When his campaign train landed in Kwara State last month, no one would have suspected that more than the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, a miasma had also landed. They came bearing promises, they came with the silhouette of a mandate, but they also came with a lie – a concoction of preposterousness – embedded in the slogan, “O su wa”. The morphological origin of this miasmic slogan was a translation of the English sentence “We are tired” to Yoruba. But there is another more nuanced background.
In 2019, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had floated “O to ge” (meaning enough is enough) as a slogan to oust the PDP at the polls and bury the Saraki dynasty in the state, including political journeyman and former Senate President Bukola Saraki. The slogan had on PDP the effect of total annihilation and they lost the polls without a shadow of doubt. They retreated to lick their wounds. No doubt, PDP had seen the effect of sloganeering. They fancied a shot at using such a weapon, hence the concoction of the miasma called “O su wa”. But, slogans are not so carelessly contrived. Careful thought must be put into them. When O to ge was floated, there had been a continued spell of pungent governance in Kwara State by people enthroned by the Saraki dynasty.
Not so with O su wa. When Bukola Saraki perfected his defection from PDP to the APC in 2014, he advanced, as part of his reasons, the argument that, “I think it is largely due to the kind of dissatisfaction that we have seen in the affairs of the party over a while with regards to key issues like the impunity, disregard for the rule of law, the level of inclusiveness, the considerations to the wishes of the people and the party members at the different chapters.” He added, for good measure that PDP was not ready to engage more in a participatory democracy.
Safely ensconced in APC, however, he bared his fangs at the PDP, claiming to be a member in body and spirit of APC and securing re-election into the senate in 2015. He contrived a classical manoeuvre within the APC that saw him preside over the senate. After four years in APC, he would again get tired and citing nebulous reasons, return to PDP. It is therefore without a doubt that the man has a knack for getting tired easily. He is a sprinter but does not have the endurance to go the distance. He would get tired when there is consistently good governance. Perhaps, this time he may have got tired of watching someone govern Kwara State with more purpose and administrative acumen than he did when he governed, or than anyone in the Saraki dynasty could manage over nearly 34 years.
Enter Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of PDP and fellow tired man. That he is tired should not come across to anyone as a surprise. He has run for presidency so many times and always with the same result that even if he did not say it, anyone who watched his mien and demeanour would know that he was tired. Surprising thing though is that he accused the APC of robbing the Saraki dynasty of its “generational transformation” whereas it was the people who had had just about enough of the vice-like grip of the Saraki dynasty on their collective patrimony and wrested it from them. The people, upon receipt of a higher promise, gave the mandate to the APC, and the APC has so far delivered it to wide acclaim. The man does not understand Kwara State, its history or its people. He just wants to be president.
No more is Kwara State littered with workers bemoaning unpaid salaries; instead, the people are paid as and when due. Crime rate has reduced, and workers in the state were jubilant when they were paid their December salaries ahead of time so that they could prepare for their Christmas celebrations. The APC does not have any connections to bank robberies in the state. The APC runs an inclusive government that takes into account and respects the wishes, beliefs and cultures of the different peoples of the state. The APC has also commenced huge capital projects across the state to improve the infrastructure and standard of living in the state. No one is tired of it, except the PDP and its agents who only wait in the shadows for an opportunity to dig their hands into the state coffers.
O su wa is not a slogan that wins elections; it is a slogan that precedes the coming of anti-progress candidates and must be resisted firmly. By virtue of O su wa’s ill construing, the state must not forget in a hurry that just about everyone has had enough of the Saraki dynasty and its influence on the state. How then can the mandate be taken from the people and handed over to them? No, it can’t. And this is why the people must also be vigilant so that they will not be robbed of their mandate once more, what with all this PDP talk of robbery. Is that their plan? Indeed, when they say O su wa, the appropriate response should be, “O to ge”. That’ll keep them quiet and remind them that they have no place in Kwara State or even Nigeria’s governance.
Just remember this: When we came up with “O to ge”, they came up with O tun ya which means in English “Let’s continue”. Of course the people of Kwara State rejected the continuation bad government, continuation of corruption, continuation of dipping their itchy hand in the treasury of Kwara State for their personal use, the continuation of hero worshipping of their godfather, continuation of non-payment of salaries of the civil servants and pensioners pensions and gratuities, continuation of lack of development and rule of law etc.
• Chief Mrs. Oyeyemi is the spokesperson of the Kwara State Campaign Council of the All Progressives Congress (APC).