Ondo Drama: Season 1, Scene 1- 5
By Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi
2020 has been a year of many dramas. As the catchy and significant 20 and 20 figure suggests, it came with big hopes and expectations of favour and positive developments.
But unexpectedly, things took different twists in unbelievable proportions. What earlier seemed a pendulum of quick and steady progress started swinging in the direction of slowness, depression, recession, retrogression and despair.
It crept into the country subtly and stealthily like a thief in the night.
Initially, it was believed to be a White man disease, but before Africans and Nigerians could call Jack Robinson, it stalked the continent and brought it on its knees, with attendants ill health and death tolls.
Nigeria has had a fair ‘share’ of the menace since it hit the landscape.
The economy got shot down, while humanity got locked down.
Consequently, boredom set in all the labyrinth of the country’s existence and human endeavours. Activities that make life meaningful turned upside down.
But the dull moments occasioned by the deadly pandemic have received revival, following the commencement of political activities in Edo and Ondo states.
These are coming with gubernatorial elections scheduled for September and October 2020 respectively.
But the debacle playing out in Edo is akin to a theatre where the bad man of the earlier cast is now given the role of the actor in the same film titled: “Nigerian Wonder!”
Ondo saga, too, seems to be taking a new dimension. Though a spectrum of crises have lingered for some time now, the script keeps churning out new badmen and actors on the stage.
The director of the drama may be losing control as unrehearsed scenes are being staged by characters that were not auditioned, leaving the audience in utter confusion, irritation and disappointment.
The deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi’s decamping did not come as a surprise. But when it happened, it attracted many viewers to the drama episode.
The governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu, was never ready to be outplayed. He devised new dynamics to change the tide of events in the direction of public opinion.
His excellency personally disclosed to his people that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
Surprise, surprise, the story surrounding the disclosure as heard from the horse’s mouth has kept intelligent minds wondering and tongues wagging, with many believing that the scenes from Arakunrin’s video was nicely scripted and well acted.
The governor had told Nigerians that he was being treated for malaria and typhoid but without improvement.
But no sooner the the APC emergency NEC meeting sacked the “Stubborn Tenant” than a new twist erupted over the governor’s ailments.
A colleague had cautioned the only SAN governor in Nigeria to shun self medication and opt for COVID-19 test. Arakunrin heeded the advice and the result came out positive. Did our governor also self medicate?
The emergency NEC meeting revelation is a pointer to the usual fallout at the Governor’s Forum meetings where colleagues share survival tactics with one another. This was one of such, I suppose.
The sad news of the demise of the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Dr Wahab Adegbenro, is an abhorred distraction to public interest in the whole drama.
Before Arakunrin could fill the physical and strategic vacuums created by the deceased commissioner, Arakunrin was hit by the resignation of his Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Did I hear you say double wahala….?
When he sensed that situations had started going from worse to worst, Arakunrin discharged himself from his self imposed COVID-19 isolation without completing the mandatory 14 days requirement.
It seems that the two shocking incidents turned his own COVID-19 to COVID-8 as he could only observe five days out of the 14 mandatory isolation protocol. Or how else could one explain the drama?
The SSG, Mr Ifedayo Agunbiade’s resignation quickly brought a new crescendo to the Ondo drama scenes.
The former SSG’s confession that it was by his POWER and that of some other APC PILLARS that INEC DECLARED Akeredolu as the governor after he had lost in 2016 should worry the whole world. Walahi!
By now, the United Nations should be holding a special session on Nigeria. INEC should have its head rolling in that agency, while our president, Muhammadu Buhari and his sinking party should bury their heads in shame.
In other climes, the citizenry would have been in the streets calling for investigation and prosecution of people involved.
The APC, through the secretary of Caretaker/Extraordinary National Planning Committee, Senator John Akpan Uduedehe, stated during the inauguration of the Screening Committee ahead of the party’s July 20 Governorship Primary Election in the State, that: “In the last few months, our party has been rocked by crisis, in several states, including Ondo State where the deputy governor and the former Secretary to the State Government, (Ifedayo Agunbiade) defected to other parties to seek platform to contest for the forthcoming governorship election.
“We should all be aware that personal ambition could often lead people to act unreasonably in a manner skewed towards personal, rather than collective interest as in this case.”
Akpan, however, did not ask the former SSG to clarify what he meant by APC PILLARS with whom he rigged Akeredolu into power in 2016.
Nigerians need to be alerted that some of the APC “pillars” Abegunde was referring to in his confession are now finding their ways into PDP to do what they know how to do best. This development should worry all of us.
Just when the people thought that the former SSG’s confession and Arakunrin’s premature discharge from isolation are enough intrigues for the week, the venue of the shameful drama shockingly shifted to the Ondo State House of Assembly.
Instead of the representatives of the people to investigate the former SSG’s confession and demand clarification from Arakunrin, they started acting the executive script and suspended Honourble Irioju Ogundeji, the deputy speaker and another member, Honourable Adewale Williams, for kicking against the impeachment of the deputy governor.
The Speaker of the House of Assembly took the executive- induced script to the judiciary but the (latter) won’t join the madding crowd at least for now.
Nigerians home and in the diaspora, lovers of democracy and all democracy defending institutions across the globe should view the drama unfolding in Ondo State as a serious threat to the Nigerian democracy. We must not allow the former SSG’s confession to be swept under the carpet as the state approaches another election.
The poignancy here is that, the situation has gone beyond mere allegation. It is an open confession made in the hearing of the whole world that the 2016 election in Ondo was rigged by him and APC pillars. We should all be demanding in clear terms his arrest along side those ‘pillars of rigging’ in APC upon whose wings rigging has been flying in Nigeria, for prosecution.
The consequences of not doing this is simple: APC primary will not be trusted to produce the party members’ choice and the coming governorship election will lack the credibility capable of enthroning the people’s governor. Arakunrin will possibly be rigged out by those who rigged him in 2016. Law of Kama?
Ondo has a tradition of demanding electoral integrity, and I foresee this tradition being triggered should it be dared.
Omoboriowo (means children exceed money in value) the NPN gubernatorial candidates during the 1983 governorship election who tried to rig against the UPN candidate, Adekunle Ajasin regretted the action. The resultant turmoil was one of the many reasons that emboldened the General Muhammadu Buhari-led coup that truncated the Third Republic.
Let this president call his party, the electoral body, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in Ondo State to order. The people of Ondo have a way of resisting cheating (rigging) and it is not always good for the cheaters.
Ondo Election Can’t Breathe! Let all players and lovers of democracy ensure Ondo governorship election is free, fair and credible. This is the only way the next occupier of the office could ease the moral burden bestowed on our gentleman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria who, as a victim of this open confession, should lack the clout and temerity to parade himself as the elected governor of Ondo State.
The sham and shame of the neighbouring Kogi State election must be avoided in Ondo. This is the clarion call from Ondo people of the South West.
May the people win.
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