Debating Obanikoro and Agbaje

by on December 22, 2014

Since the disappointing outcome of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primary in Lagos, whose alleged winner, Mr. Jim Agbaje, has been reportedly asked by a court of competent jurisdiction to stop parading himself as the party’s candidate, there have been attempts by some persons supposedly loyal to Agbaje and a faction of the party leadership in the state to undermine their collective opponent, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

The slant of the attacks has been to sling mud at Obanikoro as well as feast on the claptrap the opposition, aided by the malcontents in his party‎, has fed the public with.  Ironically, the truth remains what it is – that Agbaje and Obanikoro do not rank together – however anyone looks at it. But it must take the critical mind and the discerning to admit this as well as see through it.

What are their antecedents and track records? Agbaje, a successful Pharmacist by calling with his biggest store domiciled in Apapa area of Lagos was a nominal member of the Afenifere before finally pitching tent with the Renewal Group, the active youth wing of the main group.

Of course, an impressionable persona with friends across the board, how he acquired tag of being the face of the private sector remains a mirage. With a one-stop pharmacy store and appointments only in that discipline? Just maybe! Besides, he appears to have come from a relatively comfortable background, thus safe to assume he might have been born with a silver spoon.

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Now, that said, who is Ob‎anikoro? He is the scion of a petty trader and a stark illiterate mother, who sold cheap wares to raise her kids, almost single-handedly. And from amongst his siblings, Obanikoro rose to stardom through the hardship of struggling that saw him climb the ladder of success.

From being a Lagos Island council chairman to Commissioner for Home Affairs, Senator for Lagos Central, High Commissioner to Ghana, Chairman of Industrial Training Funds, Minister of State for Defence and now a governorship hopeful, it is some good record no one can wish away no matter how bad you detest his guts.

In fact, those slinging mud at him are probably in their solitary corner praying to God for such a well-off profile, made possible only by god and dint of hard work. And for the record, no one in contemporary political history of Lagos has such a resume – none!

So, what’s the hue and cry about? Just because he chose to side with justice and insisted that the primary was flawed, he has earned more bashing than commendation by those who ostensibly seek change but cannot afford to go through the rigours of the change they badly seek.

Particularly worrisome is the infantile argument that Obanikoro is a serial loser and should therefore pave the way for an Agbaje. How is that arguable? He ran first for the office of the governor in 2007, the same year Agbaje ran too and they both lost to Governor Babatunde Fashola.

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But he’s since had many meaningful things to do with his life, especially in public service. The second time he is coming out is now and so also Agbaje. So, what advantage has Agbaje over him or what makes him a serial loser? If anything, Obanikoro has all the advantages over Agbaje‎, either in terms of public service or experience. To even think that Agbaje came a distant third in the 2007 election makes case for a no-contest debate between the two of them.

Here is the real debate: everyone who has a position on the primary talks about perception, which they reckon does not favour Obanikoro, at least in their estimation. But subject to debate, what is perception? Semantics aside, perception is not everything as it is erroneously alluded to but what you choose to believe because it is often not evidenced by facts. Yet, what you choose to believe is invariably a reflection of who you are. You are either critical or inane. It is optional.

In other words, if after bagging all the degrees in the world and attending some of the best schools, a mind is not critical enough to ask questions and seek clarification over what he agreed was mere perception, then it is trite to worry about the thinking capacity of those who buy into the debate about perception lock, stock and barrel without any intellectual resistance and a view to seeking authenticity of claims.

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It is an irony that some members of the PDP would ‎refer to Obanikoro as playing politics of bitterness when in fact, they started with the politics of hate. For reasons best known to them, they conspired to run him out of contest with all sorts of allegations just to have their way and with overt preference for one candidate above another, when they were expected to sit plain in the contest.

Save for the hype, much as Agbaje is not a bad option, it is also not better than what Obanikoro represents. But whoever must fly the flag of the PDP must do so with a convincing victory from an exercise not tainted in whatever form. Anybody could say whatever suits his sentiment, that election was flawed and cannot stand either in the face of the law or common logic – that 806 accredited delegates produced 863 ballots? How?

Supporters of any two opposing camps can engage each other but such engagement must be rational, issue-based and dignifying in all respects. But when a debate of such magnitude is fraught with perception and or assumption that typifies idiocy, then it is devoid of logic and facts and therefore remains what it is: absolute baloney!

Source: This Day


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