How Osoba, SDP Lost Out
WHAT started like a little misunderstanding within a political family aftermath the inauguration of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun-led administration in Ogun State, eventually snowballed into a larger discord that promised to tear the fabrics of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state into unrecognisable shreds, leading to the exit of Chief Olusegun Osoba and those in his political camp.
Few weeks to the presidential/National Assembly polls and against all calculations, a faction pulled out of the party to pitch tent with little known Social Democratic Party (SDP).
With former governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, as the arrow-head, the three serving senators in the state: former deputy governor, Alhaji Gbenga Kaka (Ogun East) Akin Odunsi (Ogun West); Gbenga Obadara (Ogun Central); and backed by a reputable political strategist, deputy governor Segun Adesegun; including seven out of the nine House of Reps members from the state, as well as, a chunk of the state House of Assembly members, the plot appeared a done deal.
As if to underscore the popular acceptability of the party, during its inauguration rally at the Ake Palace, Abeokuta, the ancient town literally stood still. Elders in the state as well as the young Turks were present in their large number.
Osoba, who spoke last at the rally, was clearly overwhelmed. He asked the crowd what they would do with their voter cards and got overwhelming response, accompanied with waiving of the cards in the air, ‘we shall vote them out.’
Come election day, the party struggled to be seen, posting a scandalous distance third to the parent party (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The SDP lost every political post it contested. The monumental loss left a lot, including political adversaries, wondering what went wrong. Osoba is a politician of national repute, of over five decades in active politics and learning from the revered feet of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Very few people alive today can lay claim to better awoism than the former governor. “What happened has little to do with Osoba as a politician, but more about the character politics has assumed in our clime,”
one of the House reps members who lost out told The Guardian. He insisted that they were left with no choice other than “leave the party for Amosun and the national leadership he bought over.”
“No. We did not make any mistake politically. Our leaving APC is not an Osoba call, but a collective decision, that even Chief Osoba could not stop at that stage. That we appear to have lost out terribly does not in any way take anything away from any individual.
Though, Osoba first became the state governor, under the platform of the SDP in 1992, but the party bears little resemblance in character and content to the one supposedly resuscitated by former Alliance for Democracy (AD) presidential candidate, Chief Olu Falae. Indeed, only Kaka had a stint with Falae since the AD disintegrated into many political outposts.
Instructively, Osoba, like many former AD governors had misunderstanding with Falae and a number of Afenifere elder stalwarts, including Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Chief Olanihun Ajayi. Giving insight into what led them out of the APC, Kaka said, “our protest, appeal and demand for justice from the national leadership of the party have yielded no result.
Rather, the faction that flagrantly flouted the party guidelines was given recognition by the National Executive.’’ Kaka said that they had no option than to withdraw their membership of the party after due consultations with their constituents.
“We gave a very long rope. We felt that we cannot be looking for peace when the other members involved in the illegality are not interested in peace,” he said.
Before taking the decision, which proved unrewarding, Kaka lamented that: “We waited for over two and half years to even have an interaction with the governor, but he avoided us.
We have explored all channels to resolve the crisis without success. Maybe the leadership of the party thinks otherwise about us.
The tendency for impunity and injustice led us to where we are today,” he said. Impunity and injustice, no doubt a major character flaw in the political firmament of the country, but many still question why the controversy spiraled out of control.
Some have argued that ego, on both sides was the central issue at play. While many seem in agreement with the performance of Governor Ibikunle Amosun, with slight disagreements over matters of style, intensity and prioritisation of projects carried out under him, the politics of who gets what, when and how, was also at play in putting the political family asunder.
One political misstep may prove just enough to dent a lifetime political sojourn.