As the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) in Osun State gazes at next year’s governorship poll, the chapter is expected to put its house in order.
There is no party that is indispensable, if it fails to appropriately manage its achievements.
The opposition is watching the unfolding events. Today, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) does not pose much threat to the ruling party. The real threat to Osun APC appears to be Osun APC. To observers, the party is waging war against itself.
Crisis is brewing. The end cannot be foretold, if it is not quickly nipped in the bud. There is mutual suspicion between two dominant camps. Chieftains from the two divides are not in one accord. Followers of leading lights are spoiling for war. There is a subtle online media war that is counter-productive. Attempts are being made to polarise the platform. The wrangling is an ill wind that blows nobody any good. The cracks on the wall of brotherhood are too visible to be ignored. In disunity, an edifice, no matter how solid, can collapse.
The loss of oneness may energise the opposition to discover a viable opportunity to launch a serious attack, which may throw the warring forces in the ruling party off balance. The dancing senator has not abandoned his ambition.
Lamentably, it appears that Osun APC leaders are assailed by collective amnesia. Having savoured political control for 11 years without interruption, the progressive bloc in the State of Living Spring has forgotten that the feat was not achieved on a platter of gold.
The memory of the titanic struggle for power is fading. Are the feuding brothers doing justice to history; the dead and wounded, the sexually assaulted, the harrassment and oppression of chieftains by the power that be, the unjust detention, the bomb scare, the Oroki Day saga, the declaration of symbol as a wanted person, the strategy of moving train, the battles at the Naron Tribunal, the legal fireworks at the appellate court, the cumberson and expensive Andrian Forty’s time analysis, and the hard victory of 2010?
Expectations were high. In post-Oyinlola period, an ideologue inherited power and the liabilities of high office . He was courageous; bold, brave and salacious. He had vision. Evidently, he fought the infrastructure battle, restored hope and justified the confidence reposed in him.
Yet, in the spate of eight years, the dynamics of politics changed in the state. APC had to fight a hard battle to retain power in its supposedly stronghold. There is no permanent foe in politics. Thus, the poll was won, following a strategic collaboration with an arch enemy in a moment of anxiety.
The mantle of leadership fell on a compa triot; a political associate who was part of the proceeding administration. Two governments cannot be the same, even if the new one is perceived as the continuation of the former administration.
Former and incumbent governors on the same platform, despite the unity of vision, are not endowed with the same styles. That is why psychologists study individual differences. A revolutionary engineer is different from a calm and quiet insurance magnate. A charismatic figure in State House and businessman of reticent dignity in Government House account for different, and not necessarily antagonistic, properties of behaviour.
The former is a wordsmith; a powerful speaker, crowd puller and colourful mobiliser. The latter is a core technocrat, an astute administrator, deep thinker, silent worker, and a likeable actor.
Osun APC is blessed with these contrasting personalities. Curiously, there appears to be no amity between two leaders weaned by the same political family. This is worrisome to concerned party elders.
While Osun APC managed to escape the indignity of losing power and forefeiture of benefits of continuity, the chapter became polarised after the last critical governorship poll. that confronted the government and the party that midwifed it was participation crisis. Party faithful were eyeing appointments. Only few slots were available. Then, accusations of exclusion came to the fore. The solution was to increase the scope of appointments, a move that nearly heralded duplication of offices.
Power was inherited. So was the burden of leadership. There were outstanding complaints about some policies and programmes that were easily carried over to the new government. At critical moments, policy shift may become compelling. A leader may have to be decisive. It is an easy matter that can be engaged in the process of consultation and in an atmosphere of brotherly trust.
Non-APC actors who lent helping hands also not be ignored after victory. Their representatives were brought on board. Therefore, party members should not complain because the party owes them gratitude.
The last governorship shadow poll generated bitterness. The post-primary crisis led to defection and ultimate decimation of electoral strength on poll day. The governor rose swiftly to reconcile with Iwo axis of Shehu, who was aggrieved by the loss of the ticket.
The Osun governor knows his strengths, weaknesses, limitations and constraints. The most important function expected of him is delivery of democratic dividends. This translates into performance. It has remained his selling point and that of the party.
Despite the meagre income and debt profile, salaries of workers have not been compromised. The governor has also mustered efforts to gradually clear the backlog of pensions.
The businessman has re-enacted the style of corporate governance typical of the private sector, with a focus on effectiveness, efficiency, prudence, transparency and accountability. This is how to build on an effective foundation already laid by his predecessor, former boss, and political leader.
The pressure by stakeholders has made him to change the policy on school uniform and renaming of ancient schools. Stakeholders, including LKJ of Lagos and old boy of Ilesa Grams, were said to be adamant on the demand for reversal.
Like his predecessor, the governor is fighting the infrastructure battle through massive road construction. The implication is that he is building on the legacies of the highly esteemed comrade. All these make the former and incumbent pride of the state.
Predecessor-successor crisis has been a feature of the Fourth Republic. Its effects are twofold. It has the potentials of diverting the attention of the incumbent as much energy, if care is not taken, will be dissipated on crisis management, instead of results-oriented governance.
The second consequence is that the growing perception of discord and mistrust may cripple togetherness and weapon the platform.
The signs of gulf were obvious when a camp proposed the celebration of 10th year of democracy at a time another camp was planning for the second year anniversary of the succeeding government.
It is also obvious in the repressed supremacy battle for the soul of the party, ahead of election.
When state, local or rural boys, as they are called, create acrimony due to the perception of gulf between two brothers, they should be whipped to line. Foremost party elders should continue to drive the crisis resolution agenda in the interest of the chapter.
At what stage did Oranmiyan and Ilerioluwa part ways? This is a puzzle. The duo are state and national assets. Their over-zealous supporters should be given the marching order to put their inexplicable differences aside and reconcile in the interest of the party and Osun State. They need an inelastic ultimatum to embrace and halt the likely escalation of the strange conflict as the chapter warms up for the next election.
Osun APC should remain one strong and united family.
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