By Emmanuel Aziken
Only few would have been shocked by Mr. Adebayo Shittu’s claim that he would be a bastard to be seen supporting his party’s candidate in the 2019 governorship election in Oyo State.
That shock would have flowed from his frustration after he was ‘locked’ out of the All Progressives Congress, APC, governorship primary that produced Mr. Adebayo Adelabu. The emergence of Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank should have excited the political terrain in Oyo State, if not for anything, but for the fact that his grandfather was the celebrated pre-independence political actor, Adegoke Adelabu.
However, Shittu’s frustrations and other drama related to the forthcoming elections have swallowed up the significance of the involvement of the grandson of Penkelemesi.
Shittu’s frustration was undoubtedly compounded by his sense of entitlement to the APC ticket after positioning himself as a leader of the party and projecting himself as President Muhammadu Buhari’s man Friday in Oyo State.
Who would forget that long before the kick-off of the presidential campaigns, that Shittu used the sacred chambers of the Federal Executive Council on January 24, 2018 to launch Buhari’s second term bid? He indeed, took the risk to violate campaign laws by distributing campaign materials for the president that day. That was at a time when the prospects of the president offering himself for a second term was much in doubt given that it was just four months after he returned from his longest medical vacation.
The scenario in Oyo State is replicated in several states including Ogun, Imo, Rivers, Delta, Zamfara and many others.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun who is flying the APC’s ticket for Ogun Central Senatorial District has openly vowed not to campaign for the party’s governorship candidate in the state. He has even defiantly urged his supporters to support his preferred successor in another political party.
The APC remarkably has little moral authority to call him to order as the party is yet to give details of the primary where the official candidate, Dapo Abiodun emerged.
In Imo State, the party’s seeming moral credentials to call Owelle Rochas Okorocha’s deviant democracy tendencies were also compromised by the way and manner it pushed forward Senator Hope Uzodinma as governorship candidate. Governor Okorocha, chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum has had no scruples openly upbraiding the APC candidate as unfit to govern Imo State.
In Rivers State, the excitement of the Magnus Abe tendency at the news of the disqualification of the party’s candidates from the state in the forthcoming election reveals that the dispute between him and Rotimi Amaechi has reached the point of no return.
In Delta State, key actors in the party openly admit that reconciliation after the physical fight at the Eagle Square last June and the machinations that characterised the party primaries are almost impossible.
With the party in disarray here and there, it was not surprising that the party again, constituted six reconciliation teams to settle the disputes across the country. That move follows the joke that was said of the reconciliation initiative of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in early February mandated Tinubu to reconcile aggrieved stakeholders in the party. However, nothing much was heard of that initiative after one or two visits as it emerged that Tinubu also needed to reconcile with many other stakeholders in the party.
The joke in the latest reconciliation came with the inclusion of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, as a member of the reconciliation team constituted by the party for the Southwest geopolitical zone.
Speaking during a meeting with party members this week, Ambode espoused the need for party unity in Lagos State and charged party faithful in neighbouring Ogun State to tow the same steps.
As he spoke, perhaps unknown to him, party operatives who worked to undermine him or check his second term aspiration were busy articulating alleged misdeeds of the governor. One of the more potent allegations was that Ambode was paying lip-service to the APC’s election bid in Lagos flowing from claims that key supporters of the governor were offering strategic support including funding to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP candidate in Lagos, Mr. Jimi Agbaje.
While that claim is yet to be proved, it is not out of the place to say that the latest attempt at reconciliation may indeed, not be more than lip service in several instances.