Yewa zone’s travails in Ogun 2019 guber race
The battle to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State in 2019 is gradually gathering momentum each passing day as interested actors have started scheming for relevance.
Going by the present calculations, the major parties expected to contest the elections are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and the Labour Party (LP). The battle is however likely to be between the ruling APC and PDP, the two domineering parties in the state but the possibility for a new party being formed to join the race, cannot be ruled out.
Presently those who have started grassroots mobilisation towards occupying the hilly Isale-Igbein Government House, are Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, who currently represents Lagos West and is popularly known as Yayi, Prince Gboyega Isiaka (GNI), Prince Rotimi Olatunde Paseda and Hon. Oladipupo Adebutu.
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole is yet to make any open declaration to run but his political emissaries are already in the field working hard towards achieving his ambition. A close associate of the former speaker, Alhaji Biodun Ogunbiyi confirmed this to The Guardian. Though Bankole, like the incumbent, Amosun is an Egba from Ogun central senatorial district, Ogunbiyi disclosed that he did not see that as any obstacle in view of his popularity.
While Governor Amosun has kept to his chest whom he has in mind to succeed him, it is being whispered that those he is considering are Senator Gbolahan Dada or Rotimi Abdul-Raman.
Out of the interested people, Adeola, Isiaka, Dada and Abdul-Raman are Yewa indigenes from Ogun West Senatorial District. Paseda is an Ijebu indigene while Adebutu is from Remo both in Ogun East senatorial district.
Of the four divisions that constitute Ogun State, only Yewa is yet to savour the seat of power since Ogun was created 37 years ago even though it has been contesting for it.
The first civilian governor, late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo was an Ijebu indigene he was succeeded by Chief Segun Osoba, an Egba, followed by Otunba Gbenga Daniel from Remo.
At the expiration of Daniel’s eight years in 2011, the incumbent, Amosun, an Egba, stepped in. He will end his second term in 2019.As always the slogan of the Yewas before and during any election period is “it is our turn”, meaning their turn to produce the governor without realizing the fact nowhere in the world is political power handed over on a platter of gold.
The nearest the zone have come to power is the deputy governorship seat when Alhaja Salmot Badru, emerged as Daniel’s second-in-command.Political observers reason that the Yewa, happens to be its worst enemies due to the fact that they always allowed themselves to be used against one other.
According Ogunbiyi, “I cannot foresee the Yewas occupying the government House in the nearest future because of their disunity.” The PDP State factional Chairman, Sikirulai Ogundele insisted that the zone is its worse enemy.
Furthermore, he said: “Politics is not just a way of delivering or offering position to people or somebody or a group on a platter of gold. There are certain basic things that are involved in politics. Apart from having the crowd, majority of the electorate on your side, you have to have the wherewithal to prosecute election. It is very pitiful and unfortunate that the Yewas have been aggrieved over the years.
“The Governorship ticket had almost been handed over to them free of charge on two occasions but within themselves they failed to take advantage of the opportunity. There are three basic things that is wrong with the Yewa people when you talk of politics of election, their population is not in their favour, most especially unity within themselves is lacking and also the resources.”
He explained, “Ogun State has three basic units, the Ijebus, Egbas, Yewas. They (Yewas) have five local governments, Ogun Central has six while Ijebu has nine and when you talk of population, they are the least in terms of crowd and at the same time they are always disunited. Even if you say you are giving the Yewas the ticket and you won’t allow an Ijebu man or Egba man to have a go at it, they, within themselves, will still find it difficult to agree among themselves.
“The last time GNI (Isiaka) was the candidate, how much support did he get, how much was the assistance, how much cooperation did he garnered from his own people. So it has been an endemic situation for them. Having to cooperate, or having the unity, to say yes we have been given this honour and opportunity, so let us take advantage of it, is not for the Yewas, they will be the ones to be offending themselves.”
So far, the best opportunity the Yewas had to occupy the Government House came during the 2011 elections when former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the then sitting governor, Daniel separately sponsored two Yewa indigenes. Obasanjo sponsored Gen. Tunji Olurin (rtd.) while Daniel sponsored Gboyega Nasir Isiaka.
Despite the fact that both of them at that time belonged to the PDP each of them refused to step down for each other in spite of all persuasions by well meaning people. Eventually, Isiaka had to dump the PDP because of the disagreement and contested on the platform of the then newly formed, People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN), while Olurin contested on the platform of the PDP and lost to Amosun.
With the intrigues increasing in tempo onward 2019, the zone is already singing similar tune of “our turn” but nothing seems to have changed among them.Political emissaries of Isiaka and Adeola are already engaged in grassroots campaign towards 2019.
While a source from the APC confirmed that Adeola is enjoying the backings of the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Osoba ahead of the election, PDP chieftain, Senator Buruji Kashamu, is backing Isiaka. The fear is that the 2011 scenario may repeat itself unless something drastic happens in favour of the people.
Ogunbiyi however said there are serious moves to form a new national political party by aggrieved members from the APC, PDP and other parties.But Hon. Mufutau Akande Ajibola, a Yewa and an APC chieftain sees the situation differently, insisting that 2019 would be different even though he admitted that so far three of his kinsmen, Adeola, Isiaka and Dada are already warming up to contest.
He said, “The same scenario is not going to play out in 2019 because of the fact that so far three of the aspirants are our kinsmen so it is going to be a win-win situation.”
Ajibola strongly believes that despite all odds, the Lagos lawmaker would emerge governor of Ogun in 2019 because he posses all it takes to occupy the seat “we have been struggling to occupy the State’s number one seat since 1979 without success but all indications now point to the fact that 2019 is going to be our year.”
According to him, “In 1979 when the military handed over power, we reached an agreement with the Ijebus that we would support Chief Onabanjo at the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) governorship primary so that after his first tenure, they will support us but they reneged.
“In 1992, the Yewa leaders sponsored late Professor Afolabi Olabimtan in the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship primary unfortunately some outsiders sponsored six of our kinsmen to contest against him, so he lost.”
“We also reached an agreement with Chief Segun Osoba and the Egbas in 1992 that after his tenure, the Egbas would support us but his (Osoba) tenure was terminated by the military.”
Ajibola refused to accept the blame that the Yewas’ disunity is their un-doing.While the odds may favour Adeola, would it make any sense to an Ogun indigene to cast his or her vote for someone who has practiced his entire political career in Lagos State as chairman Alimosho local government to the State Assembly, to House of Representatives and now a serving Senator, to now transform and become the governor of an enlightened state like Ogun in a twist. Time will prove the possibility in such calculation.
On the other hand, Adeola has no political platform in Yewa not to talk of Ogun. The structure of the APC today is believed to be under the firm control of Amosun.