Yoruba is a very rich culture with its proverbs, folktales and respect. In Yoruba land, there are several medium to communicate without spoken a word. Different unique and specific instrument’s have been used over time to communicate. Among these are gongs, signs/symbols, drums, colours etc.
In one of its proverbs, it says “Agba ki wa l’oja k’ori omo tuntun wo” which literally means, elders can not be around and watch younger ones go astray. This proverb is very apt regarding Chief Bisi Akande’s silence in the Osun All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary election debacle.
In less than 24 hours, Osun state All Progressives Congress is expected to conduct and elect its candidate for the September 22, 2018 governorship election in the state. From available statistics, at least, 17 aspirants have indicated intention to succeed the outgoing governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
Events leading to the expected primary election have been docked with shenanigans, lack of trust, transparency, rule somersault and alleged fraud. It commenced with banning of all aspirants from campaigning until two months to the earlier postponed date. It went further with the allegations of manipulation of primary process to favour a particular aspirant believed to be the favourite of Senator Bola Tinubu and Governor Rauf Aregbesola. Then, option A4 was considered until three days ago when the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomole declared that direct primary will be adopted in Osun.
Reactions have trailed the announcement from different groups and analysts including some of the aspirants. Many believed that the decision was taken by the party in order to favour Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, a nephew to the party’s leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and alleged candidate of both Aregbesola and Tinubu. Many believed that as much as it is legal, it is a case of shifting the goal post in the most middle of the game. Some have argued if any of the wards have a credible and updated list of registered members of the party. Some projected that more money would be needed to prosecute the primary since over 300, 000 party members has to be reached.
Many believed that the direct primary is forced on the party by Tinubu who is a close ally of President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to install his nephew as the party’s candidate. Most aspirants in the election especially, aspirants from the West senatorial zone are opposed to a direct primary stating that it is arm-twisting and have no confidence in it.
The APC State Working Committee also passed vote of no confidence on the Chairman and Secretary of the party in Osun two days ago where it was alleged that they were suspended. The Committee alleged that they were unilaterally taken decision and have compromised on the primary election. All 12 members of the committee were present and approved the decision to suspend them.
Resulting from the fallout of the suspension saga and deeply faulted direct primary, the party is divided against itself. Things are fallen apart and the centre could no longer hold. It is at this confused stage that silent by Chief Bisi Akande can no longer be golden.
Yoruba’s would say, “oju l’agba ya, agba o n ya nu” meaning, elders are often reserved; they envision things and don’t make quick decisions, conclusions or judgments. This is why many thought that Akande’s silence was expected.
However, such silent is no longer golden because the house he had so much laboured for could fall flat like pack of cards to his very face. In a confused state like this, it is expected that an elder of Baba Akande’s stature would rise to the occasion and salvage the situation. Why Akande? It is Akande because he is an elder and a leader in the party. It is Akande because he is a former Chairman (and first for that matter) of the party. It is Akande because he is a member of the National Working Committee of the party. It is Akande because he is an Osun indigene and a former governor of the state. It is Akande because he once suffered injustice, persecution and disdain even while he contested as a sitting governor. It is Akande because he is a close ally of the President, Buhari and the party’s leader, Tinubu.
Many have alleged that Akande is silent because he would not want to offend Tinubu who want to allegedly impose his nephew on Osun people. We have seen Akande intervening at critical times in the life of this nation. We remember the bombshell article written by Akande describing the former President Goodluck Jonathan as a “kindergarten President”. One can also note quickly, Akande’s article when Buhari was away in London for medical treatment where he sternly warned the cabals to stay clear of Aso Rock and allow the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to work. Akande never minced words in lashing out at those involved in those articles and he has overtime been adjudged as a forthright, trustworthy, truthful, principled and fearless politician and elder statesman. His silent at this critical time in the history of the state is, however, unfortunate and worrisome.
Tinubu’s open support for direct primary in Osun state has further heightened the tension and raised suspension that Oshiomole is only acting the script written by Tinubu. Whereas Akande and Tinubu have recently been frequent guests at the Villa. This therefore, means that the President may not be unaware of the happenings in Osun APC.
However, it is expected that Akande would come out and equivocally state his position as an elder statesman and leader, while standing on the side of truth and justice. It is also expected that he would wade into the impasse by consulting with critical stakeholders so as to have a free, fair, credible and acceptable primaries in Osun state.
Akande should not wait till the situation degenerates further, before he wades in. It would amount to share incapacity and criminal negligence on his part if in the end, President Buhari had to intervene in Osun APC matter before it is resolved and history will never absolve him. A stitch in time saves nine.
Alabi Siyanbola, Inisa, Odo-Otin Local Government of Osun State