Opinion (15/8/17): Lagos APC LG Election: Banire and the burden of truth, by Tajudeen Oyekanmi
Winston Churchill, the great British leader once said that “truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is”.
These eternal words from Churchill are inspiring and unsurprising. The former British Prime Minister was a Philosopher King, an idea that was born in Plato’s Dialogue Republic as a vision for good governance and a just state. Today, Plato’s dream has taken flight among those entrusted with the task of governing mankind even in the 21st century. Fairness, justice, equity and other virtues of representative government are no longer in the rule book of many politicians today.
Last month, Lagos State held its local government election and the All Progressives Congress, APC, which is the ruling party, gave some of us reasons to worry. Our concern came from the fact that APC ab initio, resisted popular selection of candidates through proper primary elections before the main election.
It would be recalled that some weeks to the election, dissatisfied aspirants who vehemently opposed what they termed “selection of candidates” at the party’s primary election clashed with their leaders at Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere and disrupted the exercise. It was an unpleasant free for all for a party that hitherto promised change and hope to a country plagued by impunity, lawlessness and imposition.
Unfortunately, the party leadership in the state refused to condemn the show of shame. Rather, it chose to support impunity and the obvious absence of level playing ground for the aspirants, claiming that selection is a way of life for the party.
But one man who is now widely believed to be the conscience of our party stood up and spoke out, even at the risk of being a minority voice. As a member of the APC, I am very proud of Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN for offering hope to true progressives. Banire had condemned the undemocratic practice and warned of dire consequences should the party fail to retrace its steps.
Some of us were not surprised about Banire’s outburst and concern for his party because of his pedigree. For a man who practices and teaches law, nothing short of an honourable reaction would be acceptable. This is coupled with the big shoes he wears as APC’s National Legal Adviser.
Banire, I understand, had argued against imposition because of its illegality and the far-reaching consequences closely associated with this form of misdemeanour. The distinguished lawyer had contended at the time, that discontented aspirants could easily embarrass the ruling party in any court of law because due process was not followed in the emergence of candidates.
Regrettably, for many weeks now, his adversaries have sponsored faceless authors who are circulating all forms of inanities as advertorials to infuriate the gentleman.
But t is now evident that the struggle against the powerful forces behind imposition of candidates in Lagos APC is purely altruistic. Banire has never contested for any elective position and has not signified interest in running for office in the near future. So as APC’s National Legal Adviser, he is only trying to save APC from itself.
Not many people know the worth of this true patriot because of his self-effacing nature and disposition. Since he came into public consciousness at the dawn of this Republic in 1999 as an aide to Senator Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, Banire has done great things that are unsung.
It is on record that he left the various sectors he supervised as commissioner, better than he met them. For instance, apart from being the architect of the modernisation of streets lights in Lagos State, the beautification of the state was equally his initiative as Commissioner for Environment.
I understand he was the one who inspired and initiated Lagos State Transport Management Authority, LASTMA, the highly efficient and award-winning Lagos State traffic managers. And as Commissioner for Transportation, he transformed Oshodi, a hitherto safe haven for miscreants and all manner of activities into a proud heritage to all Lagosians and indeed, Nigerians.
Fortunately, nobody has said anything bordering on corruption or incompetence about him because he is a thorough-bred intellectual and technocrat who left government without blemish. This is why this little crisis must be put in proper perspective. It is also important for everybody to understand that Banire and others like him obviously mean well for APC. And the earlier the party recognises this, the better for everyone.
Finally, our great party must refocus and seek means of re-inventing itself as 2019 beckons rather than chasing shadows and engaging in bush fire wars.
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