By Ola Adekanbi
When the Indian sage, Mahatman Ghandi said that “Politics without principle is one of the seven social sins”, he philosophically perhaps have Adebayo Alao Akala and his likes in mind as grave sinners.
No matter how elastic one choses to go in political forgetfulness and forgiveness, one perhaps can not but remember the palpable recklessness with which Otunba Alao Akala ran government in Oyo State for four years which made it very possible for an ACN (back then) to wrestle power from the PDP.
There is an urgent need to recast the events of the past made more relevant by the actions of Akala in the just concluded Zonal Convention of the PDP in Ibadan where he reportedly tore ballot paper in the hand of a former senator with the claim that there was an agreement, seemingly not favoring him on how power must be shared giving and casting doubt to his self confidence of winning a free and fair primaries let alone an election without the process designed in his favor from the start.
Given the political history of the man Akala, the onus rests on some well and right thinking individuals to rise up and say that never again will his type rule us or in the language of the Holy book” affliction shall not arise the second TIME”.Politics should be one that is played with ideologies and principle both of which Alao Akala lacks in semblance and in fact.
There can’t be progressive politics without a reservation for the centrality of principles in the scheme of things.
Alao Akala without apology belongs to the old school, unabashedly believing that politics is the act of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy.
Akala is a politician whose business is getting power and privileges at all cost without possessing merit; a politician that is pretentious about understanding the imperatives of service to the people and the virtues of selflessness.
One would have thought that contentment should be his virtue having been graciously crowned Governor of Oyo State by cheating and backstabbing his former boss, no, but alas! He wants to again through thuggery and brigandage , bully his way to the Oyo State seat of power in 2015 as if there are no better brains and ethical personalities in such a leading state of the federation.
I dare say that a close examination of Alao Akala will leave one without doubt that he suffers perhaps from what one can call pathological narcissism which is a spectrum of disorders albeit political. He suffers from a full blown, all pervasive, personality distorting life more prone to fakeness and violence than others.
He remains a remorseless, unempathic, ruthless and relentless fellow in his pursuit of his goal (forceful leadership).
Akala is hunted not by guilt of his past failure as governor (which he should) but by anxiety of what he may not again become. Liberated from the superstitions of the past, he doubts even the reality of his own abilities. Superficially relaxed and tolerant as I observed him a while ago, he finds little use for dogmas of racial and ethnic purity but at the same time forfeits the security of group loyalties and regards everyone as a rival for the favors conferred by a paternalistic state.
Akala extols cooperation and teamwork while harboring deeply antisocial impulses as evident in his stint as governor for four years. He praises respect for rules and regulations in the secret belief that they do not apply to him. He is so acquisitive in the sense that his cravings have no limits; he does not accumulate goods (character) for future but demands immediate gratification and lives in a state of restless, perpetual unsatisfied desire.
A characteristic of Alao is the predominance, even in groups of his vulgarness and personality, uncharacteristic of a state executive. Thus, in intellectual lifestyle, which of its essence requires and presupposes qualification, one can note the progressive triumph of the pseudo – intellectual, unqualified and unqualifiable such as Alao Akala.
Impersonal virtues like fortitude, workmanship, moral courage, honesty and respect for adversaries are as good as rejected by Alao Akala evidently by his disposition while he was Governor and the worse of which he would do if given the chance again. Unless we are prepared to make demands on one another which is to allow only the best of us to lead us, we can enjoy only the most rudimentary kind of common life.
If we should face it, as shallow as it may sound, Alao Akala doesn’t even look ‘executive’.Elections in Nigeria are fast becoming popularity contests that focus largely on charisma and character with some emphasis on philosophy thrown in by good measure. If voters (including those in party primaries) really focused on qualifications and attributes more than the money thrown around, it will translate to quality leadership.
Also, if the definition of boldness (a big quantity of which is needed to wrestle power from the APC) is the willingness to risk ones political capital to pursue the greater good, Alao Akala is the opposite. There is no record of his near six years as helms man in Oyo State where he actually made himself accountable to the people he led other than stories of violence emanating from his support of violence of one group against the other. Hope we have not forgotten so soon the number of lives lost in the NURTW crisis and his role and involvement as governor back then.
Leadership of a state requires quality of thoughts and actions in which Alao Akala has failed over time. He has failed to uphold fairness in daily activities and as such lost respect with followers and the royal class. A clear judgment too is an ardent tool of the administration of a state and not favoritism as it is characteristic of Alao Akala. He perhaps lacks the ability to think calmly, clearly and in an orderly fashion so that good and consistent decisions are taken.
One of the reasons for the low esteem the public has for politicians is the perception that they lack integrity. Most of us admire people of principle, people who stand for something. And we distrust the end justifies the means philosophy so commonly associated with the politics characteristic of Alao Akala. The subjective dimension of integrity relates to consistency of thoughts, words and actions.
Perhaps, one can relatively say that Akala is bereft of self control, discipline and foresight. He perhaps best elucidates Lord Lugard’s analysis of a typical African leader who loves the allure of power without full realization of its responsibilities, acts with little apprehension for the future and failure to make adequate plans even where such is required. He lacks the power of organization and is conspicuously deficient in the management and control of men as evident in his feud with the royal class while he was a governor.
One can hardly even faintly coin out what Akala’s political philosophy is, rather he displays politics of self aggrandizement and self enrichment.
In recent times, he comes up with tales of being the anointed candidate of the presidency for the governorship of Oyo state, a claim even a neophyte in politics will know can’t be true. How will a Jonathan given the forthcoming presidential election and the need to come a clean slate allow the personality of an Alao Akala to rub on him let alone champion his course? How would a Jonathan forget so soon the woes that Adebayo Alao Akala brought on the PDP and nearly his ambition as president in the 2011 election where through the collapse of the PDP structure in Oyo State by Alao Akala, same nearly cost Goodluck Jonathan his presidency as Oyo State was viewed as one of the states if not the only one in the south west where the PDP would have had a clear victory.
Need one be told, that even geographically, Akala and his Ogbomosho tendency is not what is needed to unseat the incumbent governor without allowing the sentiment of Ibadan to play out once again as it did in 2011? Like it is the parlance in the street, it takes craziness to cure madness and will nearly take a fellow Ibadan man to unseat the non performing incumbent.
Clearly speaking, what is needed for victory for the PDP in the forth coming election in Oyo State will not be thuggery and violence; a trademark of Alao Akala but a conscientious, decorous , agile, less frivolous personality who exhumes no record of moral decadence and failed administrative ability.
Putting this in perspective reminds me of the poem of that great poet, Thomas Hardy at the Southampton Docks in October 1899, where he wrote:
While the farewell music thins and fails,
And the broad bottoms rip the bearing brine —
All smalling slowly to the gray sea line—-
And each significant red smoke – shaft pales,
Keen sense of severance everywhere prevails,
Which shapes the late long tram of mounting men?
To seeming words that ask and ask again:
“How long, O striving Teutons, Slavs, and Gaels
Must your wroth reasoning trade on lives like these?
That is as puppets in a playing hand? —
When shall the saner softer polities
Whereof we dream, have sway in each proud land
And patriotism, grown Godlike, scorn to stand
Bondslave to realms, but circle earth and seas?”
Ola Adekanbi writes from Ibadan.