Royal Rumble in the Pacesetter State

The forces have aligned and the stage is now set for one of the biggest political battles and contest in modern times in Oyo state. It is going to be a Royal Rumble in the pacesetter state. Clearly now, the contest is between two contending forces and parties; Adebayo Adelabu of the All Progressives Congress and Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Though, there are other candidates such as African Action Congress candidate Akinola Laosun, Alliance for Democracy candidate Oyedele Hakeem Alao, Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party candidate Olalekan Ayorinde and National Interest Party represented by Bolanle Sarumi-Aliyu, the general feel among the people of the state is that this contest is between two dominant parties in the state, the APC and the PDP.

The political intrigues that preceded the emergence of the two candidates provide a very good action film seasonal film that can best any around. From the party congresses to the primaries and the campaign to the coalition, all provides both comic relief and some deep suspense that kept people glued to happenings in the political capital of the Southwest.

Adebayo Adelabu’s emergence as the candidate of the APC was a surprise to some and expected for many. Beating aspirants Like Tegbe, Lekan Alli, Akala and a host of others to the slot was a no mean feat. As expected the winner had the backing of the incumbent Governor Abiola Ajimobi who prevailed on others to step down for Adebayo Adelabu. Some who felt sidelined and cheated abandoned ship and decamped to other parties, one of these is the former governor of the state Otunba Alao Akala.

Adebayo Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is the grandson of the famous Ibadan politician Adegoke Adelabu (Penkelemesi) who held sway in the 1950s during the colonial period. His erudition, academic and intellectual prowess was quite remarkable. He was the writer of one of the first nationalist books to be written in colonial Africa; “Africa in Ebullition”. His nickname ‘Penkelemesi’ is a corrupted version of Peculiar mess; his coinage about the state of political affairs during his time. Adegoke Adelabu died in his prime (sadly). His grandson Adebayo Adelabu, though an achiever in his own right, having proved his mettle locally and internationally; privately and publicly, is blissfully ridding on the name and fame of his grandfather.

Seyi Makinde on the other hand is not a neophyte in Oyo state Political scene having contested for the governorship in 2011 and 2015. In 2015, he remarkable contested under the platform of Social Democratic Party and he did so with great credit. He is a successful business man in his right and has been in the faces and minds of the people with his philanthropic projects.

His emergence as the flag bearer of the PDP though expected was not without challenges as he had to wrestle power from the former governor of Oyo state Rashidi Ladoja who joined the PDP from his own party; Accord Party. Makinde’s refusal to grant Ladoja latitude of overbearing influence in the PDP led to Ladoja decamping to the African Democratic Congress and thereafter to the Zenith Labour Party.

Emergence of a two-man contest is quite remarkable and perhaps finds its bearing in the presidential and National Assembly election. Before this election, there were moves by the various opposition parties to forge an alliance. Parties such as Action Democratic Party represented by Adebayo Alao Akala, the African Democratic Congress represented by Olufemi Lanlehin and Zenith Labour Party represented by Shafarudeen Alli and Ladoja met to fine-tune modalities for coalition towards wrestling power from the ruling APC.

However, the results of the National Assembly Election seem to have changed the calculation. Relatively unknown Action Democratic party was able to win a federal House of representatives seat, a testament to the political influence of Alao Akala who is the most visible face if the ADP in the state. The ADC despite harnessing a proud number of votes across the states could not win a seat despite their perceived popularity and influential figures.

Alao Akala became a hot bride vigorously courted by the ruling APC, just like Omisore’s influence in the emergence of the APC at the Osun election. Within days it became common knowledge that Akala was going to team up with the Adelabu campaign after the ruling party reinstated his son as the chairman of Ogbomosho North local Government. (He was removed from office after he decamped to the ADP, his father’s party) and according to some reports some Naira exchanges hands.

This development in no small way jolted the Seyi Makinde and Olufemi Lanlehin that were part of the planned coalition effort. In a meter of day it has become clear that the coalition was going to adopt Seyi Makinde as the viable candidate to challenge the APC.

With the definition of the coalitions the Oyo state’s governorship election has become effectively stratified. The Adelabu camps banking on the federal might, the party structure within the state and the bloc vote from Ogbomosho axis with the influence of Alao Akala, the Seyi Makinde camp is banking on the bloc votes of Ibadan, Ibarapa and the goodwill of the people.

Judging from the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly election, and the realigning of political forces, the stage is set for a tight race that is really too close to call.

Opinions are sharply divided among the populace. Both candidates are formidable with the backing of the powers that be. Whoever emerges will be unquestionably a worthy candidate with impressive CV, ready to serve the people of the pacesetter state.

The Return Of Edmund Obilo to Splash FM: The Cloned Or The Real?

Home, they say, is where the heart is. East, West, North or South. There is no place like home. Home is the Best. Edmund Obilo is back Home!

Perhaps the most dominant and well celebrated news across all spheres in the city of Ibadan, apparently apart from the Political news, is the announcement that Edmund Obilo is back in Splash FM. This announcement which was made by Edmund Obilo himself via a Facebook and twitter posts was roundly communicated and celebrated on Splash FM and its sister station, Lagelu FM. This revelation which came as an unexpected surprise to so many people is one that comes with mixed feeling. Hope this is not and won’t be a cloned Edmund but the real firebrand, radio listeners’ delight we used to know before he left for his sojourn across other radio stations.

Earlier in the month, Edmund Obilo had on his Facebook page, made his intention known about leaving the radio for the time being, apparently to concentrate on his own radio platform: Bush Radio, his podcast and his Signature venture Twinkle as alternative platforms for engaging the people. Before the announcement he had been active on Radio with Inspiration FM both in Ibadan and in Lagos, Rave FM in Oshogbo, Osun state as well as other media platforms.

Leaving the Radio for a Radio man in the mold of Edmund Obilo, is unthinkable especially now that we are in the political season toward the 2019 elections. The sudden change of mind calls for questions.

Why the sudden change?

That Edmund Obilo used to be the darling of radio listerners is a fact that cannot be over emphasized. Everyone, young and old, would eagerly anticipate his coming on air due to a combination of factors such as the respect he commands with his captivating voice, his scholarly mind with which he analyses and dissect local, national and international issues, the courage to ask difficult questions from whoever is his guest on his programs as well as the caliber of persons who he invites as guest on his shows. The combination of these factors made him a house hold name in the “Radio sphere” both in Ibadan and its environs. People loved Edmund.

His time at Splash FM was the blossoming years for both himself and the station. He came and erected himself into the consciousness of many. Before then Edmund Obilo had worked in various capacity at different organization. I understand he was as a sports presenter on Premier FM, Ibadan.

The circumstances that surrounded the exit of Edmund Obilo remain quite hazy. However speculation was rife that it had to do with the disagreement he has with the daughter of the owner of the station, Chief Adebayo Akande. This acrimonious exit left a bitter taste in the mouth of many in Ibadan. The BringbackEdmund trended relatively thereafter. but before then there were evident signs of cracks in the wall of the relationship between the station and Edmund, he once went AWOL without informing listeners when it was not a time for his usual annual leave. This led to speculations that the powers that-be were at logger heads with him. Up till date an interview with a personality who openly criticized the Alaafin of Oyo was never aired after an appetizer was served. He went on a short break or leave afterwards.

The famous displeasure that the Executive Governor of the State Abiola Ajimobi aired over the absence of Edmund from the interview he had invited him to was remarkable. (That edition of the program was anchored by the duo of Oluwaseun Akinola and Michael Olatubosun). This underscored how important Edmund Obilo was.  Edmund came back on air to give a resounding apology to the Governor.  However, the cracks with the station only grew wider until his exit from the station.

Before his exit from the station, Edmund brought to Splash FM the cream de la crème of Nigeria’s political, socio-economic and cultural scene. That is no small measure boosted the coverage and the status that Splash FM had, not just in the southwest but also across the country. The reputation and ratings were high. The arrival of other stations could not affect their ratings overwhelmingly. Perhaps the newest and boldest kid in town at the time; Fresh FM owned by popular musician Yinka Ayefele could lay claim to ruffling the feathers of Splash FM. Fresh FM came with a bang and a brand that Ibadan residence fell in love with. Till today the battle of supremacy still rages on between the two Radio Stations.

To say the exit of Edmund Obilo from Splash FM shocked the whole state will be an understatement. Radio was no longer the same. Current affairs was no longer the same. Splash FM never remained the same and Edmund Obilo with all his subsequent achievements and successes no longer remain the same.  With Edmund’s exit, Fresh FM instinctively took over in the consciousness of many.

Why Edmund had to come back?

The coming home (Splash FM) of Edmund is quite suspicious and auspicious at this time, approaching the elections 2019. There is perhaps no prize for guessing why.

Since leaving Splash FM Edmund Obilo has tried his hands on many endeavors many of which were largely successful. His Bush Radio which is an online radio kicked off, Twinkle was running so was his Radio programmes on various Radio Stations). Inspiration FM was lucky to have him, (he gave them some more traffic especially whenever he was on air). However he wasn’t the same. No disrespect to any station but apparently there is only one Splash FM.

In the same vein, Splash FM too was lacking the feel and vibe that it once had especially in current affairs. No disrespect to other presenters, they are no Edmund Obilo. Thus the feel needed to be back especially as the rivalry between Splash FM and Fresh FM got heightened. Amusingly, Splash had to continually remind us that they are the best. A look at their official Facebook page would reveal the hunger to continually claim that spot. However, they needed someone who could give a further push and effort to their tiring struggle. Edmund is the missing link.

The Political season is back with campaigns gearing up and various personalities revving up to air their programs and manifesto. Radio Stations need that commanding, courageous voice to interrogate and ask serious questions from personalities and contestants. There used to be no better voice in Ibadan than Edmund Obilo. He was the big fish that eminent personalities will not hesitate to jump on his programmes for interviews. Splash FM realizes this and they sure are cashing in on his availability as we approach 2019 electioneering . A big personality like Edmund needs a big platform and vice versa. Thus the new albeit renewed relationship between Edmund and splash is basically a symbiotic relationship. No individual is greater than an establishment but there are some persons who are indispensable. Just as Christine Amanpour, Jake Tapper, are to CNN and Sean Hannity is to Fox News so also is/was Edmund Obilo to Splash FM.

The Fresh FM Rivalry

In all honesty, the major rivalry that exists between Splash FM and neighbouring Fresh FM can be compared with the El Classico rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona. As stated earlier, the arrival to the scene of Fresh FM gave a very good alternative to persons who already suspected that Splash FM was being biased and perceived as being pro-government not even with the perceived persecution of Edmund on the radio. Fresh FM appears more critical of the government and people keyed into their programs. With the likes of Tope Edward, Rolake Bello and Isaac Brown, they began to share listeners. ‘Freshly Pressed’ by Tope Edward is a darling, challenging Ronke Giwa’s ‘Straight from the Dailies’. ‘Voices’ later known as ‘The Conversation’ challenged by ‘Political circuit’, ‘Tifuntedo’ is being challenged by ‘Ajaabale’, ‘Gbanko-gbi’ challenged by ‘O gbenu tan’ etc Their various programmes and time slots were made to coincide and the competition for supremacy became too vivid to ignore.

The exit of Edmund Obilo from Splash FM was like the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. They struggled. Indeed while no player is bigger than the club some players carry the image and values of the club. A Barcelona without a Lionel Messi would struggle for a while before a replacement is gotten. Manchester United has not recovered from the exit of Sir Alex Ferguson (Ferguson is a manger anyway). While these analogies may not adequately paint the picture, they offer a snippet into the reality of the issue. Splash still remains Splash after the exit of Edmund as the most listened to radio station, but the presence of Edmund elevates this status more.

Edmund on the other hand struggled a bit from his exit from Splash. His stay with other Stations did not really offer him that latitude and exposure that Splash gave him. Bush Radio, Twinkle were brilliant avenues to reinvent his mojo. None of these ventures matched his popularity and coverage while in Splash FM. It is like a Ronaldo playing in Everton or Valencia. (Forgive the comparism). Big players need big clubs to flourish.

The Ajimobi Factor

Apparently Governor Ajimobi has a special relationship with Edmund Obilo as a journalist. perhaps no Ibadan based journalist commands the kind of respect that Edmund commands with Ajimobi. He was frequently available for interview especially by Edmund. As he is gradually rounding up his tenure as governor of the state, he needs that medium to air his position on his accomplishments and even so his plans as he is gunning for a senatorial seat in his district. The friendly relationship the governor and the APC government has with Splash FM is an open secret. It would not be difficult for the governor to have an interview with anyone in Splash, it would seem, but that is not as easy it seems. With his influence, there are speculations that he was involved in persuading Splash to sign him back into the fold. With Edmund being a free agent and with a juicy contract to sign, the job becomes simpler (forgive my footballing terms).

But the question in the mind of many people considering his manner of initial exit is: which Edmund is back. Is it the fiery Edmund of 2008 to 2015, a very vivacious, critical and unabashed Edmund or a ‘compromised’ Edmund? In this period of suspicion of cloning, (Nnamdi Kanu and President Buhari are alleged to be their cloned self) hope we are not having a cloned Edmund back to the saddle, perhaps just for the ratings. The timing itself raises suspicion but it is indeed a welcome anxiety.

With Edmund Obilo back, the spark in the political scene is undoubtedly back. We can only enjoy the spectacle.

Opinion By Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity ANNOUNCER


Many persons are wont to see the coming election in Ekiti as a battle between the incumbent Ayo Fayose and the former governor Kayode Fayemi. Thus it has been tagged 2014 part 2. While we may be tempted to see it as such, it is an injustice to the PDP candidate and an escape from reality. This contest is between Prof Olusola Eleka and Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Persons who considered this as Fayemi vs Fayose II do so in view of the latter’s displacement of the former in the 2014 election. Moreso, this is viewed so considering the manner in which the former Governor was defeated at the poll. Many persons suspected foul play and considered that Fayemi was rigged out by federal might. I argue on the contrary that viewing the victory of Fayose in 2014 on the benefit of federal might alone is insincerity and an injustice to the people of Ekiti state. The runnings to the election and the happenings in the state in conjunction with the pulse of the people shows discontent and anger in view of the different policies Fayemi embarked upon. Moreso, the emergence of Fayose as the Guber candidate under PDP brought back the feelings and sympathy people had for Fayose considering his popularity and the manner in which he was ousted ingloriously from the state house in his first tenure as governor largely through the machination of the then Commander- in- Chief of the federation Olusegun Obasanjo.

The fact is the 2014 election was one that left a diverse taste in the mouth of many people. The present governor Ayo Fayose defeated the incumbent governor Kayode Fayemi against predictions from various columnist and scholars of different persuasions who felt he deserved a second term based on his achievement sand success in his first term. The outcome of the election did not obviously go down well with many persons who in a bid to wrap their heads around the outcome labeled it as the triumph of stomach infrastructure; a coinage from Fayose’s food distribution drives and campaign. Ekiti people were derided and subjected to various abuses from arm chair critics who besieged the social and conventional media to hurl invectives at the people out of lack of proper understanding of the socio-cultural climate and political plays that ensued. Many felt the election was rigged in favour of the federal government supported PDP candidate. Latter revelations by Sahara Reporters about the antics the military personnel deployed to the state by the federal government gave vent to their presupposition and belief in the fact that Fayemi was rigged out.

Now Fayemi is back and all indications point to the seeking of his own pound of flesh.

In hindsight however, and with the benefit of the understanding of the socio-economic condition of the Fayemi first administration in the state it was obvious that Fayemi shot himself in the foot. He sure embarked on projects but they constituted capital flight from the state. Through policies and project execution and management he was seen as a conduit pipe for lining the pocket of Bola Tinubu and his Lagos boys. Ekitis did not feel the impact of the projects in their pockets and in the market.

His recognition of his mistakes made him embark on an apology campaign. It must be stated that this is not out of humility rather it is out of the realization that if he must stage a comeback he must acknowledge his errors that assuage the feelings of the people. Well you can call that humility.

The Ekiti election is an election of huge significance as it sets itself as a precursor to the election season being the first major election towards the 2019 general election. Again Ekiti is in the eyes of the world with political gladiators scheming and running the length and breadth of the state canvassing for political support from the people.

Interestingly, Unlike the 2014 election which was seen as a contest between the a Elite and intelligent Fayemi who is a Phd holder and a Fayose who is considered as uncivil and crude HND holder, unbefitting for the image of the Ekiti people as very educated set of people and in fact a fountain of Knowledge, this 2018 contest is between a Professor, Kolapo Olusola Eleka, who is the current deputy to outgoing governor Ayo Fayose and Doctor (academic) Kayode Fayemi who was one of the June 12 pro-democracy activist. Kolapo Olusola is a Professor of building Structures at Obafemi Awolowo University where he has thought for 24 years. Kayode Fayemi’s credentials are nothing short of accolades. A pro democracy activist and a man of great personal achievements, both national and international.

The election though can be seen as a referendum on the performance of the Fayose administration, can as well be seen as a referendum on the value of the current Buhari administration. It is also a recheck of the acceptability of Fayemi’s first tenure. Recheck, because the pervading argument among APC chieftains and members is that Fayemi was rigged out through federal might. Be that as it may, the people have a voice and a choice to make as the battle line is drawn.

The three senatorial zones in Ekiti are actively involved in this coming election. The APC candidate Kayode Fayemi is from Isan, Oye local Government and the Ekiti North senat6orial district. The PDP candidate Olusola Eleka is from Ikere Ekiti, Ikere Local government and Ekiti South Senatorial district. Both Governorship aspirants have central senatorial district candidate as their Deputy. While Fayemi has an Elder in Bisi Egbeyemi, Kolapo Olusola has a young Deji Ogunsakin. Interestingly both are from the state capital Ado Ekiti and in fact were former Ado Ekiti local Government chairmen at various points. This development makes the central senatorial district and importantly Ado local government a battle ground for vote. This reality becomes more interesting considering the fact that another indigene of Ado Ekiti and the former deputy governor during Segun Oni short term as Governor, Sikiru Lawal is also contesting under the Labour party. This development is quite strategic, an effort to effectively split the votes from Ado Local Government. Consequently, whoever garners the highest vote from the Central senatorial district will definitely be in a pole position to win the election.

The Ekiti South Senatorial district is also a very interesting case to study. While the popularity of Olushola Eleka cannot be questioned within Ikere local government, the situation in other local governments in the senatorial district does not bode well for him. The internal strife within the PDP before and during the party primaries, was apparently not well managed, a development that has played itself into the opposition’s hand. Active party members who felt disgruntled by the choice of Eleka as the party candidate have decamped thus swelling the ranks of the opposition and their electoral value in the senatorial district particular considering the fact that those who decamped were heavy weights from Ise Orun local Government. These party big wigs are Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, Owoseeni Ajayi and the Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly Ebenezer Alagbada and some others. The effect this would have on the victory of PDP in the senatorial zone is anybody’s guess.

This gale of defection is also evident in the North Senatorial district earlier in the year. A member of the State House of Assembly,  Hon. Gboyega Aribisogan who after being suspended for anti party activities called it quit with the party. There is no gainsaying the fact that these defections will hurt the PDP’s chances in the state. This much was stated by the former deputy governor in State Sen Olujimi who complained that the high handedness of the governor and lack of internal democracy in the Primary could hamper the chances of the party at the polls.

Thus, while the PDP has been losing members, APC has been gaining members and momentum as well and with a federal might as its disposal. The battle is set to be formidable.

Already, tensions in the state are palpable. a sense of déjà vu of what transpired in 2014 is all evident. 30,000 police officers, NSCDC officer, DSS and other security operatives are on ground in an evident show of force from the APC. It looks so much like it is indeed payback time. With APC’s change slogan and drive, one would wonder what has changed after all. However, while the shenanigans and dramas of the political actors unfold it is important we don’t lose sight of the goal.

The importance of this election is to chart and further the good course for the State reputed as the fountain of knowledge. We have educated elites from all the parties jostling for the highest seat in the state. The two main contenders are Phd holder, the highest qualification in the academics, exactly the kind of intellectual image the state is meant to project into the political sphere. Nothing gets better than this. Even Plato and Aristotle would be indeed proud of this.

The people are now left with the power to decide. They must be allowed to exercise their franchise based on their belief, passion and desire. Not to discountenance the other aspirants from other political party, the battle is between the PDP and the APC. Whoever emerges eventually is a good product and a proud son and ambassador of Ekiti land and can only further help to project Ekiti in a more positive light for the world.

It will come as a surprise and a big blow to the Opposition if PDP wins at the polls.

Victor Alagogooko, @alagogooko

How APC Lost the Ibarapa East Bye Election

It is no longer news that the Peoples Democratic Party PDP Candidate Mr. Debo Ogundoyin has successfully clinched the House of Assembly seat of the Ibarapa East constituency election held on the 2nd of June 2018, in the process, defeating the APC candidate, Mr Kunle Adeyemo, who is the younger brother to the late speaker of the House of Assembly Hon Micheal Adeyemo. This is rather a surprising development which caught people unawares as the APC in Oyo state recently clinched ALL the chairmanship as well as the councillorship seats in the recently held local council elections in the state.

In the election result as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Debo Ogundoyin of the PDP polled 6,277 votes, while the APC candidate Mr Kunle Adeyemo polled 4,619 votes to place second and, Mr Abiodun Adepoju of the Accord party polled 2,859.

However, indications have begun to emerge as to the conditions that guaranteed the APC candidate; Mr Kunle Adeyemo lost the election to the PDP candidate.

In the first instance the candidature of the APC candidate for the election was perceived to be quite controversial by some watchers of the political scene who consider him a political neophyte and someone who obviously does not have the political clout and exposure to navigate the political waters of the constituency considering the fact that he is a political outsider who was brought into the political game accidentally as a result of the demise of his elder brother Hon Michael Adeyemo. The ruling party APC considered him for candidacy as compensation to the Adeyemo Family and as an avenue to ensure that Michael Adeyemo though dead run down his tenure as a state legislator from the constituency in view of zoning the seat to Eruwa in the next year’s general elections.

This obviously did not go down well with some active participants in the political scene who see the imposition of an outside and a political neophyte as undemocratic. The fact that the APC candidate Mr Kunle Adeyemo was handpicked by the Governor of the state without due consultation further fuelled the internal disaffection within the party. It is instructive to understand the fact that the party structure in the state is factionalized, especially considering intrigues that played out before and during the ward congresses and the subsequent fallout in the state. The party is polarized between the faction loyal to the Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Unity Forum faction led by the Minister of communication Mr Adebayo Shittu.  

Apart from being singlehandedly handpicked by the state Governor, the personality of the candidate himself was considered a thing of concern especially when view in contrast with the PDP candidate Debo Ogundoyin. Mr Kunle Adeyemo was a relatively unknown personality apart from being a brother to the late speaker therefore commands little or no clout or followership even within Lanlate his home town. The PDP candidate on the other hand Mr Debo Ogundoyin was a son to the Late socialite, Chief Adesheun Ogundoyin, an astute entrepreneur and philanthropist in his days before his demise. Apart from being a son to an influential personality, Mr Debo is a graduate from Babcock University where he studied Agronomy. Not much can be said about Mr Kunle Adeyemo educationally.

Perhaps the most important factor that played out in against the APC at the elections was a speculation in some quarter that an honorable member of the House of Representatives from the state decide to sponsor the Accord party candidate from Lanlate Mr Aboderin Adepoju who eventually polled 2,859 votes at the election.  The implication of this reality is the fact that votes were effectively split between APC and the Accord party. In the Ibarapa East Constituency there are 10 wards; Lanlate has 6 wards while Eruwa has 4 wards. The APC lost in all the 4 wards in Eruwa to the PDP, while it could only win two of the 6 wards in Lanlate.

Obviously the internal crisis within the APC factored itself into the electoral defeat. The loss is in itself a big blow to the Ajimobi faction and a ‘boost’ to the Unity forum who absconded from the electioneering process thus fuelling the speculation that they (unity Forum) sponsored the Accord party candidate in a bid to spite the leadership of the party under the factional chairmanship of Chief Akin Oke. The unity forum has always harped on what it calls the “reign of impunity” in the party and the weakness of the party leadership in Oyo state to provide credible leadership for the party member in the state. This loss to the APC only helps to support their arguments against the Ajimobi leadership.

With this electoral loss, there is a strong need for the APC in the state to put his house in order towards the forthcoming general election come 2019. Any internal squabbles will obviously play into the hands of the opposition as seen from the just concluded by-election and would spell doom for the party in the forthcoming 2019 elections.  

The consequences of a house against itself is anybody’s guess.

Report by Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity Announcer

Consequences of the United States pull out of the Iran deals.

The United States government on Tuesday 8th of May 2018 officially pulled out of the joint comprehensive plan of action ((JCPOA) also known as the Iranian deal thereby ending a three year deal signed by the Obama administration in 2015 in conjunction with other world super powers. The world’s super powers that signed the deal were Germany, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia and the United States popularly known as the P5+1.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 30: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the Rose Garden at the White House April 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. The two leaders also met in the Oval Office to discuss a range of bilateral issues earlier in the day. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

The Iran deal was meant to curtail the Iranian government from going on into enriching uranium towards the production of nuclear weapon.  In July 2015, Iran had almost 20,000 centrifuges. With the JCPOA in place, it was limited to installing no more than 5,060 of the oldest and least efficient centrifuges. Iran’s uranium stockpile was reduced by 98% to 300kg (660lbs), a figure that must not be exceeded until 2031. It must also keep the stockpile’s level of enrichment at 3.67%.

As a result of the deal, by January 2016, Iran had drastically reduced the number of centrifuges installed at Natanz and Fordo, their two most prominent nuclear installations and shipped tonnes of low-enriched uranium to Russia.

In addition, research and development must take place only at Natanz and be limited until 2024. No enrichment will be permitted at Fordo until 2031, and the underground facility will be converted into a nuclear, physics and technology centre. The 1,044 centrifuges at the site will produce radioisotopes for use in medicine, agriculture, industry and science. Iran will not be permitted to build additional heavy-water reactors or accumulate any excess heavy water until 2031.

At the time of the agreement, then-US President Barack Obama’s administration expressed confidence that the JCPOA would prevent Iran from building a nuclear programme in secret. Iran, it said, had committed to “extraordinary and robust monitoring, verification, and inspection”.

Before July 2015, Iran had a large stockpile of enriched uranium and almost 20,000 centrifuges, enough to create eight to 10 bombs, according to the Obama administration. The Obama administration said the JCPOA would remove the key elements Iran would need to create a bomb and increase its break-out time to one year or more. The purpose of the deal was meant to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, to stop the threat of war in the region and also to stop and prevent the region countries from getting into a nuclear arms race.

However, all that seem to be a dream now as the trump administration has fulfilled the campaign promise of backing out of the deal. President trump had been making obvious his dislike for the Iran deal and spoken virulently on its supposed shortfalls labelling it as a disgrace. Despite frantic efforts from world leaders such as Macron of France, May of United Kingdom and Merkel of Germany etc who were part of the deal, to persuade him into staying in the deal and working on its perceived deficiencies.

While signing off on the Iranian nuclear deal, Trump described the deal as defective to the core and a horrible one-sided deal that should never ever have been made. Meanwhile the trump led government s set to resume nonmilitary sanctions on the Iranian government.

The Iranian president Hassan Rouhani called the Trump administration moves as unacceptable and vowed to bypass Washington and negotiate with other partners in the Iranian deal.

United States partners in the deal such as Germany, France, and United Kingdom through their various leaders have expressed disappointment at the US for pulling out of the deal while promised to uphold the nuclear deal.

This is a major and big blow to the Obama presidency. The administration worked tirelessly with some other major world leaders in bringing the Iranian government to the deal. In his reaction to the action, he noted that the step was a misguided step, according to him ‘The reality is Clear. JCPOA is working, that is a view shared by our European allies independent experts and the current US Secretary of Defence. The JCPOA is in America’s interest. ‘Considering the level of efforts in achieving the Iran nuclear deal in the first place, it is indeed a painful one for Obama to take, and considering the number of nations that are involved in crafting and agreeing the deal, one will be forced to conclude that the Trump administration is making a mistake by pulling out the deal as he risks tearing up the fragile peace in the region.

It is important to understand why the Iranian deal was in place in the first place. The deal as signed by the P5+1 was meant to control and restrain the Iranian government from enriching uranium to towards the production of nuclear bombs. However the broader purpose is to maintain peace in the Middle East. The Middle East has over the years been a hot bed of conflicts in the world. Each and every nation is skeptical of the other and the Iranian production of nuclear weapon changes the equation for all powers in the region chief among who are Israel and Saudi Arabia and would likely lead to a nuclear arms race. A development that has a threatening prospect for achieving peace in the region.

However, US close allies in the Middle East Saudi Arabia and Israel feel differently to this and were majorly in the vanguard of getting US to back out of the deal. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have often criticized the Iranian regime as the major state sponsor of terrorism in the region. They see the Iran deal as doing little to reduce Iran’s power in the region. As a matter of fact, it has only empowered Iran more actively sponsor terrorism in the region. It can thus be argued that trump played according to the script of Israel and Saudi Arabia who were suspicious of Iran growing influence in the Middle East. It will be recalled that the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid visits to both Saudi Arabia and Israel immediately after his confirmation by the US congress. It is also instructive to know that just a week ago the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu gave a power point presentation in a naked attempt to sway the U S president against staying in the Iranian deal.

With the US now out of the deal, what are those things that would be the fallout from such a monumental step guaranteed of having fundamental repercussion for peace and development of the region.

The United State is due to resume economic sanctions against Iran. The resumption of the US sanctions on Iran would further lead to economic hardships for the common Iranians. The Iranians are still recovering from grueling economic sanctions between 2012 and 2015. The economic sanctions which in parts stopped Iran from exporting its crude oil and petroleum products to the outside world, thereby crippling their economy with the attendant increase in unemployment and high rate of poverty among the people. This understandably plays into the interest of Saudi Arabia’s oil production.

The pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal also plays into the hardliners, on the political right who are against the relation and romance between Iran and the United States. They were opposed to the deal in the light of the fact that the hard core values of 1979 Islamic revolution world. They feel the deal weaken Iran prospect as a regional power and they would be eagerly anticipating the death of this deal.

Perhaps the most damning impact of this pulling out is that it lessens the credibility of the U S government In the world. If the U S cannot be trusted to uphold an agreement it entered into in partnership with other world super powers, then it means the US under President Trump cannot be trusted. That would create a major diplomatic problem when it comes to foreign policy. With this coming at a time the US is negotiating with North Korea on shutting down its nuclear programs. The North Koreans would likely come to the table with both optimism and caution.

Though the trump administration says it is open to new negotiations, there is no pointer to the fact that Iran is ready to renegotiate an agreement they did not violate in the first place. More worrying is the fact that the Trump Presidency is not offering any alternative to the deal it labels as a disgrace to America. One only hopes that Iran does not itself pull out of the deal and work in relation with the European powers in fostering the deal. The deal is an important tool to maintaining peace in a fragile middle east that has been ravaged by terrorism and insurgency.

An imperfect deal (that could be improved upon) which is helping to maintain the peace in the region, is better than a no deal at all.

Compiled and Written by Victor Alagogoko for IbadanCityAnnouncer