Politics of vote buying, vote selling, by Clement oluwole

I have a childhood attachment to the present-day Osun state.
When I finished my primary education at the Baptist Day School, Bode Ijaiye, Abeokuta, in the early 60s, Iragbiji in Osun state caught my fancy.
So, I settled for a post-primary institution also run by the Baptist Mission in the community.
My choice was informed by the fecund hunting environment and the location is just a trekking distance away from my maternal grandfather’s settlement called Inisa.
Every weekend, I would sneak out of town to lead my fellow kid hunters on expeditions and proceeds of the game enabled me to live well.
One experience that defined my stay in Osun was an encounter I had with a herbalist who conned me of my leopard skin cap shaped like a tip of sand and made popular by the late president of the defunct Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.
The man had sighted me in the town during one of my long vacations and warned me against wearing it to the bush, insisting that I risked being mistaken for bush meat and could get killed by a local hunter.
He asked me to surrender the cap to him in exchange for a talisman that would transform me to a moneyed boy.
To shorten a long story, I handed over the cap to him.
Three days later, he gave me the talisman.
It was a padlock wrapped with part of the leopard skin.
And all I had to do was to empty all my desires to the device and then jam it.
For instance, I could walk into the office of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and order the man to empty a vault for me and he would simply scream “Yes, Sir”.
In my infantile wisdom, I decided to start with the stomach infrastructure.
If it worked for me, then I could proceed to Lagos where the Central Bank was located in those days and order the governor to surrender the keys to the vaults and some bullion vans to me.
So, I chose one of the bukatarias in the town.
On sighting the joint from a close distance, I spoke to the padlock in the language that the owner of the place would understand: “Mo fe lo jeun ni buka yen.
Ki enikeni mase bere owo lowo mi,” meaning “I am going to eat in that bukataria and let no Jupiter ask me for payment”.
Then I jammed the padlock.
In front of the bukataria was a notice to all customers to pay before service.
But I ignored it and elbowed my way in.
Settling down in one corner, I ordered two rations of pounded yam, three large chunks of bush meat and a bottle of palm wine to flush down the meal.
The girl who took my order did not ask for any payment before service.
So, I became more relaxed and reassured myself that the talisman was working.
Virtually every patron of the eatery envied my order, and must have reasoned among themselves thus: “Daju daju, olowo ni baba omode yi”, meaning “Surely, this must be the son of a rich man”.
I dissolved into nostalgia when the singing machine called Davido, who happens to be an Osun indigene, rendered his hit number entitled “Omo Baba Olowo” decades after my experience in the same Osun state! So, before Davido, I was! After the meal, I ordered a wrap of bush meat as a takeaway.
I gathered my overfed body to my feet and made for the exit.
Then I got the shock of my life.
A hand grabbed my clavicle from behind and demanded: “Omode yi, oo ti san owo fun mi ke”, meaning “You small boy, you have not paid me”.
My heart gathered speed as I fiddled with the talisman in my pocket to be sure I jammed it properly.
I did.
At first, my arrestor thought I was bringing money out of the pocket.
Clement oluwole [email protected] 08034522101(text only) weekend BLUES Saturday 22 – Sunday 23, September 2018 No.
049 Muharram 12 – 13, 1440 AH www.blueprint.ng FG, stakeholders map out strategies to bring down price of rice Poaching young athletes, a slap on grassroots devt –Dilichukwu PAGE 20 PAGE 42 Wellbeing Why Africa needs universal health coverage PAGE 31 Books We need to give northern writers hype, attention they deserve –Malumfashi PAGE 37 www.blueprint.ng When I produced an empty hand, she tightened her grip on me.
And just as the owner of the bukataria was about to call in the police, I sighted the juju man as he inched his way towards the joint.
I could not believe my luck.
“That is him!” I screamed, amidst belching.
“That is who?” My arrestor queried.
“That is the man who will foot the bill,” I said, pointing desperately in his direction.
The conman turned out to be the spouse of the buka owner.
I told the motley crowd what transpired between him and me.
The revelation swung the crowd’s sympathy to my side.
They hailed my wisdom for coming to test the talisman at the bukataria.
They thought I knew that the owner was the wife of the swindler.
I stoned him with the fake talisman, gave him the length of my tongue and freed myself from the scene but held on tight to the takeaway bush meat.
My arrestor demanded the bush meat.
I refused to let go.
The demand was on her thin lips as I vamoosed from the “crime” scene.
In actual fact, this piece is a rehash of what I wrote after the August 8, 2014 governorship election that brought back the outgoing Governor of the state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
The Osun exercise came shortly after the Ekiti poll that saw outgoing Governor Ayodele Fayose returning for his second term through the instrumentality of tummy infrastructure.
However, the tummy trap did not work in Osun as it did in Ekiti.
As I wrote then, if the people of Osun state were like me and the folks of Ekiti who believed in the stomach infrastructure philosophy, they would have used their teeth to write Rauf’s political dirge after the poll.
In the build-up to that election, Aregbesola was confronted with Ayo Fayose’s grassroots gimmicks driven by the gospel of rice and beans that swung the victory pendulum to his side.
When interviewed by journalists, he asked: “Do I look like a governor to you?” He was right! Even four years after his second coming (about eight years in all), Ogbeni Aregbesola does not look a shade like his colleagues in terms of dressing, freshness, chubby cheeks and good looks.
But for the fact that his face is very familiar to many, you could pass him for one of those victims of Somali drought.
In today’s exercise holding in Osun state, vote-buying or vote-selling which now defines our democratic process, as it was in Ekiti recently, cannot only be wished away.
The masses are hungry but, curiously enough, they are not angry.
Therefore, they will rush for whatever peanuts vote-buying politicians throw at them at the expense of their future.
They have to survive first so that the future can meet them alive and in one piece.
The lessons from the victory of Ogbeni Rauf at that time were that our politicians seeking elective positions should be closer to the electorate and be super deliverers of democracy dividends.
That was the broom he used to sweep his fierce rival, Sen.
Iyiola Omisore, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) into River Osun.
Omisore deserves an Olympic gold medal in aqua sport for navigating his way back four years later to re-contest in today’s River Osun swimming event! The million naira question today, as Osun folks decide, is: “Will votebuying or vote-selling politics work or fail in Osun as it did in Ekiti?” The primordial culture, now some notches higher, is like a coin with two sides: it can work… just as it can fail, depending on how deep your pocket is.
That is the tragedy of our nascent but monetised democracy! It is a pity.

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