"Lagos? PDP? Do they exist? I don't know where they are in Lagos; they are only on paper. Since 1998 or 99, PDP has been crying takeover. They've cried Tsunami, we sweep them away. They cry that they are going to conquer, we say no we are not at war. They said they are going to destroy and capture, we say we are not in slavery. They are chop and let chop party and I don't reckon with them. They don't exist here in Lagos and that is the truth. A party without one councillor, one single councillor they don't have."- Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (Nov, 2010)
The victory of Governor Rauf Aregbesola (and that still sounds miraculous) in the courts over the erstwhile impostor and military puppet, Ex-Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola finally cemented the place of Action Congress Nigeria (ACN) as the true home of opposition and progressive politics in Nigeria. The successive judicial recovery of stolen mandates in Edo, Ekiti and now Osun state has put ACN on top as the party to watch in the next election.
Indeed, the virtual ACN mandate through its Labor Party ally in Ondo, already guarantees five of eight gubernatorial seats in the original Western Region; an unprecedented turnaround of fortunes for a party taken for dead in 2003. The Persistence of ACN and its leaders is to be admired. It is definitely central to the successful strategy of judicial activism employed in reclaiming stolen mandates from the criminal enterprise PDP has since become.
Following the "rig or die" strategy of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2007, that saw the widespread rigging across the land, only the ACN refused to be co-opted into the poisoned chalice of "government of nation unity" (actually, government of national corruption) proposed by Baba Go-Slow on his fraudulent emergence at the federal level. All Nigeria People's Party; the now convenient vehicle of opportunism, fake alliances and conservative wretchedness that once dominated core Northern Politics on the other hand have been reduced to toothless bulldogs due to its unwarranted opportunism and clear lack of principles.
In Oyo state where its candidate had a better than even chance to trump the Adedibu machine in court, ANPP chose to capitulate. Senator Abiola Ajumobi must be licking his chops today as he is reduced to a sideline watchman of the late quarter victories drawn by Governor Fayemi and Aregbosola respectively. Persistence and principles pay and there is the moral of the story.
Underscoring ACN's victories however are lessons from the past. Past mistakes, good political strategy and the acumen of its backers are clearly what Action Congress got going for her. Indeed, being united against a common enemy - PDP (one of three scourges that gnaws at Nigeria's progress, the others being PHCN and the Police; guess their P's stand for Problems and Poverty) is not a bad political deal at all. The lessons learnt by ACN leaders; Chief Bisi Akande and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who got first hand lessons in 2003 of the folly in cooperating with a gang of thieves ("There is No honor Among Thieves", the saying goes), also helps to strengthen the hands that hold the broom.
Indeed, if there is one man that remains the scourge and nightmare of PDP and Olusegun Obasanjo, it has to be Asiwaju Bola Tinubu; the former governor of Lagos state, and lone survivor of the "moonsliding" and garrison like takeover of progressive states in the 2003 elections. He definitely came to battle against Obasanjo and PDP armed with the lessons of that bitter defeat, and scars of battles past. Tinubu's principled insistence to build a wall of progressivism around Lagos, and refusal to trade with PDP come rain or sunshine is finally paying off. Hate him or love him, Tinubu has proven to be a better political strategist than the Afenifere old guard that got thoroughly shellacked (apologies to US President Barack Obama) in 2003.
More crucial to ACN's success however is her ability to read the fig leaves, and correctly survey the political landscape, fielding viable and popular candidates that just always seem to trump the PDP. Forget the rhetoric, Fashola and Fayemi- as well as Mimiko are clearly better administrators than their PDP counterparts and their erstwhile AD predecessors. The achievements of these progressive elements in Lagos, Edo and Ondo states does not give progressives a bad name like the experience of 1999 through 2003 did. Fayemi and Aregbosola must now continue that proud tradition in order to sustain these victories and put the forces of darkness on the right to shame.
In addition to ensuring consistence performance of its governors, ACN will need to explore other strategies in order to sustain the tempo. Among this should be expanding its sphere of gubernatorial influence to the rest of the West and Niger Delta from the Edo Beachhead starting with Delta State and exploiting PDPs bad reputation and divisiveness in the process.
There is an opportunity in Ogun and Oyo states with the right candidate recruitment this next cycle to return those states to the sane camp of progressive politics. In Delta state, the rerun and how ACN positions its support behind Great Ogboru (the progressive candidate in that court ordered rerun) may prove to be the difference between winning the strongest PDP state so far. In addition to this, focusing on Senatorial Elections coming up first in the next cycle and aiming to win a truly national presence that spans the entire country by fielding popular candidates with good reputation will enhance ACN's national profile.
Indeed, the tried and true strategy of exploring mergers and supporting progressive candidates (from the minor of the minority parties) in gubernatorial contests against PDP like it did in Ondo state, and should do in Delta State will be capable of helping it expand its sphere of political influence into Rivers, Kogi, Plateau & Anambra states. In the end, there is no reason why ACN should not control at least 10 of Nigeria's 36 governor houses come 2011 if the strategy runs its full course.
Ironically, while the progressive forces of Nigeria and the ACN were busy celebrating victory, IBB and his forces of evil were busy cementing his image as a loser and a coward. Here is a man that could have saved us the hogwash and nonsense but yet refused to. IBB who should know better than defecating on the public space of discourse by insisting on his foolish and ill advised umpteenth candidacy that is going nowhere as rightly predicted by yours sincerely.
He has never lost love for soft landing provided for in his "consensus rejection" by the self appointed, politically suspect panel of gerontocrats Mallam Ciroma. Yes, a simple Mallam forced IBB out of contention. Isn't that hilarious? Dead on Arrival by the wayâ€¦to both Atiku & IBB's candidacy. These folks should wise up!
Wishing we could supply more brooms to sweep the umbrella of poverty, incompetence and power failure that envelopes Nigeria. Let us start with the National Assembly come 2011! Compliments of the season!