BY STEVE BAYODE

 

Accusations of backstabbing and disloyalty have been increasingly visible in both the southwest and national politics in recent days, after Professor Yemi Osinbajo declared to run as Nigeria’s next President. The opposition parties, the progressives alike and the Nigerians in the north and south across political and religious divides are quick to vilify the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, as a betrayer.

 

This accusation implosion across the political spectrum, though, not only by the progressives, but by the right-wing and populist movements as well, characterised backstabbing and betrayal which point at a kind of a deeper breakdown of social trust. These, in themselves, have drawn diverse pointers to perceived threats to the Yoruba people.

 

Ahead of the presidential election, the political arena has sprung to life among power blocs within the political space, its a season of perennial battle for the control of the power levers which would, ultimately, lead to clash of interests in the brackets of political godfathers and their godsons.

 

This year election cycle is, however, taking a new dimension, especially, after VP Yemi Osinbajo declared his intention to run for the position of the President of Nigeria. His declaration has birthed a huge political mudslinging, public opprobrium directed at his intention to succeed his boss, President Muhamned Buhari, in office.

 

Certain public commentators have likened the VP declaration to that of Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus Christ. Others have termed it as ‘the struggle of the estranged Political ‘godfather’ and his ‘godson’ In a supremacy test’.

 

Much often, home made Nostradamuses have predicted that the whole thing typify the political crisis between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his political protégée Chief Ladoke Akintola in the 1962 election which led to the declaration of State Of Emergency in the southwest after a widespread political violence is about to repeat itself exactly 60 years after.

 

One may conclude that with all these narratives and warlike scenario creation, someone is profiting from this saga, and it is, surely, none of the two gladiators aiming at the number one top seat in the country. As a Yorubas everyone should be very concerned over this and together nip the issues in the bud before they impugn our value.

 

The second broad concern links to issues around trust. I’m worried that the regeneration of misinformation and disinformation may erodes public trust in our capacity as a people to present the next President of our great nation. The ongoing disloyalty and other talks about us will be lowering our acceptability amongst other ethnic groups of clinching the APC ticket as its flag bearer in the forthcoming presidential election.

 

The widespread and similar use of the ‘fifth column’ label in describing the VP, both in the oppositions and within the progressives political camp he belongs, created a recognizable cultural symbol that bannered particular ethnic group. Over times, it has included a variety of individuals past heroes of the Yoruba race, groups, and objects to suit different political agendas. As such, its exact boundary is not easy to define. It has widely been associated with the conflicting loyalties of the Yoruba man to one another.

 

I’m particularly worried because of the public discourse that turned the presidential declaration of Professor Yemi Osinbajo into a controversy. The use of the labels like betrayer or Judas Iscariot in political speeches or media analysis thus bears misnomer to the person of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s ambition; and should not be considered in isolation outside the VP’s collective identity as a good man and a servant of God. The focus should not solely be on whether the accusation is true or not, but on what motivates the larger society to revert to this act of misjudgements and ‘enforcing’ a particular reading of a threatening remarks to the VP declaration to run for President.

 

This I considered very frightening and highly disturbing this new narratives developing in our midst. I therefore suggest Yoruba elders and leaders in making effort to uphold dialogue with our revered son, a true son of the Oduduwa the progenitor of the Yoruba race who also shared family tree with the political sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to consider the overall interest of the Yoruba race as he moves forward in his ambition to govern Nigeria in 2023.

 

There is need to be circumspect of the wish of the soothsayers and prophets of doom’s prediction that the event of sixty years ago, which monikered us as the “Wild Wild West” will not repeat itself. And the principles that “every Yorubas may not be a traitor, but every traitor is a Yoruba” seems a familiar refrain in today’s polity

 

As the Yorubas would say, “Enu Aye Lebo”.

 

This issue called for urgent intervention of all Yoruba sons and daughters, the Yoruba political leaders, the Obas to step up and intervene, not to allow this political imbroglio between our two sons to escalate further into deep rotted crisis as it is gaining traction on daily basis.

 

Finding has proven that the issue of the VP’s declaration for president itself is secondary to the optics of the fifth columnist within the progressives folds wanting to use divide and rule strategy to oppose someone from the Yoruba ethnic group in a high-profile way from becoming the next president.

 

This is a demeaning political wrangle over an issue that should not have come up at all, in view of the sacrifice made for the elevation of the other party in his current political height in Nigeria. I figured out some political fifth columnist are fueling this narratives in the press and backing one ambition against the other.

 

No doubt, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is very competent and experienced to lead Nigeria, more like his political mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose ambition to govern Nigeria had been well known for a longtime, and the reason that most Yoruba traditional Obas and leaders, throws their support to him, immediately, he declared to run as Nigeria’s next President.

 

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as we know, has made lots of contribution to the formation of the progressives blocs in Nigeria, its development and the growth of the APC and, by extension, democracy in Nigeria and in African continent. He always put his interest as second to the overall interest of his followers and the nation.

 

Asiwaju Tinubu had on numerous occasion refused to heed the call for him to put his name on the ballot since he left office as governor of Lagos State in 2007, even, when such offers were fascinating enough as that of Vice President. He, rather, facilitated and supported his political associates unto such enviable position.

 

Throughout history, presidential candidates have stood or stumbled by their stance on political issues, perception and optics. Despite the powers of office, personality and polity, a presidential candidate who wants to win on election day must win on the issues, as well. This present issue surrounding the Vice President Yemi Osibajo’s declaration to run as president does not just favour his ambition right now.

 

Steve Bayode who also writes under the moniker ‘Otaloro’ is a political analyst, media strategist and chieftain of the APC in Ondo State. email; steveoomania@gmail.com

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