Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State in Nigeria is currently of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) turned newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC). He also was once a senator who represented Ogun Central Senatorial District from 2003-2007 on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
As a senator, Amosun dumped the PDP in an unceremoniously bitter, acrimonious and rancorous manner to run for Ogun State governorship election on the platform of the equally now defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) back then in 2007 to contest against incumbent Governor Gbenga Daniel of the PDP; during which unprecedented violence and bloodletting spread across the state, albeit that Amosun ultimately lost that gubernatorial race to Daniel, who in the midst of the widespread political quagmire in Ogun State at that time won re-election to Amosun’s defeat.
Amosun went to court to challenge the results of Daniel’s re-election but that move ended up in utter futility. In 2011, Amosun returned to the political scene in Ogun State and he was undemocratically “given” the then ACN gubernatorial ticket in the state without any primary election just like the ACN band of social culprits in cohort with their supposed “elders and leaders” did in all other races on the party’s platform across the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Some people are of the opinion that suggests Amosun “bought” the ticket of the then ACN in the state because the corrupt so-called “elders and leaders” of the defunct ACN took lots of money from Amosun, and for which such opinion holders claim has been responsible for the governor’s “politics of exclusion” against those he rightly or wrongly perceived as belonging in the “camp” or “group” of the ACN rogues that sold him the gubernatorial ticket in 2011.
Other people alternatively opined that the then ACN decision makers – apparently the same APC decision makers of today – had resolved to “give” Amosun the Ogun ACN gubernatorial ticket to fly the party’s flag in 2011 perhaps in order to forestall seemingly possible or perhaps potentially inevitable violent encounters with Amosun’s people known for their signature merchandising of violence involving mass-mobilization and use of political thugs to harass, intimidate, or even murder those who dare to oppose Amosun; stand in Amosun’s way; or challenge Amosun’s resolve on political issues in Ogun State.
Whether the defunct ACN so-called “elders and leaders” made a judgment in error in Ogun State back in 2011 or not is one valid thought one can ponder upon. But a more relevant question in today’s context to ask is: Does Amosun, the human being like anybody else, judging by his documented political antecedents in Ogun State, have the political temperament, social sensitivity or appreciable maturity of restraint to now eschew political violence in Ogun State; especially now that he wields executive powers of an incumbent governor?
It is against the backdrop of all of the above that I find it so unbelievably deceptive, highly disingenuous, and even disgustingly annoying, a recently reported letter credited to Governor Amosun by an Online medium, African Outlook Reporter; a letter the governor was said to have personally signed that was sent to Senator Gbenga Obadara, representing the governor’s old Senatorial District – the same Amosun’s home turf of Egbaland – during his PDP days from 2003 to 2007.
In the report’s prelude, the African Outlook Reporter claimed that “…Governor Amosun has described the recent political crisis in the state as a premeditated attempt by members of the National Assembly elected on the platform of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destabilise the party and cause tension in the state.”
And further down in the reported letter, the governor was quoted as saying that “…The second objective is the desire of all the National Assembly members from our state and some members of the House of Assembly to secure automatic second-term tickets for the general elections in 2015, without regard to the opinions of the generality of members of our great party in Ogun State….” When I read this, I was totally stunned that a governor who never went through primary election in the state would make such reckless statements credited to him.
To the best of my knowledge, there are a total of 38 legislators in Ogun State; 26 representing the 26 state constituencies in the State House of Assembly, 9 representing the 9 federal constituencies of Ogun State in the Federal House of Representatives and 3 representing the 3 senatorial districts of Ogun State in the Nigerian Senate.
Even though absolutely none of all the current 38 legislators in Ogun State, just like the current governor of the state ever went through any primary election in 2011; having all been “given” the ACN tickets as “candidates” of the party by the so-called “elders and leaders” of the party, all these legislators and the governor collectively nonetheless represent Ogun State; at least ideally so according to Nigeria’s current democratically set order of things.
And the last time I checked or at least to my recollection under normal circumstances, this supposed democratic order of things ought to suggest in Ogun State that all the legislators; both state and federal, as well as the executive governor and the deputy governor – whom nobody ever hears anything about – are not only all important but equally all relevant in their own political rights.
The legislators of Ogun State do not answer to and are not accountable to the governor of Ogun State, AND NEITHER do legislators in any other state accountable to any other governor or president in Nigeria for that matter. To think or assume otherwise can only border on sheer ignorance of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or border on blatant disrespect for the People whom the legislators represent and ought to be ultimately accountable.
But under the same Laws of Nigeria just as it is in the civilized democracies around the world whose democracies that of Nigeria is modeled after, executives are to some extent and degree, accountable to the legislature simply because of the Powers of the ‘Articles of Impeachment’ which ONLY lawmakers have and governors or presidents do not have.
So, in my view, a governor (one single person) who decides it is prudent to engage in acrimonious relationship with the grass roots senators, representatives and assembly members of his or her state simply because of some habitual problem of arrogance and self-glorification is only putting good governance and the best interests of the People at risk in a most reckless manner.
Amosun’s predecessor, Daniel, was pretty much equally decidedly arrogant while he was in office. It was just few short years ago and citizens of Ogun State certainly remember all too well, how much their badly needed social and economic developments suffered undue stagnation in Ogun State as a result of such arrogance on the part of Daniel. Amosun is right now also slowly but steadily matching towards the same direction as Daniel threaded.
But do Amosun and Daniel in this regard have anything in common, you ask? Well, without any doubts at least in my mind, they have a lot in common; from the standpoint of the kettle and the pot being both black because of their similar places on top of a smoking wooden burning fireplace or on top of a smoking and broken kerosene stove, so to speak!
And no matter how much Governor Ibikunle Amosun tries to feign piety and deny his involvement right now in ongoing Ogun political fracas with the statements credited to him in the letter he was said to have written to Senator Gbenga Obadara, fact is when it comes to political violence in Ogun State, the People can see right through this governor and they know he is not credible on all fronts of the matter, let alone believable by any stretch of the imagination.
Instead of Governor Amosun to seriously humble himself and genuinely endeavor to bring together the aggrieved members of his party who are not happy with his unacceptable style of exclusionary politicking, he’s writing letters with coded diction as if he’s some kind of Emperor who’s somehow just trying so hard to accommodate his detractors. This sort of strategy, if that’s what his advisers are encouraging him to adopt, is not only ill-advised but promises to be a counterproductive failure from the start.
Going by the governor’s history of the employment of violent means of addressing political differences with his perceived adversaries in Ogun State, it may even be foolish for anyone to assume that anybody advised the governor’s arrogant letter in which he openly and blatantly berated in a blanket manner, the entire federal legislators from his state. And just in case the governor does not fully understand or realize the social implication of his published letter, let him be advised that the letter is very telling, albeit negatively to his discredit.
In fact, the governor’s letter to Senator Obadara says more about his (Amosun) state of mind and the negative attitude he harbors toward his fellow APC members. More so, it equally in some ways vindicate those who don’t know a whole lot about him but who hold the view rightly or wrongly that the man is a wolf disguised in sheep’s make-up or perhaps make-over. But for those who really know Ibikunle Amosun, they can both see through his contradictions and his ridiculousness in that letter going by his known political antecedents through the years.
Let it be known for the records, that I do not know the so-called Senator Gbenga Obadara personally and have never met him in person or have any reasons under the sun to have had any dealings with the senator, be it personally or officially. However, from what is known on public records, Obadara is Amosun’s fellow Egba kinsman and it is from their fellow Egba kinsfolks that the political thugs are being mobilized to perpetrate unhealthful political violence across Ogun State.
Suffice it to say here that it is because Nigeria is a society which continues to breed loads and loads of uneducated, ignorant and perpetually unemployed populace, from which the nation’s crooked politicians always find their thugs to employ for nefarious activities, is what makes this matter of employing political thugs a worrisome matter of a public health hazard to me. But the solution to that issue is a matter for another discussion and not the subject-matter of this write-up.
Having said the above, let not the so-called Senator Gbenga Obadara or any other legislator or Governor Amosun or the entire APC’s so-called “elders and leaders” in Ogun State think for a split second that I, Ayo Abimbola, speaks for any of them because I simply speak for my own conscience and not for anybody else. If anything at all, they should all rightly believe that I have no pleasure in their political shenanigans either in Ogun State or elsewhere all across Nigeria.
Just like I speak against members of all other political parties who are in my view social culprits, I will continue to speak against any misgivings of the APC members where ever I observe or see them manifest until they all repent of their wickedness in politics on recognition that political office is not about the politicians but about the suffering masses of Nigeria, or until they get out of the way of politics in Nigeria.
If my great role model in politics, the late sage Obafemi Awolowo, were still alive today, Papa Awo will undoubtedly be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed to associate himself with all the jackasses parading themselves as ‘social progressives’ in the mold of the great Awo. Governor Ibikunle Amosun and all the politicians who are behaving as if Ogun State is their family inheritance need to reexamine their unacceptable demeanor and let peace reign in Ogun State.
It is not compulsory that any particular group or gang of politicians must rule in Ogun State. If it was ok or acceptable to a then Senator Ibikunle Amosun to contest against a then Governor Gbenga Daniel in 2007 and the then Senator Amosun saw nothing wrong with the fallout which ultimately ensured to the detriment of the state at a huge cost to lives and properties back then in Ogun State, what exactly is the governor now complaining about or insinuating in his letter when he talked of “…a well-oiled smear campaign in the media that will evoke memory of the immediate past…” and “…joining forces with the opposition who are known Masters of Violence in an unholy alliance to help re-enact the immediate inglorious past…” as alluded to in his purported letter to Senator Obadara?
The good People of Ogun State will agree that Governor Amosun have lots of work to do in clarifying the incendiary comments in his letter to Obadara, as well as avoiding writing further such letters with inflammatory contents in the future. I would advise the governor to have his legal team endeavor to thoroughly evaluate and critique his future letters and press releases next time before making such documents from the Governor Office public because once released into circulation, it’s usually much harder to do damage control.
It is therefore always better to use good judgment and not make executive correspondence public when such correspondences are socially and politically inappropriate. Unless the governor wishes to further heat-up the polity in contradiction to his acclaimed piety, then he may continue to release correspondences that are certain to have negative consequences for the political atmosphere in Ogun State.
If that is not the governor’s aim and objective, then it is time for him to actually begin to lead as an executive governor of a state who is accountable to the People and not as a Roman Emperor of the middle ages. Even Julius Caesar of old recognized the political importance of his people and the lawmakers who helped him to be a successful ruler of the Roman Empire. With all due respect to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of my beloved Ogun State of Nigeria, let a word be enough for the wise.
Ayoola Ighodalo Abimbola is a U.S. military veteran and defense analyst engaged in emergency preparedness planning and disaster management consultancy. He vied for elective office to Nigeria Federal House of Representatives from the Remo Federal Constituency of Ogun State in 2011.