By Adebayo Abubakar
That the political temperature in Kwara State is at a boiling point, is to put it mildly.
Over the past couple of months, the adrenalin of political gladiators in Kwara All Progressive Congress, APC, has been at an Olympian level.
It would have been much fun, being a spectator, were it to be issue-based or development-driven.
But from my vantage position, I could see that, those fanning the ember of discord between the Governor and his estranged political allies and party members are doing so for reasons that bother on selfish and, parochial interests. The dramatics personae are surrounded by colonies of seasoned sycophants, to last a leader a life time.
The phenomenon of sycophancy is something that every streetwise politician in Nigerian should be aware, (and conscious) of, with a view to being able to manage their antics in such a way that, they do not derail the agenda of the political leader, like a State Governor. They never ever tell a leader what he needs to hear; rather, they tell him what they think he wants to hear to make him feel that, all is well.
They always scream louder than the actual titans, in singing the song of “war”. They cry more than the bereaved. They sound and I appear and sound to be more Catholic than Pope; more Egyptian than the Pharaoh.
And when there is a slight sign of tempest, they will be the first to jump ship.
At this critical juncture, the Governor needs to beware of them; because they are not in short supply around. They were around Mohammed Lawal. They were around Bukola Saraki. They were around Abdulfatah Ahmed. They are also milling around Governor Abdulraham Abdulrasaq and making fortunes, same will be around his successors. The office (of sycophants) is never vacant at any point in time.
The Governor, being the father to all and the “Chief Security Officer” of the State; one can say, without any fear of equivocation that, he has the greatest stake in the peace and development of the State. He needs to make the necessary sacrifice to foster that; because, no development can be possible in an atmosphere where bitter hostility has taken the place of amity.
The most worrisome thing is that, the social media is awash with a report that, the Governor moves to Suspend from the party, Honourable Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa, BOB, who leads the main faction that is at loggerhead with the Governor’s faction. That can only worsen the already bad situation.
Politics, they say, is a game of numbers; and it does not make any sense, eliminating those who are supposed to be on your side, when electioneering comes calling.
I know, in the current stalemate that has characterised the power tussle between the AA Group and other factions in APC in Kwara State, the most appealing option to someone who believes he wields the greatest power, would be to suspend any recalcitrant member.
But, the Governor should be advised not to act like someone whose only instrument is a hammer and would always see every problem as a nail to be hammered. He must resist the temptation, and act like a statesman.
It is understandable that nobody would be in the shoes of a Governor and would not want to show the world that, he can bark, as well as bite.
But when a mosquito perches on the “dangling part”, you’ve got to kill it with utmost care. Otherwise,…..!
The greatest show of power, lies in its restraint – Aristotle.
To those on the other side of the fence; life is about “give-and-take”, particularly, when it comes to political negotiations.
Honourable BOB and his group should not think, they can have all their demands met, while the Governor goes empty-handed.
That is that about their intra-party squabble.
Coming to the issue of governance.
I am sure, the Governor, as the Chief security officer of the State, receives, on a daily basis, loads of intelligence report that bother on homeland security, but with the current political temperature in the ruling APC, with some people accusing some of his aides of being the brains behind most of the acts of political thuggery we witnessed recently, especially, at the Banquet Hall, questions are being raised in some quarters, whether he would be able to give security, the attention it needs.
Kwara is known as a State of Harmony. History attests to that. It should be one of the 3 most peaceful States in the country, considering the fact that, she is not known for social upheaval, inter-ethnic clash among other threats to social order.
I wouldn’t know, if the Governor remembers, or is aware, that, Kidnapping is now upon us in the State, especially, Ilorin, the State capital.
Just last week, a man was reportedly kidnapped, on the way, while in company of his wife, driving his sick daughter to the hospital. But reports later had it that he has regained his freedom about a couple of days later.
As I pound my keyboard, the sky of Shasha area in Ibadan is still enveloped by the thick smoke of the inferno, sparked by a clash in the market between two traders. Images burnt trucks, crushed tomatoes liter the entire landscape; a fall out of a little misunderstanding between a Hausa cart pusher and a Yoruba person. Something that could be resolved by a person, without necessarily having to go to the level of market leader. Three people reportedly died as a result of that little moment of madness.
While we sympathise with the people affected by the unfortunate incident, including the Ọ̀yọ́ State Government, one shall not fail to say that, had Governor Seyi Makinde been proactive enough, he would have been able to limit the scale of the destruction we see in social media pictures.
Be that as it may, Kwara State can learn from that, and adopt a more proactive approach; and that can only be achieved, if the Governor avoids the ongoing unnecessary distraction in the shape of party politics, at least, not the way APC is going about it at the moment.
At this juncture, the Governor is condemned to choosing one, between governance and politicking. If he chooses the latter, then, we can only hope it ends well, as all the parties to the conflict are poised for a mutually assured destruction, (MAD).
If he chooses the former and sees the need to extend an olive hand to the other parties and gets them to come on board, the legacy will be to his credit, as they stand to achieve more. And he stands to gain more in terms of how posterity will judge.
May God help him.
While a politician thinks of next election, a statesman thinks of next generations.
Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, please, think beyond the next election, and let the thought of next generations occupy your mind.
Writes from Ilorin