By Afiz Lawal
Party primaries have been concluded by various political parties and by now, all the 93 registered parties in the country are expected to have submitted their candidate’s list’s to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. There were lots of twists and intrigues in the just concluded primaries across the parties.
The process was dogged with malpractices, violence, impositions, cancellations and protests by many aggrieved aspirants and their supporters. In fact, in some states, the primaries were held up to three times before candidates could emerge. The badly affected parties were the two dominating parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC and main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The situation was not different in Osun state either. It was quite unexpected given the recent experience of APC in the September 22 governorship election in the state which had to go into a re-run poll before a clear winner emerged.
There has been outcry by many APC aspirants and supporter’s including protests to denounce the charade called primary elections in the state. The truth is, there was never any primary rather, an imposition.
Let’s take a Federal constituency as a case study here. The popular Ifelodun, Boripe Odo – Otin (IBO) Federal Constituency had more than seven aspirant’s for the constituency’s ticket. They were the incumbent Representative, Hon Yinka Ajayi, Architect Lekan Usman, Dr Michael Olugbile, Alhaji Moshood Oluawo (Mushadek), the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Osun state, Hon Adelani Baderinwa, Bello Adegboyega Basheer and Hon Lekan Afolabi among others.
Given the rotational arrangement in the Constituency, Ifelodun was expected to produce the next representative. The incumbent is from Boripe and he is on his second term while Odo-Otin Local Government Area has also produced representative who served for 8 years.
It therefore, no surprise to see a large number of aspirant’s from Ifelodun LGA. However, everyone was taken aback to learn of the imposition of Hon Lekan Afolabi as the APC candidate for IBO Federal Constituency for the 2019 National Assembly election.
It was the outgoing Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and a former Secretary to the State Government, Engr Sola Akinwunmi who on Saturday declared Hon Lekan Afolabi as the APC candidate even without consulting other aspirant’s. The god’s have spoken and that’s the end of the road for other aspirant’s!
It is rather unfortunate that the ruling party which promised Nigerians ‘change’ could be engaging in practices that are antithetical to democratic norms and growth. Frustrated by this same issue in different states, the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari could no longer stomach the gross impunity in the party and had to voice out.
Immediately after the pronouncement of the impostor, some members of the party protested against it, even at the Government House. Most of the protesters were supporters of one of the aspirant’s. Some of them included former Councillors. Furthermore, party members from the constituency faulted the decision of the Osun APC god’s describing it as unjust, unfair and detrimental to the party’s chances in the 2019 general elections.
It has been alleged by both members and none member’s of APC, especially in Ifelodun that the imposed candidate worked against the party’s interest in the recent governorship election. In fact, reliable information indicates that he supported and worked for the Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the election. The ADP candidate, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti was a former Chairman of APC in the state and many APC member’s in the state are still loyal to him. Lekan Afolabi is one of them.
Given him the ticket appears to be a reward for anti-party activities and gross disloyalty. In a saner clime, someone like Afolabi would have been expelled from the party. It is no longer news that APC lost Ifelodun LGA in the September 22 governorship election. Afolabi and his likes largely contributed to APC’s downfall in its former stronghold.
Although, imposition of candidate’s and impunity generally are not strange to APC especially in Osun state; the party lost Osun West Senatorial District election last year and if the last governorship election were to be a general election, APC would have lost almost all the Senatorial zones and most of the Federal and State Constituencies. Who would have thought that APC would lose four out of six LGAs in Ijeshaland where Aregbesola hails from? That’s what imposition can do.
APC was demystified by PDP. The arrogant wings were cut to pieces and it took the intervention of the Presidency for APC to retain the state through a highly condemned run-off poll. APC wasn’t the reason for the party’s fall but its leaders. Oyetola was a bad product and those that imposed him on Osun people only harmed the party.
Unfortunately, APC has learned no lessons from these precedents. One of the major contributors to PDP’s downfall at all levels was impunity and APC has failed to be good students of history.
2019 is just few months away and the party would most likely be counting its losses at the end of the poll, courtesy of impositions but there is still slim chance for the party to reverse its detrimental decision’s not just in Osun state but across the country. APC must field candidate’s who are popular, loyal and can give the party, victory at the polls.