The anger, reportedly palpable was everybody’s, the bystanders’ ! The recruits in the task force were each issued with a gun and robust bulletproof, worn under their uniform which covered their torso to protect them against gun projectiles and all kinds of arrows and knives. The commander wore two of such bulletproof vests against riffle fire, with four armed men seeing hovered around
“Heh! What you are holding is not a single action pistol. So, you don’t have to cock the hammer before firing. Rather, what’s in your hand is a double action revolver for offensive operation, deadly loaded with a magazine which you can fire by simply pulling the trigger, and the cock that holds the cylinder in place is released, revolving the cylinder and firing its cartridge.”
That was the commander, barking out training instructions to men and women enlisted and clad in dark T shirts, dark trousers, dark jungle booths, dark belts and dark faze caps that deliberately bear the insignia of security operatives to infiltrate into the rank and file of the statutory security operatives, accredited to provide cover for the Ondo 2020 gubernatorial election.
The task force seemed to have been invented rather than to be believed as people thought that the crudity of politics ought to have been abandoned, with the alleged force, not on warfare neither on the trail of fleeing armed robbers, said to be a private army of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), mapped to let loose mayhem in Ose, Owo, Okitipupa, Eseodo, Akoko North East, Irele , Ilaje, Ile Oluji and Okeigbo local government councils areas of Ondo state , hijack ballot boxes by firing explosives at polling units and wreck general havoc on the October 10 governorship election day.
The anger that the targeted council areas, traditionally the strongholds of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state could become the battle ground for votes snatching by PDP, at all costs is not misplaced after all; the Ondo PDP, was hell bent to grab power, the ultimate aphrodisiac, and that was my anger, everybody’s anger at the PDP traditional propensity to manipulate the naturalness of election outcome, using violence. But the effective surveillance mounted by Nigeria Police must be commended here; the Police and allied security operatives bristled, stood up on the back, neck and collapsed the PDP task force’s charge to hold the electorate, election official minders hostage and behave as if sanity was knocked down.
My anger was exacerbated by the sight of some thugs self confessed in police net to have come from Osun State PDP and faked election observers on duty in Ondo; they were said to have been rounded up in their Alagbaka hotel room, with thump printed ballot papers allegedly found on them. The palpable anger in the land was that the PDP premeditated violence could spring a declaration of state of emergency, or cause inconclusive election in the least. Meaning, the governorship politics for the Ondo PDP was planned to be deadly. Eyitayo Jegede, the defeated PDP governorship candidate, with 193,348 votes, never left anything to chances. Some 240hours to the election, he was seen everywhere in the state, allegedly surrounded by private security and bouncers, thugs and others, heavily armed, with rippling muscles characteristically in a hurry to engage in fisticuffs with or without provocation to protect their source of income.
Jegede injected casuistry and qualms into his modus operandi and appealed to his PDP terrible orthodoxy, the Machiavellian stuff. Like Ramulus who murdered his brother……and like Numa who must lie to the people…..And when the act accuses, the result excuses. Those who know Jegede say, he’s a smart guy with diverse implications, allegedly for luxuriating the ridiculous among the sublime, with the stamp of legitimacy put on the illegitimate to have the Akeredolu 4-year beautiful growth, creative enterprises and socio-economic renewal of the Sunshine state turned into shreds. But Jegede lost the election. Good for Ondo people! Good for APC!
Comparatively, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, the APC candidate who got re-elected with landslide 286,135 votes proved practically that he’s a wizard in the last Saturday fierce and terrible governorship mano-a-mano, contest; he’s a wasp in the court of governorship politics and keeper of faith with the tenets of democracy. He inoculated the governorship election and its politics against all oppositional manoeuvres and appealed to God for intervention. And indeed, God did. Why?
Akeredolu does not exhibit any ego; he eschews any flamboyance; he does not eat big breakfast on weekdays and bigger brunches on weekends; he does not wrap himself in the buttocks of women; he would not be seen demonstrating against APC in-house, intraparty opposition in any overt manner, however vigorous his disagreement; he opposes his opponents in the PDP main opposition party in the state, overtly or covertly but never went mad about it; and one could curse Akeredolu, blast him, lambast him , yet, you will never find him fighting back in any arrogant, self full manner. He rather sings praises of God oft-times and says a Big Amen to every prayer by him or for him. my adventure to Akure revealed.
And back in Osogbo, immediately after the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) declared Akaredolu the winner of the 2020 Ondo governorship poll, from video reports, he had his dignity soared, so smooth, so strong, yet so quiet, and so humble like his Osun State counterpart, Governor Gboyega Oyetola in similar circumstances; both, so humble, explainable in the Wole Soyinka’s “a tiger does not go about, proclaiming its tigerish.”
And Oyetola’s factor? He worked so hard and accrued electoral fortunes to Akeredolu. Osun Governor who doubles as Member, Caretaker/Extra Ordinary National Convention Committee of APC stormed the Akeredolu campaigns in the state and rallied supports for his reelection armed with his “you don’t change a winning team” mantra. Oyetola also took his mantra particularly to Odigbo council area where he faithfully and fruitfully persuaded his Osun people who formed the bulk of potential voters resident in the area to vote for APC-Akeredolu as the people had earlier complained, they were marginalized by the Ondo government. And Akeredolu resultantly garnered 23,571 votes of Odigbo council area.
Oyetola’s genuine efforts, too distant from rigging, gave the resultative Odigbo: 23,571 votes to Akeredolu, the third highest votes after Owo: 35,957 and Ilaje: 26,657 votes, followed in sequence by Akoko West: 21,232, Okitipupa: 19,266, Akure South: 17, 277, Akure NorthEast: 16,572, Ondo West: 15, 9778, Akoko North West: 15, 809, Ose: 15,122, Eseodo: 13,383, Ileoluji- Okeigbo: 13,287, Irele: 12,643, Idanre: 11,286, Akure North: 9,546, Akoko SouthEast: 9, 419, Ifedore: 9,350, and Ondo East: 6, 485. Totalled 286,135 votes coasted reelection home to Akeredolu against Jegede’s 193,348
The October 10 governorship election, free, credible and transparent implied that APC clearly won and PDP clearly lost.
And the sovereignty of the Sunshine state was permitted to prevail.
OLUSESI is An Assistant Director, Directorate of Publicity, Research & Strategy, All Progressives Congress APC), Osun State*