Bode George muses on South-west politics but with particular reference to the ongoing altercation between the factional leader of the Odua Peoples Congress, Chief Fredrick Fasehun and leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria
It is true that when falsehood goes unchallenged, it will invariably gain an element of truth. And when this happens, all norms become twisted, all cultivated civilities are invariably distorted- all ingredients of culture and long established normalcy are invariably imperiled, destined for the garbage dump of history.
The people of the South-west are now confronted with this general imbalance and total dislocation of all known verities of their culture amid the frightening and fractious aberration that the constituents of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) represent.
From Ekiti to Lagos, the Yoruba people are now at a despairing, terrible passage in their history. They never had it so bad. The new rulers who had rigged themselves into office and often times, abetted to power through overtly compromised judiciary, invariably perceive governance as a trade and personal business.
Though they holler day and night about being disciples of the revered Chief Obafemi Awolowo, we surely know better. Papa Awolowo never perceived power as a personal business. He was a selfless and disciplined nation builder, who saw government as a means of improving the lot of the common man. He built institutions, raised infrastructure and cultivated a creed of selflessness and sacrifice in the overall interest and growth of every member of the society.
Not so the preening impostors who don Awolowo’s cap and spectacles in the distorted vision that the clothes make the monk. I am particularly impressed with the courage and steadfastness of Dr. Frederick Fasehun who has spoken out most eloquently against the ravages the ACN impostors are now inflicting upon our lands. At a time when otherwise well-meaning Yoruba leaders have chosen to keep quiet, Dr. Fasehun has spoken out most courageously in deriding the ACN leadership as basically mercantilist scavengers whose sole motivation is senseless acquisition and plunder.
Truly, Dr. Fasehun’s credentials are superb and immaculate. He has mostly led a Spartan, disciplined life of commitment and resolve towards the emancipation and uplift of the Yoruba people. He has built no palaces or sprawling chains of businesses. He is genuinely above board, supremely qualified to flaunt the real toga of Awoism.
The little, small-minded characters running around at the behest of the supreme impostor from Iragbiji have picked up on a wrong man. For while their boss, Bola Tinubu, has virtually turned Lagos State into a conquered vassal entity through a maddening senseless expropriation of Lagos properties and heritage, the purity of Awoism which Dr. Fasehun represents is really absolute commitment to the welfare of others.
Papa Awolowo did not build palaces. We know all his modest properties in Ikenne, Lagos and Ibadan. The great sage did not expropriate public properties neither did he embark on a sickening race to erect castles in the air and on the ocean in some crazed pursuit of benighted self-aggrandizement.
The most heart-rending reality is the habitual, wicked and monstrous lies of these little men. They mouth the credo of free education and yet, they are making learning prohibitive and virtually unaffordable for the common man through a scandalous and vicious increment in school fees.
Thousands of the children of the ordinary workers in Lagos State alone have since turned into Okada riders and various menial jobs. The so called progressives have never built even a room of affordable accommodation for the common man, and yet they engage in dubious and self-serving demolition exercises from Badia to Orile, reducing humble home owners into under-bridge dwellers and overnight vagabonds.
The so called progressives are building sky-scrapers for the rich, endlessly seizing lands from the poor across the Lekki peninsula, choking the free passages of water from the Lagoon to the Atlantic in a befuddled attempt to reverse the course of nature thereby provoking more ferocious and devastating reverberations that may sink and bury the whole state when nature fights back.
The fake and dubious Awoists talk about having respect for the decision of the electorate and yet, in brazen and cold-hearted complicity with the Election Tribunal in Lagos State, they virtually reversed obvious and established victories of the PDP in the last local government elections.
The most dubious one being the recent reversal of the PDP Chairmanship victory at Agbado Oke-Odo where a clear-cut victory at the election tribunal was unexplainably overturned by the appellate body without a firm, coherent rationale. They simply said the lower court made a mistake! Alas, what is the mistake? How was it committed? The answer is still in the winds! That is the judgment from the Tribunal set up by the so called Awoists. What a travesty of all that is pure and civil and fair that the great Awo stood for!
I appeal fervently to the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayo Phillips, to swiftly embrace and cultivate the no-nonsense approach of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mariam Aloma-Muktar, who is heroically resolved on ensuring sanity and fairness in our judicial system.
Indeed, the justice system is perhaps the most pivotal in the tripodal organs of the separation of powers. The judiciary is truly the last hope, not only of the common man but everyone else in any enlightened society. It is the bedrock of democracy. It is where equity, fairness and the fear of God must prevail at all times. It is where decency, the purity of purpose and enlightened commitment to the societal good must abide always.
Judges should never allow themselves to be used to serve the moment or bend their conscience towards a prevailing political tendency. They must arbitrate with stoic neutrality, confident in their wisdom, not swayed by the distortions of moneyed influences, indifferent to the high-handed protestations of temporary power holders, firm in their own commitment to the fairness doctrine and the guidance of Almighty God. It is only then that justice will be served and the society itself can prosper.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo still stands tall today almost three decades after his passage simply because he was true to himself and he was true to humanity. He was a man of conscionable principle and redoubtable veracity. His heart was pure, uncluttered. His spirit was without bias, stripped of partisan venom. His pursuit was simply about excellence, hard work and the progress of mankind. He acquired no riches and he harboured no hatred. He was tempered by the fear of God and the love of his fellow man.
It is a sheer monumental fraud for the South-west impostors with their base in Lagos to seek to illustrate themselves in the garb of immortal Awolowo. Nobody is deceived. The crude fixity of the ACN stalwarts is about untrammeled mercenary totality. They are indifferent to the challenges of the common man. Their concern is about unbridled self-enrichment. Nothing else matters. That is basically the point Dr. Fasehun is making. And our people too are seeing through their lies.
The Scottish Philosopher, Thomas Carlyle is right: “No lie can live forever.” This is what sustains Dr. Fasehun and the rest of us still slugging it out in the trenches. This evil will never prevail.
*George is a former deputy national chairman of PDP