Basking in the euphoria of gaining and sustaining the upper hand in Ekiti with its decimation of the support base of the loud but ineffective All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been strutting around like a cock in the midst of female fowls. But do you blame the PDP, when suddenly the APC is losing grounds everywhere because of the less-than-noble and undignified behaviour of the leaders of the party, who, for want of office have been trampling on every other person’s ambition? From the North to the South, from the East to the West, those who look like political “juggernauts” have been jumping ship.
Now, where do all these leave Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who came in through the window by some legal magic in the judiciary, and is not as confident as he used to be, even hinting at violence to have his way? He declared that what happened in Ekiti State during the governorship poll on June 23 was impossible in Osun. According to him, “They rigged the APC out in Ekiti State but we are still looking at them. There is no way for them in Osun State and if they try to perpetrate fraud, they will meet their waterloo. I learnt that the opposition party which is PDP is boasting to lock down Osun State. But I want to tell them that what happened in Ekiti state is not practicable in Osun.”
For a man who has created confusion in the education system in his State and is profiting from exacerbating the fault lines of religion, while treating teachers with disdain, many see his grandstanding as fear of losing the election. But there are other factors that will definitely work against him. First is the miscalculated insult his godfather, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, hurled at Yoruba Obas. The other is the fragile situation in his party which has led to many leaving in anger. The third is the Boko Haram tar that has been thrown the way of APC. If he remains governor after August 9, then his must be one of the inexplicable political wonders of Nigeria.
Perhaps a rehash of the reason some men of note left the party will suffice in proving that he may remain in the opposition in his State by the second week of the eighth month. Femi Fani-Kayode, an Osun son, had this to say about the APC when he took flight: “My reasons for leaving the party are because I consider nation-building as being far more important than party politics, party affiliation or party formations. I am a devout and committed Christian and I cannot remain in a party where a handful of people that have sympathies for Boko Haram and that have a clear Islamic agenda are playing a leading role. This is made all the more untenable when some of those people are working hard silently and behind the scenes to impose a Muslim/Muslim ticket on the party for the Presidential elections next year.
“…I have raised these issues privately with virtually every key party leader including most of the governors but nothing has changed. I cannot be in a party in which the spokesman, Lai Mohammed, only last year said that it was wrong and ‘unconstitutional’ for the Federal Government to proscribe Boko Haram. This is the same Boko Haram that has killed no less than 15,000 Nigerians in the last three years. I cannot be in a party where the leading Presidential candidate, only last year said that Boko Haram ought not to be killed but ought to be treated like the Niger Delta militants, granted amnesty without any conditions, pampered and paid and who said, in 2011, that Muslims should only vote for people who will protect their faith.”
He has not stopped hitting the APC, because when he left, Lai Mohammed, who knows he is not as endowed as Fani-Kayode in words and in bellicosity took him on. Now, APC has threatened to take Fani-Kayode to court, raising the tempo of the drama, and you can bet, Fani-Kayode has them exactly where he wants them.
From the East, Senator Annie Okonkwo left APC belly-aching because he lost out. This immediate past interim Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party, on suspension since January this year has finally realised that the APC has no good intentions for his Igbo brothers, an information every Igbo man knew a long time ago. He should tell (Imo’s) Governor Rochas Okorocha and Senator Chris Ngige who appear to still live in the wonderland of their political delusions.
Okonkwo said he resigned his membership because of the party’s scruffy promises, lack of internal party democracy as well as clannish and sectional disposition of the leadership. Though Okonkwo is not saying anything new about the APC, which also appears to be an uncoordinated opposition, he should have said this sometime ago, and not when he was placed on the corridor instead of the chamber of opposition power.
APC suspended Okonkwo last January because he was generally believed to have scuttled the political ambitions of Senator Chris Ngige, whom he allegedly worked against. But according to him, “My suspension was investigated by Senator Kabiru Gaya’s Committee and exonerated me from all allegations. I stepped down my gubernatorial ambition for peace to be in the party but instead of being hailed for this sacrifice, I was hunted and hounded which orchestrated my suspension from duty as Deputy National Chairman (South) on a trumped up petition of anti-party activities.”
He added: “The conviviality, genre and comrade spirit I had hoped for among the progressives in the formation of this party has taken flight. What I see now is a gathering of non-progressives that do not have the interest of the party at heart hence my decision to quit the party.”
When Skekarau left the party so early, he gave an insight, which with the benefit of hindsight, was a bull’s eye on the problem in the party. He told the world APC was a sham party. His position on APC last January was scathing and appears to be the recurring anthem of those leaving the party. He stated that within the first six months of the formation of the party, “various unconstitutional decisions have been passed by a clique of the leadership of the party….” On another occasion, he described the APC as a political fraud.
Mathew Adejoh contributed this piece from Abuja.
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