The National Reconciliation Committee of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) paid a visit to Osun State recently in an effort to reconcile aggrieved members of the party in the state.
Nigerians expected that the aggrieved members would be open to a truce in the objective interest of the party and the Osun State government. They also hoped that the openness would enable the committee to midwife genuine reconciliation among members of the same political family.
Under the concept of negotiation and reconciliation, if two parties feel cheated, it is better to reconcile on that premise so that the ‘cheating’ will become mutual. If it is one party that feels cheated, the chances are that the other party will be swollen-headed, thus leading the opposing camp to feel alienated.
What happens next is that the ‘cheated’ party may either seek succour elsewhere or work from within to undermine the existing structure. But that will be antithetical to the ideals of democracy and principles of development. The implication is that the idea of a zero-sum game is not only unworkable in a search for true and ideal reconciliation, but also an illusion.
Reconciliation helps to removing resentment and dehumanisation. It also facilitates ‘the re-humanisation of the other and transforms harmful attitudes.’ Simply put, it is like going to the market to carry out business transactions at a most reasonable price for the best of qualities. Even the one with fake wares will also want to display his stuff with a view to getting ‘a good buyer’ – to his advantage and the buyer’s loss, obviously. In this instance, there is a side that needs to be civil enough to admit that a ‘winner-takes-all’ politics is a dangerous concept, even as the other side must also know that it must let go of certain things so that the lost sheep can be brought back home.
So, one expects the Abdullahi Adamu-led efforts to go beyond the ceremonial handshake. Instead, the fundamental issue should be the reconciliation of interests, which is paramount.
A political party is as strong as its membership. In other words, much as politics is a game of power, it is also a game of numbers. To that extent, the number of members it has will go a long way to determine its electoral success or otherwise. With this in mind, if the feuding factions, or fractions within the Osun State chapter of the APC cannot resolve their differences at a roundtable; if they cannot dance around personal issues with a view to reaching amicable solutions, the overriding imperative is like a hermaphrodite, which has the capacity to metamorphose into something else, totally unknown. It is like the crew of a boat, rowing together, but in opposing directions. What worsens the situation in Osun is that the impasse has been left for too long to fester. So, if members don’t grow up quickly and rise above their differences; if there are no leaders or elders that can call the gladiators to a roundtable, it may end up as nothing but bad business for politics.
At a time in the old Oyo State when the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) went into an avoidable ruination because its handlers did not do enough or simply looked the other way. Instead of calling the faithful to order with a view to striking the middle course, the leaders simply relied on the strength of votes from ‘stones’ as a way of sealing the party’s coasting home to victory. Unfortunately, it is either the ‘stones’ refused to cast their vote or certain forces mightier than the ‘stones’ did not make their votes count. I was a pupil of Ijebu-Jesa Grammar School at the time. So, I can confirm that we all paid dearly for it
The implosion in the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) also started with the trouble between the National Chairman of the party and the presidential aspirants. The initial impression was that the late Adisa Akinloye was about to compromise, particularly on the issue of the zoning arrangement by which the presidency would remain in the North and Akinloye, a southerner, would remain as Chairman of the party unperturbed. Interestingly, the social status ascribed to whosoever became the chairman of the party at that time was way above what obtains at present.
Dateline: December 14, 1991 The inability of the political gladiators to agree on the way forward during the 3rd Republic gave Michael Otedola the Lagos State governorship on a platter. Have we also forgotten that the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) government in Osun would most likely have been victorious, had the party not succumbed to the whims of the internal wrangling which troubled its Israel on its way to the April 19, 2003 governorship election? Typical of fate and its wiles, Akande had long left office before he was nicknamed ‘Baba Omo Kekeke’, in recognition of his performance in office.
If the aforementioned experiences have sought succour in the ‘archives of the archaeologists’, then, the loss of the senatorial bye-election by the Osun APC in 2017 readily comes to mind. Since failure is always an orphan, July 8, 2017 happened to APC and loads of excuses accompanied the loss of the opportunity of a lifetime. But then, the party in power forgot, or overlooked the essence of certain people whose duty, as it were, was to tailor the minds of the people to the ideals and norms of the society, especially, in a country where the gain of public service has taken flight. God and Caesar met at the table and … the rest is history!
Speaking for posterity, how much of the energy being dissipated, currently, against opposing members of the same party is being dispensed into convincing some already-confused voters at ‘Okada’ and ‘Korope’ terminuses that the APC-led government in Osun State means well for the people; and that it will do more, if Governor Gboyega Oyetola is re-elected, come July 16, 2022? How much of confidence and assurance is being given to the mass of the people that this epitome of wellness, stateliness and unshaken hope, if given another opportunity, will leave no stone unturned at ensuring that dividends of democracy are equitably distributed among the good people of Osun? Instead of showing offwith attractive-yet-needless conflicts, what stops loyalists on both sides from showing forth through winning souls for the party? In the interest of democracy, what stops the gladiators from removing issues that are personal from the objective interests of the party? What stops the ‘Us vs. Us’adherents from allowing institutional interests to outweigh personal and individual interests?
•KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State.