It is a double fact this is not the best of times for governance and government in Ondo State. Equally, it could be said that Ondo State has never seen a period of this nature in the area of almost leadership vacuum since it was created in 1976. In the same vain, neither has it ever been in the midst of so much charlatans, political profiteers, vaingloriousness and hypocritical persons as we currently witness. One thing that is clear is that, it is nothing new. Even in advanced democracies it does happen. We learn with experience.
When the Yoruba socio cultural group or “political party” Afenifere, came out to address a Press Conference some days ago, one had believed we are past the worst but unfortunately, it was a very disappointing, ill timed and ill advised outing. An elder should not be found in this type of situation. A Yoruba proverb says ” agbalagba ki see ere ki lo ba e de ibi” meaning, ” elders are not expected to indulge in disgraceful plays”. If it was the plan of the organisation to answer to the saying that ” agba ki wa l’oja k’ori omo tuntun wo” ( elders should not be in a market and see children whose heads are bent or in awkward positions. Presumably at the back of their mothers, it is expected that the elders would adjust such heads. The Afenifere elders have by their actions and pronouncement during the press conference violated a cardinal aspect of Yoruba ethos which says ” a gbo ejo enikan d’ajo, agba osika ni”. That is any elder who listens to one side of a story is either compromised or at best wicked.
As Yorubas it is not given that we abuse, denigrate, chastise or rebuke our elders. That would be violating the most important kennel of our Yorubaness or Omoluabiism. What we can only do is to call their attention to certain issues that may be against what they ought to preach. It represents that if they are not careful that could be pitfalls in their activities. They have to be mindful of what they are pushed to do or say on issues. On this matter, our elders missed the point. I will explain.
Everyone, especially our Afenifere leaders are aware that this is a political season and during this season all manners of things are done to achieve a political objective. If it’s true that as they seem to suggest that the actions been taken against the Deputy Governor Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa is politically motivated and that the politicians angling for the position of Governor in 2024, through the almighty “cabal” by the instigation of the Governor are behind the crisis, our fathers have forgotten that crisis, disagreement, political intrigues are part and parcel of party politics and that each or all of them are not only currently involved in it, they have been masters of it since their youthful days. In actual fact, Afenifere is the bastion of political intrigues and machinations. Political crisis is what makes it tick and what made many of them known today. That they stand against treachery and treacherous persons in support of their leaders.
Ideologically, Afenifere has always shown to us that no society develops by accepting just anything in the name of politics or peace. Loyalty, discipline and integrity are the hallmarks of Afenifere’s political ethos and ethics. Any derivation, deviation from or departure from the above is met with equal, stiff, commensurate and strong ideological rebuff. There could usually be forgiveness but there are always consequences and rebukes for political or integrity issues in Afenifere.
Historically, the founders of Afenifere have shown that when any subordinate oversteps his political bounds by his action of betrayal, indiscipline and lack of integrity, such an individual or group is punished accordingly. Chief Obafemi Awolowo had a dose of the above with Chief Ladoke Akintola under the Action Group in the first republic. Akintola left the party and suffered the consequences just like Awolowo and the rest of his colleagues. But history today is fairwr to one that the other. His comrade in political journey Chief Adekunle Ajasin with whom the seed of Afenifere ( Action Group) was sown, had his own measure with Chief Akin Omoboriowo. He was punished for it. Infact at a campaign rally in the then Ekiti, Awolowo cursed Omoboriowo his actions. These are historical facts that many of those in Afenifere today witnessed. Many more had happened after the above in many parts of Yoruba land. Even under Mimiko whom Afenifere openly supported it happened. Under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the then Governor of Lagos State it happened to an Afenifere leader. The heaven never fall.
Also, to pretend that it is a mince meat to resolve political issues that bothers on integrity, indiscipline and disloyalty, is to sell maize to us as millet or Akara to us as Burger. They are different. If it is that easy, Chief Awolowo should have resolved his differences with Chief Akintola or Chief Ajasin should have accepted Omoboriowo’s debauchery. The politics of Afenifere and their held believe is that ” ko si idariji fun eni to ba dale”. That is, there is no forgiveness for betrayers.
Even the Bible in Psalm 99 verses 6-8 states, “6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel was among those who called on his name; they called on the LORD and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 _LORD our God, you answered them; you were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished” If our God could punish Moses, Aaron and Samuel for their misdeed despite he forgave them”.
Akeredolu by any means possible can and should punish Aiyedatiwa whom he promoted politically for his acts of betrayal and other misdeeds. The heavens will not fall.
Going further, before the elders went to town pertinent questions are germaine. Did they have any interaction with Akeredolu or the House of Assembly or anyone they perceived as been principal to the issue. Why is it that it seems they relied only on “public opinion” or on the views of those who are sympathetic to Aiyedatiwa, or those who have one axe to grand with Akeredolu as the basis of their intervention? It is clear than many anti-Akeredolu people have been calling on Afenifere to intervene since this matter started. One such person was Dr. Kayode Ajulo, who visited some Afenifere leaders after meeting with Aiyedatiwa in his office sometimes ago. Also, Bishop Borokini has his problem with Akeredolu for denying his son from having a second term ticket in the House of Assembly in Akure. Basorun Seinde Arogbofa ( a man I am happy to share a name with) has his own issues too with Akeredolu. He believed he has not treated his people in Oka or Akoko South West well since he came into the leadership of the State. The last straw was the distribution of the LCDA where Akoko South West got just one LCDA and the bufurcation of Oka and puting part of it under Akungba. Also, it was on record that when he lost his wife recently, Aiyedatiwa was said to have told him he came to condole him in his capacity as Aiyedatiwa and not because the Governor or the cabal were in support. Except some very few among those who had planned the “coup”, many are against Akeredolu for sundry reasons. One of the reason is that he is too strong and too opinionated. Lucky to them will be more controllable. How wrong could some elders be.
One of the binding wires that made the Afenifere elders to embark on this voyage was their been sold to the idea of the existence of a cabal. To be candid, every government or association has a cabal. While growing up we were used to what is known as the ” Kaduna Mafia”. But the issue of having a cabal surfaced under President Yaradua and became more prominent under President Buhari. Currently, we are been told of a cabal in Aso Rock under President Tinubu. To me, a cabal are those sho share the spirit and terms of a prevailing order. They bear the brunt of every action in any government or association. In clear terms, it is a fact that certain people control the Fasoranti led arm of Afenifere. They think and act for the leader of the Egbe who is now bugged down by old age just like Akeredolu who is recuoerating from an illness. There are some cabal working and acting for Baba to hold on to Afenifere despite ceesing powered to Pa Ayo Adebanjo. Why did they not let go?
If the truth must be told what is the role of Chief Olu Falae, Basorun Seinde Arogbofa, Chief Duyilemi, Abagun Kole Omololu in the current spate of things in Afenifere. Every action and did of these people are put forward as the deed of Pa Fasoranti. What better way to describe a cabal?
I would think that Afenifere has missed a great opportunity in solving the current crisis in Ondo State. They have wittingly or unwittingly become an interested party in the crisis. They should have made contacts with Akeredolu and his own supporters. Since Lucky said he apologized, if he truly loved the State, rather than dragging his political benefactor who is on a sick bed, they should have asked him to either resign or withdraw all the myriads of cases he instituted in Court to slow down the process of his impeachment. They should have asked him to answer the allegations by the House of Assembly or are they saying open theivery and open disloyalty has become a virtue celebrated by their own Afenifere? They should have asked him to stop all forms of instigations traceable to him on this matter. They should have asked him to allow the political solution as suggested by the National headquarters of APC to bear result.
Our Afenifere leaders failed woefully to take note of all these. They are suing for peace as if it is something that could be picked on the street. If it is that easy, why is it impossible for them to resolve the intractable problem in Afenifere that may snowball anytime soon or so soon after the passing of Pa. Fasoranti. Why did they not solve the problem or division between Pa Fasoranti and his late friend who was also laying claim to the leadership of Afenifere some years back? Why is it impossible for Pa Fasoranti and Pa. Adebanjo to agree on who to support between Tinubu and Obi. Why was it difficult for them to agree whether Afenifere is a ” socio-cultural” organisation or has reverted back to a political party (Action Group) like it was when it was formed? He who must come to equity must have his hands clean.
All said and done, one can see that there is so much incongruous acts, illogical steps and so much fallacies in the current efforts by our revered leaders in Afenifere. While we commend them for their actions, they should understand that the action by the House of Assembly is not only a political responsibility, it is equally a constitutional requirement expected of the House. They should also know that Akeredolu has maintained his Omoluabi ethos by allowing the legislative, constitutional and judicial steps to run their course. If he had wanted to adopt a Jankara style, Aiyedatiwa would have been removed by anyway possible and his current abracadabra ( which would extinguish soon from the look of things) in various Courts would have been to collect his pension like it happened under Mimiko. The heavens will not fall.
My advise to our fathers is to allow the system to run its course and not allow themselves to be instruments in the hands of those who have something to benefit hiding under the canopy of fighting for Ondo State.
Seinde Arekemase is a Professor of Modular Mathematics and an expert in Data Analytics and Syllogism in Texas, United States. He hails from Ikun Akoko.