Let me begin this piece by congratulating Senator Ademola Adeleke (PDP) on his victory. As the saying goes, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. The emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke is in fact worth more than the more criticized dance. It was a triumphant entry into the National Assembly.
The rookie senator was the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He contested under the political party which was about going into political relegation in the Nigerian polity. As much as PDP was widely rejected in the 2015 polls, Adeleke still emerged in a state ruled — and not governed — by the APC. This sends in some serious signals to be discussed herein.
We were taught in civics that in democratic settings, political parties are voted for and not the candidates. And this is the reason why only names of political parties appear on ballot papers.
However, the case in Osun is different. The PDP never won the election in Osun West but Adeleke did. As much as this appears very illogical, it is the reality we must accept if we want the enhancement of our democracy.
This need be stated in reaction to claims by many chieftains of PDP that the emergence of Senator Ademola Adeleke was the consequence of hard labour put in place by the party leaders and its acceptability amongst the people.
Both Ali Momodu Sheriff and Senator Markafi said “that the victory recorded by the party in the Osun West Senatorial election by Alhaji Nurudeen Adeleke was as a result of hard work.”
Many PDP leaders have persistently boasted that the victory is a prophecy of the party’s take over of power come 2019.
Unfortunately, all of these are quite far from the gospel truth. It was not PDP that made Senator Adeleke won. It was the ego and the “junta” tormenting spirit in Mr Rauf Aregbesola that made him won. It was the people’s will that made him won and not PDP strategies or hard labour.
PDP must resist from self deception — that same attitude that brought about the attempted suicide done to itself in 2015.
It was the expensive error the APC made at the primary that made Senator Adeleke became more acceptable amongst his people. One must not equally forget the “pity votes” casted by the electorates to compensate the deceased, Senator Isiaka Adeleke’s family.
The issue of internal democracy is a serious one in any given election. The lack of internal democracy in PDP was one of the reasons the party was swept away from power. The same reason APC was defeated in Osun too.
Infact, the bedrock of democracy is giving its true definition not just at general elections but also at the primaries.
Governor Aregbesola, who hasn’t done well to his people and has provoked anger in many by abysmal failure rocking his administration, ensured that his anointed candidate emerged as APC flag bearer at the expense of Senator Ademola Adeleke who was the people’s voice. He imposed Mr Mudashiru Hussein on the people of Osun West. He never allowed democracy to prevail.
He never knew that the APC, with the 2015 elections enlightened many Nigerians, politically. That electorates are now wise and detest imposition. He never knew that our nation cannot move forwards if what obtain from within are not aligning with the tenets of democracy. He, therefore, used his hands to send and sell away the selling point of his party at the primary.
Senator Adeleke ran to PDP to contest. It was a day preceding the party’s primary that he got the ticket and he “won”. Many stepped down for him. But, why? It was, in my view, the fact that Aregbesola’s autocratic nature is now believed to be old fashion and evil.
Senator Adeleke contested and won under PDP, but PDP never won the election. It was the people’s will that did. It was not as a result of PDP’s hard work. It was not as if the party has been reformed. It was not as if the party is a preferable option. It was not as if the party is now better.
But, the people knew what they wanted.
Infact, the PDP leaders in the state never ascribed the victory to any hardwork or restructuring. They never ascribed it to its preparedness to take control of governmental machinery. The PDP chair in the state, interestingly, ascribed the victory to God. The chair, Mr Soji Adagunodo ascribed the victory to God saying the victory was beyond human calculation.
The party leaders in the state understand that PDP was merely a beneficiary of the sorry circumstances occasioned by Aregbe’s rigidity. The truth is: even if Senator Adeleke were to contest under APGA, UPN or any party whatsoever, he would have won!
And that is how politics in Nigeria ought to be. We ought not continue to dwell in blind politicking. We need to infact put on our glasses should we find it difficult to pick the right candidates in elections, regardless of parties.
In my humble submission, there are chief lessons to be learnt from the election. First, the mistake made by Aregbesola and acceded by other chieftains is too terrible for our growth. We cannot grow in midst of imposition. For the country to move forward, transparency must be observed in all political dealings. The era of manipulative imposition should be a bye gone in this present stage of our democracy.
But, would the Aregbesola annointed candidate have been defeated if he, Aregbe, had delivered the expected goods as governor? Aregbesola appears more of a disaster to his people and so no one will never support a candidate brought by “hardship” himself. Can you see why it’s good to be good? The PDP would have won Osun-West, but for Aregbesola.
The second is to the PDP. As much as the party is not prepared for being a viable opposition party, the time to come up together and set goals is still available for the party — before it becomes too late. The victory at Osun should not give the party any hope of acceptability. It shouldn’t give them any hope of it standing as a “threat” to the ruling party, APC.
As it stands, there is no opposition in Nigeria. The PDP needs critical reforms for it to stands as one. If the party isn’t a good opposition, the possibility of good governance should it get to power is slim like the road to heaven.
Festus Ogun is a civil rights activist, law undergraduate and the convener of Hi-Legal Initiative. He can be reached by email HERE.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.