Nowadays, little premium is placed on the concept of internal democracy. To many lovers of the concept, internal democracy has long died a natural death. No thanks to the overbearing tendency of sitting governors.
In order to cover their track when they leave office, incumbent governors often try as much as possible to install a successor. While some succeed, others fail. A former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan tried to influence the choice of his successor and failed whereas a former Akwa Ibom governor, Godswill Akpabio succeeded.
In their bids to anoint and install a successor, governors often throw decorum overboard. They also abandon internal democracy. Today, some members of the Peoples Democratic Party agree that the party lost the 2015 general elections partly because it disregarded its own constitution and paid little or no regards to internal democracy.
Thus, the aftermath of the absolute power exercise by governors is that many of them have come to believe that that they have absolute power to control and impose their surrogates as successors with consequential loss of internal democracy.
For instance, the immediate past PDP-led administration of ex-President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan suffered the same fate. The PDP was at the receiving end of candidates imposition, breeding acrimonious rivalry, and without recourse to the party’s primaries. The aftermath, the centre could no longer hold, internal democracy was thrown to the wind, thereby witnessing mass exodus of party stalwarts, defecting to the beautiful bride of the time, APC, in droves.
If he is a good student of history, the governor should not have difficulty remembering that it was the decision of his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel to ensure his favoured candidate emerge as his successor that was partly responsible for him (Amosun) to emerge governor.
Amosun had announced his opposition to the most popular aspirant from Ogun West, Senator Olamilekan Adeola even though the governor said he supported the district to produce the next governor.
To lend credence to the scorn the governor has for the Lagos West Senator, at a recent parley with Ogun West Elders Council and Yewa Think-Tank group that visited him at his Okemosan Office, Abeokuta, to protest the endorsement of Adeola as the Ogun West APC consensus candidate by the Ogun West Elders Forum (OGWEF), Amosun said no “foreigner” would be allowed to emerge as governor of the state under his watch.
Amosun noted that the state has been held under siege by a ‘foreigner’ who served as a governor and urged the indigenes of the state to work against anyone whose origin cannot be ascertained, to hijack the state.
Even though, Amosun described Adeola as a foreigner because he is coming from Lagos to seek election as governor of Ogun State, many in the state do not share the his sentiment. The generality of the people of Ogun State appear to prefer the stranger and are flocking round him.
Sooner than latter, Amosun, who himself as become unpopular among the people, risks isolating himself further as long as he maintains his opposition to Adeola’s ambition.
Chief Bode Mustapha, an APC chieftain from Egbaland and an apostle of power shift to Ogun West, in a recent interview with THISDAY, has warned Gov Ibikunle Amosun of dire consequences in meddling over who succeeds him in office. He admonished Mr Governor to learn a big lesson from his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who eventually lost out while in his bid to foist Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (aka GNI) against the collective popular decision of the PDP in the state, and heed the popular demand for an internal democracy to prevail in choosing his successor from Yewa/Aworiland.
“Let us face it. When APC was coming, the mantra at that time was “Any Other But Jonathan” (AOBJ), but that had come and gone. Now, the PDP is trying to put its house in order. Now, APC is beginning to make the same mistake that PDP made. I was privileged to know this because by the grace of God, I was the first person from Ogun State to be a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the then, largest party in Africa that was ruling this country. And at that time, the governors thought that they were invincible and infallible. They were thinking that it was about them, they were imposing people. Internal democracy was thrown to the dogs and immediately that thing started happening, danger signals were there. APC should not fall into the same pit or trap that PDP fell into. That is why, I believe that again, in Nigeria, we should stop exercising, celebrating people but we should start to strengthen institutions.
In the absence of internal democracy, Mustapha, a former National Auditor of the PDP, disclosed it was the over-bearing influence of the chieftains that knelt the death of the party.
Besides, Mustapha who is an erstwhile legislator that represented Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), between 1999 and 2003, further urged the incumbent governor to exercise caution in picking his anointed candidate.
Adeola, who currently represents Lagos West at the Senate, in a recent interview with THISDAY, has also advised his compatriots from Ogun West not to wait for anyone to make them governor.