By Soyombo Opeyemi
The period of news sensationalization is here again. No thanks to the political culture of Nigeria. The sumptuous news repast is, most often, prepared by attention seekers in the name of “Aspiration 2019”, just for example.
As you have in boxing, there are political featherweights, lightweights, middleweights cruiser weights and heavyweights. We also have professional as well as amateur boxers (politicians).
One sure way of courting relevance is to be seen to oppose the sitting governor or government. It does not matter if the so-called opposition politician cannot win his polling booth let alone ward or local council in any election. Just drag Amosun into your attacks and that guarantees you a space, if not headlines, in the papers. It is only a matter of time. The opportunistic political socialisation will not endure in Nigeria.
The craze to be titled a “former presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Reps, House of Assembly, chairmanship or councillorship aspirant” drives many a politician to ludicrous levels.
Our love for titles is equally matched by the quest for paper qualifications. The question is not what you can do, your work, but the paper qualifications you possess. We still have a long way to go in Nigeria.
When you read the staggering, mind-boggling, specious and impossible claims, averments, asseverations and adumbrations in the media that suggest that the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, sat alone in his room to write the list of aspirants or candidates for the 2019 elective positions in the state, you cannot but wonder the level of descent of some political traducers.
Right in the full glare of the media, these candidates emerged one after the other after their respective local council’s partymen with the aspirants engaged in negotiations, concessions, sometimes lasting for hours.
To cite an example – just one example because of space consideration – all the House of Assembly aspirants were invited to Abeokuta by the state executive of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Each aspirant was mandated to attend with three party supporters of his or her choice and equal opportunity was afforded each aspirant.
In line with the provision of the APC constitution, all the aspirants with their supporters dissolved into their respective Constituencies in the open – in the presence of journalists – and after hours of negotiations, they produced their consensus candidates, whereupon the leader of the party, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, was called upon to announce the consensus candidates. It beats one’s imagination how Governor Amosun could then be accused of writing the list of 26 candidates or candidates at different levels of political positions. The accusation is quite ridiculous and laughable.
At every forum, Amosun declares with emphasis that the state chapter of the party is adhering to one of the entrenched provisions of the APC constitution – consensus – which is equally entrenched in the political culture of the progressive party in the state. But to ensure no one is left out, he often concludes, “If consensus fails, then we go for primaries.” So, what is there for Amosun to say that has not been said? And if the aspirants are not aggrieved, shouting themselves hoarse, why should some people cry more than the bereaved? Why the false accusations, why the “pull him down”, why the mud slinging, why the lies?
If Amosun is guilty of anything, it is over-consultation. How many meetings with party elders, party executives, political stakeholders, groups, etc. etc., that Amosun convened or attended on the road to the current political candidacy period? So many. Countless.
Did the people that emerged as consensus candidates have the constitutional right to vote and be voted for? Are they adults or minors? Have they breached any law of the land? Why the choreographed media hoopla?
I read about protests against “Amosun’s consensus candidates.” “Protests,” really? “Amosun’s candidates,” “Amosun’s list,” really? What a way to score cheap political points and – if possible – engender artificial rise in the political temperature of APC and Ogun State in general.
Have we been here before? O yes! Did we overcome the political demagogues, desperadoes, political featherweights pretending to be heavyweights? Yes, we did.
The issue of diminishing returns does not even arise in the Amosun-led administration. Anywhere you go across the state, you observe massive construction going on. Ogun State remains a huge construction site under the current government. As one project is inaugurated, another one springs up to the betterment of the state. Things Fall Apart. Really? Yes, things must necessarily fall apart once you break the political chain of greed binding some people together. When the era of “Let’s share it” is supplanted with “Let’s develop the state,” there is bound to be reactions. And what better time to raise dust against a performing governor than the eve of elections?
In conclusion, I draw once more from the immortal words of Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs… because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause… so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
** Soyombo sent this piece from Abeokuta via email@example.com