18 January, 2014
Senator Olugbenga Obadara
Chairman, Senate Committee on Privatization
Senate New Wing, Suite 2.24
PULLING DOWN THE HOUSE TO PROTECT A CORNER: A NOTE OF CAUTION
It is with considerable hesitation that I write this letter to you, especially a few minutes after I called and spoke with you on the phone over the crisis arising from your programme in Ewekoro Local Government Area on Thursday, 16 January, 2014. However, after a thorough consideration of information obtained on the same issue prior to and subsequent to the telephone conversation with you from some mutual friends, Security Agencies and State officials, some of whom you had also spoken with on the same issue, I decided to reduce my thoughts to writing in order to put the issues in clear perspective and also for record purposes.
It has even become more imperative to write because I have since realised that the positions and approaches you espouse in discussions with me are always at great variance with your true disposition on the same issues – both in words and actions – while with other people.
Your different and inconsistent narratives around the event have now confirmed to me that what happened in Ewekoro was indeed part of a premeditated, choreographed and coordinated but needless crisis in our great party, All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ogun State with the National Assembly members elected on the platform of the party as the major Agents Provocateur, working in concert with other elements within and outside the party.
By the benevolence of God and the support of the good People of Ogun Central, I was elected a Senator in 2003 and will continue to hold in the very high esteem the institution of the Senate, in particular, and the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in general. This letter is directed to you as the contact point for your colleagues from Ogun State in the National Assembly because you are the one currently occupying the same seat in the Senate that I occupied a decade ago.
It is regrettable that despite all my efforts to warm up to you and your colleagues since your nomination as party candidates and up till now, it is obvious that your group has always had scanty regard for me and my office because you believe that I played no role in your emergence as party candidates and subsequent elections in 2011 and will play no role in your re-election. This explains why you continue to rebuff all my initiatives to make us work together as a team in the overall interest of our party and the good People of Ogun State. Nonetheless, I remain undeterred in the search for unity. You are therefore at liberty to share the content of this letter with your colleagues.
1. My Understanding of the Issues
In the last few months, I have received security reports and information from credible sources, including party faithful, leaders, mutual friends and utterances directly emanating from your group, indicating that you and your colleagues were planning to precipitate a crisis in our party in pursuit of your personal agenda. I dismissed the reports with a wave of hands in the knowledge that no member of the party, much more so members of the National Assembly, would do anything that will impact negatively on our Administration’s Mission to Rebuild our dear State. Besides, I thought the formation of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the merger of the legacy parties, including the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on which platform we were all elected into various offices, would address outstanding integration challenges. It is my belief that the new platform, the APC, offers an opportunity of a fresh beginning.
However, the unfortunate events of the last few weeks, with their intensity and frequency, have lent credence to reports and information I earlier disregarded. Two instances will suffice here. The violence that accompanied the botched attempt by your group on Thursday, 9 January, 2014 to foist a handpicked so called “Harmonisation Committee” on the party in the State now seems to be the opening glee in a well-scripted series. For the avoidance of doubt, the “Harmonisation Committee”, even if properly constituted, clearly has no role in the forthcoming party membership registration exercise. The second incident was the event of Thursday, 16 January, 2014 in Ewekoro Local Government Area, organised by you to purportedly sensitise party members in Ogun Central Senatorial District on the forthcoming party registration exercise but ostensibly a manifestation of another scene in the series. It is curious that a day in which the interim National Chairman of our party, Chief Bisi Akande, was being honoured in Lagos was the day you chose to hold your sensitisation event. I was at the ceremony with members of the State Executive Council, Speaker, other members of the State Assembly and Chairmen of our Local Government Areas, including that of Ewekoro. These two events are just exactly one week apart and in between there were other activities by your group all aimed at achieving the desired objectives.
I understand that these actions and incidents, that are part of a larger plot that will be highlighted below, are designed to achieve two primary objectives:
§ The first objective is the quest of your group to control the structure of our party in the State, commencing with the hijack of the party membership registration exercise, hence the attempt to foist a “Harmonisation Committee” on the party in the State.
§ The second objective is the desire of all the National Assembly members from our State and some members of the House of Assembly to secure automatic second-term tickets for the general elections in 2015, without regard to the opinions of the generality of members of our great party in Ogun State.
In order to get the support of the unwary, these personal agenda of the very few have been couched and packaged as altruistic party issues and deliberately orchestrated to attract national attention.
2. The Plot Against the State
The plot to achieve the narrow objectives of your group has many elements that I initially considered to be unlikely and far-fetched. However, your recent actions and utterances have all the trappings of these elements with the precision and approach foretold. Let me highlight some of these elements that will certainly not be strange to you:
§ Instigation of pockets of violence to create a sense of disunity in our party and insecurity in the State as a whole. This approach will include deliberately perpetrating arsons and symbolic harms on the property and persons of some members of your group and then blame the actions on me and our Administration.
§ Demonisation of my person and our Administration through a well-oiled smear campaign in the media that will evoke the ugly memory of the immediate past. Already, some of your supporters, especially allies in the State Assembly, have been instigated to start circulating text messages alleging threats to their lives.
§ Distraction of the attention of the Government from governance so that the programmes and projects that have endeared the Administration to the good People of Ogun State will be stalled. The intended consequence is to reduce the popularity of the government with the populace.
§ Blackmailing me and the National Leadership of our party to undermine the integrity of the party leadership to intervene as impartial umpires, should the need arise.
§ Generally making the State ungovernable, including precipitating crisis in the State House of Assembly through a plan to forcefully change the leadership and continuous disruption of legislative proceedings.
§ A further orchestration of the “crises” aimed at creating a window for your group to move motions in the two chambers of the National Assembly designed to embarrass the State Government.
§ Disruption of the impending party membership registration exercise, knowing fully well that the exercise may expose the shallow followership of your group across the State. Even this noble exercise that is expected to develop our great party will also not be spared of the smear campaign to discredit the process.
§ Joining forces with the opposition who are known “Masters of Violence” in an unholy alliance to help re-enact the immediate inglorious past.
The overall thrust is to force a negotiation to secure an undeserved advantage that could not be otherwise achieved through the internal party democracy. What is more disturbing is that in this venture, no tool is considered too crude to use, no weapon too unconventional to deploy, and no approach too demeaning to adopt. I learnt that you and your colleagues have indeed been boasting that the nationwide destruction of our great party, the APC, will be kick-started from Ogun State.
3. The Implications for the State and our Party (APC)
It is important to always remember where our State was before the inception of our Administration on 29 May, 2011 so that your ambitions to control the party and secure your second term in office at all costs do not becloud your sense of judgement. The implications of your actions are grave and are far greater for our State and the party, than for me as the Governor or our Administration. Whatever offices we hold now, many have done so before us and many will still do after. Therefore, the larger interest of our State must take overriding position at all times. Power is transient and all of us will be accountable to the people, posterity and God Almighty.
The implications of your actions include but not limited to:
§ Rollback of the achievements attained by our party and Administration in the onerous task of Rebuilding Ogun State, particularly the widely acknowledged peace and security that pervade the state. The State has received many national and international Honours and Awards in this regard, including the recent one – The Most Secure State in Nigeria (2013)- by CLEEN Foundation, a foremost Non-Governmental Organisation with focus on security in the country.
§ Some of the achievements, such as increase in the State’s Internally Generated Revenue from paltry N750 Million monthly to about N3 Billion, will be undermined.
§ The image of our party (APC) as a party of peace and progress will be negatively affected
§ It will amount to taking the support of our people for granted
§ Worse still, your actions, if not curbed, will lead to an unfortunate return to the inglorious era of the immediate past.
My Brother, you will recall some of my efforts and initiatives to forge unity and harmony in our party. These are well documented and predate my assumption of office as Governor. Since inception, I have remained committed to the vision of building a virile, united and harmonious party with equity, justice and inclusiveness. As a member of the 5th Senate myself, I have constantly extended my hands of fellowship to you and your colleagues, including my personal invitations to all our programmes. The most recent initiative to achieve greater unity in the party was the formation of Consultative and Advisory Councils in all our twenty Local Government Areas. This body comprises party elders, elected members (including National Assembly and State Assembly Members), and political appointees. It provides platform for closer interaction amongst all the stakeholders, fosters unity and engenders mutual understanding. The composition, as you know, is inclusive. Regrettably, you and your colleagues have declined participation in the activities of the Consultative Assembly in your respective Local Government Areas.
I remain resolute to building bridges within the party and even beyond. Far from being a sign of weakness, this is a demonstration of our commitment to general peace and security in the State. Any discord in the State or any critical segment or group, political or otherwise, takes away from this commitment. I swore to an oath which primarily requires me to protect life and property of all citizens and residents of Ogun State and remain unwavering in our commitment to ensure that the Mission to Rebuild Ogun State continues unhindered. While I will continue to make overtures for peace and pursue initiatives to forge party unity and harmony, I will not abdicate my responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the State.
In this respect, I have re-emphasised to the Chairmen of the Local Government Areas that they will be held accountable for any breach of peace in their respective areas. Furthermore, I have briefed, as always, all security agencies in the State to be more vigilant and prevent any breach of peace in our State. In the same vein, my expectation is that all political gladiators will conduct themselves peacefully within the ambit of the law as any breach of peace and security that our Administration jealously treasures will be viewed seriously. For emphasis, the full wrath of law will be visited on anyone whose conduct is capable of returning our State to the inglorious days of the immediate past. The citizens of the State have made it clear to us that they enjoy the current peaceful atmosphere that pervades the State in almost three years of our Administration and that they will not accept any further ugly development that casts a dark shadow on our State. As the custodian of their legitimate and freely given mandate, I intend to keep faith with them in this regard. It is my hope that your actions and utterances henceforth will be in consonance with this simple wish of the good People of Ogun State. It is not too late for you and your group to retrace your steps by putting a stop to the plot against the State and allow good reasons prevail.
Democracy may not be perfect for human and societal organisation, but it is not for nothing that it remains the most preferred form of government worldwide. It has its tenets, the most profound being that it is a game of numbers. In this wise, I urge you and your colleagues to take full advantage of the forthcoming registration of party members by mobilising your supporters to register. This is the path true democrats adopt and it is also the path of honour. It is certainly more honourable than following the script of “what we can’t get, we destroy”. The plan to foment trouble in our great party, the APC, while hobnobbing and nurturing opposition parties as alternative platforms to realise your personal ambitions is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.
I intend to continue to devote substantial focus to what the good People of Ogun State elected me to do – good governance – without allowing active partisan politics to become a major pre-occupation and distraction, as some would rather wish.
Once again, my Dear Senator Obadara, please accept the assurances, as always, of my highest regards.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Senator Ibikunle Amosun FCA
Governor, Ogun State
cc: Chief Segun Osoba
Chief Bisi Akande, Interim National Chairman, APC
Alhaji Tijani Tumsah, Interim National Secretary, APC