“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps, the most to be dreaded,-James Madison 1795
because it comprises and develops the germ of every other [enemy].”
Nigeria democracy suffered another shock recently when we learnt that a sitting governor privately called for brigandage and militarization of polling booth. The governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was purportedly caught on tape telling local ruling party politicians that he will supply them with army uniforms, arms and ammunition so they can rig this week's hotly contested runoff elections in Ekiti State so as to favor the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
This is to ensure victory for the governorship candidate of the People's Democratic Party, Segun Oni. Mr. Oyinlola, a retired army general, apparently made the brazen promise to help rig the election by intimidation, during a meeting in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on April 2, with the 16 PDP chairmen of local governments.
My first reaction when I read this, is to laugh, and then I caught myself, suddenly I realized I am laughing at the demise of democracy in Nigeria. A democracy many of friends and colleagues died for on the campus of Obafemi of Awolowo University. A democracy the likes of Colonel Olagunsoye Oyinlola (rtd) did their best to crush through the barrel of their guns. The same democracy they hijacked from the Nigerian people through rigging and corruption. The democracy they are now doing their very best to stamp out completely.
Whoever expects the likes of Oyinlola and his co-travelers’ to fight for and stand for democracy is day dreaming. What we have in Nigeria today is a government of occupation imposed on Nigeria by militricians in civilian clothing. A government imposed on the Nigerian people by the will of a few entrenched interests in PDP. A government that is not accountable to the electorates as they are selected and imposed on the people by the powers that be in Abuja. Nigeria political experiment is worse than the ongoing imbroglio at Gaza, for one the people of Gaza elected the Hamas; we in Nigeria never elected the “self imposed” government ruling us in Abuja.
I am not holding my breath on any accountability by Oyinlola or the PDP; after all this is not the first time their nefarious acts will be publicly exposed by vigilant Nigerian. I recall their shenanigans at the Osun State Electoral Tribunal, where the same governor, his legal counsel and the Tribunal chairman were exchanging text messages on how to conduct the election petition to the exclusion of opposing counsel were the tribunal was sitting.
I am sure Oyinlola will continue to deny ever making the statements attributed to him in Ekiti as he did earlier when he denied the text messages exchanged with the Justice Thomas Damar Naron, the Osun state tribunal chairman.
I am also not holding my breath on the ability of the Nigerian mainstream media to continue to follow this story and force the attorney general to prosecute Oyinlola. The attorney general, Michael Aodoanka had made it implicitly clear to Nigerians that he is beholden to the ruling party that appointed him in the first place.
One thing is certain; the legitimacy of the election in Ekiti state is now under a cloud, that cloud can only be cleared by a free and fair election devoid of any militancy and brigandage. The people of Ekiti should be able to hold Oyinlola accountable for any atrocity that might be committed during the election.
They have been outsmarted by the genius of those who smuggled an audio tape recorder into that meeting. We need more of such citizen’s valiancy if we are to rescue our democracy from charlatans like Oyinlola. I am sure they are already scampering around for another strategy on how they will rig the election.
They usually resort to this type of strategy because they know the people of Nigeria and indeed the electorates in Ekiti state cannot believe their bunkum! Oyinlola stewardship in Lagos and Osun states where he had been governors as military administrator and selected governor is littered with uncompleted projects, embezzled funds, nepotism and bribery of traditional rulers to subvert democracy.
And now, democracy is again on trial in Ekiti state, no thanks to the war declared on it by the occupied governor of Osun state.