By Oba Abdulwahab
We held a local government election in the state on November 18, 2017. It was a very peaceful event with just few skirmishes perpetrated by those desperate for power. However, since the election, various dimensions of analyses have erupted on cyberspace, particularly on what is being described as an internal revolution within the All Progressives Congress (APC), which led to the loss of some wards.
And I’m sure loyal readers of this page would have been expecting to hear my views on what transpired in that election. Deliberately, I have decided to allow the sleeping dog to lie. But for a number of pundits who have portrayed the result in so many ways that suit, especially, their political inclinations, this would have remained my stand, more especially as I have sufficient avenues to express my concerns to those concerned.
As if to iron political grievances, some people described the performance of the ruling party as abysmal without sufficient reasons or evidences to so believe. Others contemptuously said the result is a yellow card to the ruling party. What a pity, especially for a supposed party loyalist with an unlimited access to make corrections where necessary.
Ridiculously, some use their priviledge of access to public space to discuss a matter for strategic internal dialogue for an obviously miscalculated political gain. They alluded the so called abysemal performance to disconnect between the state government and the people; insensitivity of government; white elephant projects among other reasons already in public domain.
Without being immodest and in spite of current national economic challenge, which has incapacitated a number of states to meet basic statutory responsibility of payment of salary, the present administration has kept faith with the good people of the state through people oriented programmes of econmic empowerment like its micro credit intervention scheme for medium and small scale businesses.
Without conceding, if the real reasons for the unacceptable abysemal performance are due to unfavourable tax regime and neglect of tradition rulers, why do we wait to transmit this to the leadership than wait for the so called abysemal performance if we are truly loyal party men and women?
I make it bold to say that but for the ingenuity of Gov Abdulfatah Ahmed in thinking out of the box to evolve the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, KWIRS, may be the state would have been in the league of states owing up to twenty-two months salary arrears. God forbid! So, the choice before us is not whether to pay taxes or not, but to encourage every one to pay taxes and hold government accountable to its promises. To do otherwise, is to apply to the leadership of those genuinely constrained to meeting their statutory obligations to the people, including but not limited to payment of salaries.
Unfortunately, this same economic recession and the overtly inability of local government to evolve a sustainable remedy, have hampered their abilities to pay their workers to which the state government is seriously worried. To this, the governor said, “as your governor, I feel your pain. I feel your pain in the messages I receive from some of you, in the pleas of your leadership, the challenges faced by your families and the distress expressed in the public space about your distress. My heart is made heavy by your agony and I desperately want to bring your pain to an end”.
The governor wants to build more class rooms, construct and repair more roads, build more health centres and repair the dilapidating ones, give more loans for businesses, complete all on going projects. These will not only bring more money into circulation but attract more businesses to our state. All these can only be achieved when we all pay our taxes rather than play politics with our collective destiny.
These devious inuendoes from some of the writers have prompted me to come out of my sheild to give a public analysis of the election and how and why the APC got what it got and lost in the few places it lost.
While acknowledging the right of individual to hold his/her views, I nevertheless suspect that the way things are going there are people seeking to cash-in on the incident to their personal advantage in the political system. This in itself would only serve a wrong end because it would not allow for an honest assessment of the issues at stake. I, therefore appeal to our men and women who are making public statements on the matter to thread with caution, be objective and not to forget the Yoruba adage that whenever you are pointing accusing fingers at someone, four of the other fingers are actually indented towards you.
And that is my first port of call; our collective guilt at whatever happened. Yes, it is easy now to point fingers at some personalities, issues and instances as having being the precursor to our, so provocatively called internal revolution, but how many times have we really sat down and assessed ourselves and ask how much of loyal party members we have been? When we saw the factors we are now pointing at, what steps did we take to ensure those in the right places got the right information that would help the fortune of the party? Trading blames is easier but accepting reasonability for what happened is a first sign of our personal commitment to the party and its structures.
Let the truth be told, our commitment is to be seen in how we view this incident: was it Bukola Saraki that suffered loss? Was it Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed that suffered loss? Was it APC that suffered loss, or was it our individual selves that suffered loss? As long as we continue to see the challenges we faced in the outcome of that election as being the loss of others, whom we are now bent to blame for not having done one thing or another, obviously we are telling the world we really do not belong to the structure; we are third person figures in the system so we can therefore speak of they lost instead of we lost.
We all therefore need to wake up and rejig ourselves to the realities of the challenges that now exist; each of us must become an evangelist, seeking out the lost members; that member who has decided to backslide from commitment to the party and its ideals all due to one misunderstanding, disappointment or another.
Of course, the above does not obliterate from some of the factors that affected our party at the polls. One major lesson we cannot pretend about is that definitely the electorate is no longer rating our party the same way we were rated in 2015. This is a national and general phenomenon which we must not see as an isolation in the state. The truth is that the condition of the national economy is taking its toll on the people and like the saying goes, its all about the economy, buddy.
This truth is further revealed in the way the APGA whipped our party in the Anambra election which held on the same day as our own local government poll. If we were to conduct a national election today, in all fairness, our party would have a great task winning convincingly. Thus, we in Kwara have shared in the outcome of the polarisation, lack of cohesion etc. that has been witnessed in the APC in its short time in office.
Again, I agree that ‘o ku die kaa to’ for many of our political office holders; they have not performed up to expectation, just like our party and members of the party, like the general electorate, have reacted harshly to that development. More importantly, the APC never envisaged the kind of impunity perpetrated by the opposition. They went violent.
These are possibilities. I believe the government and the party should examine and come out with clear answers as we march to the goal post for another general election. God bless Kwara. Oba can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org