I have kept the full version of this article to myself hitherto. Please, have it for your pleasure. It was originally titled “Political Reminiscences on Senator Abdul-Fatai Buhari”
A political success story is often a mixed one, particularly for a politician that is worth his salt. Senator Buhari’s political success story isn’t without bitter days.
Definitely, there were cruel days of untold hardship and brutal unleashing of terror, days of uncertainties and despair, sleepless nights precipitated by collaborative political assailants. I remember the days of gruesome attacks by the faceless thugs of the late Warlord of Ibadan politics during the senatorial campaign of Senator Buhari in Oke-Ogun, a day Hon. Tayo Biyi defied the circumstantial dreadful silence of Oke-Ogun forest, and drove a vandalised vehicle to lead other damaged vehicles conveying fear soaked supporters of Senator Buhari home, after a destructively devastating, horrible campaign day. Fortunately, no life was lost! I remember the days when the thugs of the oppressors took laws into their hands, flagrantly unchallenged by the law enforcement agents, very regrettably.
I remember the days when the boastful Oriade of NURTW, of the PDP, who eventually vanished into the thin air like vapour, threatened fire and brimstone. I remember the days when the Ibapon political base of Senator Buhari became a target of the adversaries who vowed to set it on fire. Even at such threat, it was the only ‘safe’ haven for Buhari’s teeming, loyally adamant political supporters who were being hunted by merciless devourers of the then ruling PDP.
The senatorial race of Dr Abdulfatai Buhari began in the year 2007. His popular acceptance by the electorate endeared him to the APC. The party offered him a House of Representatives ticket but, constrained by the popular will of the people, he refused to relinquish his senatorial ambition. He thereafter contested on the platform of Labour Party. His senatorial campaign, that year, was historically unprecedented. He was personally embarrassed by the teeming crowd of supporters that flooded the roads, resulting in hours of traffic jam.
The major towns in Oyo North Senatorial District were all agog during Buhari’s campaigns; it was difficult to imagine anything short of victory. On the election day, I was supposed to represent the party at the senatorial collation centre in Iseyin but the arrangement was reversed for an important reason. In the evening of that day, Tayo Biyi, Mustapha Lawal and I, all Care-Taker Committee members of Ogbomoso South Local Government, went to the local government collation centre on the premises of OSLG secretariat, where fiercely looking soldiers were stationed at the gate. They prevented the representatives of other parties, except those of the PDP, from accessing the centre. One of our returning officers, who presented himself for entry screening, was mercilessly beaten at the gate while we watched helplessly.
As if that was not enough, PDP thugs spotted us under a tree, near Sunsun Police Station in front of the secretariat, raced after us, shooting sporadically. I can vividly remember that one of our numerous supporters, who dared to face them, was shot severally. His name is Olutoye Adigun, fondly called Ijakoko. Miraculously, God saved us from the jaws of PDP hit men that day! Again, no life was lost. Needless to say, the election was fraudulently masterminded! It was a daylight robbery! The optimistic electorate were robbed!
In the year 2011, Buhari’s unwavering popular acceptance by the electorate prompted the APC to offer him a ticket to run for the Senate. The campaigns, as usual, were tremendously successful. The cancellation of National Assembly elections held April 2nd and later rescheduled for April 9th by INEC was a setback to the senatorial ambition of Buhari whose obvious early victory, fearfully acknowledged by the PDP stalwarts, was already being celebrated when the news of cancellation filtered in. This development set the ruling PDP on their toes, pushed them back to their drawing table which, expectedly, made the election a tougher war for Buhari to fight.
The first set of elections in the 2011 general elections, the National Assembly elections, had implications for the ambition of a governorship aspirant, particularly in his own constituency. This was the political reality that former governor Akala knew like his palm and had to confront. The fallout of the cancelled election jolted the PDP because the pendulum swung against them. It is on record that Otunba Akala furiously chastised his field soldiers for their dismal poor performance in the cancelled elections, obviously at the instance of the determined Buhari who was fighting a liberation war.
The cancellation of the elections was a huge saving grace for Akala and the concerned PDP candidates, particularly in his home town, Ogbomoso. Of course, Akala needed to fight tooth and nail. He needed to fight with renewed vigour so that a Buhari would not disgrace him. Frankly speaking, contesting against the party of a serving governor in his home town – Akala for that matter – can be likened to a suicide mission. With this development, Buhari faced another difficult conundrum of the cunning PDP. Unfortunately, his emerging victory was aborted.
As fate would have it, in 2015, Buhari, a fastidious politician, secured an APC ticket again to run for the Senate and, this time, he won, reversing the pattern. Indeed, it is a victory well deserved! Without mincing words, Senator Buhari has worked very hard to earn his present political status. Now, it is a season of reward for political doggedness, sagacity, steadfastness, unrepentant progressive spirit, and the unquenchable political flame of the strongly resolute Buhari.
No doubt, Buhari joined the APC when the chance of the party, to win the state, was gloomy. He joined when the soup had not been prepared, not when it was done. Buhari is not an asylum seeker in the APC. He joined when the party had reluctantly but helplessly conceded Ogbomoso zone to the then ruling PDP. He joined when being in the opposition posed the greatest danger to lives and property, then Otunba Akala was the state governor. He joined when the APC needed a political giant to wrestle Ogbomoso zone from the grip of the PDP.
Today, Buhari is vindicated! He has fought a good fight! He has changed the political landscape and composition of Ogbomoso zone! He has librated Ogbomoso zone from the shackle of the regressive PDP. The APC has conquered the suicidal PDP in Ogbomoso zone. Truly, a man’s resilience to pressure; the tenacity of his courage when disappointment knocks persistently; the veracity of his leadership professions; the sturdiness of his defence mechanism; his resistance to failures; and his strength to fight on when the battle is at its hottest cannot be accurately gauged when he is comfortable. Despite the election robberies and what seemed like insurmountable political up hills, Buhari remained a political palm tree, not deterred by drought. Truth is very stubborn; no matter how hard you suppress it, it would survive. Bravo to Honourable Abdul-Fatai Omotayo Buhari! Bravo to a game changer! Bravo to a valiant leader! All roads lead to Iseyin tomorrow. Sir, I congratulate you on the fabulous “2nd Senator Buhari Empowerment Programme” holding tomorrow at the New NYSC Camp, Iseyin. All are invited!!!