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Alao-Akala: Like a phoenix

Published by Tribune on Mon, 21 Mar 2011

Legend rates the phoenix as the bird that never dies: Kill it today and it will rise again some day in the future. If you attempt to annihilate it through burning it to ashes, dont be surprised that long after youve gone and your memory forgotten, the bird will emerge from its fiery grave.This is why the dictionary describes the phoenix thus: A bird that lives for several hundred years before burning itself and then being born from its own: To rise like a phoenix from the ashes (to be powerful or successful again).Something close to that is the picture we have of Governor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, lately revalidated by a court of competent jurisdiction as the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2011 April poll.Pulled down and given up for dead politically many times over since his foray into the treacherous waters of Oyo State politics, Alao-Akala has resurrected from each death, stronger and better poised for more battles. Should there be visible scars for the bruises, the man would have been disfigured beyond recognition! Cicatrices would have replaced his entire natural skin.Even now, with only a few weeks to the governorship elections in April, theres a battle to still the soul of the Ogbomoso-born politician. There are both legal and political skirmishes to drown Alao-Akala.No new weapon has been deployed so far. And this is because the battles have been initiated by some old faces that have been fighting Alao-Akala. It is no wonder then that the outcome has always been the same.Observers recall that at the Liberty Stadium, Ibadan, on December 9, 2006, during the PDP primaries, Alao-Akala polled 7874 votes to Alhaji Yekeen Adeojo (395) and Elder Wole Oyelese (103), among others, to clinch the ticket. Now, who do we have again, years after in the war to ground Alao-Akala It is still Adeojo and Oyelese. They have lost serially at the ballot and in the law court and are still fighting.The current ground they and their fellow travellers stand on, in their bid to displace the governor is that it is a taboo to have a sitting governor re-elected in Oyo State. Another, albeit vaguely stated, is that they dont want a non-Ibadan person to be in power.Either way, it exposes them as failed democrats. Democracy is not about exclusive politics; it draws in every component of society, regardless of your ethnic, social, religious, cultural, sex, educational or political status. If they are disavowing the fundamental virtues of this enduring system of government, should we then repose any trust in them to protect it by giving them our votes at the poll in AprilOn the other hand, a faithful democrat is expected to defend those who flaunt their stakes in the system by addressing such issues, as questions, on whether a public office holder has justified the mandate entrusted to him. Id rather prefer to see true democrats engage Alao-Akala in a productive debate that would advance the quality of governance and enlightenment as the governorship ballot approaches.Nebulous and fatuous non-issues such as a candidates accidental birth and superstitions are unhelpful guiding indices in electioneering.There is one other crucial point we must examine. Can we trust the politicians who keep on throwing up issues that dont advance the enduring ideals of democracy Of course, we cant. But it is inimical that they are in our midst in the first place, because they are pollutants of the fresh breath we are introducing into our politics which has suffered so much battering in the past as a result of activities of these same detractors.The sages say when you have knowledge or information about a problem, you are half-way towards solving it. So, since we know some of the reasons for the backwardness that has afflicted our politics in the past, we can proceed to formulate reasonable and popularly acceptable solutions.Let us do away with politicising a persons accident of birth, as the case is with those at war with Alao-Akala over what he has no control. It is simply Gods doing, which we cannot challenge. And thank God, those at the forefront are not atheists. One is an Alhaji (one who holds God in high esteem by observing His injunctions of performing the pilgrimage to Mecca) and the other is an elder (one who holds a key office in the Church).We must also discard voodooist politics in Oyo State. Why in the 21st century would some persons taint us with a reach back to the dark agesWe the majority of Oyo State citizens, must plead with the key political players to handle the run-up to the April ballot with extreme care, so that history which keeps a record of what everyone does in our era would have worthy entries on them. That is on a personal note.The salutary aspect is to leave a legacy which the coming generations would be proud of. If some of us cannot rule Oyo State today, let us keep the state intact and better than we see it now for tomorrows generation to inherit.The man they are waging a do-or-die war against has proved a phoenix. It is a war that has been on since 2006 when he first moved on the saddle, following the impeachment of Senator Rashidi Ladoja. He staged an incredible comeback to become the governor on his own, even after what some analysts described as a humiliating reversion to his deputy governorship position. Now, against all odds, his party has given him the re-election ticket in acknowledgment of his performance in his first term. Let us judge Alao-Akala solely on the achievements he is waving at us, not on rejected parameters which engender strife in the polity.Amao is a church leader in Ibadan.  
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