In politics, relevance is everything. People contest for offices and positions beyond their reach and popularity to stay relevant in the game. Ex-envoy Sola Iji belongs to the group of old political players in Ondo State who is battling for political relevance. He represents the dark days of progressive politics in the sunshine state.
During his days as the Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the State, party funds were seen as a bailout for personal gains. He led the team of party excos that constantly siphoned the election Fund and returned zero results during elections. Under him, the party never won even a councilorship seat. It was a sterile party.
Sola Iji was in the news yesterday when he issued a press statement to counter the position of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON, on the National Assembly leadership zoning. Iji, shamelessly raised issues that stand logic in its head. He was at variance with the widely held opinions and positions of many Nigerians.
Governor Akeredolu is known for his honesty and sincerity on National issues. Regarding issues that affect the unity and progress of the country, Akeredolu is known to suspend party affiliation, ethnicity, and religion. He’s the figure of a true nationalist. Nigerians have seen his altruistic interventions, and he’s always commended for it.
Governor Akeredolu’s position on the National Assembly zoning formula was, indeed, statesmanly. His intervention has helped stabilise the party and reinforced hope for the frustrated stakeholders already reaching out to the opposition for collaboration. Governor Akeredolu is not just a Governor. He’s a worthy and vested stakeholder in the Nigeria project. A former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) who prosecuted his convictions as the number one lawyer in the country. His activism has rescued the country many times.
On the National Assembly zoning formula, the Governor’s query on the zoning of two presiding officers to the Northwest was accurate and commendable. It is known that only men of character and integrity have the boldness and audacity to speak out in the face of injustice and inequality. The courageous Aketi has won the heart of many Nigerians with his sincere and blunt interventions. Mr. Governor is, indeed, a voice of the voiceless. A leading leader. A national asset.
Sola Iji’s wobble press statement only exposed him as a political jobber and bootlicker. He desires to clinch a seat at the table of the incoming government of Asiwaju Tinubu. Iji, knowing that he lacks the relevance and integrity to lobby for himself, found Governor Akeredolu as a convenient scapegoat. He found the move to abuse the Governor and support injustice and inequality an opportunity to warm himself into the heart of the big boys around the President-elect, who may not be pleased with Akeredolu’s open position.
Iji’s vituperation and references in the press statement exposed him for who he is. His tone and style were filled with desperation and bitterness. His likes have been nursing severe headaches since the political lobby started in Abuja. They have been told that nothing moves without Governor Akeredolu’s approval in Ondo State. Governor Akeredolu did not only make the Southern presidency possible, but he also delivered his state overwhelmingly for Asiwaju Tinubu. Iji, who usually loses his polling unit, enjoyed the support of the Governor to be able to win the unit in the last election.
Besides, for a man who has never been and will never be Governor, it is easy for him to Insult and disrespect a Governor. In Ondo State, no party member fancied Iji as a political leader. He has lived his time in politics. Governor Akeredolu did not only speak as a party man. He spoke as a leader and Governor. Iji would never understand the weight of the Progressives Governors Forum that was flagrantly ignored in the process of zoning the National Assembly leadership. People like Iji will keep shut even if you slap their mother in exchange for a political position. They are spent force politicians.
Desperation breeds frustration. Frustration will make even the smallest politician lash out at any leader. Iji jaundice views and cynicism notwithstanding, Governor Akeredolu has spoken the mind of many Nigerians. And it resonates with national unity and cohesion. Aketi is not Iji’s mate on any ground.
Kunle Ogunsakin writes from Okitipupa, Ondo State.