Succession politics and the limit of ignorance
Osun West Senatorial bye-election has come and gone, not unexpectedly, with its twists andturns; sounds and bites. Victors have since July 8, 2017 been counting their blessings whilelosers have also been unrelenting in licking their wounds with threatening affection! On thewhole, June 21, 2014 has again happened to the progressive camp in the State of Osun and onecan only pray that appropriate lessons from whatever remains of its wacky outcome would not bewasted on the altar of ego and sycophancy. It is also believed that ingrates and renegades whohave turned the misfortune brought upon the state by Isiaka Adeleke’s sudden death intoa ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’ personality clash will ‘sheathe’ their swords for the good of the party andcountry.Except we want to be economical with the truth, what played out on July 8 was the opposition’sway of telling Nigerians that, given the opportunity, it can still use the weapons of rice, moneyand other instruments of ‘stomach infrastructure’ to spring surprises on softtargets. Unfortunately, the ruling party’s inability to keep its house in order nationally, pluseconomic reforms that have, for want of a better expression, been struggling to put food on thetable of the common man are rubbing off on the states and may affect the party’s fortunes infuture elections if concrete steps are not taken to address the situation. AllProgressives Congress (APC) needs to wake up from its slumber, cut off the pretence and carryout clearance operations before it is too late.Nigeria is in tough times and all eyes can see it. The political turf is heating up as we graduallyapproach another election year and it is as if those who never wished Muhammadu Buhari andhis government well have now had their prayers answered. The economy is bleeding and itseems as if the national government is satisfied with snoring on a mattress overstuffed withexcuses as a way out of the socio-economic logjam. In politics, little things count. Taking refugein short-term measures, even when they are energy-sapping or funds-demanding, go a long wayin addressing the nasty tragedies, extant confusions and conceptual impressions thathave been threatening the fragility of the egg called Nigeria. Behaving as if 2018 is 1000 years
away, or as if 2019 will never come, will not help a ruling party that is alreadybeing derided as ‘can do better as an opposition party.’At a time like this, Osun comes to mind. APC must do all it takes, lawfully, to remain in powerso as to prevent a reversal of the gains of the last seven years. Osun cannot withstand a repeatof the disaster of the years eaten by the locust, when our common patrimony was used to cater tothe needs of some selfish few. It is common knowledge that all the gratuitous attacks, barefacedlies and harebrained fabrications against the Rauf Aregbesola-led government are meresamples of what to expect in next year’s governorship election. To be honest withourselves, APC’s defeat in the last bye-election was facilitated from within by the Judas Iscariotwho embraced coded languages to give performance a new meaning. The challenge ofchange, salary quagmire, even pensioners’ palaver played secondary roles.With regard to 2018, all I see for the progressive in Osun is victory; and Aregbesola’soutstanding performance in office is an indication that the battle has already been won! But thisis not to say that there won’t be challenges on the road to this assured victory. In any case, that’sthe beauty of democracy! Anything short of that is a recipe for chaos! For instance, while nogovernment has ever done a quarter of what this administration has done for Osun since itscreation, it is rather unfortunate that Aregbesola is seen out there more as a ‘salary unpaying’government than one that has turned the state into ‘construction site’. Sadly, too,while issues surrounding the salary challenge point in the direction of a national crisis, thatsome ‘food-for-the-stomach’, false democrats are insisting that Osun’s should be treated as acase in isolation is a mystery for students of political history to unravel.So much has been said about democracy described by Abraham Lincoln as “the government ofthe people, by the people, and for the people.” But if this system of government thrives in asociety characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges, why do Nigerians continue tosuffer, irresistibly, from what Pius Adesanmi once referred to as “acute malaria”? When, forinstance, Kunle Ologundudu accused Kayode Fayemi of using state funds to build mansions aswell as run a private university, why did the electorate gullibly subscribe to the untruth withoutraising a finger? Similarly, why has Osun suddenly become the rumour capital of Nigeria andwhat’s being done to present issues as they are? When has it become a crime to democraticallyavoid the resurrection of a deadly Wike/Amaechi crisis or the replication of a ‘Tarka-me-I-Daboh-you’ Kwankwanso/Ganduje face-off in Osun? Apart from other laudable programmes
undertaken by this administration, have we forgotten its noble contributions to the triumph of nofewer than 50 of our medical students in Ukraine?More importantly, why have some quarters not appreciated Osun’s innovative means ofalleviating the plight of its workers through its salary apportionment approach? With this regimein place, only a section of workers on grade level 12 and above (that is, about 20% of the state’stotal workforce) have been receiving 50% of their gross salaries based on an agreement betweenthe government and the labour union. “Outside that, officers on levels 8-10 receive 75 percent oftheir salaries while officers on levels 7 and below who constitute about 65% of theworkforce receive their full pay.” Good to note also that “all workers in the state have receivedtheir salaries up to” July 2017 “in line with the agreement the government has withworkers.” The fulfillment of its promise to pay the outstanding as soon as the financial fortunesof the state improve can be seen in the judicious disbursement of the second tranche of the ParisClub refunds.Let’s come to the issue of “the same uniform”, a policy which, in more than a manner ofspeaking, elicits interesting ideas that should naturally tempt one into scrutinizing someimportant assumptions. Ignorantly or mischievously, Aregbesola’s traducers have not onlyforgotten the advantages that attended its implementation, they have also gone a step further todescribe it as an ‘it can only happen in Osun’ affair. For the avoidance of doubt, “the sameuniform” policy has long been in existence in countries like Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile,China, Indonesia and Malaysia.If the aforementioned countries are examples too far to cite, what of Ghana and BeninRepublic, our next-door neighbours?May principalities and powers, assigned to rubbish our leaders’ efforts, scatter!
By Abiodun KOMOLAFE