Ibadan: Romancing the one-term jinx

by Taju Tijani

Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, the outgoing Governor of Oyo State is a disturbed man. His valorous stand off to the imperial conceit of Ibadan social, intellectual and traditional elite is truly Ogbomoshonian in its breathtaking performance. His laboured conciliatory tone, his contrived humility and his patronising monetary gifts to any bribable Ibadan man is truly the stuff of a predatory creature like himself. Oyo voters made the dream of a second term that Akala thought was possible redundant and impossible. Oyo, no Ibadan, is still in romance with the sanctity of the ancient one-term jinx and thus the ‘akalanisation’ of Oyo politics came to a shattering end.

Although I have pontificated against the quadrennial quagmire of Oyo politics, which, to say the least, is the by-product of primordial obduracy of overrated Ibadan elite and the indigenes. In its quaint interpretation, the jinx seems to suggest that the people of Ibadan – baying snobs – cannot serve a master twice. When ancient obduracy is mixed with tribal trivialities, what you get is the sustenance of a jinx by a group of abominable tyrants, greedy opportunists, back street bullies and enemies of our democratic aspiration. It must be said that Nigerian politicians are products of our feral culture and many of them will sell the soul of their children for a second term in power. This double whammy logjam had been the signal failure of our failing governors, who, in spite of the disaster of their first term, still harbour a very cruel hope for a second term. When would the falcon hear the falconer?

Alao-Akala falls into this political conundrum but his optimist underside prods him on that he could perform a Davidian feat on the menacing Ibadan Goliath. Eventually, Ibadan obduracy triumphed and the jinx was sustained. Unlike David, Akala could not slay his own Goliath. Oyo politics in the subconscious minds of Nigerians represents a symbol of mayhem, wetie and the reign of mobocracy. Strangely, the Ibadan elite is irritatingly proud to be associated with this ugly antecedent of political madness of a bygone era. The spirit of non-conformity is still being romaticised across the length and breadth of Ibadan.

Ibadan is ungallantly pompous, murderously vengeful and odiously stubborn. The ‘amalanisation’ of Oyo politics, sustained through the macho posture of Lamidi Adedibu has left a ghastly political aberration, which is better imagined than enacted. Adedibu was the muscular sage who authored the cliché of Ibadan not serving a master twice. To fulfill that cliché, Adedibu had to die because had he lived, that myth would have been demythologised through the support he would have given to his installed stooge, Adebayo Alao-Akala. Akala became vulnerable the very moment Adedibu died and the waiting hyenas in the mould of Alhaji Arisekola, Ibadan Elders Forum, Olubadan of Ibadan, Alafin of Oyo down to the ruggedly ragamuffin in Molete motor park cannot but now feast on his warm carrion.

When the second term struggle lasted, Alao-Akala exhausted every power of incumbency to keep the baying hyenas at bay but the hyenas are too far into the savannah to be enpenned by a Governor’s snare. With alacrity, Akala resuscitated abandoned roads and saw the completion of Dugbe-Oke Ado road. He began the dualisation of Odo Ona-Apata-Omi Adio road to Kila, a dusty downtown bordering Ogun State. He turned Ogbomosho into a Broadway of light, fun and wealth. Also, the projection of his own sordid second term fantasies were everywhere in the thousands of billboards used to bewitch Oyo voters. The Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) became a sounding board for the purification of his desecrated programmes. Station anchors, newsreaders, station managers and programme controllers had to jettison professionalism and be ready fodders for Akala’s lies, illusion and his desperation.

On his desperation, he used public fund to buy favours from the high and mighty to the lowly and powerless. State cash in bags were driven to palaces. Jeeps and SUVs were blindly distributed among the elite and red-eyed thugs. Commoners, NURTW members and teachers who were settled sang his praises. The mythmakers would remain unbribable. Arisekola, Olubadan and Alafin, all leading one-term mythmakers would not sing his praises. Rather they sank him. Even President Goodluck Jonathan’s junkets into the ancient city of Ibadan to add gloss to the fading political colour of Akala met with yawning amusement among the indigenes. Ibadan power, as the decider of political arrangement in Oyo State has spoken. The myth is sustained and Ibadan has ‘kala’ for Akala. The fall of Akala, an uppity Ogbomosho scion, added another undeserved advantage to the brutal repertoire of Ibadan identity as the quintessential, if obnoxious kingmaker and mediator of the wild, wild West.

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