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As Ondo governorship hot up …2

HOME IS where/When you go there/They take you in” – Felix Houphouet-Boigny, late Cote d’Ivoire president.

We begin today with Achilles’ heel, where one’s great strength and invincibility can also become an uncommon weakness and destructibility. Google defines Achilles heel as a weakness in spite of overall strength; while the mythological origin refers to physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.

In Greek mythology, it was predicted that Achilles would die young. That this might not happen, mother Thetis took her son to the magical River Styx, which was believed to possess the powers of invincibility, and dipped him into the river by the heels. Achilles thus acquired the powers of invincibility in all parts of his body, except in his heels which did not touch the waters of the river.

Achilles went on to perform many heroics but an adage says as you hide to perform an act; someone else hides to observe you. Scripture says there is nothing hidden that shall not be made known. The secret of Achilles’ invincibility was uncovered and, lo, at the Trojan War, an arrow by Paris hit Achilles on his very heel.

Everyone, no matter how strong, has a weak point! And it is not unusual for a man’s source of strength to also become cause for worry. Let’s take more comments before I make further remarks:

“Until politics is purged of mandibular lay-about (aribanije agbon isale), brawn will always rule the brain. One can only wish Akeredolu well; a man who put his tall and robust achievements on the line to swim in the putrid and murky waters of Nigerian politics. – Phil Aragbada.

Politicians without second address should be weeded out even before their party primaries. They are the ones that fuel do-or-die politics. Thank God for Prof. Oserheimen Osunbor, the Edo State governor who lost the office at the tribunal. Without wasting resources, he left the Government House for his second address (the classroom) without looking back. Throw the political jobbers out of Ondo State and let this spread like harmattan fire throughout Nigeria! – Awodire Oyewole Ayo.

On Akeredolu, we are waiting. Every Ogho son and daughter is an “omiye” – Pastor Jube Olawole.

Fine piece! You have just given anti-Akeredolu elements, especially those not from Owo, good ammunitions! – Teniola.

Ondo will ever remain a state difficult to govern and the people impossible to please. The realm of politics is that of the greedy as it is in Nigeria. So, it is not surprising that political positions will always be struggled for. It is no place for God-fearing people. An honest man becomes very dishonest the moment he becomes a politician. – Olayanju.

No one has the moral right to condemn whatever Akeredolu does to soothe the pains Owo passed through during the tenure of Agagu and Mimiko; Ajasin’s tenure even inclusive. Agagu was made governor with Owo people filing behind Fasawe in 2003. Come 2007, Mimiko’s first port of call was the Olowo’s palace for royal blessing. For, according to him, he had been advised that if anyone would go far in political contest in Ondo State and Yoruba land in general, such must first receive Owo blessing (Recall the 1951 Action Group episode). How did the two repay Owo? Agagu did not appoint anyone from the entire Owo area into any office of note for his six years in office. Same goes for Mimiko. – Daramola.

I believe Akeredolu deserves a second term based principally on his commitment to larger Yoruba national interest and his recognition of internal security, safety of life and property as the chief plank of governance. He announced to the world that he would forgo his second term in preference to defence of Amotekun. – Akogun Tola Adeniyi.

Is Ondo an APC state? If yes, then, the governor is merely copying the president of Nigeria who only gives appointments to mainly Fulani people! Buhari has set a bad precedent! That, however, does not mean that I agree with what the governor is accused of. – Ogre.

For the records, Akeredolu’s appointments (in the Owo area) were more in favour of all, particularly Isaipen, Ijebu and Ipele, and not Ehin-Ogbe or Igboroko as had been alleged. – Olanipekun.

Nigeria is a reflection of its people. Every nation gets the leaders it deserves. An average Nigerian no more cares about quality or merit but what goes into his pocket. If it continues like this, sincerely, there is no hope. We grew up loving merit and selflessness. You dare not aspire to a position without discernable qualities. It is your best friend who will tell you straight to your face to perish the thought. Most of the views now are about self. – Adekunle.

If the man has done all that for Owo, why is the opposition to him also from Owo? Nothing also was said about the physical development of the State, that is, the situation of infrastructure in the state before Akeredolu and now e.g. hospitals, schools, and other social amenities. It should not be “what’s in it for me personally” or when someone fails to get something from Government, then, the house must be brought down. Again, all the people so appointed, are they performing? – Alabi.

Sir, have you toured Ondo State to know the state of infrastructural development since Akeredolu became governor? In Ondo south senatorial district, you cannot point to any project that is of value. The only project is the Ore Bridge and what has been its economic value to the people? If all the appointees are from Owo and they perform i.e. add value to all Ondo State residents, that will not be a problem but appointments without performance is a curse to the people. We need someone who can develop our state without waiting for Federal allocation. Ondo State has what can be the second deepest seaport in Nigeria; what is the benefit to our people? Lagos economic activities are being aided by seaports. What has happened to Olokola Free Trade Zone after Agagu/Mimiko? We need visionary leaders. –Goodluck.

What an irony! Meanwhile, the same Owo people say Akeredolu has not done anything for them (and) are up in arms against him with a countless number of candidates from Owo! – Obameso

Still a cacophony of voices! There is a saying that, ultimately, every politics is local; meaning that politicians usually start from the local level from where they work their way to higher grounds. Candidates have what is called “home base” Even in the more settled democracies such as the UK and USA; parties/candidates have what is referred to as “strongholds”

Advantage at home may or may not translate into all-round victory, depending on a lot of other factors. First is how big or small the home front is in terms of electoral value. Secondly is how big or expansive the entire political space is. Thirdly is how much foray a contestant can make into “enemy” territories while jealously guarding his own. In Nigeria, we have the examples of politicians who cornered their home base but lost out eventually because they failed to make appreciable in-road into the territories of opponents.

In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo, who had no home base (South-west), got the other parts of the country to rally round him to beat the South-west’s “home boy” Chief Olu Falae. But as if to prove the truism in the statement that all politics is local, Obasanjo returned four years later to arm-twist the South-west. Only the then Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, escaped the tsunami unleashed on the region by incumbent Obasanjo relying heavily on ubiquitous “Federal might”

When, in 2012, Akeredolu failed in his first bid to be Ondo governor, his failure started right from home where he was seen as “Owo abroad”, which is euphemism for absentee politician. He was more of a Lagos/Ibadan person who rarely “touched base”, as they say. He lost the election but learnt his lesson.

Akeredolu’s APC scored 17, 967 votes in Owo LG and 6,376 in Ose LG (Total: 24,343). Mimiko’s Labour Party: Owo LG, 14, 870; Ose LG, 11, 071 (Total: 25, 941). PDP’s Olusola Oke: Owo, 6,058; Ose LG, 5833 (Total: 5,833). Akeredolu lost on home turf; Mimiko won. Conversely, Mimiko’s Ondo home base gave their son 49, 684 votes; Akeredolu, 9, 975 and Oke, 10,602.

Four years later, Akeredolu was the toast of Owo; he had become Chinua Achebe’s Chief Nanga; “the man of the people” From the same Owo and Ose LGs he now amassed 46,442 votes to PDP’s 10,761 and AD’s 6,641 and was elected governor. But every success has its challenges. While managing those challenges is the hallmark of visionary leadership; there are, unfortunately, too many variables that will not allow “ceteris paribus”

The textbooks define politics as the art or science of public service; a street-wise politician and two-term governor disagrees. He describes politics as a game of self-interest. He is even magnanimous! There are those who see politics as a game of selfish interest – what is in it for me; I-and-I alone. To these, politics is business, the most lucrative in town these days, yielding astounding returns on investment; what our people call “s’ogun d’ogoji”, meaning, turn N20 to N40 sharp-sharp!

Many of those in politics these days belong in this category. With the parlous state of the economy, with the little or no qualifications demanded; with no minimum standard of performance required; and with the unlimited latitude it allows for anyone to do as he pleases, politics is the easiest and fastest means of making easy money and getting into unimaginable riches overnight. Politicians ride roughshod and get away with blue murder before our very eyes.

Where this is the mindset – and I dare to say it is – there are bound to be problems, whether or not the governor shares a similar viewpoint. If he does, he cannot please everyone; worse, still, if he does not. The very ones who chorused “Adegun” will soon cry “Adeogun”! I once approached a governor with the complaint of people who said they worked for his election but got nothing. He confirmed it but said a thousand others similarly worked. How many appointments or cash gifts could he possibly give?

Maintaining a balance between those who helped to make your dream come true and those who stood against you, difficult as it is, remains the hallmark of statesmanship. Let no one deceive you, every leader makes a rash of appointments; especially so new sheriffs in town, which is why there are always opportunities to reshuffle to right perceived wrongs. When a new government applies the brakes on appointments, those with a sense of entitlement who have not yet been considered cry foul. Those who feel Oga has gone too far already also rise up in arms. Pleasing none, displeasing all, he stands between the rock and the hard place!

Someone said perhaps Akeredolu should have gone the whole hog one way or another: Be an Obasanjo who marginalized his own people ostensibly to play the patriot or be unabashedly like Muhammadu Buhari whose nepotism riles even the heavens: I disagree! Difficult as it is to walk the tight rope of balance, that is, nevertheless, what equity, fair play and justice demand of those in the corridors of power. Next week: The way forward for Ondo State!

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