By Oludayo Tade
THE 2019 general elections have shown the growing evolution and sophistication of the Nigerian electorate. Despite obvious lapses and controversies of inconclusiveness in some states, these elections have shown enlightened awareness and voter differentiation between political parties and personalities, ethnic and religious flags against their desire for good governance. The 2019 voters spoke with their votes, sending some opportunistic politicians who turned themselves to demi-gods into the dungeon of social and political insignificance. They replaced their loquacity with reticence.
The political godfathers had a run for their position and were forced to come down from their high horse to beg for forgiveness and allow their manipulation game to continue. In some states, they negotiated favourably with compromises but the pacesetter state would not have such external incursion again. The ruling party had been complacent with the thought that the gap-toothed jinx-breaker governor held the magic wand until he was thrashed by Dr. Kola Balogun in Oyo South Senatorial District. Not even the eight House of Representatives seats and two senatorial tickets won by the APC were guarantee of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections. As it turned out on March 9, three-time serial loser and the umbrella party candidate, Oluseyi Makinde, defeated a former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, a political neophyte to become the governor-elect.
The victory was a confirmation of the understanding of the law of power by the Ibadan political warlords led by High Chief Rashidi Ladoja who midwifed the first successful political alignment of opposition politicians of Ibadan extraction which edged out and silenced the bad marketer of APC and their political products. The wall of Jericho in Oyo State was bound to fall in 2019. The remote and immediate causes were crystal clear to political watchers and analysts, but not so to the leader of APC in the state. The fall of the walls of Jericho was occasioned by both enemies within (Iku-Ile) and without (Iku-ode). The caustic derision of categories of persons, disrespect of tradition, imposition of candidates, over-rating of self, unfriendly policies and workforce catalysed the fall.
The APC leader violated extensively the fourth law of power which preaches to those in power to say less than necessary. In his book, 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene states thus: “Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” Harvesting and working on these loopholes of the APC leader, there was no retreat or surrender for the rampaging opposition party after bombing the incumbent governor’s Senate dream. But that victory alone cannot get them into the Agodi Government House. They needed collaborative efforts of people of like minds who wanted a common enemy out of the way. A former governor of Oyo State from Ogbomoso, who had boasted that the APC will not benefit from a disorganised opposition as it did in 2015, started the coalition talks by approaching his boss, Senator Rashidi Ladoja. After meeting a few opposition gubernatorial aspirants with agreement to reconvene after the presidential and national assembly elections, the political tactician of Ogbomosoland courted a better deal with the ruling party.
Adopting a similar strategy utilised to court Christopher Akala from Ile-Ife, Osun State in 2018, the APC leadership organised a nocturnal standby flight for the Ogbomoso-born former governor. By the time he returned from Abuja, the song had changed. He jettisoned the opposition group, abandoned his gubernatorial ambition and announced that he will to work for the candidate of APC, Adebayo Adelabu (penkele meesi). This move partly contributed to the fatal blow of APC in the polls and it was alleged that the former governor sold his people for pittance. Those holding this position forget that in politics, there is no permanent friend, only interest is permanent. Ladoja’s group forged ahead and was able to secure the commitment of Senator Olufemi Lanlehin (ADC), Sarafadeen Alli (ZLP), Bolaji Ayorinde (SDP) to drop their gubernatorial ambition and support PDP’s Seyi Makinde. This did not come without compromises of forming a government of unity if Seyi emerges victorious. The time the coalition sealed its deal was the last week into the poll and hit the APC below the belt. It was this last minute coalition that secured victory for PDP in 28 out of the 33 local governments in the state. In the House of Assembly elections, PDP reversed the fortunes of APC, clinching 26 seats while APC won five and Akala’s ADP won one seat.
Unlike Christopher Omisore who secured the maximum votes needed for APC’s triumph in Osun State in 2018 via the instrumentalities of the state, Christopher Akala’s political forte suffered a major blow; the votes did not come as expected. Akala even managed to win with over a thousand votes in his Ogbomoso North stronghold (APC=14,442; PDP=13,035). Although Akala delivered his area, the expected huge votes did not come. The Osun model crumbled. As PDP was coasting home to victory after eight years off, lives were lost, voters were intimidated when subtle vote buying failed; ballot boxes were snatched and results were burnt by sponsored hoodlums. Notwithstanding these, the voters in Oyo State sent a strong message to overrated political merchants within and outside the state of their avowed resolution to break the jinx breaker. By midwifing this coalition, Senator Rashidi Ladoja has elevated his political worth, respect and honour. They have shown that a people united can never be defeated. The outgoing kòselèri (it has never happened before) second term jinx breaker has been demystified as kòlèselémó (it can never happen again) by this comprehensive defeat.
Now that the reigns of ‘constituted authority’ are over, we all need to learn from the mistakes that cost Shehu his Senate ticket and his party, the state. The gap-toothed leader will be pained for daring the people and suffering a peculiar mess. Adebayo Adelabu, the grandson of Goke Adelabu suffered peculiar mess and got silenced by the Ladoja coalition. Seyi Makinde should learn from this. This APC’s ‘peculiar mess’ is the proverbial cane used in beating the senior wife that was kept in the ceiling for the younger wife. He must keep his agreements with the state, constitution and the coalition that piloted his victory. He needs to arrest the decay in public health and education and boost the economy. He must select the best of heads to work with him. He is younger and the energy should show with pro-people policies. People have begged that voters should allow, Seyi o Seyi (allow Seyi to be the governor). Seyi must, therefore, not fail to deliver. The governor-elect must be magnanimous in victory because failure is an orphan. The ‘otoge’ coalition of Ladoja will enter history book as one that caused the son of penkelemeesi a peculiar political uppercut and shattered the jinx-breaker’s attempt to break another jinx.