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Osun Election: The Takeaway Lessons

Osun Election: The Takeaway Lessons

Eddy Odivwri

Last Saturday, the Osun governorship election took place. It is no longer news that there was an upset: that the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke won the election, defeating the incumbent governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola and 13 other candidates. It was essentially a two-horse race; with the frontrunners being the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).  The PDP candidate scored 403,371 votes to beat  APC’s Oyetola, who polled 375,027 votes.

For about a week now, political pundits have been trying to rationalise how and why Gov Oyetola lost the seat. With a gap of 28,344 votes, it could not be described as a too-close-to-call victory. It was a resounding victory for Senator Adeleke, better known as a Dancing Senator.

Many have been jubilating over the defeat of Oyetola, which has been interpreted to mean the rejection of the APC and the embrace of the PDP. This may not exactly be the case.  It is not that APC has been rejected and PDP has been uplifted by the Nigerian electorate.

 I would  rather think it is a matter of the individuals concerned.

After the Osun election, somebody wrote that the reason they voted against Oyetola is that “the guy is just too boring”, others said he lacked charm and charisma, as they would prefer to have a governor that “connects” with the people. And in Adeleke, they saw a “yuppie” “grooving” and dancing governor. 

Indeed, when I watched the debate of the governorship candidates organised by Channels Television, I did not see Adeleke performing so brilliantly. He merely rabbled round many of the questions with cursory understanding and knowledge. But he is the man the Osun people have preferred. And so he gets the crown. That does not necessarily mean that the Osun electorate prefers PDP to APC. 

Indeed, many have also credited the victory to the infighting within the APC. It is no longer news that the former governor of the State and now Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, had broken chords with his godfather, Bola Tinubu, and this has had an adverse effect on the cohesion of the party in Osun State. It is remarkable that Aregbesola had flown out of the country on the eve of the election, especially when his faction of the APC— The Osun Progressives (TOP) had lost the legal battle to stop Oyetola, 48 hours before the election.

Aregbesola had quaintly noted after the election that God gives power to whomever He chooses, waxing scriptural, in a guided mockery of Oyetola and his godfather, Tinubu. 

The belief that Adeleke was also denied the victory in 2018, after a rerun suspected to have been manipulated in favour of Oyetola, also got the people massing up for Adeleke this time. Indeed, that, in a way, explains the huge turnout of the voters in the election last week. 

One of the major lessons that should not be missed in the Osun election is that the political leaders should never take the people for granted.  Nothing is cast in stone. Loyalty and support are bound to shift from time to time depending on the prevailing political dynamics.

 Somebody tweeted after the election that the Osun people voted in protest against Tinubu, whom they see as the unseen hand guiding and guarding governance in Osun State. 

Tinubu had earlier been accused of raking in lots of money meant for Osun development.

 The belief is that Tinubu had an overbearing effect on the governance of any state he helped to “install” its leadership. 

Many of the candidates of the other parties had made sundry insinuations about how “Osun money is moved over to Lagos” in veiled reference to Tinubu’s hand in the Osun Till.

Another lesson is that nobody should be dismissed in politics. 

The belief that the breakaway faction of Aregbesola can be overruled and subjugated was erroneous. Even if they could not grab the party’s ticket, they had the capacity to play the spoiler. As in this case, they chose to work with Senator Adeleke, as the latter had confirmed that Aregbesola’s camp worked for him. It is like the leprous man who cannot milk the cow but certainly has the capacity to spill the milk. And the milk actually got spilled.

One other lesson is that any mandate given is a task. The period the mandate lasts is like the curriculum of a classwork. At the end of the curriculum, an examination will be written, followed by the result. The election is the examination. Whatever you do with the mandate of the people will be put to test by way of electoral validation. If the holder of the mandate does well, the verdict of the people will say so and approve the person for a second term. If the person performs poorly, he’d equally get a poor rating and will be rejected at the polls. I have read that Oyetola did not quite perform, although many people explain that he inherited huge debts and a backlog of unpaid salaries and pension from his predecessor, Aregbesola. That perhaps explains why one of his favouritely-named achievements is the payment of salaries to workers. That a governor is able to regularly pay salaries on a monthly basis should not be such a big deal that should be listed as a special achievement. Somebody had compared it to hailing and commending the ATM machine for paying whatever a customer demanded of it.

 And that also calls to attention the duty before Senator Adeleke. Having won the election, the time to work is now. The proclivity for dancing should be reduced. The Osun people whom he said had been poorly served should now be serviced by him. The Osun people will not take excuses for failure. The Osun people, and indeed, the Nigerian people will be looking at him, to see how well he bears the cross trusted on him. 

At the end of the day, his performance will be judged based on how he has been able to improve the lives of the Osun people, how he has improved the socio-metrics of living in Osun State. If he chooses to dance away the fortune of the people, he will be given the Oyetola treatment. In fact, the verdict on him will be swift and even harsher. Already, over 375,000 persons in Osun did not want him to become the governor. He’d have a duty to keep proving them wrong, and not allow them the opportunity to say, “didn’t we say he is no good and won’t take us anywhere?” Rocking away in calisthenics and dancing skills will not put food on the table of Osun people, neither will it create the much-needed job opportunities for the youth.

In all, Ademola Adeleke must roll up his sleeves and hit the ground running as soon as he is sworn in. His name is at stake, so is his family name. His late elder brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke left a worthy legacy in public governance, both as a governor and as a senator, regardless of the water scheme scandal.


The Politics of Religion

Eddy Odivwri

I hear that the anger that followed the choice of Senator Kashim Shettima as the running mate to Bola Tinubu has subsided following the eventual support from the body of Christians, having seen the light: that religion does not really matter neither does it dictate good or bad governance  

Where did you hear this?

 It’s all over the internet. Did you not hear that the presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu actually held a secret meeting with the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG)  Pastor Enoch Adeboye? And that the latter now endorsed him and gave him the green light to go ahead with the contest on a Muslim-Muslim ticket? What else is needed to douse the tension? 

All that is a Bunkum with a capital B. No such meeting ever held. The authorities in RCCG have disclaimed the report warning the organisations that peddled such false rumour of legal action if they try it again. The church noted that they have not and will not endorse any politician or candidate of any political party for the 20203 election. The church has restated its apolitical status. 

You should be able to tell when politicians are desperate and are willing to drop names of church leaders just to cover up their deficits.

What are you implying? Do you mean that the Tinubu-Shettima ticket is already in deficit?

Go and ask the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Did you not see the statement from CAN detailing the qualities of candidates anybody called a Christian in Nigeria should vote for? The Political and Strategy Committee, an arm of CAN, had released the guidelines that should guide Christians on how they vote come 2023. The body said, for instance, that anybody to be voted for as President must be based on character, competence, capacity and policy (CCCP). And this is all embracing to include justice for all, respect for ethnic and religious diversity, respect for the rule of law, being honest, and have the fear of God. Somebody who not only has discipline, but must be one who maintains “clean and credible lifestyle 

They added that whoever the Christian body must support will be free from being a cultist, a drug addict or baron and must be free from even witchcraft. The person must be in good health, sound mind and physical fitness for the job… They must equitably share all the offices of the land and then…

(cuts in)… Enough of playing God! Is CAN God? Why all these rules? Are you telling me for instance that Senator Remi Tinubu, a pastor even in RCCG, will not vote for her husband and his running mate, even if they do not tick the boxes designed by CAN? And let me ask you, if a Christian ignores these canonical rules and votes as he/she wishes, what will happen? Will that be a criterion to go to heaven or hell?

Look, let me tell you, even a bad clock is twice right in a day. There is no fixation in these matters. Let the church face the altar and preach the gospel and leave the politicians in the arena to play their politics.

After all, didn’t you see dozens of Clergymen, priests, Bishops, Ecclesiastical chieftains, attend the ceremony where Kashim Shettima was unveiled as the running mate last Wednesday? 

Does that not tell you that even some Christians are in support of the Muslim-Muslim ticket?

My friend, hold your peace. Those are Absalomic priests. Didn’t you see how languid they looked? Is there any known face or name among them? It was complete discomfiture. Didn’t they look like hirelings?  Couldn’t you notice, as Shakespeare would say, that the garments looked like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief, on them? You can see the desperation on the part of Tinubu and Shettima: how do you go and gather mechanics, and carpenters and Maiguards and sew Bishops’ robes for them so it would look like the top echelon of Christian leaders witnessed the unveiling and thus endorsed it? What else is fraud? Does that not tell you what they are capable of doing if they get into office?  The body of Christ in Nigeria does not know them, nor want to know them. How can you cobble together people who do not even know the Lord’s Prayer and parade them as Bishops? Politicians? Fear them!

Didn’t you also notice that they were press shy? They did everything to cover their faces and hide their knaves’ identity. 

Nobody is playing God. The CAN and PFN are saying while the politicians have the right to play their politics of whatever hue and style, discerning and informed Nigerian Christians also have the right to choose who to vote for. That is an inalienable right. We don’t care about their desperation. The degree of desperation they have shown should also tell you they do not mean well for the country. We will stand our ground to say this is who we shall vote for and this is who we shall not vote for. It is as simple as that!

Let me tell you, it is all politics. Religion is just an emotional thing. How many Pauls are in jail, just as we have many Sharafadeens in jail? A good governor or President will not be good because he or she is a Christian or Muslim, It is all politics of religion and religion of politics, my brother.

Agreed, but did you hear the governor of Kano State, Alhaji  Abdullahi Ganduje who had said there is nothing wrong with Muslim-Muslim ticket, telling Osun voters last week,  to vote for Gov Oyetola because he is the only Muslim governor in the South West? So my brother, don’t deceive yourself that religion is not a factor. It is a strong factor, and the body of Christ will not sit back and allow Jihadists turn Nigeria into Turkey. No, it would not happen. Or what explains the incessant and sustained attack on Christians and Catholic priests especially in Kaduna and Edo States? I say No, it will not continue. Away with religious bigots!

I think it is time to get General Gowon to organise Nigerians to pray again. Nigeria must be salvaged from every force of subjugation and coercion.

Now you are talking. The scale is falling off your eyes!

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