By Abiodun Komolafe
Let me start by making a categorical statement: this intervention is not aimed at apportioning blame to any of the factions, so to say, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) currently at daggers drawn in Osun State. On the contrary, it is intended to be a gentle nudge on all the aggrieved persons from both sides of the disputations towards a viable alternative option of peaceful resolution of thorny issues. It is also aimed at dwelling on why reason must, as a matter of necessity, prevail in Osun politics, especially, among members of the same political family.
Thinking deeply, orun n ya bo, kii se oro enikan’ (The sky is falling, is not a matter limited to a person).Already, the situation is getting out of hand, with the destructive stage for personal enmity being set. In the theory of warfare, the most difficult war to bring to an end is that which is among brothers; in this case, products of the same political womb. July 16, 2022 is just some hours away and the enemy is already waiting at the door, praying earnestly and waiting patiently for the wall to open up. If APC falls, it will consume everybody, irrespective of where the antagonists or protagonists may have pitched their tent.
If we must confess, stability is the beacon upon which the dream of development is nurtured. In a stable society, people engage in businesses and economic activities without fear or hindrance. Not only that, life is also fairly predictable, which makes short- and long-term planning feasible. Ideas and innovations will flourish in a stable environment and the living standard of an average citizen will improve.
Conversely, unending tales of arrested development, chaos, policy summersault, social disorganisation, and, ultimately, the state of anomie become the norm when a society is in disarray. Instability over a period of time leads to the embracement of atavistic social orientation. In a disorganized social system, barbarity, tyranny and wickedness will take the place of peace and space of unity. The elite will be seen as exploiting the masses even as the elite see the masses as leaches that must be tolerated for humanity’s sake. Of course, no government can survive under such a situation. Even, if the government has resources, it will be spent.
Basically, a political party is as good as its structural outlay and organizational discipline. For instance, the founding fathers of politics in Nigeria, the likes of Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello bequeathed ‘the supremacy of the party’ as the Golden Rule to the younger generation of Nigerians. In other words, once the elders and the leaders of the party decided on the course of a particular event, other members should – and would, out of loyalty – get behind the decision. But then, that wouldn’t foreclose the possibility of disagreeing without being disagreeable. Impliedly, people can discuss thorny issues and arrive at reasonable conclusions, which will not only be healthy for our politics but will also be helpful to the polity.
History has shown that, where acrimony and negative insinuations are allowed to thrive, the end-result is always a regrettable disaster. Those with the benefit of hindsight would recall that the famous Action Group (AG), founded by Awolowo as a Centre-left party in Ibadan on March 21, 1951, became polarized immediately the Samuel Ladoke Akintola faction pulled out of the arrangement. In a wink, ‘Egbe Olope’ went on its knees and it never regained its vigor until the military struck in 1966. In fact, that was what prompted most of the unappeased members of the defunct AG to join the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1978, to the disadvantage of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Even, Ogbomoso, Akintola’s hometown, never forgave Awolowo. The tragic truth is that the political animosity between ‘Awo’ and ‘SLA’ (as Akintola was fondly called) has now gravitated into what looks like a generational transfer of hatred.
Alliance for Democracy (AD) was also a vibrant party at the inception of the Fourth Republic. Even when its alliance with the All Nigerians People’s Party (ANPP) lost the presidential election to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 1999, it remained a bride to be courted for the political gladiators. But, as politics would have it, what held its fabrics together was demystified somewhere along the line; and AD broke into pieces! PDP was also treated to a similar fate in the events leading to the 2015 General Elections; and, the rest, as they always say, is history!
If we may ask: what has Osun APC learnt from Zamfara State (2019); Rivers State (2019); Oyo State (2019); Edo State (2020); and a host of others? Aren’t these sufficient material reasons to show that ‘a house divided against itself cannot stand’? Isn’t it time President Muhammadu Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande, General Alani Akinrinade as well as relevant organs of the ruling party helped resolve the contradictory tendencies, which are most likely to “embarrass or have adverse effects on the Party.”
While no one is preaching graveyard silence in the face of oppression – real or perceived – loyal party members should appreciate the worth of genuine, constructive and issue-based complaints or grievances, and channel same to the appropriate organs of the party for quick resolution. However, that must be devoid of violence and rancour. A breakdown in law and order can only bring about retrogression which, in the end, will not only portray feuding parties in bad light, it will also not augur well, ultimately, for dear state because the overall assumption and final analysis will tend to see politicians as fighting for selfish, narrow, and personal interests to the detriment of the Party.
Being a social or political movement that tags itself as progressive, elevated interest of most of the population should be its members’ focus. A progressive is known to always look at the overall goals, not personal benefices. The Progressives have the higher ability to reconcile their differences. Of course, that’s what differentiates them from other ideological tendencies. Essentially therefore, if the development of Osun is the key issue, then, the ‘warriors of Osun’ should go back to the negotiating table. The alternative is for them to say ‘No’ and sink together.
Article 9:2(i) of APC’s Constitution obliges ‘members of the Party” to “affirm the Party’s aims and objectives and conduct themselves in a manner that shall not bring the party to public odium and disrepute.” In this wise, this is the time for the Party’s Board of Trustees to wake up to its responsibility as “the mirror of the highest standard of morality in the Party” by intervening in the “disputes and crisis” in OsunAPC “to ensure its stability”, going forward.
Again, if “the decisions of the” National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC “shall be binding on all organs and all members of the Party”, why not intervene now that the timely resolution of the ‘I-follow-Paul’-or-‘I-follow-Apollos’ singsong of mockery in Osun APC can be an added plumage of victory?
And, who says a lasting peace in Osun APC cannot be its gift for the ‘State of the Virtuous’ on its 30th anniversary?
May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Osun State!
*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (firstname.lastname@example.org)