By Abiodun Komolafe
Atiku Abubakar and Adedeji Adeleke are two particularly angry Nigerians and their anger is well-placed! While the former was a presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last General Elections, the latter is a ‘sympathizer’ of Nigeria’s major opposition party, which, again, has failed in its quest to capture power. Adding to his concerns is that Ademola, his younger brother, was the party’s flag-bearer in the Osun Governorship Election, which took place on September 22, 2018.
As fate would have it, PDP, to which the duo subscribed; and Ademola, their candidate, have effectively lost the battle as Rauf Aregbesola’s successor. In a judgment delivered by the Supreme Court recently, Candidate Adeleke’s appeal was thrown out while Gboyega Oyetola’s victory as Governor of Osun State was upheld. Well, that was all the party and its blend of sympathizers needed to spew out their fury on the judiciary for doing its job. While Atiku advised the judiciary to “take a pulse of the nation and reflect it … to ensure that justice is done, irrespective of the pressure to do otherwise, by the powers that be”,Adedeji claimed that “the PDP won the governorship election” but “was not allowed to take office by the powers that be in the ruling party.” Coincidentally, his remarks came after the PDP candidate in the election had congratulated the winner.
To start with, life itself is an opportunity to succeed or fail! So, pity Adedeji who has invested his time, treasure and talent in a business that has now left the future of his younger brother on the sea of an uncertain fate. The ‘sympathizer’ gambled with the future of Osun but has now lost his money. So, blaming his yesterday for his tomorrow may not be out of place. But how far he can go remains to be seen!
Truth be told, inconclusive elections are no longer strange to our political lexicon in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, Section 179 (2) (a) (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is explicit on the conduct of a free, fair and credible governorship election. Specifically, Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act (as amended) and Paragraphs 41(c) and 43(b) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections have faithfully and eloquently addressed the ‘Margin of Lead Principle’, which was at work on September 22, 2018.
It suffices to say therefore that states like Imo (2011 and 2015), Anambra (2013), Taraba (2015) and Kano (2019) have all passed through the rerun crucible. Osun had its fair share of the rerun stuff in 2018. At the end of the exercise, Oyetola won and was declared the winner. If the Constitution empowers INEC, “in pursuit of the provisions of the Act, to issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purpose of giving effect to the provisions of this Act and for its administration thereof”, then, on what basis was Adeleke’s claim that “PDP won”? Again, if the PDP truly won the election, why is CandidateAdeleke not in Abere, the Seat of Osun Government?
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands! While Senior Adeleke’s attempt at closing the stable door after the horse has bolted can be rationalized, Atiku remains an interesting dreamer who has unfortunately turned himself into a butterfly, clutching at different straws just to stay alive. Since he wants to remain relevant, he has to be seen as talking, even when he has nothing to say! Apparently, such talks are always incoherent. Hence, the gaffe! More worrisome was his inability to read tea leaves with a view to freeing his mind from an imaginary victory in an election which left him bruised and battered by 3,928,869 votes!
When victory was delivered to the PDP in Rivers and Zamfara States via the instrumentality of the judiciary, the Turaki Adamawa was quick to commend the judiciary for a job well-done. So, what has really changed? Is his action a political act to confuse unsuspecting Nigerians that our judiciary is the problem? Or an attempt at whittling down the integrity of our revered justices, those who have been found to be radically independent in their decisions? Can we attribute Atiku’s vituperations to ignorance of the laws of the country which he is desperately aspiring to govern? Or an attempt at usurping the powers of INEC as enshrined in the Constitution, the Electoral Act and INEC’s statutory guidelines on the conduct of elections in Nigeria?
Praising what is lost makes the remembrance dear! Without doubt, Atiku and Adeleke have again presented PDP as a disorganized party lacking in vision and capacity. That members of the same ‘Umbrella’ family are now singing in discordant tunes is suggestive of primordial, issue-shifting politics at play. Thankfully, its scheming to capture power at all costs has failed woefully. Even, in states where the party seems to be in power, the centre has been proving too difficult to hold. Perhaps arising from this inglorious outing is that a respected traditional ruler, whose name has not been spared in all of these scandals associated with the governorship candidate, is already put in a very bad shape and may need some form of socio-political rebranding. Even, things are no longer at ease in the ancient town where the monarch is said to be exercising his traditional authority. More disturbing is that the dust raised by Candidate Adeleke’s questionable academic qualifications is yet to settle. Remember an innocent principal and children were detained! As if that’s not enough, the family spent unknown amount of money, lavishly, over a bid that was already destined to fail.
This brings to mind the ruling party’s not-so-impressive outing on September 22, 2018.By acts of omission or commission, All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to put its house in order and it almost paid dearly for it. As things now stand, one can only hope that the party has learnt its lessons. So, what it does or fails to do between now and 2022 will go a long way in determining what becomes of its fortune and future.
Lastly, the ‘Parable of the Lost Sheep’ (Luke 15:3-7) may serve as a worthy companion as Oyetola develops his democratic traditions, preparatory to 2022. Who knows?
May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, scatter!
-KOMOLAFE writes in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (firstname.lastname@example.org)