Monday, July 2, 2018
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Washington, DC, USA

Segun Oni

have now decided to respond to the arguments, dissertations and postulations of Mr. Femi Odere on what he called "Segun Oni's legal case." My intention is to inform and educate many, who might have been carried away by the journalistic fineness and niceties of my brother, Femi. The purpose is to sieve the weed from the wheat in what he has been saying about the issue at stake. I learned long ago that if an untruth is hammered persistently and committedly for a long time, it may become a perceived truth. I therefore rightly feel, I should present the other side of his views.

The name, Olusegun Adebayo Oni may be listed in the court papers but I can say with all equivocation and without any iota of contradiction that Chief Segun Oni popularly called CSO, is never a desperately ambitious person who would like to be Governor by all means. He is a man who never thought of court action in the first place to sort out the problem of the party but the reality of a good leader ideally, is that it is the followership that makes the leadership. So, Segun Oni is only echoing the voice of his followers.

Segun Oni for more than twenty years has been leading some group of people who believe in him. His performance in office as Governor and APC Deputy National Chairman has again endeared him to many new friends many of who were his yesterday's persecutors who championed the struggle leading to his removal from office as Governor. These new friends coupled with the old ones are today leading Atunse Ekiti's struggle. CSO's character, attributes and his ways of life make all those following him not to follow blindly or for what to derive or gain from him, but because they have imbibed the personality make-up of this special breed but mostly misunderstood by some people. His followers have accepted him as he has accepted them in such a way that without a single word spoken, the body language is a necessary and sufficient means of effective communication. CSO never loses but gains more friends every day. But Mr. Odere is one of those who doesn't know, let alone understand Chief Segun Oni and or his group.

Hear Femi Odere in his latest remarks on Segun Oni: "Am not sure if this idea of a lawsuit was properly thought out by CSO despite the goading of some of his supporters to keep 'dancing' on. The buck stops at his desk."

I personally found this very rude, insulting and distasteful coming from Mr. Femi Odere with his age compared to that of Chief Segun Oni, a former Ekiti State Governor and a former National Deputy Chairman of APC. To say that Chief Segun Oni is not thoughtful of his actions but being goaded, forced and pushed by his supporters to keep 'dancing' without thinking, is antitheses to Yoruba rich culture and tradition envied around the world as moral, ethical, decent and respective of people.

Hear Mr. Odere again: "Regardless the strategy which cannot be more than using the suit as a bargaining chip, he should have withdrawn the suit the moment the southwest leaders waded in." To say that Segun Oni is using the "suit as a bargaining chip" is a demonstration of wanton, malevolent and maleficent ignorance of who Chief Segun Oni is. Bargaining for what and with whom? Common! Segun Oni is a projector of moral compass for integrity, etiquette, transparency, incorruptibility and decisiveness, incomparable with anybody who has ever had the honor to govern Ekiti State, and for which he remains a beacon of hope for Ekiti State people.

I can perceive that the greatest problem or interest of Femi Odere is for Segun Oni to withdraw the law suit. Hear him: "he should have withdrawn the suit the moment the APC southwest leaders waded in." This point has been very persistently but ignorantly recurring in all his write ups on this issue. I cannot fault him. He has a right to his views, opinions and actions under the law, and he has an inept educative and informative knowledge of Segun Oni to a correct analysis of reasons for his actions. But how I wish he extends the same rights to Segun Oni and others.

I don't know when Femi became the spokesman or the PRO of the South West democratic leaders who are defenders of rule of law. As respective and responsible leaders, they have advisedly spoken. As political fathers, they are wise and well equipped enough to run their homes and resolve conflicts between their children. Mr. Odere should leave them alone please!

Listen to Femi Odere said: "My worry for him (Segun Oni) is the future implications of this present, short term strategy. Win or lose, his fate is bound to be sealed with the SW progressives, which has been good to him far more than many of its committed members." This is also a confirmation of the fact that many political observer-participants like my brother Odere only see and feel Segun Oni from the distance, may be from the screens of TVs in their rooms or parlors or sitting rooms.

For those of us who know the man Segun Oni, we can always attest and vouch for him that his future is not in the hands of people or groups or any mortal for that matter. He may not know what his future holds but he assuredly knows He, who holds his future - the LORD Jehovah Almighty. How I wish that Mr. Odere and his ilk, will know that this life is not always about gains and profits. It is not about what you will do or become tomorrow, it is what you do today, which posterity will record for you against tomorrow. There is always a time in the life of a man when posterity beckons on him to stand up for something, otherwise, he will live for nothing. Today, Segun Oni is standing for something.

Imagine this particular line from Mr. Odere which I consider very much offensive and that can make me classify Odere as one of the haters of Segun Oni in the APC, who doesn't want anything good for him. Hear him: "Win or lose, his (Segun Oni) fate is bound to be sealed with the SW progressives, which has been good to him far more than many of its committed members."

So, has Femi Odere now judged and concluded that Segun Oni is not committed to SW progressives or APC? Who is Femi Odere to wear this toga? This for me, is too mean and almost a desecration or profanity. The question begging to be asked is: Who is Odere working for or who is sponsoring him? I don't see him as a high stakeholder in Ekiti politics as to get himself involved neck deep this way. I am however surprised that a supposedly democratic freelance journalist like him is also echoing the undemocratic notion of some Ekiti APC members that Segun Oni is a stranger to APC who therefore doesn't deserve or merit any good thing coming from the party.

Oni like every other founder help put APC together. How many members of APC has a membership card today. Ekiti State, recently started the national registration drive and without even issuing hard copy membership cards. That says loudly and clearly that APC is a new party different from ACN, CPC, PDP and others that built the house and produced the bulk of its national leaders today including our dear PMB. Let Odere and anyone that cares do a survey of state and national leaders of APC today including state governors and National Assembly members and leaders, it's crystal clear that former PDP members have more than 60% share. Why is it only in Ekiti they are seen as OUTCAST?

Since the day of the primary, Oni called on his teaming supporters to work for the election of APC and its candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Despite Oni's continuous call for support, the hatred against Oni continues to rage on. Notably, this hatred pre-dates the primary election and demonstrated in Mr. Odebe's write ups. But where were all these venoms and the likes when Oni stood and campaign side by side with Fayemi in his re-election bid in 2014, when Oni was almost deserted and rejected by his friends and family members for being in the APC?. Where were they when he also supported JKF ministerial appointment? Towards the 2018 Governorship election, Oni has stood beside Dr. Fayemi to campaign in Ado Ekiti, the state capital and in Ifaki, his home town, and has constantly and consistently been urging his supporters to work, vote and ensure victory for APC and Fayemi.

I know Femi Odere as a journalist but because of his novel interest, he has started wearing the wig and gown of a lawyer, if not of a Supreme Court Justice. Hear him: "Even if Fayemi is disqualified sooner or later as a result of this suit, he (Segun Oni) cannot expect the leadership to call him to take over from where Fayemi stopped. Let's remember that the Supreme Court already said that the party reserves the right to choose whom to give its ticket."

I am a foolish man when it comes to law, yet, I laugh at Odere's legal folderol. Though, am not competent to response to my brother on the Supreme Court decisions, however, suffice to say that whoever wins or loses this suit will not be determined on the pages of the newspapers or on the social media but in the courts of competent jurisdiction. So, my brotherly counsel is, let all interested parties or individuals patiently wait for the law to take its normal course. It is only after then, we can expect the "leadership" to call whoever they like "to take over from where Fayemi stopped" in the words of Odere, which sounds so funny and laughable.

"This suit will cost him (Segun Oni) more politically than his expected gain. It is misguided. It is ill-timed. It is unnecessary. It offends the sensibilities of members and party hierarchy not only SW, but across the nation. I have said more in my rejoinder to Oga Ben Oguntuase about this litigation. The portends are very bad" concluded Mr. Femi Odere.

This conclusion is necessary and sufficient to make one think or believe that Mr. Odere is writing in very bad taste or as if he's a machinery writer. For me as Ekiti in flesh and blood, everybody knows am supporting Chief Segun Oni and would have voted for him if he had won the primary. Now come July 14, 2018, as a loyal and committed member of APC, am going to cast my vote for Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, like Segun Oni himself and his other supporters. For those who may not know, all Segun Oni supporters have been following instructions from him to work in their wards and ensure victory for Dr. Fayemi and APC. My question to my brother Femi, is that knowing he's not a registered voter in Ekiti State, who is he going to cast his vote for? He doesn't belong to any unit, ward, constituency or local government in Ekiti State.

For those who doesn't know Segun Oni well enough, he is so incorruptible that he doesn't look for favors from anybody. So, he doesn't sell his conscience at whatever cost in gold or silver or any monetary value. He is a servant leader. He doesn't lead from a White Horse or Ivory Tower, he comes to the level of his followers, without whom he says, he is not a worthy leader. He doesn't dance to anybody's drum as erroneously claimed by Mr. Odere but like a true democrat and ardent believer in the rule of law, he is a good listener. He is a humble and noble man per excellence and therefore easily surrenders to any superior points from his followers being not a dictator.

This is why in the matter of the law suit, which is causing some much nightmare and ceaseless torrents of comments, Segun Oni merely yielded to his followers demand for justice and to explore the boundaries of our party's nomination of candidates' guidelines, the party's constitution and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because of his followers perceived flagrant infringements and violations. As a servant leader, he therefore had no better choice than to agree and pursue what his followers see as protecting their best interest and the best interest of the greatest number of Ekiti people, which Segun Oni himself has always enunciated in the pre and post May 12, 2018 primary election of Ekiti APC.

This action, therefore, is in no way intended, to diminish his loyalty and commitment and those of his followers to our great part the APC. On the other hand, the outcome of the suit will help many future aspirants not only in Ekiti but in Nigeria, to better understand what to do and when to do it, if they want to be an election candidate. There must be accountability and predictability in our processes. This will strengthen our internal democracy, solidify our norms, mores and laws, and enhance the overall growth and development of our rule of law and democracy.

Finally, let me share the secret of Chief Segun Oni's exceptionally godly, humble and gratified life style with those that doesn't know him, in the words of Apostle Paul:

"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil.4:11-13).