The Oasis Reporters
March 7, 2019
The APC governorship candidate in Oyo state is a stray bird in a deserted town. It is not the case that he’s not welcomed by the people of Oyo state, not at all that he’s not loved. It is rather the case that he does not even exist as a candidate in the minds of Oyo people.
Does anyone care about his manifesto?
Is it not when you admit that an orange seller is passing by that you can ask to look at her oranges?
As we speak, the media hype about Adebayo Adelabu weighs so heavily, but rather in an inverse proportion to the former CBN deputy governor’s actual political weight.
But Adelabu is not responsible for his predicament. His only crime is that he was produced by a political party whose merit has deteriorated to its last thread in Oyo state, if not everywhere else. His Excellency, Governor Abiola Ajimobi C.A., that is, Constituted Authority, must be ruing in the closet of his soul how he has let his reckless, arrogant, unrestrained jibes at the people of Oyo state, his callous approach to workers and the people he was sworn in to lead has not only brought him down in his bid to return to the Senate, but has become an undoing for the innocent Adebayo, whose pedigree as a direct descendant of the late Adelabu Adegoke Penkelemesi, one iroko of politics in the 50s, has become of no significance.
But Adelabu is also a casualty of his own advantage. The fact that he has come suddenly into politics in just about two years to become the flag bearer of almighty All Progressives Congress, APC must only come at a price. The political class outside the ruling party tend to be unanimous in their war against imposition from the Landlord of Lagos, as he is fearfully and admiringly called.
When you hear ‘Jagaban’, what the sound carries is more than the ‘gburugburu’ of one person who has money and influence, and thus decides who would contest and who withdraws. Jaga, in the first place, is the earth-rocking wave a Caterpillar sends when it suddenly shudders, when it aims at a heavy, rooted rock. When a child hears that sound and looks around only to see the steel juggernaut, his heart jumps even as his legs fly.
But ‘ban’, the last syllable, can stand for two things. One is to prohibit, to forbid, as in how governor Ambode was banned from contesting for a second term in Lagos. The other is just like when you mention a yam barn. (Forget the r. ban and barn have the same phonetics in Nigeria). The man himself is a barn of money. The bullion vans that carried money either from or into his Bourdillon house during the presidential election are just few of the wheelbarrows used in his barn.
You can now understand the fear among the opposition political class in Oyo state. If this Caterpillar has his way and the self-confessed inexperienced Adelabu grabs the reins of Oyo state, Adelabu would simply handover the reins to the Caterpillar, and all the local politicians, including former governors probably, would only become tricycles that must never try come near the territory of the chain-legged Excavator. Adelabu, then, is a victim of his own favour and of fear-transformed-into-fury.
But luckily or unluckily, the people of Oyo state may wake up to a rude shock on the second morning after the election. They will just find that this pathetic stray bird, whose confidence rests only in the fact that he’s contesting on the platform the ruling party, and that he has been to the CBN before, the people of Oyo State will just find that he has won the election. Not primarily because the election may be manipulated but because a very large number of those who oppose him will not vote.
We have met many people who chant the Seyi line, ‘Seyi Makinde lo le see…Seyi Makinde lo le see (Seyi alone can do it)’. But apparently they are not going to vote. Some don’t have the Permanent Voter’s Card. Some did not even register in the first place. Some have the card but they are not just the voting type. Some are too educated to vote. Some are too busy with cake making they can’t go and queue, while some are just spiritual and the spirit must not behold the ballot box. It’s a box of the devil. These people will not vote, but their hearts will go to the election with Seyi Makinde. Their song will be ‘dance on I’m watching your back’. But those who have something to gain directly from the other candidate will go and vote.
Other variables will set in, variables we do have in mind when we say there is no perfect election anywhere in the world. Then the unpopular one will become the talk of the town. The word of the Lord will come to pass that says ‘the stone that was rejected by the builders has become the corner stone.’
But we hope that the beautiful shock passes as easily as above. It is a critical time in the career of the Lagos Landlord. The climax and glory of his empire is right in front of him, blushing at him, but between them are the 2019 elections results which altogether is a determinant of his near final, breakthrough consummation of years of dreaming. The pockets of Yoruba-Igbo ethnic quibbles that surfaced after Feb 23 presidential election cannot be unconnected to the major loss the APC suffered in Lagos and the rest of the South West. It can only let the Northern chapter of the APC down to hear that Raji Fashola, Sanwo-Olu, Ambode, Yemi Osinbajo, Gbajabiamila under the supervision of the Jagaban could not get a winning margin that would noisily beat what Kayode Fayemi alone got in Ekiti State. The total winning margin in all South West was roughly less than the winning margin from Bauchi alone. President Buhari said, ‘where is the power?’ but I ask, ‘Where is Tinubu’s negotiating power?’
Igbo’s recalcitrant vote for the PDP, principally an ethnic vote by virtue of Peter Obi being running mate to Abubakar Atiku, is a huge deficit in the career ledger of the APC. The effects sprawled to Oyo state immediately. There are rumours that some people in Gbagi market were harassed and threatened to swear they would vote for the APC’s governorship candidate otherwise, they would not be allowed to open their shops. In Lagos, certain individuals who people call thugs, but which I prefer to call executive hoodlums, have appeared front line in campaigns, rallies and peace meetings on the heels of the Yoruba-Igbo quibbles. These are foot-soldiers who know more than the intentions of their lords and would run errands they are not sent. They are simply overzealous and loyal. We must start calling on God therefore, to help us take control, in case the electoral system on Saturday eventually involves compelling people to vote against their choices, destroying the votes cast by some kind of voters, or a total give me blow make I give you my own.
Written by Oludele.
A public affairs analyst.