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Politics In The Palace: An Analysis Of Oba Outburst


By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria BureauAfter an awful outcome of the Presidential Election which held Saturday, March 28, 2015, the Lagos State chapter of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) this week (the eve) of the weekend Governorship and House of Assembly polls was plunged into an avoidable and hurtful inter-tribal diatribes.

akioluThe bane of the trouble, I must save you, as it is known already and very cleared to the general public. For a very long time, I have had an exception and reservation for the outbursts (especially politically-related) of the arrowhead of the needless one week debates – His Royal Majesty (HRM), the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu.

I have always felt disturbed by the Oba’s approach and manner; lack of moderation and diplomacy, regarding his comments on the state’s politics. Of course, I am being conscious of the need and significance, for him to show love and support for a good governance in his State. Just consider the following (recent) instance out of many others in the past.

Ever before the governorship primary of the State’s APC last year, Oba Akiolu against the expectation of the party’s stalwarts and general public, announced and anointed the party’s standard bearer, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. The action, just as it offended the sensibilities of many residents, expectedly did not go down well with the party members, especially the co-aspirants. Little therefore, is the need to mention that the so called anointment created bad blood within the ranks and files of the party, although wisdom eventually prevailed, hence the amicable resolution of the differences created.

Oba Akiolu’s last Sunday provocative utterance, consequently this week, largely doubled the task before the party’s leadership who ordinarily are expected to be buckled down with relentless efforts of improving and rounding off the party’s electioneering campaign. Instead of solely being engaged with these, they were as well pre – occupied with explanations, pleadings, persuasions and persistent calls for cooperation of the people, especially the Ndigbo to ignore the statement and support the party.

In their first public reactions to the statement Tuesday at a rally in Orile/Aguda, Surulere to drum support for the State APC Gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Ambode, the trio of President – Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari (rted); incumbent and Former State Governors, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu respectively, differently, clarified that the Olowo of Eko (Oba) was not a member of the APC, hence his utterance did not represent opinion of the party; pleaded to Igbo that they should put the outburst behind them; sustain their support for the party and vote his candidates in tomorrow (Saturday’s) elections.

Interestingly, more exciting dimensions have since been added to the controversy. One of such is a clarification (so described) – a statement by the Oba himself. Signed by Chief Lateef Aderibigbe Ajose, Opeluwa of Lagos, Oba Akiolu on Monday specified “he is not disturbed or angry with South-East and South- South votes for President Jonathan as perceived by the Eze Ndigbos”.

HRM was quoted as assuring that the Igbo people have not betrayed the throne and the State “has also not betrayed the Igbo people”. Similarly, he restated that he was the father of all, irrespective of tribes, religion or “political persuasion”, explaining that the State had an old traditional proverb that relates to the Lagoon, which he specified was unique to it.

This somewhat tallied with the recent very careful, courageous and commendable response of HRM, Awujale of Ijebuland, (Ogun State), Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, to President Goodluck Jonathan, during his visit to the monarch’s palace – where he (Awujale) came out clean and clear that traditional rulers did not campaign for politicians, but rather, give blessings to the candidates who visit them. Oba of Lagos should kindly take a cue from this manner of approach subsequently.

Yet another thrilling angle is the confession and clarification at a meeting Wednesday, between the Chairman of Ndi Eze, Lagos, Eze Gordian Dim and the traditional rulers in Amuwo Odofin Local Council area. The Eze explained: “What transpired at the Oba’s palace was not what was painted by some media organizations. I engineered the whole process, and I can say confidently to you that the Oba’s statement was misconstrued and should be discarded.

Oba Akiolu’s statement he affirmed, was a joke and everyone during the visit “laughed through it”. He revealed that the Ndigbo even promised him a wife. The Ndi Eze also confessed, claiming that they had the blessing of President Jonathan to rally support for Ambode, hence, the call to the Igbo to vote massively for him tomorrow.

Despite the explanations, clarifications and appeals to overlook the “misconstrued” statements and the need to forge ahead, I am astounded, listening to certain pundits, still insisting, calling and demanding for “concession”. For me, I find it extremely difficult to comprehend which and what concession again and over what?

For the advocates of concession, I wish to state here that they are rather going and dragging the matter too far based on the following posers. First, was there any compelling agitation before Messrs Ben Akabueze, Joe Igbokwe and Chief Mrs Remi Adikwu – Bakare were offered key political appointments in the State’s cabinet, ever since Tinubu ‘s administration till date (except the later)? For those who rationalize the concession agenda on the strength of numbers, could they honestly and sincerely explain why other tribes are not considered for the same juicy political or sensitive career appointment in the South South; South East and Northern part of Nigeria? Or is it that the Yorubas and other tribes do not reside or exist in good number in the aforementioned geo political zones? The same questions applied to the Igbo residing in the Northern region.

These are the burdens and challenges of unity facing us as a nation and they are issues we must face with utmost sincerity of purpose and battle, with the spirit of “one love”. More on this later.

However, if Oba of Lagos is scolded and given knocks for his inconsiderable and questionable statements, the real and triggered factors for the embarrassing rows and its effects, must not be spared. Here, the outgoing President Jonathan politics of ethnicity and religion comes to mind. It is painful and very sad to restate here that the President, for the first time ever, in the history of Nigerian democratic government has polarized the entire country along these two separate but sensitive lines. The cards were played by him in 2011 general elections and it featured very prominently in the March 28 Presidential poll.

Except in the South West, the voting pattern in the rest of the country about fortnight ago were nothing to be proud of, especially with regards to giving attention to the pedigree and performance of the key Presidential candidates, rather, voting was widely based on religion creed and ethnicity affiliation. This is the miserable level the present administration has taken the country’s politics to. Unfortunately, not only the illiterates and semi – literates fell into the ‘slavery’ trap, also, the so called enlightened individuals, aside the mischievous and desperate politicians, also joined in the fray! But I salute and really hail the comrades and folks who made the difference and chose to stand out. These are the real patriots another set of my “heroes” in the Nigerian 2015 general elections.

Therefore, it is the same politics of deceit and damage, the Lagos State ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship candidate, Mr Jimi Agabje had since thrown up, which later gave way and backfired to the raging first ever, inter-tribal political war in the State. The same Agbaje, who has been before his ‘enrolment’ into the PDP and winning of its ticket as well as held in high esteem, began the strange political compromise – promised the Ndigbo the first class Oba status in Lagos. The same man, whom not a few residents consider very intelligent, goofed and out of desperation, made promise of allotting more political offices to the Igbo in the State.

I wonder whether the same man in his thinking and calculation deemed more significant offering career appointments to the non – Yoruba speaking (Igbo or Hausa and others) as well as creating enabling environment for all tribes for business and investments in the State, than his dicey and misleading political promises, as well as creating a high traditional stool for a particular tribe. Well, that is the usual way of the PDP.

But let it be said here clearly, that Agbaje and the State’s PDP are now like wailing and helpless orphans. For example, I do not know what actually is left of their hope, especially when their party leader (Mr. President) has purportedly endorsed his people (of South East and South South) to shift their support for the opposition flag bearer – Ambode, leaving the candidate of his party!

Well, if indeed President Jonathan did give such an endorsement, it is clear where he was coming from. But then, such position remains shocking and casts a big question on the real love and care he has for the party. For me, I have no regret, nor sympathy on whatever President Jonathan turn his party to, after his long awaited defeat. Yet, he supposed to realize that if the PDP were to be in the total mess it is today (no thanks to his poor management and his political ambition), he would not have occupied his present position and enjoyed the attached privileges of his office. In this regards, let Agbaje and his team, who made ridiculous, naïve and selfish political pledges, all with the intention of winning at all cost; realize that they are on their own!

Again, despite Agbaje and the PDP inputs (prompt), of the ensuing concern and muscle flexing, Oba of Lagos needs to conduct himself more ‘fatherly’ –be cautious, careful and considerate in his future public speeches and addresses, either political or otherwise, so as to shield himself and the enviable position – throne he occupies, from avertable public disputes and insults.

Finally, Nigerians should begin to embrace and practice real national politics, in other words, fiscal Federalism, the type, that will not only accommodate a peaceful co – habitation of all the tribes in every part of the country, but that will consider as equal, every tribe, for any national benefit, wherever they live or find themselves. This is one of the challenges the incoming administration is coming to inherit from the present. The new government should therefore consider it as a threat and serious national tragedy, thus face and fight it headlong!

The Season Of Defection

It is noteworthy to see the large scale of cross carpeting of the ruling PDP stalwarts into the opposition APC in the last two weeks. Well, the Nigerian constitution for now, still allows the unchecked defection. For the fact that democracy is a game of number, the incoming ruling political party – the APC might not necessarily have an exception to the rash of decamp into its fold. Essentially, I do not have issues with the hosting party – the APC, (as it hopefully knows the best way to manage the defectors), but rather with the ‘visitors’.

The fundamental question to ask is that, why the late wind of defection? Besides the genuine cases of injustice meted out to members, any failed politician who out of desperate chase of power cross carpeted will soon be shown the way out. There are existing instances, either fresh or old where politicians ultimate motive of defection is crave for power. With respect to justifiable cases, there are cases of the PDP G5 Governors (defection to the APC over a year ago) and another particular one in the Mushin (Lagos) Federal constituency (during NASS poll). The two instances had since confirmed the position that a truly “popular candidate” will always win, whenever he stands for election, irrespective of the platform thorough which he contests and support of the political God father. Provided the APC army of new entrants realize and believe this, their reason for defection these eleventh hours, could be considered very well – thought. But if they did not, no problem; in no time, what drove them in now, will certainly drive them out when their inordinate ambition is not achieved.

Who Will Salvage Drowning Governor Fayose?  

Neither the election that earned him victory nor his reign in power since last year October has ceased to generate dust in and outside his State. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State seems to be very much at home with troubles and being entrapped in controversies. But presently, the ‘trouble-maker’ appears to have taken more than what he can chew. Fayose repeated the ignoble and one of the most uncivilized political culture and naked impunity peculiar to the present administration, by running the entire State with six out of 25 lawmakers – “six equal to, or powerful more than 19!” He and other busy bodies in his party took the last Presidential campaign to gutter, to the consternation of even fellow PDP stalwarts. But events in the country, within over a week, changed the political calculations and permutations in his camp. Within the said period, the 19 opposition legislators who have under cover, suddenly resurfaced and re – launched their drives to sack him on many impeachable alleged offences. He had equally fought back in many ways by resisting twice, the adamant lawmakers from gaining entrance to their chambers and the State. He however failed in a bid to stop a court proceeding against him Wednesday, just as his prayers was declined by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja .

Ayo Fayose

Ayo Fayose

Still, the Chief Judge of the State had been directed (yesterday) to set up a seven – man investigative panel that will look into the allegations of gross misconduct leveled against him. Reports have it that the Abuja ‘master’ Fayose had hoped would win the last Presidential poll had since turned his back to him for allegedly being quoted to have insulted him after the loss. Little wonder the new State Commissioner of Police had been deployed late Wednesday (this week). Fayose is also speculated to have sent emissaries (of two State traditional rulers) to seek pardon from the Lagos Political ‘oracle’ and National leader of the opposition, Asiwaju Tinubu. But this option has been said to be totally out of solution to his travails.

Now that the self – acclaimed strong man of Ekiti politics is alone and drowning, over his many illegalities, who in the State, South West or at the top will save him? Unfortunately, all those he could have possibly run to for support, he had one time or the other, arrogantly and recklessly joined issues with them. He is also said not to be in warm terms with the Iroko – neighbouring Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko. What a changing world! What a ruthless man! Who in the hell will salvage this garrulous character? Drowning Governor Fayose; Going! Going! Going!!!

E – Mail: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com; Facebook: Tajudeen Balogun          



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