“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”-Martin Luther King, Jnr.
Politics in liberal democracy is essentially about a struggle for power; it is permissible for competitiveness by contending personalities or forces of diverse political leanings and parties within a given time frame and electoral process. In a democracy, governments attain and retain power at the behest of the people who periodically vote their preferences in every electoral round. Politics therefore, is a contentious struggle for the control of the electorates through subtle, brazen and manipulative electoral promises and in very premature democracies, rigging of the electoral process by colluding with the electoral umpires and security forces in some instances.
All of these are unfolding already in Ekiti State, where the gubernatorial election is only a few months away. There are sparks of impolitic, vicious and intemperate tactics given that humanity is gregarious by nature. Politics has a single central issue. In the broadest sense of the terms, that issue is one between overall change and stability, liberalism and conservatism, advance and immobility. Accordingly, the recent pragmatic engagement of Congressman Bimbo Daramola within the APC for a shot at the governorship position is already raising some potent disquiet within and beyond the party.
Leading political science scholar, Okwudiba Nnoli, argues that politics as being “essentially about the contestation for the control, consolidation and utilization of state power”. Discernibly, since the state is essentially a means of primitive accumulation by the political class in our clime, it validates the life and death struggle to acquire and retain at all cost and by all means necessary with the aim of manipulation, domination and abuse of the people. There are instances of the people revolting a times.
The jostling within the APC and even the opposition political party is already building up to a crescendo and this is understandable. All manner of permutations and mischief is unfolding. Politicians have started to jostle for a possible take-over from the eternally combustible Ayodele Fayose as his tenure runs out by 2018. The over-drive is particularly keen and intense to the All Progress Congress.
Reasons are not far-fetched, which brings me to the axiomatic reality that if care is not taken, the party that was roundly rejected in the last cycle of elections in the state might shoot itself in the foot afresh. Though enthroned at the centre in the last general polls, the party is fractionalized and tottering on the brink by lack of cohesiveness in Ekiti. This is a party that parades three former governors of the state and a cocktail of other leading figures, forgetting that a house divided against itself, cannot stand.
A society gets the kind of leaders it deserves is a common political saying. It is sobering and quite instructive but the question is the APC ready to tread with caution? Already, by the last count, close to three dozen candidates are lining up for the contest. They include all manner of characters from the serious, desperate, and divisive characters. Only a handful of marketable candidates are in the fray.
One man that stands out from amongst the pack is Congressman Bimbo Daramola. In a recent interview, he granted Nation newspaper, he stated that, “When light comes, darkness disappears. It’s darkest in the midnight hour. Ekiti people now have a chance to sit back and ask themselves a very crucial question, have we been better for it? This is not the best we can get out of this”.
There is already an increasing groundswell of support for him across the state. I recall his loyalty to the party in the days of yore, when Segun Oni, then of the PDP, held on tightly to the reins of power, manipulating the electoral process with an obdurate desire to enjoy illegitimate mandate. The then, Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), was openly determined to foist him in office even when the people elected another. It was the court that threw out the charade of the Segun Oni era and now he is in the race. Today, he is interested in staging a comeback without as small as an explanation and asking for forgiveness from the relatives of those killed in the malfeasance, which he engineered and enjoyed. I don’t begrudge him or his right to aspiration but it is so ironic and it further reinforces that notion that where there is no shame, everything is permissible.
Before the courts adjudicated, Daramola in a spontaneous choleric and pulsating fury accosted a battery of armed policemen at the election collation centre, when he perceived his partisanship as an agent of rigging. Daring the agent of state who ought to be neutral and professional, thundering “shoot me”, if you can. But for such commitment to the inalienable rights of the people to elect their representatives, the ominous cloud threatening to descend over Ekiti would have eclipsed any hope of redemption.
During his stint in the 7th assembly, he stood out on account of the number of bills and motion sponsored amongst all parliamentarians from Ekiti. Generally accepted across the political spectrum of the state and within the party structure, the question on the lips of observers, is would Daramola be supported to test his mantle in a freely organized primary or will be party allow a charade of an exercise? If the APC, Ekiti state chapter is serious, a new broom will sweep better.
In our obviously broken and bleeding world, too much darkness, hatred thrives because We, the People, fail to realise the inherent power in our hands. It is not for nothing that sovereignty belongs to the people. We are stumbling our way along, having abandoned time tested ideals for Fayose’s chicken, rice and condiments politics. Time is approaching for us to walk out of darkness and opportunist politicians with the aim of returning to the sunny light of hope, straightening our backs for freedom in determination, industry, egalitarianism which our progenitors handed down to us. I think Bimbo Daramola is well prepared and equipped of all those are jostling to govern Ekiti, bearing his consistency as a loyal and active party man following the trajectory that led to the formation of the APC from the ACD days, and matched with his various roles as party agent against Segun Oni, and later as an effective Director-General of Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and his landmark blaze trailing records as a parliamentarian both on the floor and beyond, which echoes across the entire senatorial zones of the state.
All these should count for something as APC members go into this all important election which will determine not only the future of the party, the members, their leaders and political relevance but essentially efforts at stemming the spoliation of the recent past which requires sincerity of purpose and large heartedness, which Congressman Bimbo Daramola has in abundance.
Rotimi Opeyeoluwa wrote from Abuja, via firstname.lastname@example.org