By Kennedy Emetulu
I have always marveled at the APC’s communication strategy. In opposition and in government, they’ve perfected the art of crying wolf. Somehow they think this is effective propaganda and when you ask for proof, I suppose they will point to the fact that they won the presidential election in 2015, have more state governors in their column and possibly more members of the National Assembly and States’ Assemblies combined. Who wants to quarrel with that result? But something is not right. They know, but they’re hoping Nigerians don’t get to know. In a way, it’s like hiding in plain sight. So what do I mean?
The downside of empty and pernicious propaganda is mediocrity. It’s like the man who promised three elephants and couldn’t deliver the tail of a piddling mouse. There’s no bridge to reality, only a river of regret. When you really want to know a failing government, look no further than how its spokespersons are perceived in society. Today, Lai Mohammed is a byword for lies and Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu are no better than stuffed gongs in the public imagination. Mr Yekini Nabena, the APC National Publicity Secretary has happily outsourced his job to his national party Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole who thinks Nigeria was delivered from his Olympic-size cavity. Sure, these guys might be some of the most intelligent people around, but when you work within a group culture that dumbs down reality, you’ll become an alien to your own personal capacities.
Watching the PDP, it seems to me that they love to garb themselves in the APC’s robe possibly believing that copying the latter’s ‘winning’ strategy can help them back to the top too. Of course, the tragedy is that only two horses are realistically in the race in Nigeria, so when even the horse with public goodwill starts neighing like the failed one, the people are only left to begin to redefine success. It’s all about low expectations now, it seems.
Yesterday, the PDP issued a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan. You would think at this point that Osun is in play the strategists and thinkers would be on the ground in Osogbo to put the ball in the net, seeing they’re bearing down on goal. But what did Mr Ologbondiyan’s statement say? Resign Professor Mahmood Yakubu! Resign Mrs Amina Zakari! What? Yeah. In the middle of a match, they choose to head-butt the referee rather than face the ball!
I’m not saying parties should not cry out if they see something funny going on, but when you read a statement and all you see are wild allegations propped up by claims that they have evidence they’ve presented to no one, you just begin to wonder whether they think noise is substitute for substance at the business end of an election. I mean, what is the point of all this if you have the evidence of the accusations and you don’t present it publicly or go with your lawyers to the appropriate authorities to report the crime with the evidence you claim to have? Why not hand over the evidence to the press and let them show it to the world?
If this is to pump up the base and make them motivated for tomorrow, how does that work? The only thing revealed in the whole statement is that they are unhappy with the election being declared inconclusive, yet the race is on and a supplementary election is for tomorrow! If they thought INEC is acting unlawfully, why don’t they explain how and approach the courts for a remedy? Why fire blanks when you should be keeping your powder dry?
To me, the only question anyone should be asking about the Osun election is whether INEC acted lawfully when they declared the election inconclusive and once that is answered in the affirmative, there is no use crying wolf, you focus on what is to come.
The issue is not complicated. INEC could not have declared anybody winner under section 179(2) of the Constitution when the election itself is not concluded. INEC is bound to ensure that no one is disenfranchised and as far as there was no election in the areas indicated, INEC was bound to consult its Manual and use its guidelines to conduct a supplementary election in those places because as far as the margin of votes between the APC and the PDP is lesser than the number of accredited voters in the four polling units in question, INEC had no option but to declare the election inconclusive. The Supreme Court has made this clear in its ruling in the case of Hon James Abiodun Faleke vs INEC and others (2016). There are no grey areas, it’s clear.
I want the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Ademola Adeleke to emerge victorious after tomorrow’s supplementary election in Osun. As far as the alternative is Bola Tinubu’s cousin, the dancing Senator remains the better bet for me. Of course, I’m not from Osun, so all I can do is wish. But Osun represents something bigger than Osun for Nigeria. It is the last defence against impunity; it is an expression of a people’s courage against grand theft, slavery, and pomposity! Tinubu went to the palace of the Ataoja of Osogbo, Jimoh Olanipekun, and in the name of campaigning, he heartily mocked the people for their supposed poverty. He told them he was not imposing his cousin on them as governor so he can siphon the state’s money to him in Lagos because Osun does not have his money! What business is Tinubu into to declare himself richer than a state in Nigeria? And this is after eight years of his minion, Rauf Aregbesola burying the state in calcified misery.
The Osun people are speaking but they are not done. They will complete their statement tomorrow. Adeleke is from a rich and politically accomplished family. His brother has been a popular governor of the states and he has his rich billionaire family members and friends, but he has not declared his family richer than Osun. He may be a dancing maniac, but he is grounded. The PDP has led a government in the state before and it wasn’t a calamity in the class of the APC government. The people trust that Adeleke will lead them out of the Egypt that Tinubu and his claque have dumped them and all they need is for the PDP to support them to reach freedom!
The PDP should stop knocking on Iyiola Omisore’s door! He does not hold the key to tomorrow. The people hold the key to tomorrow and if the PDP is really determined to win, they should not go to bed tonight! They must treat this supplementary election like a national election and snatch victory for Nigeria! But first, they must throw off the garb of the APC! They’ve got to show seriousness in everything they say or do!
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