Some phenomena or personalities in their material or immaterial states could force a change in cultural patterns and such change could be monumental.
Victor C. Ariole
[Communists] have no religion, no faith, no substance behind their ideology. History demonstrates that faith – soul, a belief – is essential… (John Perkins, 2016, 57)
Like sun rises to clear off darkness or the moon to block temporarily the sun as mere eclipse, some phenomena or personalities in their material or immaterial states could force a change in cultural patterns and such change could be monumental. But as stated in Perkin 2016, above, belief system could make humans endure in their tribulations or remain undaunted by the pains or joy they go through. Aregbesola and Omisore were the belief system phenomena; the latter was new. There are three observable factors that are discernable in the Osun political culture debacle – Omisore factor, belief system factor and the Iconoclasm factor. However, the most determinant factor was the Omisore factor. It was predicted and glaringly it proved to be the most challenging and the most visible.
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That factor was more aligned to APC than PDP and it never shied away from showing it. In effect, it was what Ife South proved by PDP voters’ deflection to APC; the former getting only 36 and the latter adding 455 to its initial votes to stand over 300 greater than PDP. In effect it is an alignment with more sacrifice or deferred gratification for a better tomorrow. Please I am not a Nigerian politician, I am only a structural minded Nigerian worried about the fate of those who believe in sacrifice for better tomorrow like most suffering Nigerians expect, but are not seeing the effect. Religion in effect remains a norm in the Osun debacle, not any religion in particular as there are evidently more than three religious groups in Osun. In all these groupings, Omisore’s own became the factor, the determinant, as personalities made some groups inflect, deflect or even genuflect.
That shows how a minority could make a majority genuflect if ever they fail to obey the adage that says, “when you wrestle me down and you remain on top of me, both of us are moving nowhere”. Aregbesola’s seemingly pious outlook had to succumb to Omisore’s PDP deflection to retain power in Osun State; and that is tending to a “Deja-vu” come 2019. The supplementary aspect of it is going to be a déjà vu in 2019 but whether it is seen as a rerun election or a supplementary election, it is going to be a “Jamais Vu” in 2019, for Nigeria as a whole. The important message and the avoidable mistake for Nigerians are the emergence of religious groupings beyond the two major religions known to Nigerians; and the mistake of drifting to a state of unbelief or sacrificing the economic wellbeing of the populace on the altar of endless bickering as the courts decide who rules in Nigeria; in effect turning to legalese democracy as the populace suffer.
Four years going, the Senate was a dormant arm of the government as its leadership awaited so long to be acquitted or jailed on a prosecution bid initiated by the executive. The impending liberation or incarceration of the whole Nigeria must be envisaged as 2019 draws nearer and the expectations are that the political elites spare Nigerians further torturing both in debt and in recession, as politics take over the real wealth generation process to be enabled by good governance.
Nigeria, as we know it, is not a communist country hence not a country where people must toe the lines of a given party whether they like it or not. People should be allowed to advice for the way, best, forward no matter the party or the religious grouping they find themselves as long as they are not undermining the economic wellbeing of the greater number.
So, the 112 million or 87 million Nigerians in the poverty cage must find liberation out of the cage come 2019 and it must start with what APC outlines with its Omisore coalition as we proceed to 2019. PDP lost it and it was irredeemable, court or no court as they could not stake the needful like Aregbesola did. It is like failure to heed to fiscal restructuring or heart restructuring of Nigeria.
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Restructuring in Nigeria is not the issue and Osun elections show that. It is more of heart restructuring than outward restructuring. Apart from Osogbo, where the votes could be seen as that of the civil servants trying to hope upon hope for salaries yet unpaid. Ife South and Ife Central deviating greatly from the mean of 28 LGAs, if you remove Osogbo and Ejigbo, two areas respectively intersecting civil service and private workers, it is a show of heart and what you believe in as a religion. Even the seven polling booths that decided the supplementary also show it.
Omisore as reported gave out two before the election by his announcement and two were sighted in the bush where only dare devils could go and who could dare jump into a moving train as Abiola would say. So, it is an issue of heart and only great believers of whatever they believe in could stand by such strong belief.
So, Nigerian is a belief system state and it will surprise you to see that outward belief system could be deceitful and that the real belief system is in the heart. Nobody is spared. People could openly profess a faith but their innerman is elsewhere. Just like the first Nigerian Prime Minister stated, and like his contemporary openly displayed and stood by their beliefs: “cooperation is for each man to be true to his religious belief and to reaffirm the basic principles of his particular creed”. The known creed of known belief systems in Nigeria is peace and not human sacrifice or “Ghana must go bag money filled” betrayal belief to buy votes. The main Nigerian creed is: to serve our father’s land.
The seven polling booths were divided into four inner faiths – never the two known major faiths, except the one that believe strongly in Omisore and the one that believe in money. Check Adamawa primary that failed to favour the real known faith and deflected its consciousness to N150,000 per delegate as reported, or the comment of the Bureaux de change President, Aminu, that politicians are emptying their dollar stock for naira as politics of money turn the creed to profess.
Nigeria’s 2019 is going to be “jamais vu”, and it needed to be avoided. Brexit is a challenge to Britain as mature as Britain is and it goes with standing on weak majority just like Osun is currently standing. It is, far, tolerable than having a weak majority with a new party; hence, if ever any party intends to beat an extant ruling party let the margin never lead to contest, or even lead to supplementary; at best, let it be on second ballot basis. Please, in 2019, Nigerians should avoid supplementary or Osun type of Rerun.
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Outright win must be the answer and APC and PDP must brace up to make it work that way. It is a test of intelligence intersecting with people’s emotion. It must not be by force; and if ever it turns faith allegiance, let the faith be faithful to Nigeria’s creed of: God of creation direct our leaders right; the youths the truth to know… so as to build a nation where peace and justice reign.
Ariole is a Professor of French and Francophone Studies, University of Lagos