By: Kayode Odunaro
Last Sunday in Lagos, an event took place in the residence of Aremo Olusegun Osoba, the former governor of Ogun State and founding leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, before irreconcilable differences with some APC power brokers led to his surprised exit from the party he helped write its constitution.
From press briefing the highlights of that meeting that included virtually all the Who is Who in Southwest APC was the unification of the Progressives in South West and the return of Osoba to the party he helped midwifed and indeed is one of the national leaders.
Many observers see the meeting as the most momentous event in progressives’ politics following the merger of erstwhile ACN with other parties to form APC and the eventual opposition trouncing of the then ruling PDP. For me, the return of Osoba to APC did not come as a surprise as many saw his exit as one of the fallouts of the mechanism and dynamics that brought APC into being as a merger of sometimes strange bedfellows and the need to win the 2015 election from the marauding, dollar wielding PDP in control of Federal Might.
I recalled an incident around early June last year in the heat of inauguration of the new APC government and 8th National Assembly. I had run into a close acquaintance, Hon. Ismaila Kawu formerly the Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives and now Presidential Assistant on House of Representatives at the lobby of National Assembly. While congratulating ourselves on the victory of APC, having run into each other severally during the presidential campaign, he inquire after my ‘Oga’. Thinking he was referencing Rt. Hon Dimeji Bankole, the former speaker of Reps and his colleague, I told him he got caught up in the intractable politics of PDP in Ogun State whereupon he said he was referring to Osoba, my first democratically elected boss in Ogun State Government at the inception of democratic rule in 1999. He said he was shocked at his exit from APC during the campaigns as they worked together to produce the constitution of APC with Osoba as the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee. There an then, he expressed the feeling that Osoba should be back in APC as he did much for the merger from his personal observation and interaction and we agreed that it was only a matter of time before Osoba returns back to a house he helped to build.
Our conclusion came to pass when the national Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande led three incumbent governors of Osun, Lagos and Oyo as well as the Deputy National Chairman of APC in South West to bring back Osoba into APC. While many are hailing this development as positive for progressive politics in the South west and Nigeria, others are reading meaning and making calculations on their personal political fortunes with the development. Many close associates of mine called in to congratulate me as a foundation member APC in Ogun State and as one of “Osoba Boys” in Ogun
State. Others wanted to know the implication of his re-entry into APC for the
leadership of APC in Ogun State while others conjectured that the move is about
2019 politics both in Ogun State and at the Federal level.
Well as politics goes, it is expected that the entrance of a “Big Fish” into a pond will cause some stir. But my concern is that some are in trepidation about Osoba’s re-entry into APC. Ordinarily, one would subscribe to the philosophy of the more the merrier, more so in a democratic politics of numbers. Democracy defined is about people. Majority of the people. Any party should always aim to get as many as possible in its fold. Inclusivity should be the name of the game and not exclusivity as some would want their queer democracy to run. This leads one to the conclusion that those in consternation of Osoba re- entry into APC have a personal agenda that is divorced from the interest of the party in Ogun State, his home state, in South West and indeed in Nigeria.
Some are hinting that Osoba’s re-entry is a programmed part of an agenda from ‘Bourdillion’ toward 2019 in Ogun State and elsewhere. The reference here is to Asiwaju Tinubu assisting party men and others to achieve political ambition over time across Nigeria. If this were indeed so, one wonders what is wrong or unethical politically in such assist. Indeed one can boldly say that the incumbent administrations in Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Lagos and Edo and indeed, the Buhari led Federal Government are major beneficiaries of Asiwaju’s large heartedness and strategy. I challenge any one to fault this empirically. At least no less a person than President Mohammadu Buhari asserted this at the 8th Bola Tinubu Colloquium less than a week to Osoba’s re-entry into APC. If the opposition to
a “Bourdillion agenda” is coming from opposition parties to APC, that will be
understandable. But coming from any quarter in APC means that such a person or group want to play politics of exclusion. As Sola Lawal, the APC publicity secretary in Ogun State stated few days to the re-entry of Osoba in a speculative story of Osoba’s possible re-entry into APC, there is free entry and exit in the party and Osoba is welcome back if he decides to come back.
But some in Ogun APC appears to be having sleepless nights as it is and this is worrisome. A political party is supposed to be an aggregation of several interest and decisions are arrived at through internal democracy. Every and any interest in a party must be accommodated and at the end majority carries the day. Any other tendency is tending toward anti democracy and APC of all party should not be party to this. If there is a ”Bourdilion Agenda” in the offing, there is time and space enough for a “Hill Top Agenda” , an “Abuja Agenda”, an “ Ijebu Agenda” an “Ogun West Agenda” or whatever location one can conjectured an
agenda to reside. The democratic point here is let the people of Ogun State
decide as they did for Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun. Any unilateralism would not sink down well with the people of Ogun State and as an APC foundation member in Ogun State I seek unity of purpose for a proposed 16 years rule by APC in Ogun State in the face of a resurgent albeit fissiparous Ogun State and national PDP. And I want to join Aremo Osoba’s recital of Pa Obafemi Awolowo favourite song: “Ija do pin ogun ti tan……..” Democratically join the recital or……….
Chief Kayode Odunaro JP
Baaroyin of Imalaland
Three times Chief
Press Secretary in Ogun State.
Former Special Adviser,
Communications to Speaker, House of Representatives
Ilaro Festival Planning Committee (2012 -2016)
Media Adviser to
Senator Solomon Adeola aka Yayi