It is exactly four months to the 2018 governorship election in Osun State; exactly four months to the end of the years of the cankerworm and the locusts brought upon the State of the Living Spring by the Lagos Buccaneers led by Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, and it is becoming clearer that the only path towards ending the sad interjection of the APC government lies with the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Ahead of that election, not only have things begun to take shape in the state pointing to the direction of the PDP as the messiah for the troubled state, the people of the state have begun to yearn for a return to good governance and people-centric leaders who are from Osun State, who live in Osun State, and who will not, like the incumbent ruling party, take its wealth to build selfish empires in Lagos State.
But will the PDP hearken to the Macedonian call from the people of Osun? Will the yearning of the poor woman in Oke-Ila, the uncared-for octogenarian in Owena, and the gifted but disadvantaged children in Ikoyi get to the ears of the PDP leaders and members and ensure that they only do what is right and needful in picking their governorship standard-bearer?
In order to reclaim Osun State, it is crystal clear that the PDP needs a governorship candidate with the strength of character, the experience, and the determination to lead the state out of the woods. What the party certainly does not need is a vainglorious, untested, and inexperienced individual who believes that money is everything, and that once he could dance his way to victory with sentiments and wealth, he could govern Osun State. This is one road that the Osun State PDP must not travel ahead of the September 22, 2018 election; it is a road that will lead to defeat, shame, and loss. Unfortunately, it is a road that will further compound the woes of Osun people.
This clarion call has, therefore, become imperative: it is a direct address to the conscience of PDP leaders and members ahead of the party’s primary election and especially against the backdrop of the alleged shenanigans of one of the governorship aspirants and senator representing Osun West, Mr. Ademola Adeleke. Senator Adeleke has allegedly begun to parade the wealth of his brother, Deji Adeleke, and trying to whip up sentiments over the demise of his later brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, as reasons for which the PDP governorship ticket must be dropped on his dancing laps.
Senator Ademola Adeleke reportedly met with some party chieftains recently and allegedly ran down other governorship aspirants for not having the financial war chest to prosecute the governorship election, making reference to how his brother had earmarked billions to win the contest. He reportedly also demanded to know the connection of other aspirants to INEC authorities, citing how his brother and INEC chiefs are friends, etc. etc. The senator then threw caution to the wind by insisting that the other governorship aspirants should not have decided to contest but should have unanimously concede the ticket to him, if only as a mark of honour to his late brother, who benefitted every single one of them one way or the other, while he was alive.
If these claims are true, it has become quite imperative to speak to the consciences of party men and women in Osun State PDP and declare publicly that crass sentimentality and appeal to emotion will not have a place in the September 22, 2018 election; neither will the deception and allure of money be allowed to sway the people, who have since learnt bitter lessons in the hands of Aregbesola and his band of promise-breakers.
As the Yoruba saying goes, “gbogbo oya nii pe ara re l’odu,” (people are wont to overrate their capabilities), we do not have a problem with Senator Ademola Adeleke arranging some group of boys and boasting about who has money and connections and who does not. What must not be lost on him and indeed the great delegates of the PDP in Osun State is that competence and not money must be the focus if the PDP wants to win the governorship election. If, indeed, he said what was credited to him, then Senator Adeleke has justified the view that his governorship ambition, like his senatorial ambition, verges on sentimentality and emotions, and is not in the interest of the state.
Yes, Senator Ademola Adeleke is a beneficiary of sentimentalism, having been elected senator on the platform of the PDP on a silver platter, following the death of his brother, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, even though he did not belong to the party or had a part in it prior to the bye-election. But the fact that Senator Ademola Adeleke waltzed into the PDP, got the party’s ticket for that contest, and won with the support of the party’s teeming members in the Osun West Senatorial District does not now mean that everything in the party is for his family’s taking at just a snap of the finger. As a matter of fact, if the PDP had presented another candidate for the bye election, we would have won. But being a party of kindhearted individuals who do not forget friendships and alliances, all other more qualified aspirants were prevailed upon to yield the ticket to Senator Ademola Adeleke. But the questions he should answer are these: ever since he was elected senator, what has he done for the PDP? Does he ever attend meetings? What role did he play in our struggle of over two and half years to reclaim and rebuild the party, he did not even show up on the day of the state congress except for making monetary contributions like many other leaders of the party did towards the success of the congresses.
Beyond money and sentiments, the next governor of Osun State from the PDP should be a loyal party man. With the lack of ideology and principle bedeviling the nation’s body politic, it is quite imperative to have an individual who can stay true to a cause and stay true to PDP members, who have suffered for eight years outside government. There are governorship aspirants in the party who have stood by the party through thick and thin without ever defecting to any other party, even when they were deprived of opportunities in the party. These individuals have displayed remarkable loyalty to the party, in spite of very odd circumstances. But can Senator Ademola Adeleke know the meaning of loyalty, having come from a school of thought that believes that whenever one fails to get what one wants, the only available alternative is defection to another political party? It is clear that to the Adelekes, beginning from the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who abandoned the PDP immediately he could not get its governorship ticket in 2014, to Ademola Adeleke, who quickly switched allegiance from the APC to the PDP, which the family had initially described as anathema and which interest they worked against to perpetuate the misrule of the Aregbesola government, all that matters is which platform presents an opportunity.
Therefore, what is the guarantee that Senator Ademola Adeleke will not dump the PDP as soon as he fails to get the party’s ticket? Even if he goes ahead to win the PDP ticket, can there be an assurance that he will not change allegiance as quickly as a dancer, which is what he is best at, changes movement to the change of beats?
Today, as the senator elected on the platform of the PDP, how many PDP members has Senator Ademola Adeleke empowered? How many PDP members has he appointed as aides, except for his brother and sister, Dele Adeleke and Dupe, who are his media aide and chief of staff respectively? It is clear that Senator Ademola Adeleke is running an Adeleke government and the Osun PDP cannot afford to have this kind of individual as governorship candidate.
Another issue that is of critical importance is the experience and expertise of the next governor of the state. Everyone in Osun State and beyond will agree that the APC has done more in ruining the state than building it; thus, it would take an adept and versatile individual to retrieve the economy of the state from the abyss, and this cannot be done by throwing the money of the Adelekes at the problem. No. On this note, the question is this: what experience or expertise has Senator Ademola Adeleke garnered that he may now choose to deploy in governing Osun State?
Governance is beyond dance and acrobatics; one can dance like Michael Jackson and have money beyond bounds, but without the experience of management and ability for creative thinking, Osun State will only sink deeper into the pit Aregbesola has pushed it into. Therefore, one expects Senator Ademola Adeleke and other governorship aspirants to convince the people of the state on their credentials and expertise, and not the deepness of their pockets or the wealth of their siblings.
Let us even examine the claim that Senator Ademola Adeleke’s brother has earmarked some billions to execute the governorship election. Assuming but not conceding that the senator did make that unguarded claim, wouldn’t it be more worthy of them to use this money to offset the debt of the state and thereby write the Adelekes’ name in gold as the family that liberated Osun from the shackles that Aregbesola and their late brother pushed it into as APC chieftains?
Secondly, if it is true that Deji Adeleke, a proven businessman with great acumen, has earmarked billions for his brother to win the governorship election, pray, how many billions would he expect as Return on Investment? It is an unassailable rule of business that one gets a return on his investment, since it is not charity. So, the question to be answered is this: who will be the de-facto governor of Osun State? Would it be Deji Adeleke, or Senator Ademola Adeleke?
Today, Osun PDP boasts of governorship aspirants who are more credible and more experienced than Senator Ademola Adeleke; individuals who have never had the privilege of family wealth, and who will never go a-begging to convince any sibling to get loans that the people of the state will suffer to pay back. I am referring to people in the PDP who, despite their political, business, and social experience and even the financial muscle, have never placed money first. In following the lead of these worthy party men, neither should Osun PDP put money first, unless we have shamefully decided to give each party ticket to the highest bidders.
In any case, the crass assumptions that some politicians make about the electorate waiting for handouts have begun to prevent them from realising the now increasing sense of awareness and determination by Nigerians to only vote for excellence and quality. Unfortunately, this bovine assurance by Senator Ademola Adeleke and his journeymen that money is all that is needed to win the next governorship race will do the PDP no good. It is a road that must not be considered, if, indeed, the party intends to win the state.
A word, as they say, is enough for the wise.
Yekinni Saheed writes from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.