By Ojo Oyewamide
One savoury and distinguishing quality of the APC state congress in Ondo state last Saturday was the reign of peace. It was a rare feat, a testimony to excellent leadership, dexterous party management and members’ love for the party.
Elective congresses of political parties in Nigeria are known to be combustible. This is not unexpected in our corner of the world where politics is more about seeking office for self-enrichment than the edification of society.
There is no human organisation where there are no different interests and tendencies. These interests and tendencies seek to control the soul of the organisation. Political parties are not different.
The competition among politicians for the control of their parties in Nigeria is usually unhealthy. Every group wants to protect its interest. And most of the times, this is done at the expense of the interest of the party. Elective congresses are characterised by the booming of guns and clanging of swords, flowing of blood and loss of lives and limbs.
But last Saturday, peace prevailed at the International Centre for Culture and Events (The Dome), Akure, the venue of the APC congress. Swords stayed in their sheaths. Guns and other weapons of death had no role to play. The manner in which the exercise was conducted was a telling exemplification of the triumph of love over hatred, reason over emotion and party interest over individual interests.
Love is the greatest emotion that God created. The tree of love yields sweet and beautiful fruits. Where there is love, there will be unity. And peace always resides where you find unity. The hitch-free nature of the conduct of the state APC congress was a function of the prevailing peace and unity in the party.
Until the middle of last year, the boat of the chapter fearfully rocked as if it would capsize. Its scrotum violently swung as if it would fall off. For about four years, it tottered on the edge of the cliff of a major crisis.
However, the party emerged from the crisis to win one of the most competitive gubernatorial contests in the history of the state. Since then, the APC leaders in the Sunshine state have realised the value of love, peace and unity.
We have the quality leadership of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the skillful party management of Engr. Ade Adetimehin and the forgiving spirit of other leaders of the party to thank for the new lease of life in Ondo APC.
The return of Adetimehin as the chairman of the chapter is good for the party. He is a round peg in the round hole of the Ondo APC. The Idanre-born politician is a rallying figure whose sense of human management is superb. He has been able to effectively manage and bring together the different tendencies in the party.
An unusual player on the field of the country’s politics, Adetimehin’s brand of politics is defined by consistency and loyalty. He professes progressivism and he has never left the camp of the progressives, even for a second.
When Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, the progressive camp gained access to power in Ondo state. And Adetimehin served as Special Assistant on Youths to Baba Adebayo Adefarati, the then governor of the state.
The progressive camp was kicked out of the Alagbaka Government House in 2003. Adetimehin was one of a handful of politicians who elected to remain in the opposition for about fourteen years. This kind of political attitude is a rarity in a country where ambition and stomach toss politicians here and there like a ball.
Adetimehin’s fidelity to his party, leaders and political principles is like that of a dog to his owner. He is a committed party man who always seeks the success of his party in electoral contests. He is dogged and hardworking. Today, he is enjoying the fruits of his consistency and loyalty. We thank God for his life.
Now that he has returned as chairman, the greatest challenge of his leadership is how to maintain the smooth cruising of the boat of the party. He should not allow unhealthy grouping within the party to rock the boat. Members can queue behind aspirants. There is no problem in that. But the interest of the party must come first after candidates have emerged and elections conducted.
Congratulations to Engr. Adetimehin and other members of the state executive committee of our great party.
Oyewamide is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity