Democracy is about supremacy of the will of the people, the prevalence at all cost of people’s desire and aspiration on how and who govern them. When the citizens opt for new leadership, it is fruitless resisting the irrepressible will of the populace.
Osun governorship contest is a contestation between people’s power and state oppression. The encounter is between the people and their oppressors. In this historical battle in the cradle of Yoruba race, Ademola Adeleke represents the mass movement of the people, the surging push by the repressed to assert and regain their freedom.
On the other side are the agents of the status quo, rent collectors and seekers; desperate to retain their fiefdom.
Yet, the forces are unequal. “Intimidatory” forces are at the disposal of the oppressors. The brutal weight of the state can be deployed. Funding sources can be blocked; physical assault can take centre stage. Opposition leaders can be hounded. Electoral contest can suddenly become an “unleasement” of raw power. Nigeria has passed through such tragedies in the past.
Students of history and political combat will affirm and re-assert that draconian assaults fail in front of people’s power. Electoral resistance ongoing in Osun is motivated by the collective resolve of the people to reject political slavery; prevailing anti-establishment push is a manifestation of a peaceful fight backed by a suppressed, dispossessed and repressed people. It is a struggle for survival by a people who have lost so many dear ones, who have experienced misery of inhuman dimension, who have endured unendurable hardship in the hands of those they trusted with power.
The race is not about human hatred for the ruling party or the state governor. It is about people saying we want to change the change because we are fed up with your leadership style. The electoral resistance is an implosion of electorate anger against leadership insensitivity and callous imperial policies. Plotting self imposition over a furiously unwilling voters/society smacks of a dangerous self-indulgence in the cradle of Yorubaland.
Ademola Adeleke or the entire Adeleke family is not the problem of the powers that be. The state has nothing to fear with the Adelekes. What should be feared is the anger and passion for change of the people of Osun State. What should make any oppressor tremble is the resolute position of the bulk of our people to use Ademola Adeleke as the symbol of the liberation movement.
Every political revolution has a symbol adopted by the people with all symbolic apparels. For now in Osun state, “Imole” (light) which Ademola represents, is the winning path. Resisting light with darkness is an exercise in futility because that light is a people’s movement against state oppression.
That light will bring restoration of normalcy in workers’ lives, in people’s centered infrastructures, in human approach social sector, in open government for good governance, in local government autonomy for local development, in integrated youth development and empowerment, in respect for traditional institutions as agents of development and more. These are what Osun people are craving for and Ademola Adeleke is the man they see as capable of facilitating such new lives.
Rejected political forces can secure soft landing by accepting the will of the people. What is risky for the status quo is to attempt to rig retention of power. It enlarges people’s venomous anger, deepen societal animosity against oppressors and easily pinpoint enemies of the people. It is a path of self destruction as countless examples in history have shown.
For Osun State, victimisation strengthens opposition, enhances voters’ sympathies for the persecuted and eases political victory for the people. The more the witch-hunt, the more resolute the change the change movement.
*Rasheed, Director of Media and Publicity for the Ademola Adeleke Campaign Organisation, writes from Osogbo, Osun State capital.*