In my article a few weeks ago, entitled: AGBOR, A HOUSE THAT IS DIVIDED, I stated that Agbor Kingdom did not do well in the April 2011 general elections because there was no unity and there was no co-ordinated political leadership. In the same article, I also stated that the year 2015 was round the corner and that if Ika Nation wanted to achieve some relevance in 2015, we should have started preparing a few days after last elections and not to wait for one, two or three years to 2015 as that would be too late. By that, I gave notice to my Ika brother/sister politicians that we should start getting ready to quickly come together as one big family to sincerely work together to give a clear voice to Ika Nation in the run-up to 2015 and beyond.
A few weeks ago when I started to make consultations towards the actualisation of the desired political unity for Ika people, I discovered that there were and there are still some election petitions between Ika sons and daughters in various election tribunals. Since discovering this, I have been so disarmed and weak although not completely surprised because it is not easy to quickly forget the loss of an election that one had spent so much money and time to prepare. My dear brothers and sisters, as tempers have now reasonably cooled down; it is time for us to seriously start to look into our “tomorrow” rather than continuing to dissipate energy on our “yesterday” which we cannot bring back.
Contests and rivalry are as old as the world, even between brothers and sisters, e.g. the Sarakis in Kwara state – father/son/daughter in the last election. In contests, there must winners and losers and in the spirit of true sportsmanship, losers should always have the courage to congratulate the winners. Yes, in the last election, some “losers” had genuine reasons to believe that some “winners” won through some foul plays. However, I will want us to acknowledge that the last election was much better than previous ones. No quarrel between brothers and/or sisters can end up in divorce. NEVER! Even serious quarrels between some married couples that would have led to divorce get settled for the sake of the children of the marriage. If you are in politics up to the level of contesting an election, your ambition is assumed to be that you want to better the lots of your constituents and not for the betterment of yourself as your prime motive because you are expected to be already reasonably comfortable.
If you lose an election and your brother or sister gets the mandate, rightly or wrongly, you should continue to be the politician that wants to better the lots of his or her people by waiting for another chance. In fact, you become a better and a more fulfilled politician by working with the “winner” for the good of your people and if that happens, the incumbent is morally bound to see that you play another equally important role that will help to jointly bring bountiful democracy dividends to your people. It did not take the Sarakis (father, son and daughter) up to three weeks to resolve to come together again in the interest of the Saraki family and Kwara people in general. That is mature politics!
My dear brothers and sisters, for every one month these election petitions go on, we are losing three moths planning time for the future. Can Ika Nation afford that in this time of intense competition with other ethnic nationalities who are already far more organised and united? Let us emulate the Sarakis and put the ugly past behind us. If we all consciously continue to guard against electoral malpractices and enthrone transparency in our elections, in the very near future, the rush for election petitions will no longer be there. For our present situation, let us look at the scenario where these election petitions go from the tribunals to the appeal Court and to the Supreme Court. In this time consuming process, not only that no attention will be paid to our critical needs such as roads, water, electricity, healthcare, job creation and other infrastructure development but the money needed or earmarked to provide these things is cornered by the incumbent to squander it on the case. On the other hand, the petitioner will go on borrowing large sums of money with the hope that if he or she wins, the loan will easily be repaid, again, from our constituency projects money. The main beneficiaries are the lawyers who continue to assure their clients that victory is theirs while they are smiling to the bank with our money and, the ultimate losers are Ika Nation and Ika people because social and commercial infrastructures will disappear. This in turn will condemn our teaming unemployed youths to the life of okada riding and criminal activities.
Not long ago, one of our representatives confessed to having spent 80 million Naira of our constituency projects money defending his election “mandate” while his opponent was known to have spent about the same amount. The combined amounts are the loss of that constituency because while the incumbent should have used the amount on constituency projects, the petitioner could have used his to create jobs for the unemployed. This leads to the popular saying that where two elephants fight, it is the grasses that suffer. The loss that we cannot quantify here is the loss of time needed to plan and work for the future which belongs to our young ones and children yet unborn. If we fail to do something to stop this ugly trend of selfish politics in Ika land, posterity will not forgive us and when we die, we will not rest in peace.
As we have more to gain by working together both individually and collectively, I am genuinely appealing to all the combatants at different stages of tribunal hearing and Ika community leaders to come together and let us critically look into these cases on their merits. Where two people are fighting, the third one should separate them. Where the third person fails to separate them, the fight will continue even when both fighters are tired and would honestly want to stop. The urge to continue the fight is an ego thing and onlookers will be the more guilty party if the fight ends in a tragedy. Please, please, let us “talk the talk” in the interest of Ika Nation. Enough is enough.