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BY: Elijah Udofia

In Nigeria, politics is regarded as a game with the word “dirty” attached to it. In Sainte climes, politics is not a dirty game been portrayed by some people, because those who play politics knows what really take to play it as people involved were highly intelligent and do so accordingly . Though, it is being regarded as dirty in Nigeria because those who engage in it do not follow nor observe the rules of the game. They engage in all manners of nefarious activities including, maiming and killing to get to power. The words of Ambrose Bierce who said “politics is strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage”, aptly described how Nigerians politicians see politics. To them, the end justifies the means.

For Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, those who follow his political antecedents over the years would attest to the fact that he is a Nigerian politician with a difference. He is one politician who believes that politics should be played without bitterness. From his inauguration on May 29 this year, Abiodun has continued to show that politics should not be a do or die affairs, but a platform to render services that would improve the lives of the people. He most has had the advice of Paul Krugman, who was quoted as saying, “the goal in the end is not to win elections. The goal is to change society”.

He has said on many occasions that he bears no grudge against anybody and that he has forgiven anyone or group that had offended him. Abiodun has demonstrated this by extending hand of fellowship to his opponents, even to those who contested against him in the last governorship election in the State.

Recently, Governor Abiodun received former Governor Gbenga Daniel, a prominent member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, who visited him in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta. Going with how politics is played in Nigeria, some may wonder why the Governor accepted such a visit, considering the fact that Daniel’s party contested against him. Another opposition member, this time, a fellow Gubernatorial contestant, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, popularly Known as (GNI), of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), also visited Prince Abiodun in his office at Oke-Mosan.

GNI who came with his entire political structure, “the Believe Movement”, said he and members of his team were around to see the Governor as they have seen positive signs that gladden their hearts. Good talk, but can this be possible in Nigeria’s politics of winners take all syndrome? Or where a winner sees fellow contestants as enemies? As if that was not enough, Abiodun just few days ago opened his doors to 80, out of the 81 political parties in the State. The parties, under the auspices of Intra-party Advisory Council, (IPAC), were led by its state Chairman Comrade Abayomi Arabambi of the Labour Party.

One interesting point to note is that Prince Gboyega Isiaka did not just visit Abiodun with his political associates alone. Those who come with him included the former Chairman of the State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Joju Fadairo, members of Labour Party, Accord Party, among others. Prince Abiodun had also opened his arms to embrace the State Chairman of PDP, Bayo Dayo when he visited him, and since assumption of office, Governor Abiodun had interacted with Rotimi Paseda, who contested on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP), Buruji Kasamu who contested under the banner of PDP, the State Chairman of PDP and many others, to show them that in his political dictionary, there is nothing like winners or losers. This gesture is to demonstrate that politics would be a beautiful game if players do not have ulterior motives, other than to serve.

Indeed, Governor Dapo Abiodun, through his display magnanimity, openness, friendliness, inclusiveness and tolerant, has brought calm and abiding peace to Ogun State. This display of accommodating people who are according to Nigeria’s political parlance are “enemies”,  is a pointer to the fact that politics in Nigeria can be played without rancour or bitterness. If only politicians throughout the length and breadth of this country can learn from these attributes and sterling qualities of Governor Dapo Abiodun, then the era of politics being a dirty game and a do or die affairs, would come to an end and Nigeria will begin to experience development in the real sense of the word.

Udofia is of Ministry of information and Strategy, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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