Mr Dimeji Bankole was Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives at Abuja for four years beginning from 2007. He thus was the longest serving speaker since Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999. A young man with degrees from Ivy League universities, Bankole was model to many young people. His persecution by the governor of his state who saw his popularity as a threat and by the (former) Behemoth of Nigerian politics, Mr Olusegun Obasanjo only helped boosted his popularity. But Bankole also misbehaved several times and shocked Nigerians. During the Ekiti State re-run, Bankole openly sang a song: ‘We who deployed Mobile Police (MOPOL) to rig the last elections will now deploy soldiers’. This open declaration of war on the electorate was unfortunate. For once, Bankole, darling of many Nigerian young men, forgot what he stood for.
But Dimeji Bankole soon regained his consciousness. In the election that was conducted on Saturday 9 March, 2011, Bankole who contested on the platform of the hitherto invincible People's Democracy Party, was badly defeated. He lost his re-election bid by over 5,000 votes [ACN - William Samuel 28,490; PDP - Oladimeji Bankole 23,103]. Bankole lost the election but won something more important. Within hours of the counting of the votes, Mr Bankole was quoted as saying that "the result showed the wishes of the people". He conceded defeat!
Conceding defeat is extremely strange on the political scene in Nigeria. It is normal for politicians in Nigeria to spill bad blood when they lose. Bankole’s PDP suffered grave losses in the elections and before we wake up, the papers will be filled with cries of blue murder! Is Dimeji Bankole an exception? Maybe. For now, I'd say he lost the elections but recovered something—some of the refinement he brought from Reading and Havard which he had discarded for a long while.