Until the political intrigues that forced former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola out of Wadata Plaza last January, he was easily among the most powerful players in the party from the South West zone. As political godson of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, he enjoyed a great measure of goodwill and latitude. He was firmly rooted in the party’s power matrix and was regarded as the link with the party’s powerful state governors, being a former governor himself. The sky, as they say, was his limit.
All these now belong to the past. In less than a year, he has squandered all that goodwill, lost favour in the party, tried his hands on rebellion and ended up in the opposition All Progressives Congress. His descent into oblivion has been far more rapid than his rise to political prominence. For the better part of this year the Osun Prince has been entangled in an intricate web from which he was unable to extricate himself largely because he placed his selfish political interests above that of the group. Finally with the PDP where he was once the major power broker showing him the exit door, Oyinlola has indeed gone full cycle.
The sword had been dangling for some time. His expulsion from the PDP therefore came with no surprise to many who have followed his ignominious role in the factionalisation of the party whose leadership he claims to be part of. First, he had aligned with the likes of Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Atiku Abubakar and the rebel Governors to storm out of the party’s last special national convention on August 31, ostentibly to protest the party leadership’s high handedness. Then he put himself forward as National Secretary of the New PDP, the contraption that emerged from that rebellion. Not only did he join the rebellion against the wishes of the party’s mainstream leadership in his South West zone, he was largely seen as playing the puppet for Obasanjo who was out to extract a pound of flesh from President Jonathan with whom he had a few grudges. Just when his pillar-to-post effort appeared to be succeeding in saving his neck, Oyinlola committed what would amount to a political hara-kiri by joining other renegades in decamping to the rival All Progressives Congress.
Oyinlola’s journey to the political wilderness started on January 11, 2013 when Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court had declared that his nomination and subsequent election as the PDP National Secretary were invalid, null and void. The judge had relied on the order and two separate judgments of the Federal High Court, Lagos that nullified the South West zonal congress that produced him as candidate for the National Convention in March 2012. Before that judgment, however, his tenure at the party’s national secretariat has been tempestuous, marked mainly by unusually loud disagreements with other members of the National Working Committee, but especially with Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the national chairman.
Since his ouster which many saw as a relief at Wadata Plaza, however, a lot of water has proverbially passed under the bridge. By joining the rebellion, the Osun prince, wittingly or unwittingly, got his neck into a noose which through his actions and utterances, increasingly tightened. Many would argue that the ultimate punishment for his indiscretions were indeed, long overdue.
To say that Oyinlola has become a political rolling stone, is evident from his pillar-to-post actions which are clearly inconsistent for a politician of his ilk. Since the noose around his neck started hurting, he had tried to play Janus, the Roman god with two faces-one looking to the future and the other to the past. In one of the etymologies on Janus, the notion of chaos was used to define its primordial nature. It was not too different with Oyinlola since he too, was looking to the future while hobnobbing with the rebels. All the while he went around denigrating the party’s national leadership using the platform of the new PDP, he still remained unrelenting in seeking his recall to Wadata Plaza to supplant the newly-installed scribe, Professor Adewale Oladapo, through the law courts. As National Secretary of the new PDP, he never had any qualms sneaking about at nights or seeking legal remedies to return to Bamanga Tukur’s camp. What could be more chaotic? Unfortunately only a few were fooled.
The legal relief he eventually got through the Court of Appeal, Abuja, reinstating him as the National Secretary of the PDP was a pyrrhic victory of sorts. As National Secretary of the new PDP, that judgment for a moment made him the most important man in the PDP crisis since he also laid claim to the same position in the mainstream faction. Though the three-man panel, chaired by Justice Amiru Sanusi had upturned the sacking of Oyinlola on the ground that he was denied a fair hearing in the suit the Lagos court relied on, his subsequent suspension from the party for anti-party activities by the party’s NWC, in exercise of its powers under section 57 (3) of the PDP constitution, 2012 (as amended), ensured he did not have his cake and still eat it.
Oyinlola’s politics clearly defy logic. Severally he tried to turn principles upside down. The moves he initiated early last month to regain his position by writing the national leadership of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC on the Court of Appeal judgment while still serving suspension, was one of such contradictions. As the administrative head of the new PDP, he did not see the contradiction in seeking assistance from members of the PDP National Working Committee he had so often denigrated. Many people would still consider it foolhardy for a man who has so rebelled against his own party, and promoted factionalisation of the same party to still expect to return to its national secretariat as the party’s Chief Administrative and Accounting Officer.
The party’s subsequent decision said that much. In submitting his name along with those of the former acting National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, former Deputy National Chairman, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, and the Vice Chairman, Northwest, Ibrahim Kazaure, to the Umaru Dikko-led National Disciplinary Committee (NDC), the party was indeed prepared to ensure that his misdemeanor and other sundry anti-party activities were adequately punished. Oyinlola’s recourse to his own jaundiced interpretation of the PDP constitution regarding the statutory approval for the composition of a disciplinary body at the national level, was merely an effort, albeit fruitless, to avoid the Disciplinary Committee and what would eventually be his fate.
Like a cornered rabbit, Oyinlola ate the humble pie with glee. Not only did he write the party’s national leader, President Goodluck Jonathan, he also made representations to the Chairman of the party’s BoT, the influential Chief Tony Anenih, submitted a memorandum to the PDP Governors’ Panel headed by Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, consulted with the Prof. Jerry Gana Committee and also had informal consultations with Governor Seriake Dickson’s Reconciliation Committee through a member of the Panel, Chief Dosu Fatokun. There is little or no evidence that his peace initiatives yielded any results. The only lifeline had come from Anenih who, in responding to his written appeal, had advised him to choose between the party and the faction he helped create before his case can be considered by the party. His readiness to play the puppet ensured he did not decide either way. He continued to fancy himself as National Secretary of both the mainstream and renegade PDP faction. Even while he stood with other rebels as the new PDP joined the APC, Oyinlola continued to claim he is still with the mainstream PDP. What can be more delusional?
Poor Oyin, it was a dilemma he could not rise over until his indecision and recalcitrance consumed him. It was a fall like no other. Was he smart, playing the loyalist and the rebel all at the same time? No, he was simply wallowing in self delusion, which is why he deserves what befell him. Due largely to his selfish, unprincipled politics, Oyinlola has finally fallen from grace and, to put it more succinctly, he has commenced on a journey into the political wilderness.
Ikejiani contributed this piece via [email protected]