It was quite obvious that the rancour, acrimony and crisis that attended the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential campaign rally in Abeokuta, capital of Ogun State, Southwest of Nigeria on February 11, 2019 were contrived and premeditated.
Indeed, Governor Amosun Ibikunle, a staunch member of the ruling APC, on which platform he is governing the state, clearly demonstrated that he brought his supporters to the rally to one, show that he is fully in charge of the leadership of the state in all its ramifications.
Two, that he saw the rally as a vantage platform to embarrass the national leadership of the party, especially the chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, who he regarded as having denied him, ipso facto, the pleasure of having his anointed person as the APC governorship candidate in the state. And three, to prove to President Muhammadu Buhari that he (the President) was not actually the target of the unpleasant drama, decked in adult delinquency, anti party action and chest beating. Every other thing that was done at the rally on that day might have been well-planned.
In doing so, Governor Ibikunle had actually opened a new vista in the political tapestry of Nigeria by openly canvassing for massive votes for his darling President, Buhari, whose personal integrity and performing credentials he so eloquently narrated, while in another breathe, campaigning for a governorship candidate of his choice from an opposition political party; the Allied Peoples Movement (APM). The idea which perhaps the Governor leaned on which President Buhari later bought into, was the democratic ethos of freedom of choice.
It is on the same parameter, of freedom of choice, if it is stretched further, that the rally should have been allowed to flourish, with contending forces canvassing their positions.
For the Governor and his supporters to try not only to muzzle the voice of the APC candidate along with his supporters but to go violent just at the mention of the name of the APC candidate as a way of proving to the national leadership of the party with whom he had grudges that he is in control of the politics of the State amounted to pure undemocratic.
As a matter of fact, the urge to settle scores with enemies within (the APC) had virtually led the governor to turn against his party and, instead of the political macho man he wanted to display, ended up sending a message across to reasonable thinkers that he wanted to plant his surrogate in the government to cover his tracks after leaving office. If it were not so, there was no need to be panicky and destructive and standing strongly in the way of opposition.
We in Greenbarge Reporters strongly believe that the Governor, irrespective of his grievance, should have respected the President and should have, with maturity, found solace in the saying that minority should be allowed to have its say while majority should be allowed to have its way. That is if he had the confidence that he has the majority of the electorate for his candidate from another party other than his own to beat, at poll, the candidate of his party.
We didn’t think resorting to brigandage, ensconced in hauling missiles at the direction of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was an option to settle scores with, particularly, Oshiomhole, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and others.
Generally, our politicians, especially, governors should be made to come to terms with the idea of allowing the true etiquette of democracy to take root. They should be weaned from the notion that they have the power of life and death of their people; that because they are governors, they can decide the fate of anybody in their states.