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It is quite unsettling that the leaders of the leading opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), have decided to self-destruct. They are doing their best in putting the wrong foot forward in almost all their recent public outings. After the launch of their agenda document, the Road Map to a New Nigeria, many had expected the public conduct and utterances of the APC leadership would match the Eldorado their manifesto painted. Sadly that is not the case. Instead, those who have been shouting from the rooftop how the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has failed since 1999 have taken it upon themselves to set the country on fire.

How else can anybody interpret the twin seditious proclamations from the former governor of Lagos State and leader of the APC, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, and the Adamawa State Governor, Admiral Murtala Nyako? Speaking at his investiture as the Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, whose visitor is his acolyte, Tinubu called on his supporters to unleash mayhem should there be any other outcome other than his party's victory in the forthcoming Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.

According to the APC chieftain, 'it will be rig and roast.' He further stated that, 'We are prepared not to go to court but to drive you out. We will not take it anymore. If you mess up in Ekiti and Osun states, you will see our reactions. For every action, there must be a reaction.'

Yes, you can say that the former governor of Lagos is well famed for his crude and intemperate language but when it borders on national security, especially in troubled times as it is now, the security agencies ought to step in. Why would somebody who calls himself a leader throw decorum and all circumspection out of the window just because of an election? Tinubu is embarking on a dangerous journey that may lead to unmitigated destruction of lives and property by his reckless and inciting statements. To think that such incendiary and gutter remarks are made within the precincts of an academic environment should embarrass those who invited the APC leader and perhaps give them a hint that money and fame are not enough criteria for awarding honorary degrees. Character is first and foremost! But who cares these days?

That Tinubu's inciting call to violence was mouthed in a particular region historically graphed as a flashpoint during elections should worry security agencies and those who think well of the country. Ekiti State is an integral part of the old Ondo State. Lest we forget, the electoral violence in the state in 1983 contributed immensely to the collapse of the Second Republic. Tinubu's claim that the PDP is planning to rig the election in Ekiti and Osun indicates that he is either neck-deep in clairvoyance or suffering from a terminal case of paranoia. And on this score, the security agencies need to invite the APC leader to clarify his claims since it would appear that he really knows much.

Yet, let nobody be deceived by the APC strategy of crying wolf. What Tinubu is doing is an attempt to foreclose democratic possibilities in the Ekiti guber election. Every pundit who knows his or her onions can be certain that the Ekiti gubernatorial election is a three-horse race with an un-predictable outcome. The truth is that the incumbent governor, Kayode Fayemi of the APC, the former governor, Ayo Fayose of the PDP, and Opeyemi Bamidele of the Labour Party (LP), all have equal chances of winning the election. What Tinubu is trying to do is to put the election management body, (INEC) under undue pressure. And this subtle blackmail to force INEC into awarding victory to APC in Ekiti and Osun states even before the elections is patently cheap.

Tinubu is pretending that the Ekiti election is the first governorship election that has taken place under the watch of President Goodluck Jonathan. Maybe the violence-loving APC leader has forgotten that elections have taken place in Edo and Anambra States and in all of them, the votes counted and the PDP candidates lost. Although the PDP is in power at the centre, the party did not abuse those powers by trying to subvert the process nor did its leaders call for anarchy and bloodshed as APC leaders are wont to.

It is a real shame that somebody of the calibre of Tinubu, pretending to the leadership of the Yoruba, cannot see beyond the next election the way all statesmen do. The South-west zone, which he is aspiring to lead, is made up of highly enlightened citizens who understand fully the democratic process. And this process includes the respect for the rule of law and the place of the judiciary in settling disputes arising from the electoral process. So, if Tinubu thinks that his incendiary call to boycott the courts, an integral part of democracy, will be heeded then he must have been speaking to the wrong audience.

Many observers are getting worried over the increasing appeal of the instrument of violence and destruction to the leadership of the APC. The violent turn which the party's recent state congresses took is therefore not surprising to anyone. Yet, the nation is still reeling from the irresponsible and seditious statement of Governor Nyako of Adamawa State, accusing President Jonathan of genocide against the entire North.

Not long ago, Nasir el-Rufai, another chieftain of the party threatened thunder and brimstone should the party lose the next election in 2015. General Buhari who is admirably turning a new leaf even started this threat of violence with his famous analogy of the 'baboon and monkey soaking in their brood.'

It is understandable that APC wants to upstage the PDP and take over power. There is really no problem with that aspiration as long as it is pursued in a legitimate manner. But to seek to destroy the country in the process of doing that altogether or incite violence and bloodletting if the party fails is the height of irresponsibility. For once, the APC leadership can behave like statesmen and patriots; or at least pretend!

Written By John Ainofenokhai

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