There has been a clamour for professionals and technocrats to join partisan politics in order to salvage the country from ruin which the professional politicians with no second address have brought it to.
When Rotimi Akeredolu SAN contested for the governorship of Ondo State in 2012, his supporters and political pundits alike were glad that the former Nigerian Bar Association President threw his hat in the ring and confronted the then incumbent, Dr. Rahman Olusegun Mimiko who had long abandoned his medical calling for the juicy lucre of politics. Akeredolu lost but recontested in 2016 and triumphed against all odds.
The Achilles Heel which may haunt him for the rest of his mortal life and political immortal life was his ill advised decision to appoint one of his sons Babajide Akeredolu as the Director General of the Performance and Project Implementation Monitoring Unit, Governor’s Office (PPIMU). This is nepotism at its apogee and raises a gargantuan moral question as to why the learned silk has decided to make governance a family affair. Some of his fanatical supporters opined that during the Presidency of the 35th President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy which was fondly referred to as the Camelot because of the brilliance of his Cabinet, he appointed his brother Robert as the Attorney-General. The critical question to ask is must we copy the bad things in Uncle Sam lock, stock and barrel? Can’t we be discerning to know what to pick and choose from? We could have as well legalized gay marriage since the US under Barack Obama did so. The late Afrobeat Maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti railed about the colonial mentality in one of his hit songs when he said ‘Dem don release you but you never release yourself.’
The role Aketi’s son now plays is to vet contracts in the state which is a highly sensitive one and will expose the young man to all sort of attacks by the political buccaneers who will stop at nothing to even spearhead attacks on his life and safety since contracts is the oil that wheels the polity in Nigeria.
Even though Aketi committed no crime in his action, it still raises a huge moral question as there is something called conflict of interest. This explains why public office holders are required to relinquish their interests in private businesses so as not to give them an undue advantage as government officials. It was conflict of interest that nearly marred the political career of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe when the Foster Sutton Tribunal in 1957 indicted him for his interest in the defunct African Continental Bank while he was the Premier of the Eastern Region. The Coker Commission of Enquiry indicted the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo for a conflict of interest while he was the Western Region Premier. How will Aketi sanction his son if he is found wanting? Will he fire him? Will he succumb to the feminine wiles of his wife who would naturally appeal to him not to deal with him? It is an extremely messy affair which he doesn’t need at the moment.
There are other roles in the polity that his son can effortlessly fit into. The APC which he belongs to controls five states out of six in the south west. He can swing an appointment for Babajide in any of them. In the Second Republic, Late Chief Oluwole Awolowo deliberately ran for a seat in the Lagos State House of Assembly rather than Ogun State where he hailed from so that his dad would not be seen as unduly favouring him at the expense of other politicians who had worked tirelessly for the success of the Unity Party of Nigeria. Oluwole even started his political career as a councilor in Apapa rather than in Ogun State. Tony Anenih Jnr, the eldest son of Late Chief Tony Anenih was appointed as the Head of the Contract Verification Panel in Delta State under Chief James Onanefe Ibori in Delta State rather than in his native Edo as it would have raised a lot of dust if it had happened in the latter state.
Babajide’s appointment will erase every achievement of Aketi as bad news sells faster than good news. It will be evergreen in the minds of both the people of Ondo and Nigerians at large that the bearded lawyer turned politician chose the path of infamy in his bid to satisfy his rapacious appetite for power.
Babajide I am certain had the best of education as Aketi made a fortune as a lawyer before his foray into politics. Why doesn’t he give the young man the chance to break his bones apologies to a Mafioso cliché and make his way in the world? Must he spoon feed him ad infinitum even after a highly prized education? Why can’t he let him live his life on his own terms rather than making him a target of vicious politicians who will stop at nothing to extract their pound of flesh as they naturally would feel highly betrayed by Aketi having worked day and night for the success of the party at the 2020 polls? Let’s not forget that Aketi narrowly lost to Eyitayo Jegede SAN at the Supreme Court by a lone vote in favour of the former. Is this the way to repay the party apparatchik for standing by him through thick and thin? There should be sensitivity when making political appointments and this certainly is political hara-kiri on the part of the learned silk.
He who comes to equity must come with clean hands; Aketi has soiled his hands by choosing the nauseating part of nepotism in a highly tensed state which could cost the party victory in the 2024 gubernatorial elections. ‘Nemo Judex In Causa Sua’ – You cannot be a Judge in your own cause is a cardinal legal principle that has been thoroughly violated and raped by this appointment.
It is not too late for Aketi to listen to the voice of reason and immediately reverse this appointment which insults the sensibilities of the good people of Ondo State and makes the Sunshine State a cruel laughing stock. Posterity would be cruel with Aketi should Babajide remain in office as a time would come when no amount of image laundering by spin doctors would be able to erase the colossal damage to his hard earned reputation.
A word is enough for the wise!