A plea to Ife/Ijesha zone

I have only spoken by phone with Mr Femi Fani-Kayode twice. Both occasions were awkward, and I am certain he won’t even be able to put a face to the name. That was about seven years ago. Considering my preference for dovish personality, he won’t particularly be my choice for most things. His past political activities, objectively speaking, are like baggage for his future aspirations if he has any. Right now, his public standing isn’t too favourable and he is central to the making of his controversial persona. The alleged corruption trials aren’t also helping, considering the mob mood in the nation against any semblance of “looting”.

FFK speaks too much, too often, too extreme and too loud. But he, most of the time, speaks absolute sense, with uncommon courage and candour, blended into a timeless ruthless truth, though maybe in ways injurious to others. But isn’t now, the injury time for the ruinous politics emanating from everywhere? The prevalent clannish politics, now taken to a disgraceful height, requires his ilk in the mix. Forget the treacherous finesse theory. He is by far, better in character, content and delivery than those who are devils in closet but best leaders in public.

In fact, Yoruba race which is gradually going under the bus as 2019 approaches, cannot afford docile First 11 in Abuja. Men of steel in the mould of Bola Ige who would get other zones listening with contemptible trepidation should be the choice of the race for the coming rough-and-tumble. Arm such fire-eaters with constitutional platform and they deliver. Others are pointing the way to go. It would be suicidal for Oduduwa clan to send corner-seaters to the centre when a particular zone is having no qualms treating others like conquered people because it can wield the power of coercion and suppression. Is it by accident that apart from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) whose function is mainly external, all other security agencies with powers to arrest, investigate, detain, harass, search and plant exhibits, as well as prosecute, are headed by a section of the nation.

No, it is a function of deliberate arrangement. The positive coming out of the Ife debacle is that the race has realised the need to rally and confront the madness from everywhere and elsewhere. Afenifere should go beyond fighting the grave injustice done to Ife 21. The move to monitor killer herdsmen is also laudable. It is time to equally carefully scout the 2019 battlers for the zone across party lines. Partisanship should have no place in objectively backing those who can deliver. Won’t it be nice having intellectual doves like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo being mixed with FFK’s kind, representing the race in the next dispensation?

I wish FFK would happen in the Senate in 2019, representing Ife/Ijesa senatorial district, though the political arithmetic doesn’t favour him. By rotational convention, it should be the turn of the six local government in Ijesaland, with their 100,000 voting strength, to occupy the “cradle” seat, from any political party. Since 1999, the seat has been an exclusive preserve of Ife, with its 95,000 voting strength, either from PDP or APC.

While it is almost likely APC will concede it to Ijesa in 2019 with two known eminently-qualified aspirants covertly coveting it, PDP may also want to do so in the interest of rounded justice. But nothing is sacrosanct about the rotational arrangement, considering that nobody from the other side had been prevented from running when convention favours a particular side. In 2015, it was Ife APC Vs. Ijesa PDP, with Senator Jide Omoworare from Ife, narrowly defeating Chief Francis Fadahunsi from Ijesa.

Why not a rematch in 2019 with the sides switching political platforms? If APC is doing Ijesa, with someone quitting a higher position poised to land the ticket, PDP or whatever comes out of it, can do Ife, with FFK as the candidate. What a match would it be for FFK and the Ijesa fellow. But for me, the paroxysm of Yoruba nationalism may trump consanguinity, to berth on FFK’s side.

As the Northern “army” rummaged through Ife, in the name of fighting criminality in a case of “two-fighting”, Omoworare chose to be politically-correct, in order to remain in the right crowd. He doesn’t deserve the seat and the seat doesn’t deserve him. The fellow seeking to replace him on APC ticket is likely to toe his line.

Northern political army has a way of testing the waters. It just did in Ife, the heart of Yoruba race. Thankfully, it didn’t go unchallenged. But it is better to be over-prepared than being caught napping. Nobody is ready to give, including justice and equity, without you asking.

Those seeking the scalp of others should get a thorn in their flesh. Maybe, they would pause a bit to scratch the reddish spot. The capacity of South-West political leaders to dictate direction has been largely decimated. The market they took the zone to in 2015 doesn’t appear to have accommodating stall. Forget a couple of appointees who carry on as if they represent the best deal for the race. At the appointed time, they would realise that those sidelined by Abuja even have better political worth at home than them.

Afenifere, the Renewal Group and Oodua Peoples Congress should collaborate effectively if they can’t fuse, to fill the vacuum and get a respectable committee to deliver real men for 2019.

Let none teach needless lesson on political morality. At least, the teachers can’t be from where Boko Haram patrons, sponsors and barely-literate fellows are elected senators of the Republic. Today, there are no gloves.