By Opeyemi Bamidele
I speak on behalf of the leadership and entire members of Ekiti Bibiire Coalition in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the people of Ekiti State at home and in diaspora over the cold blooded murder of a very promising member of our coalition, late Foluso Ogundare, a native of this dynamic town of Emure Ekiti and, no doubt, a potential leading light and illustrious citizen of Ekiti State.
His commitment, like ours, was to internal democracy because he believed, like we do, that we cannot sincerely be talking of democracy without internal democracy. Together, we had aspired and together we had stood up for our right to participate in a free and fair primary election that would throw up a popular candidate that would be capable of winning a general election for our party in the 2014 gubernatorial race. For daring to ask for internal democracy in Ekiti, our story, since October 2012 when our Ward and Local Government executive committees were arbitrarily dissolved, has been a story of persecution in all forms, including violent attacks on our persons, disruption of Bibiire Coalition meetings in different parts of the State, the intimidation and harassment of members of the coalition as well as Government-induced arbitrary arrest, detention and even malicious prosecution of our members. And now the shooting of Madam Beatrice Ige and Mr. Foluso Ogundare on Sunday, 3rd November, 2013, which led to the untimely death of Foluso Ogundare.
The least we can do in his memory is to commit ourselves to sustaining this struggle for the defeat of the tyranny of incumbency and the enthronement of popular and participatory democracy in Ekiti State that is founded on internal democracy, which recognises and respects the constitutional right of every eligible citizen to aspire to an elective position without let or hindrance and without fear of intimidation or molestation by an incumbent occupier of such position who should look forward to another term only by the Grace of God and the genuine appreciation of the electorate if, in the judgment of the people, he has performed so exceedingly well as to earn mandate extension.
Today, we commiserate with the families of late Foluso Ogundare, a hero of our struggle as well as our dear sister and compatriot, Madam Beatrice Ige, whose life was miraculously saved by the mighty hands of God. We commiserate with our paramount ruler, the Elemure of Emure, the Elemure-in-Council as well as the entire sons and daughters of Emure Ekiti on this irreparable loss of a very courageous and promising young man who has died for democracy to thrive in Ekiti State.
It is our belief and prayer that all those who conspired to murder this young man and all those political principalities and powers on whose account he was murdered have, by the Grace of God, murdered sleep in their personal lives and political career. We pray that his innocent blood that was shed on the street of Emure will water the tree that will bear the fruits of liberty, peace and genuine democracy in a new and united Ekiti while his spirit will hunt his blood thirsty murderers.
Must we attempt to pay them back in their own coin? The answer is NO, because vengeance is of the Lord and more so as we are not called to seek power like those who don’t know God.
Must we continue to wrestle for justice within the same boat where injustice has become institutionalized by those who, in spite of what they preach, have consistently demonstrated extreme allergy to internal democracy? Clearly, our answer is NO.
To this extent, therefore, I, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, in conjunction with many notable leaders and members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Ekiti State, have resolved to seek for membership of another progressive party with immediate effect rather than proceeding to register as new members of the All Progressive Congress (APC). While not attempting to undermine the APC as a newly registered political party with progressive inclination, we make bold to say that the leadership of APC in Ekiti State has, like a really upsetting tragedy, been hijacked by pseudo-democrats and reactionary elements who would stop at nothing to hold on to political power even when they have clearly been rejected by the masses.
In coming to this conclusion, we have had to consult widely and in the process of our consultation, we had come to a realisation that many well-meaning stakeholders, both within and outside of the political class in Ekiti State, are genuinely desirous of sincere change. Within the political class, we found allies in large numbers in virtually all the major political parties that exist in Ekiti just like in the defunct ACN, CPC and ANPP within the State. We equally found that the generality of Ekiti people and voters at this time are more concerned about the credibility, integrity and cognate experience of individual personalities seeking to lead them rather than the political parties parading or endorsing them as candidates.
To this extent, we have resolved to allow a major realignment of vision and personalities of good people drawn from among the various political parties within the political class in Ekiti State to form a new leadership platform that will work with other Stakeholders outside of the political class at home and in the diaspora to spearhead the much needed sustainable change that will herald in the new and united Ekiti State of our desire.
Also, after due consultation among Stakeholders, including many of our community leaders and founding fathers of our dear State, we have resolved to adopt, as our political platform, the party of the workers, the artisans, the women and the youth, which, undisputedly, is the LABOUR PARTY. And as we lead Ekiti in this new direction, by God’s grace, our pledge is to work hard towards changing the socio-political and economic destinies of Ekiti people through good governance and strength of character in leadership; massive job creation initiatives; integrated agriculture and food security; rural development; sustainable infrastructural development; Human Capital Development, with emphasis on Health and Education; as well as Law and Order. And we are convinced the LABOUR PARTY is a credible progressive platform of convergence for our individual vision and commitment to internal democracy, which informed our individual decisions to form a new alliance and change coalition.
A date for formal declaration, which shall be a day that the good Lord Himself has made and in which we shall rejoice and be glad, will be announced in due course.
Our mission to Emure Ekiti today is to mourn the death of late Foluso Ogundare; to warn those who want to make peaceful change impossible that no one is above the law; and, in solidarity with the good people of Emure Ekiti, to stand on their soil to break the news that we are quiting the ranks of political desperados to embrace a new political order that will take Ekiti to a new height. May our visit of today be remembered for good in the life of Emure Ekiti and her people; and may this Emure Declaration go down in our political history as the birth of a new beginning of true happiness and freedom in Ekiti State.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Opeyemi Bamidele, a member of the House of Representatives