LAWYERS4CHANGE

Friday, June 18, 2010

"6-PONDO:" TEAM OMOLE WINS, OPPONENTS WEEP

Since 2004 when the power caucus of the Progressive Bar Forum (PBF) of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association came fully to its own, it has dominated the politics of the Tiger like a colossus.

In 2004 in its largest and most unified form, it scored a 100% victory at the polls, winning all available positions without partnership or alliance and produced Adekunle Ojo as the chairman of the branch at the expense of Hya Osahon Ihenyen who could only garner 10% of the total votes cast.
In 2006, the PBF, still intact, went to the polls and again captured all seats. The prime victim of their might then was Dele Oloke, who with less than 25% of the valid votes cast, lost woefully to the PBF candidate, Niyi Idowu.
Interestingly the loser was a former member of the PBF but who left the group, feeling frustrated after failing to secure approval in the ‘primaries’ of the group.

In 2008, the power caucus regrettably split into three unequal parts. The smallest part belonged to Niyi Akinmola then 2nd Vice-Chairman of the Ikeja Branch and a senior rank caucus member, who suffused with his own sense of self-importance and popularity, refused all appeasement not to leave the group. He was determined to contest the election for chairman at all cost contrary to the placement tradition of the P.B.F which favoured Dave Ajetomobi then the 1st Vice-Chairman to Niyi Idowu.
The second splinter group belonged to Niyi Idowu and Beckley Abioye. That group wanted Abioye the then General Secretary to run for chairman.
If Niyi Akinmola was unappeasable, the duo of Niyi Idowu and Abioye were simply unapproachable. So great was their animosity for their former group and confidence in their own strength to prevail against the PBF. It was Niyi Idowu’s sneer then that he would only consider reconciliation talks after the election had been determined!
At the end of the day the dreams of both splinter groups came to nought. Niyi Akinmola met his waterloo even before the election as he, just like Dele Oloke was disqualified from the race. As for Abioye his chairmanship ambition went up in smoke on June 30 2008 when Dave Ajetomobi came out tops with 60% of the total votes cast.
In 2010, the build-up to the elections of June 7 was strong and tense. Niyi Akinmola, still rebellious, still unrepentant and even headier, built a crop of members round himself. The group was a mixture of former satellites of his former power caucus - Leye Omitola and Terry Adeniji and and a stranger element Emmanuel Otobo, a completely unsubstantial bar player but then the Akinmola group presented him for the post of General Secretary. The three Akinmola followers were all members of the now defunct Dave Ajetomobi administration where they played opposition politics with differing degrees of intensity and finesse.
For example where Terry Adeniji and Emmanuel Otobo were coarse, confrontational and openly subversive, Omitola used the sly and silent style in aiding the interest of his group. He worked very actively in misusing his office of Financial Secretary to disenfranchise scores of supporters of the Mainstream group whom he wrongly labeled ineligible to vote.
Omitola gunned for the post of Treasurer while Adeniji aspired to become the 1st Vice-Chairman. For the other splinter-group owned and controlled by Niyi idowu and un-ably supported by Beckley Abioye, their curious choice for the chairmanship post was Dele Oloke. Choosing Oloke as their top flag bearer reflected poor thinking and a sense of huge desperation.
To any informed observer of Tiger land politics, Oloke serial polls loser, that he is, could only be the chairmanship choice of any self-defeating group.
To worsen the situation, the Niyi Idowu group fielded another political dwarf for the crucial post of General Secretary in the person of Mrs. Titi Osagie. Osagie had vied for the same post in 2008 and lost by 63 votes to Isa Buhari even with all the powers of incumbency in the favour of her political sponsors Niyi Idowu and Beckley Abioye.
The three other candidates sponsored by the Niyi Idowu group, just like Osagie, were minnows. Biyi Oguntuga presented for 1st Vice-Chairman, blends with anonymity, Abdulhamid Ahmed is equally undistinguished while Maimuna Esegime, for Financial Secretary is a green horn in Tiger land politics.
Interestingly the fact that their candidates were second rate was lost to the directors of “Team Oloke.” Three days to the election, Beckley Abioye, the deputy leader of the group boasted of the invincibility of his group in 2010 and that he himself lost the battle for the top job of chairman in 2008 only because the mainstream used mercenary voters against him.
Then in the morning of June 7, the most amiable of the group, Biyi Oguntuga, in a quiet but confident voice assured this reporter “Squib we will surprise you.”
Accreditation of voters

This prediction proved wrong and empty as the mainstream group walloped their rivals blue and black to claim all grounds.
In the Welfare Secretary position Abdullateef Abdulsalam crushed Team Oloke’s Abdulhameed Ahmed 209 to 180, taking about 66% of the 489 votes cast.
In the Financial Secretary position Maimuna Esegime (Team Oloke) succumbed to Adesina Adegbite (a mainstreamer) 219 to 287 votes, garnering only about 42% of the votes.
The third election result announced was that of Treasurer. This was supposed to be a tough battle between Leye Omitola (Mr. disenfrachiser of the Niyi Akinmola group) Carol Ibeh of the mainstream group. Again, the mainstreamers prevailed as Ibeh gained over Omitola, 288 to 208, scoring 58% of the 489 valid votes cast.
Then came the result for the post of General Secretary. It was a three way struggle amongst Adesina Ogunlana (mainstream) Titi Osagie (Team Oloke) and Emmanuel Otobo (Team Akinmola).
Well, since a rat’s nest conforms to its proportion, Emmanuel Otobo the rat in the group deservedly scored the lowest votes of 87 or 16% of the total votes of 515 cast.
Titi Osagie, the “David” who was expected by her minders to kill a Goliath in the person of Adesina Ogunlana, found out too late the truism in Wasiu Alabi’s (Pasuma wonder) Fuji lyrics which went thus :
“emi yin o gbe,
capacity yin o gbe,
confido yin o gbe,
charisma yin o gbe,
engine aeroplane yen te gbe sinu beetle (VW) yen.”
In the middle of the counting of the votes, the lady saw the bold handwriting on the wall truncating her vaunting ambition and betrayed the woman in her. She was led away into the night, sobbing bitterly, as the scorpion of defeat stung her deeply. What made her case poignant was that her vanquisher, Adesina Ogunlana who won with a total of 266 votes (53%) to her 162 (31%) had weeks earlier sent a message to her camp that she should be withdrawn to a lesser post where she would meet no behemoth and therefore survive. The advice, sent through Dele Oloke was scorned.
For the post of 1st Vice-Chairman. Team Akinmola’s candidate, Terry Adeniji, the exponent and leading apostle of “Tenubole politics” (politics of disinformation and rumour mongering) put up a stiff fight, but at the end fell at the feet of his mainstream opponent, Yinka Farounbi who scored 237 votes (47%) to Adeniji’s 209 (41%). The spectator contestant, Biyi Oguntuga of Team Oloke got only 64 votes (12%).
By the time it came to counting and sorting the votes of the contestants in the chairmanship position (at 9.30pm), it was only Leye Omitola of all the “opposition candidates” that could afford to remain on the election ground. Thus it was his unenviable task to relay the sad news of repeated failures of his friends.
Sorting and counting of the chairmanship election votes

A total of 512 votes were cast in the chairmanship race. As earlier predicted by this magazine (vol 10, No 27), Dele Oloke with his 118 votes (23%) rested at the bottom of the class. Perched a little way above him, was Niyi Akinmola with his 174 votes (35%). Akinmola, when he saw the way the trend was going was heard repeatedly muttering to himself:
“Ha eniyan, aiye le!”
(Alas! How treacherous man is!).
Akinmola’s palpable agony was understandable. He was the longest campaigning candidate, having put no less than three years into it, only to be bested by Adebamigbe Omole whose candidacy was not more than six months old. Akinmola forgot perhaps that Wasiu Alabi has noted:
Ogun odun oni,
ogbon odun oni,
t’aja ti nsare ije,
irin faaji ni fesin.
Gbogbo press up t’alangba n’se
Ko fi ni muscle lara
(all the grounds covered by the dog in twenty,
thirty years of intense racing are nothing
but a stroll for the horse,
the agama lizard’s numerous press ups are in vain
they give him no muscular biceps).
Adebamigbe Omole, calmly took victory by getting 220 votes (42%) of the total valid votes cast.
Of the three candidates who came in unopposed, Gloria Nweze(2nd Vice-Chairman), Seyi Olawumi (Social Secretary) and Samson Omodara (Publicity Secretary) only the last is not a mainstream candidate.
Insiders know that Omodara a member of the Team Oloke was spared the agony of contest and eventual defeat due to a silent deal brokered on his behalf by a friend of his, with the political lords of Tiger land. Omodara’s calm disposition and good comportment helped matters a great deal in this regard.
The great announcement: The Electoral Committee, Mrs. Akindiji (chairman), Quadri(secretary) and Olumide Fusika(member)announcing the results of the election at about 9:20pm.

Insiders also know that the battle for the soul of the Ikeja Bar appeared to take spiritual dimension. About a week to the elections, a pillar of the mainstream group Dave Ajetomobi, the outgoing chairman of the branch got stung in his own bedroom. How the scorpion got there was baffling. The unfortunate scorpion however received the capital punishment for his transgression.
Three days to the election, the trio of Dare Akande, Isa Buhari and Adesina Ogunlana were involved in a ghastly motor accident. On their way to Abuja from Kano, a big cow on the outskirts of Kaduna suddenly ran smack into their vehicle, then moving at about 100km at the time. The cow died on impact and the car was badly damaged but the Tigers disembarked unhurt.
The new chairman, Adebamigbe Omole making his "No winner, no vanquished" speech after being sworn in to office.


Remarkably on the day of the election, there was no rain at all that could have disrupted voting and the electricity supply endured to the very end.
Reflecting on all these seemingly disjointed incidents, the new chairman of the branch, Adebamigbe Omole told his colleagues “I am not worried by those things. Remember we fasted and prayed over this election. The Lord will continue to protect us, no matter the evil machinations (if any) of anybody.”