By Sufuyan Ojeifo
The most distasteful theatre of the absurd yet in the electioneering
drives of the two leading political parties – the All Progressives
Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – played out during
the presidential campaign rally of the APC in Abeokuta, on Monday
(February 11). Nothing close to the oddity of the self-inflicted
embarrassment had ever happened at the level of intra-party setting to
such calibre of officials of government and party.
Perceived from whatever prism(s), what happened at the MKO Abiola Stadium,
the rally venue, while President Muhammadu Buhari was on the podium to
raise the hand of the party’s governorship candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun,
was tantamount to a serious security breach. The assault on the president
was the height of madness demonstrated by ragtag partisans with a
single-minded mandate to embarrass APC’s topmost echelon.
The person and office of President Buhari were unconscionably violated and
disrespected by persons with binary membership of the APC in Ogun State,
but who had moved to the Allied People’s Movement (APM) at the behest of
Governor Ibikunle Amosun, due to his failed bid to impose his preferred
governorship candidate on the party. The APM members were procured to
prosecute a proxy agenda.
It was unimaginable that these elements would hurl objects, first at the
national chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, and a national
leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; then, at President Buhari
who had Abiodun by his side. The rally turned awry and became unruly,
forcing the President in his speech, after he had raised the hand of
Abiodun, to urge the uncontrollable crowd of rude party members to vote
for candidates of their choice across the party lines.
All the assaulted leaders of the APC at the rally demonstrated some
unparalleled equanimity. Although, Tinubu was apparently miffed where he
sat when the president asked the crowd to vote for candidates of their
choice across party lines, he could only show his anger by throwing away
the flag (it was not clear whether it was APC’s or APM’s as both flags
proliferated the rally venue) that was beside a vacant seat by his right
It was very significant to notice the prudence exhibited by the
President’s security men. They had quickly formed a wall of defence in
front of the president and the APC governorship candidate to stave off the
objects, which were being hurled at them. Some over-zealous presidential
guard could have, in that circumstance, taken precipitate actions and the
story would have been different.
There was no doubt the president was put in harm’s way as a result of the
political indiscretion of an exasperated emperor. Buhari’s security and
safety were under real threat. The desperation of a neo-political
godfather must be indicted for the salacious action. Amosun had tried in
vain to install his crony as his successor in the governance of Ogun
State. He had wanted to do that without recourse to Vice President Yemi
Osinbajo who is from Ogun and other APC leaders, including former Governor
Before Amosun’s danse macabre on Monday, he had expended all the tricks in
the books to outplay the leadership of the party in Abuja after having
pocketed the structure of the party in the State. Reports had it that he
had, single-handed, as headmasters would do, drawn a list of candidates
that would contest for all the elective positions in the state and had
pushed it for ratification at his own primary election supervised by his
administration officials and officers of the compromised State Executive
Committee of the APC.
While Amosun’s primary election had produced Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, the
one supervised by a validly-nominated committee appointed by the National
Working Committee (NWC) of the APC had produced Abiodun as the
governorship candidate. Amosun had visited Buhari about three times in a
bid to sway presidential support for himself and his candidate but Buhari
had allowed the Oshiomhole-led NWC to take the final decisions.
Hopeless and unable to subordinate his ego to the diktat and principle of
party supremacy, his “imperial majesty”, as his compatriot, Rochas
Okorocha did in Imo State by hijacking the Action Alliance (AA) platform
for the governorship aspiration of his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, resorted to
self-help by directing his anointed governorship candidate to move to the
APM on which platform he is contesting for the governorship position.
There is no doubt that Amosun had taken his reputed closeness to Buhari
for granted. His actions have so far demonstrated lack of respect for the
party leadership and the presidency. It baffles how Amosun could become so
conceited to ignore some critical stakeholders of the party in Ogun State,
take on the entire leadership of the APC in the Southwest zone and even
extend the aggravation to the national leadership.
What was it if not an outright anti-party act for Amosun to encourage APC
members to move to APM and to openly take the governorship candidate,
Akinlade, round the State, canvassing votes? He had even taken Akinlade to
the presidential villa to present him to Buhari as the man who would take
over from him in Ogun. Imagine the level of obsession with the
privatization of the commonwealth and governance of Ogun State!
Even at the APC presidential rally in Abeokuta, Amosun lost his sense of
politesse as he spoke agitatedly about the fact that Ogun State would vote
for Buhari on February 16, as if he controls the entire voter population
in the state. He was emphasizing the presidential election in the light
of Buhari’s candidature and apparently passing across the message that
March 2 governorship election would assume a different voting pattern.
Former governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, would not suffer
the imprudence of Amosun gladly. He mounted the podium to address the
issue pointedly. According to him, the APC is the party that should be
voted for, adding that those who were parading the identity of any other
political party were hypocrites. Amosun’s hirelings that had been chanting
“ole (thief)” at the background even before Aregbesola presented his
unequivocal speech, were at this point, unmistakably agitated.
Their subsequent resort to pelting the leaders of the party with objects
marked a reprehensible descent to the gutter of political rascality and
leadership indiscretion promoted by Amosun. The battle for the soul of
Ogun State would appear to be going on within the APC itself. That
internal division has the potential of causing collateral damage to the
APC and even the APM that Amosun is projecting.
Amosun’s gambit fittingly, possibly approximates a Yoruba axiom, which
says “kaka ki Eku ki o je sese a fi se awa da nu” transliterated thus:
“Instead of the bush rat to eat a certain Yoruba species of beans, it
would rather scatter it.” It is in this context that the governor’s
theatrics on the day of the rally, calling on and begging the people who
were throwing stones at the party leaders not to disgrace him in the
presence of his “father”, President Buhari, when, in actual fact, he was
the propelling force behind the entire political rascality, could be
As it is, Amosun has put himself on the spot, taking on many battles at
once, and hoping to win them. How will he achieve that feat? With what
happened at the Abeokuta APC presidential rally, Amosun had gone to the
edge in a danse macabre and going completely overboard into the ocean of
political self-destruction. If he does not know it, then he would be very
naïve. But if he survives the backlashes of his action, then his survival
must have something divine to it.
– Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja via firstname.lastname@example.org