OPINION: Is Adeleke governorship a threat to anybody?
By Abdul Sodiq
Last week, I was at a high brow garden in Abuja and the focus of discussion was the battle for the governorship of Osun state. I listened curiously as they dissected the Osun question.
Then a banker from Kaduna raised a pointed question: Can Ademola Adeleke as a governor in anyway be a threat to All Progreseive Congress or President Muhammadu Buhari?
I watched and listened carefully as they addressed the question holding their glasses of red wine. My interest was to see how they relate the Osun scenario to the national power play and where they want to situate Ademola Adeleke.
One by one, they questioningly narrated the trajectory of Senator Adeleke’s political life and history. They proceeded to frankly asserted that in reality, the Senator was an APC member who was chased out of the party by Lagos political forces.
Others referenced the Adeleke family as an old ally of Buhari especially during the 2015 presidential battle.
I was still not sure of what they were driving at until the lawyer from Kano said Ademola Adeleke was even sighted at the State House when the President was sick post 2015.
Incredibly, a group of disinterested Nigerians think the Senator is indeed a former APC member who still have very strong contact and linkage with the ruling party.
While one is not privy to those realities, my findings were inconclusive as I was unsure of how an old contact and connection with APC can be a factor in resolving the Osun guber feud.
Reluctantly, I join the debate. My question to them went as follows: Why should the ruling party allows rule of law to reign in Osun litigation when indeed the judiciary is largely decapitated?
It was then a businessman from Lagos not only rattled the table but practically shattered it. Speaking like somebody well informed about the national power play, the man itemised five reasons why Osun case may be resolved in favour of the opposition. I will try and restate the point he raised so brilliantly after sipping almost a bottle of red wine.
First was that the Osun case is a serious blight in democratic practice. The blatant rigging and unashamed electoral robbery stand as a rebuke to the democratic system.
The tribunal ruling provides a soft landing for the establshment to get rid of a major point of negativity for Nigerian democracy.
Interestingly, the legal grounds are convincingly sound such that sustaining the legal correction can be easily accommodated by all levels of the judicial system.
The second issue he raised was the need for the Buhari presidency to legitimise its hold on power by making concessions to the opposition especially in glaring cases like Osun.
The polity is politically charged; the presidency now has a duty to stabilise the polity. Part of doing that is resolving the feud over Osun crisis by getting the rightful winner into office.
This line of thought is very strong within the northern inner caucus of the president. Even the hawks among them accept that a resolution of Osun matter will markedly improve the rating of President Buhari in South West and Nigeria in general.
Thirdly, the state of anomie within the ruling party was listed as another very strong reason. The ruling party is in turbulence over 2023 at a time the President is yet to commence his second term in office.
The core north is angry and bitter as to what they see as a betrayal by a section from the South West. The open scheming and power grab create a sense of anger and shock within the group popularly called the cabal around the president.
The plot to lame duck a sitting President raises an army of repelling forces who believe enemies of the president must be caught to size, must be tamed and must be rendered powerless.
Those holding Osun people hostage belong to the group considered sponsors and mastermind of betrayal of the president.
The other point if I remember very correctly is the issue of Ademola qualification to stand for election.
Many allies of the president are angry that the Lagos caucus is embarrassing President Buhari by putting the issue of educational qualifications on the front burner of litigations.
By raising questions about the Senator’s qualification, the Lagos cabal is accused of ridiculing the president whose educational qualifications was a major battle platform in previous elections.
Here, he noted that the constitution has clearly spelt out educational requirement which both the President and Ademola Adeleke satisfied. Raisng the issue he considered a deliberate attempt to ridicule the President.
And for the last point, it was about the legal reality – the judicial math he said does not add up in favour of Oyetola. Ademola has clear edge such that no judge will dare to spoil his records and destroy his career by ruling against law, justice and equity.
Still, my question remains – Is Ademola Adeleke a threat to anybody? The answer is no. The senator and his family were indeed APC members chased out of the party by the Lagos cabal.
In the past, the Adelekes actually belong to the northern cabal. So even if Ademola is the governor today, there is no way he can or will work against President Buhari and the northern cabal.
It sounds simplistic. It is, however, the truth. There is no sign anywhere that shows that the Adelekes constitute any threat to the presidential caucus. Ademola Adeleke himself is more of a good governance man than a revenge or evil machinated political actor.
•Abdul Sodiq writes from Jabi, Abuja.