By Abdullah Abdulganiy
Recent developments in the Nigerian political space are lending credence to the popular truism that, “In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies; only interests are permanent.” The internal wrangling rocking the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the local, state and national levels is getting messier by the day.
In Osun, partymen are not agreed. In Ondo, misunderstanding is the order of the day. In Ekiti, the same thing. In Kwara, there are contentious issues. Members of the APC’s NEC are filing suits against one another. The Edo scenario is even worst, probably because an election is around the corner. All manner of crises, politickings, “politrickings” and schemings are fed the public.
The Edo case has culminated in the defection of a sitting governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki who used to be an arrowhead in the Progressives party. Ironically, on the other hand, Ize-Iyamu, who was demonised by APC’s Oshiomole, is now the new Messiah in town. Do all these come as a surprise? Maybe not! In politics, nay, Nigerian politics, your present allies are your future detractors, and vice-versa.
The Nigerian political trajectory is replete with many cases adducing to the above argument. In one of my contributions published in the Sahara Reporters prior to the general election, on the 22nd of January, 2019, titled, “In Politics, Only One Thing Is Permanent”, I cited cases where politicians, who had at a time demonised one another, later embraced one another when their personal interests conjoined.
I wrote: “In 2003, Tinubu was reported to have thrown several salvos at Buhari. Hear him: ‘Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilisation, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who, if given the chance, would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardise Nigeria’s national unity’.
“In 2015 however, when Tinubu foresaw that his personal interest was in jeopardy if he didn’t form a synergy with Buhari, the rather agent of destabilisation, he quickly humbled himself and embraced a Buhari presidency to satiate his selfish interest. Today, the erstwhile “ethnic bigot” and “religious fanatic” is now the only option for Nigeria.
“Let’s take on Baba Iyabo and call it a day. Another pointer to the fact that in politics only interest is permanent is how Obasanjo had not only turned a “devil” to a born again, but had also vouched for his presidency.
“Pa Obasanjo was formerly known for his fierce critiques and diatribes against the person of Atiku. Deep-seated was he in this enterprise that he even said that God would not forgive him if he supports an Atiku presidential bid. Today, the erstwhile “corrupt man” is now the only one that understands the economics of Nigeria. What an irony! The rest, as they say, is history.”
Therefore, the Oshiomole-Obaseki face-off did not come as a shock. It is what it is: Politics. In fact, they may still come back again to wine and dine together. These are people political commentators described as Siamese twins before things fell apart. They once munched corn and did many other things together. But today, they are at each other’s throat. Irony!
Is it not laughable that Obaseki was disqualified from the party on ground of “defective results”, even when the University of Ibadan, his alma mater, certified him? In fact, in a widely circulated video, Oshiomole dismissed the allegation that Obaseki had defective qualifications. In his words, he came out in flying colors, adding, “no issues”.
In another twist, Oshiomole wants to turn himself into a tin god or godfather of sort. This is what he once challenged and is still challenging others for. We saw it in late Tony “Mr Fix It” Anenih, Bukola “Eleyinmi” Saraki, Amosun, Amaechi, and a host of others. In fact, so painful was it that Saraki may never forget the role Oshiomole played in demystifying his high-handed grip of Kwara.
Saraki had been waiting for a slight chance to come hard on Oshiomole. Luckily, he got one when the Appellate court upheld his suspension. Reacting, the former Senate president said Oshiomole’s Waterloo was about to come, and that his masquerade was dancing nacked at the marketplace.
It is therefore unimaginable that the Oshiomole who fought godfatherism to a standstill wants to emerge a godfather in Edo, who will be ordering the governor around. He brought a puppet, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, who he once derided in 2016 as uneducated, unfit for office and above all a corrupt person who cannot be trusted with public funds. Is Oshiomole now trusting Pastor? Is he now vouching for him? Questions begging for answers.
Again, it is foolhardy of an Obaseki who rules with iron fist to be crying “mockery of democratic process” or “unjust disqualification” now that he’s served a dosage of what he knows how to eat best. Was it not Obaseki that failed to inaugurate duly elected state lawmakers? Was it not Obaseki that deprived Oshiomole of his freedom of movement, ordering the police to lay siege to his residence?
In fact, recently, in a blatant abuse of power and office, he (Obaseki) “decreed” that his ban on social gathering stands, in a bid to stall APC’s primary election, even when he’s moving around, attending one political gathering or the other. Still, Obaseki who rode to power on the altar of godfatherism is now turning against such. He’s turning the table when the game is already on.
Too many ironies and inconsistencies about the duo. It is therefore hard to take side in their “roforofo” fight. You cannot side with Oshiomole without having a huge moral question to answer. Ditto to Obaseki. Both are simply birds of a feather, to put it frankly. This is why I’m saying no to their candidacy in Edo State.
Sadly however, in Nigeria, it’s a case of two sides of a coin. The two party system has been entrenched in Nigeria for long even when the country allows for a multi party system. In the present political dispensation, it’s either APC or PDP. Again, most of the candidates in other parties who taunt themselves as the saviours are only waiting to prey on the people. They are not what they call themselves.
Most of them have an inchoate understanding of the political terrain of Nigeria. This is why I find it difficult to support the candidacy of a Yele Sowore or a Tope Fasua. They will emerge another oppressors, just like we see in the transition from one system to another in the Marxian dialectics. We can also see the current fate of CUPP’s spokesperson, Ikenga Ugochinyere. These are people who presented themselves as the “Third Force” (whatever that means).
Indeed, it would have gladdened my heart if a candidate from a political party other than the APC or the PDP emerges the winner of the forthcoming Edo gubernatorial election. But that will only take the grace of God. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the pendulum is likely to swing to the APC or the PDP. So, where am I in all of these? I’m with my brothers in Edo: the masses. What is essential however is that the people’s decision should count and prevail. Over to the INEC and other electoral stakeholders.
Abdullah is a sociologist and researcher. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @halarho123.