Osun APC and some hard truths part 1; by Abiodun Komolafe.

Olajumoke Ogunkeyede is a leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Osun State. JMK, as Ogunkeyede is popularly called, was also a chieftain of the now-rested National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). He participated actively in putting an end to military rule and the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria.

In a chance encounter with yours sincerely recently, JMK has these to say on the state of Osun APC:

“I am not a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and I try not to dabble into the running of Osun PDP. But, with the current situation of things, there’s no doubting the fact that we need to rejig the opposition APC in the state if we are going to challenge the current government. We must create structures that will help put our house in order. Politically, our house is not in order. If we are going to challenge PDP in the next Osun governorship election, we should be doing more than what we are doing presently.

“The fact that a lot of people are running after former Governor (Gboyega) Oyetola does not resolve the quagmire into which we have fallen in Osun. Charity is said to begin at home. The leadership should do its best to make sure that we are not just sitting on the fence. Whether we like it or not, (Ademola) Adeleke’s government is there and we will just keep complaining, unless we are able to get our house in order.

“With the way Osun APC is going about resolving its internal dynamics, it’s like we are feeling that, because Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is in Abuja, we will win. No! Tinubu will only do his best for the party. But his responsibility is to the whole nation and whatever he is able to do will be minuscule, compared to what he would do were he not to be the president of Nigeria. To this end, we should begin to get our people ready so that in the next election, we are fully prepared because, from the look of things, we are not yet prepared. As things stand, the falcon doesn’t seem to hear the falconer. In Osun APC, the centre is not holding. And we are complacent, thinking that it will be good. Of course, that’s the concept of miracle. We can’t fold our arms, thinking that manna will fall from heaven. We can sit down under a make-believe canopy of ‘it’s done’. The way things stand, nothing is done.

“Yes, President Tinubu is known to be a strategist. But he needs that strategy for the nation. He would have done a lot to push the nation up and that may have a positive effect on the electioneering processes in 2026 but, according to an adage, ‘it is a child that raises his hand that will be picked up’. We cannot depend on him doing it alone. It will be a huge joke if we are expecting him to do it for us at all costs. Already, he is doing it for us by being the president. Or do we expect him to move Aso Rock to Osogbo because his party is contesting an election? The more reason we must struggle hard to complement his efforts. If the election is in 2026; and this is 2023, what are we waiting for? We have not done much to reposition our people. We have not done anything in the area of empowerment. Yes, we are criticizing the ruling party, but it should be more than that. For now, we are an empty mouth, just clanging and making noise. There should be substance to the noise-making. If we focus too much on what the PDP is doing, that’s good. But that won’t help the APC. Rather, the opposition should have its strategy to counter and subdue the antics of the ruling party before, during, even after the election.

“Truth be told, Osun APC is not yet ready for the next election. Otherwise, one is never ready by word of mouth. Empowerment should begin right now to be able to face the tedious challenges of electioneering, instead of hoping that, from Ile-Ogbo to Ila-Orangun, and from Orile-Owu to Ilase-Ijesa, we would win.

“In 2022, Osun PDP caught the then party in power by surprise. Though what’s done cannot be undone again, the way out is adequate preparation. PDP had never had it so good like the 2022 governorship election. Although the enemy within made it possible for that to happen, the fear I have now is that we still have some members of the PDP who are diabolical and may still infiltrate our party. I was looking at the list of those that were suspended or expelled. Some names were still missing there. So, we should shine our eyes and make sure that we are prepared for the election.”

JMK has said it all; and a word is enough for the wise!

Surely certainly, politics as a vocation has a way of mesmerizing its adherents. While one is not attempting to be adventurous as to how Osun APC decides its destiny, that there’s an urgent need for political retooling or reengineering is no longer news. To get the party back to the market, there should be a commitment to seeking the cause in order to prevent reoccurrence. Of course, this is no time to engage in the trappings of politics or dirge of self-pity. Instead, a moment like this calls for a reappraisal of how the party got to this pass. So, let those in need of penance establish a framework for it with penitent hearts and let those who think no one else matters in the affairs of the party pursue a critical political thinking that’s consistent with the dynamic changes in the world we live in.

In the light of truth, nobody is an island. No one is also blameless. Therefore, a recalibration of the party’s politics and needs is a viable option. Those who have no direction shouldn’t delight in elevating peculiar interests over and above everybody. Those who ate all the honey and have relocated to Abuja, struggling to be attached to somewhere must be made to account for the roles they played or failed to play while the honeymoon lasted.

If you ask Nigerians, heaping the loss of the 2022 governorship election solely at the doorstep of Rauf Aregbesola is a tale long stale. Yes, Aregbesola’s factor might have done a lot to July 16, 2022, but it’s time the gladiators invoked critical, self-introspection to find out why their treasured party missed the mark. For instance, was Aregbesola responsible for the party’s loss in Boluwaduro, a Local Government with only 10 Wards but having the immediate past state chairman and more than 20 other high-ranking leaders and first-rate political appointees in its kitty? Was it Aregbesola who made it lose in Ila-Orangun where Bisi Akande and other party bigwigs came from? What about the shallow and hollow fries who pretended to be big birds: those who were adequately mobilized for the election but ended up losing even their Polling Units? Should we start mentioning the names of those who were pursuing vanity and pride which eventually left the party in torments? Have they been sanctioned for their unprofitable adventure?

Let’s face the truth, to say that Aregbesola was the reason APC lost the Osun governorship election in all the three Senatorial Districts is to say that ‘Ogbeni’ was the most powerful person in the party and that, without him, nothing could be done. Unknown to Osun APC, the political strength and influence that the former governor himself may never possess have already been ascribed to him, freely.

*To be continued.

*KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State, Nigeria (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk; 08098614418 – SMS only)

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