Save for its drama and the possibilities of jurisprudential conundrum being tested in court, there isn’t anything extraordinary in the partisan and Me-and-Mine battle between Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi in Ondo State. In actual fact, there wouldn’t have been much to resolve again, if Supreme Court precedents haven’t become a bit comical of late. In Imo’s rigmarole, dissenting Justice Centus Nweze says the judgment catapulting Hope Uzodinma from fourth to first would haunt the Bench for a long time. Can anything be more unsettling?
But if we are to stay with Obasanjo/Atiku’s precedent, Ajayi’s decision to stay put in office, possibly until illegally impeached by the state assembly, would seem to be in order. When OBJ in his usual King-kong style locked VP Atiku out of office, for being disloyal, (meaning hobnobbing with the opposition and releasing damaging information for partisan advantage), the apex court ruled his sworn loyalty was to the federal republic and not his boss. Well, since the president doesn’t equate the republic that ruling should be deemed sane.
Incidentally, the governor locking his deputy in and out now was of Atiku’s legal team, deployed by Senator Bola Tinubu, to further the so-called Progressives’ agenda. Well, Akeredolu, a senior advocate has practically thrown Bolaji Salami, the unthinking Ondo Police boss, under the bus, by publicly disowning him, though Salami, who looked and sounded more like a disoriented senatorial leader of a kind in the viral video of the altercation between him and Ajayi penultimate Saturday, was unmistaken about who he was running the slavish errand for.
In fairness, anyone in his position can be caught between a bearded devil and rambling deputy, once a while in the discharge of official duties, considering how politics and governance work like Capitalism/Socialism dichotomy here and while winner is taking all in Capitalism, loser is taking handout in Socialism. But there is something in-between. It is called Rationism. That is when nobody wins until the people win. It is the commonsense cure to the evils of Political Capitalism and Socialism.
CP Salami is a perfect argument against state police. Imagine Akeredolu as his final constituted authority, Ajayi would have received worse treatment because the disheveled officer seen in that video wasn’t only reeking Aketi head to toe, he sounded irredeemable in his partisanship, despite being just four weeks on the job.
When elections approach in Nigeria, police authorities habitually switch top officers in the guise of achieving impartial policing. If CP Salami was moved down to Ondo for this purpose, isn’t this a classical case of having fart and salt in the mouth at the same time? The IGP looks a decent man. He should do the needful with Salami before the CP becomes a bigger embarrassment. Until he learns how to manage himself, he shouldn’t be seen managing anything.
Ajayi, the drama prince, must be feeling the public hero now. Nope, he isn’t, regardless of whatever political agreements birthed the joint ticket of 2016. While jurisprudence is obviously on his side to stay inside and pee inside, the not-too-subtle threat of violence, to achieve his way or no way shows a desperado that shouldn’t be trusted by anyone or platform.
The 1983 We ti e (roast him alive) allusion won’t serve him. The arsonists of that time were wrong in adopting jungle justice for the electoral robbery of their era, but those incinerated were yet to be acquitted by history, time or any emerging facts. There were leaders to die for then, not the band of merchants of Venice masquerading as tomorrow moulders, of which Ajayi would be numbered, who now foul the political space with arrantly-errant ambitions. Those yesterday men of gold for whom people were ready to kill and be killed weren’t buying votes with stolen wealth. They weren’t desperadoes seeking public offices for lucre. They were service-minded and the people rewarded them with uncommon loyalty.
Today’s politicians like Ajayi can only boast of paid thugs in different garbs: OPC, ACCOMORAN, NURTW et al. Today arsonists are for the highest bidder and if they are Ajayi’s assurances for his threat, he may end up like those being chased around in 1983; the perpetual villains of the race.
Ajayi and Akeredolu can learn a thing or two from a certain Bob Bullock and George W. Bush. Texas, being one of the 18 states in America where the positions of governor and deputy governor (called lieutenant governor) are independently contested, Bullock won the Lieutenant position in 1982, while Ann Richards, was elected governor. Both were Democrats. However, in 1996, while Bullock was re-elected as Lieutenant governor, a Republican by name George Bush defeated Richards and a hybrid ticket was born, of a Republican governor and a Democrat deputy. By Texas law, Bullock was in a position to mess Bush up, considering his constitutional power as the Speaker of the Lower House and a very powerful voice at the state senate. But Bullock chose to serve the people and his conscience. He assisted Bush so much that in just four years after, the Republican successfully ran for president on the records he built with his Democrat deputy, who didn’t have to defect. Bullock died a proud Democrat on June 18, 1999 of cancer.
Till today, such arrangement subsists in three states of Vermont: Republican governor, Democrat deputy, Louisiana; Democrat governor and Republican deputy as well as North Carolina. It is also instructive that only 10 states in America, just a fifth of the world’s third most populous country, practise Nigeria’s style of a governorship candidate picking a running mate, after picking the party’s ticket.
Except we don’t see these running-mates as potential governors, the practice of lumping them together in the name of a joint ticket, must stop. It looks unattainable due to the selfishness of those who should alter the law books to achieve this, but it is not impossible. If true federalism through restructuring won’t do it, maybe something tragic will. It is patently immoral to cling to what belongs to Caesar.
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