Lessons from Osun APC Governorship Primary

by Abiodun Komolafe
Adegboyega Oyetola

“As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.” –Winston Churchill

The Osun APC Governorship Primary, won by the incumbent Governor Gboyega Oyetola, has come and gone; a winner has emerged and losers have also started licking their wounds. So, the rest, as it is often said, is history.

But, just like any other contests, there are lessons to be learnt. First is the issue of crisis management in political parties. In fairness to posterity, the structure and the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State deserves commendation for its ability to prevent the feud from escalating. That Osun APC showed firmness and leadership skills in managing the crisis was an indication that the future of the ruling party in the state is bright. Why did I say so? Elsewhere, what happened between the Gboyega Famodun-led party and the splinter group could make the party go into total disarray. So, it’s noteworthy that both the government and the political leadership ensured that APC remained focussed.

Another vital lesson is that February 19, 2022 in the life of Osun State has taught Nigerians, especially, the political class, how to be tolerant as well as how to accommodate other people’s views, needs, feelings and ideas even when one is “willing to express, defend and re-examine” his or her “opinions.” The fact that all the factions participated in the Primary was also an indication that democracy has come to stay in our country; and that there is hope for the ruling party, nationally. Yes, those who were ultimately defeated displayed a rare spirit of sportsmanship in that they were able to come under the same umbrella for the conduct of the election. That speaks volume of their belief in the democratic ideals of the party. It can only get better!

Apart from the political gladiators, the followership has also learnt that, though it is its inalienable right to air its grievances, that shouldn’t translate into the destruction of the structure of the party, more so as the party is bigger than any individual or interest. In other words, democracy works on the empirical, not sentimental. It encourages a genuine party man and woman to always find ways of dichotomising between institutions and its sustenance, and individual and personal interest, which could be parochial or, at best, sectional. We must also bear in mind that democracy is about ‘give and take’; you win some, you lose some! In simple terms, it means being rational about one’s demands and the context of the larger needs of the party, on the one hand, and the agitations of the society, on the other. That’s how to sustain the trust of the people. Doing otherwise is tantamount to playing the underdog spoiler!

Now that we have put that sordid phase behind us, it is believed that genuine efforts will be made to ensure that all APC factions and fractions – wherever they may exist in Osun State – will come under one umbrella and reach out for July 16 in the interest of the party. Except we want to be economical with truth, that some funny comedians, somewhere, cannot attempt to script a dubious surprise as far as the forthcoming election is concerned should not be contemplated at all. After all, a comedian is, as we speak, the president of one of the world’s independent sovereign states. It therefore behooves APC faithful and those who wish dear state well to come out en masse, do the needful at the Ward and Local levels with a view to ensuring that victory for the ruling party is a done deal.

Let us now come back to Governor Oyetola, a ‘man with a history of victory’ and the undisputed leader of the party in the state, who has won this battle by a landslide. In his book, ‘Killosophy’, Criss Jami wrote: “to seek greatness is the righteous vengeance.” At a time like this, Nigerians expect the governor to be magnanimous in victory. For a fact, that ‘this man of nature, who lives a real life’, has won the governorship ticket of his party clearly shows that he is popular and that the good people of Osun State still want him. To this end, he should continue to do stuffs that will make the people happy. For instance, it will serve his 2nd Term ambition well if he can complete most of, if not all, the road projects his administration has started. Over and above all, this governor should not renege on his promises, because Nigerians are already taking him at his word.

But, again, how did Osun APC get to this sordid pass? In the words of Bernard Ginbel, “two things are bad for the heart: it’s either running uphill or running downhill.” Obviously, the ‘family feud’ has shown why real leaders shouldn’t “create followers” but “more leaders who can stand on their own.” It has also taught us that the first duty of a leader is how to endeavor to secure the optimism of the people while doing so is rewarding, because every leadership will one day be tested. Love him or hate him, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has shown that building leaders for tomorrow is far better than building peasants and beggars. After all, most of the insults that happen to a man in life are as a result of his economic level.

Oyetola’s sweet victory reminds one of the contest for kingship that might have taken the contenders to the throne faraway from reasonable points, all in a bid to achieve their different desires at getting the only crown. Well, now that a candidate has emerged from the same family, what the family members must now know is that ‘home is home; that the prosperity and the integrity of the home must be defended by all; and that everybody should be openly welcomed back home with listening ears to his or her grievances, without prejudice. To put it bluntly, once straying members die to their fleshy desires and become awaken to the reality of life, APC must not only rejoice and welcome them back but also ensure that they are well-reintegrated back into the system.

Lastly, the tragedy of elections in this part of the world is that, while all attention has now shifted to the July 16, 2022 gubernatorial exercise, that our system has created a multitude of people who have now left their natural habitats to become a team of professional politicians is no longer news. Needless to repeat therefore that it was the same system that scapegoated Tinubu with #EndSARS as if he was the founder of SARS! Of course, it is the reason we are finding it difficult to maintain what we obtain. It is also the reason we are fighting from victory instead of fighting for victory. Factoring these into the exigencies of the forthcoming election, it is advisable that this class of people is averagely maintained to appease its rumbling appetite.

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, make Gboyega Oyetola the best governor in the history of Osun State!

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