BY FOLA OJO
The defunct Action Congress of Nigeria was domained primarily in the heavily-populated Lagos State of Nigeria. With this state as the trampoline, the party extended its control to five other states through both lingered litigation and ballot-box bruising battles. Six states including Edo were in its baggie when the party beckoned for reinforcement from the North, South-South and the South-East to satisfy its hunger and urge for a taste of the juicy centre in Abuja. The respondents were all aggrieved governors in the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, who helped bring about what we now know as the All Progressives Congress.
After its christening, it took off from the starting block like a sprinter whose eyes were set on the prize. A flurry of florid and frenzied fans and fanatics adorned the party’s sprint route cheering in a bacchanalian manner, while many others considered the APC as a coalition of the dissonant and the antipathetic, a brigade of the incompatible, and a phalanx of the discordant and the contradictory. I saw from afar off a bunch of hobnobbing square pegs shovelled into a round-hole political adventurism.
Those who couldn’t read the writing on the Ouija-board of Nigerian politics thought the Peoples Democratic Party had only a few months to live after the massive membership haemorrhage. We thought the PDP would be eviscerated in a political mudslide by the new gathering of jiggering juggernauts. But here we are, seven months before the most historical election in a very ailing Nigeria, the once energised APC is losing energy and steam, losing heartfelt lovers and sympathisers to apathy, and sliding state-by-state into a respiratory coma. Except something more than the miracle of sleeping-and waking-up happens, the party may soon become another assemblage of individuals who came, saw, but cannot conquer.
The Ekiti election result is a symptom of a crippling illness in the spine and bloodstream of the party. The PDP’s Ayo Fayose ran over the entire APC structure like the Tsunami in a humiliating defeat of an incumbent Governor Kayode Fayemi who hurriedly conceded. It was a drubbing, thumping, pounding, and a shellacking of an embarrassing proportion where almost 70 per cent of Ekiti voters dismissed a sitting governor at the polls. We don’t know where the PDP Tsunami is heading, but there is a zest to sweep the South-West by the ruling party that now boasts that it’s just beginning its mesmerising mauling moves across the region. Below is where we are in the South-West APC states today:
It is a common belief amongst Ibadan people that one person can never be crowned governor twice. Is this what is working against Governor Abiola Ajimobi or something else? I spoke with some officials in the administration who are shell-shocked that despite the “lofty job” the administration has done to change the face of Ibadan and surrounding cities, a majority of the people are still not happy with Ajimobi. No governor in recent memory, in my opinion, has done what Ajimobi has done in Oyo. Except the dynamics change between now and 2015, Oyo State may go somewhere else.
In Ogun State, the protracted fracas between Governor Ibikunle Amosun and political godfather, Segun Osoba, may sink the APC ship. Osoba has vowed never to ride on the same wave with the governor, and baits are coming to him to sign up with another party. There are too many factions with deep hatred towards each other and ambitions to grab power from Amosun. Don’t ignore Baba Obasanjo factor, who is doling out wisdom and still singing the Obasanjo spiritual hymnal; “I dey laugh ooooo”. We don’t know where Baba is camped right now, and the APC is 50 per cent or more gone from Ogun State.
Many people believe Lagos State is a sure shot for the APC. Although its platform is bruised and tainted right now, there is still a heavy following of the party and Bola Tinubu whose circle of adversaries is growing daily. When you speak about the APC in Lagos, you must talk about Bola Tinubu who is many things to many people. The APC has done remarkably well in Lagos, but if the PDP will nominate a dark-horse technocrat not in the league of the Musiliu Obanikoros and Bode Georges of this world, Lagos State then becomes a contest. As of today, the state is APC rock-solid.
In Osun State, the sun seems to be standing still for Governor Rauf Aregbesola, but there is a heightening apprehension that the Ekiti Tsunami is heading towards Osun. Aregbesola’s record of performance is stellar and visible. I love to call it “AREGBOLUTION’, a one-man riotous revolution that has changed the landscape. He is street-wise, and palace-intelligent and versed in all manner of ‘languages’ spoken by all. If he has to speak the ‘languages’, he will not stammer.
When workers who were owed two months’ salaries suddenly got paid after Ekiti sweep, it showed the governor’s politician’s side. A hungry man is an angry man; a famished people are a furious people. It doesn’t matter how many roads a governor builds, or how many computer tablets freely distributed, the only tablet for a hungry man is food purchased with money that many of these workers complained their governor owed them. The questions now being asked: “Where did the money suddenly come from”? This singular action from the governor’s months of inaction about workers’ salaries immediately put Aregbesola in the column of politicians who may not necessarily mean what they say. A leader leads with words that are believable. The optic is not good for this governor who will be warring with a determined opposition like the PDP just 35 days from today.
The PDP people I spoke to believe Senator Iyiola Omisore will capture at least 75 per cent of the votes on August 9, and they mean it. It will be the greatest miracle since Jesus walked on water.
The Tinubu Factor
Tinubu is a man on an assignment. A benefactor, teacher and mentor to many, even the PDP stalwarts believe he is the master-strategist extraordinaire in Nigerian politics today. Not too long ago, he single-handedly clipped the wings of the PDP in the South-West and cleaned the zone of gross emesis and mess. He is not the leader of the Yoruba, but he is a leader. Love him or hate him, the Jagaban has a ubiquitous presence that can’t be rubbished. They call him ravishingly greedy, desperately dictatorial, and allege that he has turned all the APC states into an entrepreneurial conglomerate benefitting him, his family members and cronies alone with brazen audacity. His blatant my-way-or-the-highway imposition of candidates for political offices is a turn-off, and he is the sole reason why the APC party-time is almost over. If his party will come out of coma back to life, Tinubu will be a factor; and if it dies a death of shame, he will be the missing respirator.
Ojo wrote in from Houston, USA, via firstname.lastname@example.org