC could pay for it.
In one of the letters addressed to President Buhari, Comrade Frank warned that “If nothing is done urgently, then, I’m afraid, ‘the pot left on the fire will definitely burn.”
The letter read in party: “Mr. President sir, the episode of the recent Ondo primaries is just one case too many befalling the APC under the leadership of Chief Oyegun and I’m therefore challenging Chief Oyegun to tell Nigerians if he has been able to mediate over any crisis that has been successful. As far as I am aware, APC under Oyegun has not been able to resolve any crisis in the party since we became the ruling party.
“Chief Oyegun has shown that he lacks the capacity to resolve all the crisis currently rocking our party in nearly all the states of the federation. Not even personal grudges and rifts between party members, eg Senator Shehu Sani vs Gov. El rufai in Kaduna, or Senator Kwankwaso vs Gov Ganduje in Kano, Senator Goje vs Senator Nafada in Gombe, and lastly the rift between late Chief Audu’s family against Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi state . The crisis rocking the Bayelsa state APC which is also divided against itself as well as Delta, Ondo and Ogun states are visible examples to mention a few.
“Mr. President sir, I’m aware you may not have forgotten hurriedly your experience under Chief Oyegun’s chairmanship in the defunct All Nigerians People’s Party (ANPP) that eventually led to the series of events which saw your exit from the party, and this same man is at it again.
“It is no longer news today that so many leaders of the APC are aggrieved as a result of the handling of party affairs by Chief John Oyegun. Injustice has become an order of the day, whilst so many leaders and party faithfuls might be contemplating an exit of the party if nothing is being done urgently to salvage the already soar taste,” he said.
In another occassion, the APC deputy spoksman addressed a press conference to urge President Buhari to immediately direct Chief Odigie-Oyegun to summon emergency NEC/ BOT/Caucus meetings which he said “will enable the party leadership to find a lasting solution to all pending issues” but the call was ignored.
Instead of being commended for speaking the truths, Timi Frank zonal vice chairman, Hillard Eta, was directed to pronounce his suspension, a move that could not be justify before any right thinking person.
Frank was declared ‘suspended’ illegally by the South-south zone of his party for granting press interviews in which he was alleged to have made some disparaging comments about the national chairman.
But instead of feeling intimidated, the outspoken young man responded this way: “I can assure you, Oyegun cannot retire me from politics. He’s my father, he’ll go before me.”
This drama and many more, might have come and gone but the prophecies of Timi Frank about the future of APC has daily come to pass. He has never allow himself to be caged, intimidated or silenced despite all the injustices done to him.
As national leader of APC however, begin the move to reconcile all the aggrieved members of the party, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, it is incumbent to reach out to Timi Frank, who has been wronged, trampled upon and cheated, if the gods of reconciliation will make manifest in Tinubu’s assignment.
In fact, there is nothing wrong if the former Lagos state governor, seek to hear from Timi Frank, on how to go about his assignment because the gods of justice dies not discriminate against age, colour or position of any man.
Therefore, ignoring Timi Frank, like in the past might not be at the interest of the party if truly Tinubu led reconciliation panel mean well for APC.
Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi, President, National Committee of Yoruba Youth (NCCY).