AREGBESOLA, MIMIKO AND PARTY AFFILIATION
'An organisation that is strong and stable, and is ready to commit time, money, and patience will be more apt to reap rewards than the quick-hitting opportunist.'
There has been a lot of hullabaloo on the refusal of Governor Olusegun Mimiko to join the ACN. He has not given any cogent reason why he has not joined the ACN or complained about the party's ideology. If anything bothered him in this regard, he has kept it to himself and has continued to frustrate the efforts to pull him into ACN. Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola has also become a source of enchantment to most observers for his stringent criticism of Governor Mimiko's endless straddling of the important issue of clear ideological bent in the theory and practice of governance.
Most analysts have contended that the reason Mimiko has been having difficulties in joining ACN has been because he was a PDP at heart and if he had been given the ticket as a governorship candidate in the PDP, he would have remained there. Some analysts are of the view that if Mimiko had to leave Labour Party, he was probably on his way back to PDP. Hence, analysts could not fathom the enthrallment of the ACN leadership with a Mimiko, who seemed a PDP at heart and LP by opportunity. From an AD stalwart and Commissioner under Chief Adefarati to a PDP SSG under Olusegun Agagu, PDP Minister under President Obasanjo and an LP governor, Mimiko cemented his reputation as an opportunist.
Some ACN leaders are complaining that Mimiko has been treacherous to them. They pointed out that without their support he would not have been able to gain back his seat from Dr. Segun Agagu, to whom he lost the gubernatorial ticket of PDP. They contend that he promised to join the ACN as soon as he was able to get the keys to the governor's lodge in Akure. They could not comprehend the betrayal and they are reeling in pains. Obviously, the ACN leadership has not been paying attention to Mimiko's trajectory before they offered him support.
Interestingly, the dexterity with which Mimiko has been musky in his relationship with the ACN, has worsened the fears of those who are championing his cause, Some of these are now pointing to the fact that Mimiko's actions are now creating conflict in the minds of the Ondo State people, who seem unable to psychologically attune to simultaneous but incompatible desires of Iroko. They are of the view that when personalities like David Mark, Adolphous Wabara, Babangida Aliyu and other PDP bigwigs begin to sing your praise, it is not a pleasant omen.
With the way the PDP is regarded in Ondo State, the people would rather die than be led into the PDP. Some of these Iroko sympathizers seem to belief that the Ondo people might be able to continue to tolerate LP, but not PDP. Though, the PDP stalwarts would not agree with this, the sympathizers of ACN are praying that Mimiko would jump back to PDP, while some of Mimiko's supporters have become nervous wrecks, hoping and praying that he would not take such a suicidal step. They seem to believe that such a step would sound Mimiko's political death knell.
The pain of the ACN is twofold. One, ACN wants to extend its own horizon and base. Two, it needs Ondo State on board for the Regional Integration of the Southwest. Mimiko, meanwhile, is an ambitious man who feels that his ambition might be conscripted within the ACN. He wants to be free to pursue his ambition without let or hindrance. For this reason, he is not likely to ever join the ACN train. The ACN has resolved to have a face off with Mimiko in the next governorship election. Though, ACN leaders seemed to have acquiesced to the idea of Mimiko not being part of them, they appeared to believe that Mimiko would at least be able to work with them in the interest of the Southwest. They also expected Mimiko to encourage his elected representatives to work with them in the National Assembly for the sake of Southwest. But this has not been the case.
Aregbesola pointed this out at the DAWN event on March 6, this year in Lagos. His argument, which could not be faulted by any student of political science and or any concerned observer of the contemporary Nigerian politics, was that the political party on which platform anyone was seeking office or governing was of prime importance. Aregbesola's contention was that such political party would crystalize the programmes that the candidate would pursue and the ideological frame for that pursuit. His position which some were eager to drown in ad hominem arguments was that even, the tepid interest that Mimiko has shown in the Regional Integration of the Southwest is functionally related to the political party in which Mimiko has found himself.
Aregbesola's wish, therefore, would be for Mimiko to come into ACN, and imbibe ACN's ideology as a framework for his governance in Ondo State. Objective minds could disagree with Aregbesola that ACN has the best ideological platform amongst the Nigerian political parties, but they would be unable to fault his reasoning that one's political party and its ideological bent would definitely determine the programme one prosecuted and influence the way one governed. If anyone doubts this, examining the years of the PDP would be instructive.
Aregbesola's position on this issue was and is very solid. In the days of the AG, NEPU, NPC, and NNPC as well as those of UPN, NPN, NPP, GNPP and PRP, the manifestoes of the parties were predictive of what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. In the USA, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party have platforms of campaign. In United Kindom, the Conservative and Labour Parties are distinguished by their ideologies. This happens all over the world where political parties seek power. Aregbesola speaks for those seeking genuine and clear directions for our polity. Questions might be raised about the brashness of his methodology, but not the relevance, appropriateness and the imperativeness of his idea.
While Aregbesola has not suggested that Mimiko was unpatriotic son, he was positing that the demands of the times require all to work together for the integration and development of Southwest. He was also calling the attention of all to the importance of the political parties in providing ideological framework for governance. This, in his view, ought to be one of the criteria with which the electorate would choose those who govern them. Aregbesola's detractors have unfairly equated this to mean that 'everyone has to be in ACN to be 'Omoluabi.' This is far from the truth.
Rather than be villified, Aregbesola ought to be admired for exuding the character of a Platoic philosopher king who seeks to master 'everything proper to the craft' he practises. Insisting on ideological certitude of those seeking to govern us, at least gives us an idea of what to expect after the election.
Oyeyemi writes from Lagos