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When Politics is Bitter: Lessons from Osun West

Written by #TheAATS

The battle for the Osun West senatorial seat has come and gone. It was an intense battle, to say the least, from events that led to the vacancy, the electioneering processes and all, the battle was surely, one that we will continue to talk about in our politicosphere.

Like every event, it was not without its lessons. Lessons that students of politics, history and probably sociology and psychology must take note of. These lessons, if well managed can be principles at some other times. Interestingly, people seem not to learn, or, they pretend things are going right, when of course, they are going wrong.

The vacancy was not due to litigation or election fraud, it was due to natural cause (death) which some people still believe wasn’t natural. The outcome of the election can’t be separated from the death of Serubawon, the way Mr Aregbesola has been handling matters of the party and what the people of Osun West (by extension, people of Osun State) truly feel.

Every Public Interest is Overridden by Personal Interest

When Nigerian politicians want to make a case for cross carpeting, they always tell us “behind every private interest, there is an overriding public interest”. Through this, the Nigerian politician explains that even when he jumps from a sinking ship, he’s latching to the sail of another so he can have a platform to serve his people. Whereas, in reality, the idea is twisted. The first lesson from Osun West by election clearly showed that all public interest is just a veil for the overriding self-serving interest of the politician.

The selfish interest of a few, in both camps, shaped the outcome of the result. Drawing from the events leading to Serubawon’s death, the handling of his autopsy, the perceived mockery and assault on the family by the state government did set the stage for a battle of egos. Just like I commented days before the election, the election wasn’t between Hussain and the younger Adeleke, it was beyond that. It was way above the pay grades of the candidates. While the Adelekes felt they have been dealt a blow they will never recover from, the Abere lord feels his blessing was necessary.

This has been the way Mr Governor goes about things with his various political groups. These groups are the ones the people of Osun refer to as ‘Ajele’, ‘Tokunbo’, ‘Aloku Eko’ and all names that suggest that Osun is under occupation. This irks the people and Serubawon was the hope for an Osun they have stakes in – the Adelekes were their ideal home based leaders, beyond the senatorial district. Going to the election, the battle was about connected to the people.

Of the claim of whose interest either party were fighting for, sons and daughters of Ede believe that it’s not out of place to compensate their loss with an easy ride back to the senate, yet they lamented that the people of Ejigbo have the most of political offices in the zone.

 

You disqualified a candidate and reversed it within hours without saying whether the basis for disqualification changed

 

Don’t Ignore What the gods are Saying

As the day drew closer, the people began to voice their opinions, they chanted the name of who they wanted to send to the senate and why. After all, vox populi vox dei. However, in Osun West, there are gods, demigods and God. This made it hard to decipher which of the gods the voice of the people represented.

From various platforms, various voices sprouted, with everyone redefining the messages to suit their purposes and paymasters. The true desire of the people was brazenly trumped at the APC screening and this irked the people more. You disqualified a candidate and reversed it within hours without saying whether the basis for disqualification changed. They remained resolute and took their fate in their hands, the people were the real gods.

Co-Travelers Only

The result of the screening was just an icing on various acts which have been displayed in order to discredit Jackson. It was as petty as saying he was not named Nurudeen and that he was pretending to be a Muslim because of his senatorial bid. This claim was not impossible, knowing what Nigerian politicians are capable of, but it was a direct attack on someone who belonged to your party. Although the state secretary of the APC had claimed on a radio programme that Ademola Adeleke wasn’t a member of the APC. This is a guy who ran the show alongside his late brother when the incumbent sought re-election. Surely, there’s no brotherhood or ideological clan in this politics, just co-travelers whose interest you protect when it doesn’t clash with yours.

Politics is Dynamic

The dynamism in evolution ensures that the needs of man changes with time and circumstances. This, I believe, should be the greatest lesson from this outcome. The over 31,000 votes’ margin is not just a representation of the love for Serubawon but a show of the crack in a relationship that was rock solid few months ago.

Voting pattern changes with events, people and especially perception which is chiefly formed by the former. It beats my imagination when people promises victory at the polls using results from 6 years ago and perceived strength of a general without considering the yearnings of the people. Election sponsors forget totally that not more than 10% of electorates participate in party politics. Others take their decision based on performance, “news from abroad” and decisions from “small beer parlour talks”.

Politics is dynamic and this is the only thing that can ensure political office holders who see themselves as invincible can actually be brought back to their reality.

Again, as confirmed in various elections across the country, it drives home the message that incumbency isn’t a guarantee and that nothing can trump the true desire of the people. People can choose, regardless of platform, who they believe is right for them.

The state governor who rendered party apparatus useless in the state through his many imported groups lost the chance to reconcile aggrieved party leaders, former political office holders and all stakeholders who felt cheated, used and maligned.

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