October 5, 2018

Osun Re-run: A rehearsal of 2019 polls?

Osun election

By Oludayo Tade

IN a piece entitled “Osun: Will Davido or Kwam 1 Win at Extra time? Published in the Punch Newspaper on September 25, 2018, “I analysed the supplementary  election that was to hold in seven ‘special centres’ distributed across four local government areas. I had predicted what eventually transpired during the election extra-time: political scheming, increased value of voters and PVC, promises and alliances as well as intimidation of voters among others. As a sociologist, consistent behavioural patterns are predictable, particularly when it comes to Nigerian politicians who are not innovative or do not need to innovate new ways since the current strategies still work.

Osun election

And so, until that ‘re-run’ election, I did not believed what pastors mean when they preach about the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force. There was no limit to voter’s intimidation and the alleged prevention of the PDP voters from reaching polling units by state-backed political thugs who became empowered during the ‘re-run’ election. My thesis in the piece is that we are going to re-run the Osun state re-run election in the 2019 elections because of the similarities between the local and national. Of course, just as the family is the microcosm of the happenings in the society, it is possible to deploy the local strategies used in Osun  to  win the 2019 general elections

In his incubating idea, tentatively captioned Late Arrival Superior Aggression theory, LASAT, renowned scholar, Dr. Senayon Olaoluwa reasoned that the complacency of the early arrivals, their unrestraint accommodation of the ‘stranger’ exposes them to future dangers. Late arrivals are at the mercy of their host who dictates the tune. However, while playing like a fool, the late arrival prepares for the day to dethrone those claiming to own the land or electoral victory. In Osun election, the PDP are the early arrivals who wrongly assumed victory and feels public opinion amounts to voting.

It plays out therefore that even when PDP’s Bukola Saraki was the early arrival at the house of the former Sinner—now—Saint son of Ife, and his press interviewing  that he was more confident Saraki and his complacent party, stayed aloof forgetting the maxim of the Yoruba which interestingly resonates in the name of the Ife godfather—Omísoore(The water that favours). It follows  therefore that the Yoruba envisions the indispensability of water in human life when they aver that Kòsénitó ñ bómisòtá; omilabùwè, omilabùmu (no one hates water. We fetch water to bath. We fetch water to drink). When  the town was dry in the extra-time election and all wondered where water can be found, the town of Ile-Ife provided succour but only the desperate can be allowed to drink from the house o f the one that does favour with His political water. But how?

Late arrivals, according to Dr. Senayon are known for marking achievements: they are strategic about the time to strike—the time to make early arrival pay for their stupidity and lack of desperation. They used the one with marriage affinity with Ile-Ife to tie Omisore down—Kayode  Fayemi did not only reportedly call but visited the ‘in-law’. This was followed by the oldest governor in the Zone, Abiola Ajimobi, his younger brother, Ibikunle Amosun and other from North and East. They prepared the ground for the fire brand chairman of the broom party who desperately needed the water of Ife to stay alive ahead of the 2019 polls. They didn’t leave behind the master, the Ilorin born communicator and the head, propaganda division of the broom wielders association, Lai Mohammad.

While the PDP were digging ‘Well’ manually in mountainous area, the APC would rather deploy a superior aggression with mouth-watering offers. Together with their Daura Prince who reportedly spoke on phone with the political magician of Ife, they stooped low to drink the political ‘water of favour’ to carry the day. Who, I ask, will reject an offer of a Senate, House of Representative and State House of Assembly tickets on broom party platform which by virtue of 2019 deals will guarantee that the anti-corruption agency will not disturb ‘Mr. Favour Water’ till 2023?  I am sure no one in his right senses will say NO. A common saying goes thus: self-first is not selfishness, self alone is selfishness. Even the Bible says “love thy neighbour as thyself” and not love thy neighbour more than yourself.

PDP were early arrivals  in leading in the polls but the superior aggression between Mr. Favour Water and the state was more superior during the extra-time. I had stated that extra time is highly unpredictable which can bring a twist of fate. So, it was, to fulfil their part of the deal, the state supported with ideological state apparatus which looked the other way as opposition voters were intimidated and chased away. This was not possible in the first polls since the broom wielders had thought they would win by wide margin owing to the acclaimed eight years turn-around-of-fortune performances of Oranmiyan.

Alas! Only the places where more votes were needed enjoyed more state fortification while the political thugs performed stop and search on voters to check opposition from voting. Aso-ebi was used to identify those who will associate with the broom wielder. Those without the vest and handkerchief suffered violence and intimidation. Observers, media men and their instrument became victims of state superior aggression. One AIT reporter reported that the police warned him against recording or they will open fire! PDP agents disappeared for dear lives and with the state backed forces; Mr. Favour Water delivered the needed votes. All Your Sins are forgiven.

Now, this is likely going to be the fate of 2019 polls. The conditions are going to be similar. There will be re-alignment of forces and juicy deals will be signed by those who matter in vote mercantilism. There will be shortage of police to mann polling units in 2019 and the fact that political thugs had field day in Osun re-run is a pointer to the fact that enough arms are in the hands of political merchants. They will also be favoured by the powers-that-be. Votes are likely to be disrupted in opposition strongholds and strengthened where the State will benefit. Objective observers are likely to be hunted and the media should get ready for a serious season. Unfortunately, it was King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, in one of his songs who pleaded that we should not destroy the corridor because of the Town of Ede (E ma to ri Ede ba eede je).

He preached against war and violence during polls. But as an active member of the broom party and a Mandate gang, can he act his preaching?. Economic survival is a strategy of late arrivals and political affinity with the state is their longing. Is INEC truly independent as the President claimed in his speech on the 58th anniversary of Nigeria? Can a government that described the supplementary election in Osun as democracy in action guarantee free, and fair polls in 2019?. Unless, but unlikely, the opposition parties work together as they failed to do in Osun, Aso rock is retained for the Prince of Daura. In any event of stiff challenge, it is crystal clear for the blind to see that superior aggression theory will be deployed.

Dr. Tade, a sociologist, wrote from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.