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Amosun’s quest for social justice in Ogun State

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Ogun State governor Senator Ibikunle Amosun

I have been provoked to comment on the political imbroglio in APC in Ogun State which is wrongly compared to what is happening in Imo State.

The two scenarios are different. For, while Governor Ibikunle Amosun is genuinely seeking to ensure equity and social justice driven by altruism and selflessness in Ogun State, the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, on the other hand, is on a conquest mission driven by selfishness, greed and avarice.

This fundamental truth should be understood and appreciated by all in judging the two governors.

In Ogun State, Ogun East and Central have over the years dominated the political leadership in the state, while Ogun West is marginalised and lagging behind.

Governor Amosun, who is from Ogun Central, in an uncommon show of humanity and self-sacrifice, decided to right the wrong by nominating Adekunle Akinlade, from the marginalised Yewa Division of Ogun West to succeed him for equity and good governance. He did not anoint his own Ogun Central man as most governors in Nigeria would do.

Contrarily, in Imo State, Owerri Zone has been marginalised since 1999 when this political dispensation began.

Rather than give the zone chance to take a shot at governance, the incumbent Governor Rochas Okorocha, decided to install his son in-law, Uche Nwosu, to take over from him in an attempt to establish what Comrade Adams Oshiomole, APC’s chairman, called a political dynasty in Imo State.

If he had nominated someone from Owerri Zone, APC would have made a smooth sail in the state.

Thus, while Oshiomole and APC’s National Working Committee (NWC) were right to resist Rochas Okorocha, they were absolutely wrong to oppose Gov.

Amosun’s progressive plan. For if Oshiomole and the APC had keyed into Amosun’s proposal, again the APC would have had a smooth sail in Ogun State in the coming election.

If every governor or president imbibes the Amosun spirit of live and let live, there would be no discontent anywhere in the country; there would be no militants fighting for equity and justice across Nigeria.

One intractable malaise that has aroused mass discontent in Nigeria is lack of justice, equity, fairness and social justice in the polity. This malaise manifests across the country at all levels of social and political strata.

At the state level, sections of some states are perpetually sidelined due to misconceived stereotypes or inherent disadvantaged condition of the group.

At the national level, social injustice abounds as a section of the country appropriates the right to rule while others should be mere followers. This cankerworm is at the root of the cries rocking Nigeria.

Among the minorities in the North, in the Middle Belt and in the South-East and South-South, the story is the same. There is mass discontent among the citizenry who feel cheated and marginalised in the scheme of things.

The battle that Governor Ibikunle Amosun is fighting is genuine and should be supported.

What Governor Amosun has done is comparable to what Governor Peter Obi did in 2014 in Anambra State, when, in a laudable move to ensure equity, justice and fairness, nominated the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano from the long marginalised Anambra North to succeed him as a balancing act, instead of choosing someone from his Anambra Central Zone.

There was little or no opposition when Peter Obi did that, which has paid off significantly in governance. Left alone, Anambra North couldn’t have been able to sponsor a governorship candidate for lack of the financial muscle to do that.

The emergence of Willie Obiano as Governor, now in his second term, has brought development to a hitherto dejected Anambra North.

My visit to the state last year afforded me the opportunity to see how backward Anambra North is and how things are changing as Gov. Obiano bulldozes his way to leverage a people that have been neglected without roads, bridges and other infrastructures and yet a major agricultural producing section of the state.

Without such a balancing act, development would continue to be skewed against the marginalised people.

It is obvious that the Yewa Division of Ogun State is in that dilemma. Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who is at the helm of affairs in the state, knows better.

That must have fired him to insist that his successor should come from the neglected area as a balancing act borne out of equity and social justice, which ordinarily should have been hailed as the Anambra people did under Peter Obi when he nominated Willie Obiano.

It baffles me that the people who cry out loudest against marginalisation are the worst “racists” when power gets into their hand.

Governor Amosun has not hidden his desire to ensure equity and social justice in Ogun State by supporting a candidate he considers suitable for the job in the person of Adekunle Akinlade.

Rather than creating unnecessary tension, what the stakeholders should have done is to assess the capability of Akinlade.

Is he suitable? Can he deliver? I am persuaded that the Governor must have assessed him thoroughly before nominating him and sticking his neck for him.

Since its creation in 1976 by Gen. Murtala Muhammed, fifteen governors, both military and civilian, have governed Ogun State. Out of this, only five emerged through democratic process.

First among them was Governor Olabisi Onabanjo from Ijebu Division in Ogun East who ruled under the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), from 1979 and won a second term in 1983 before the military under Gen. Muhammadu Buhari took over government in a coup.

In 1992, Segun Osoba from Egba Division in Ogun Central District became governor under the Social Democratic party (SDP) after a vexatious transition programme supervised by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

After the military interregnum, Osoba returned in 1999 at the beginning of the current democratic dispensation.

He served for one term after he was defeated by Gbenga Daniel from Remo in Ogun East Senatorial Zone.

Governor Daniel presided over the state for eight years. This made it the second slot for Ogun East and one for Ogun Central while Ogun West has nothing.

The expectation was very high that Gov. Daniel would hand over to a candidate from Yewa Division in Ogun West but that expectation was dashed when the incumbent Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, again from Egba Division in Ogun Central became the Governor.

As Amosun’s second term draws to a close on May 29, 2019, it is not surprising that he rightly decided that Ogun West Division should get one slot for the first time.

What is wrong about that? Everyone who has blood flowing through his/her veins should appreciate Governor Amosun, who has not selected his own person as many other governors are doing across the states where in-laws, friends and cronies are being anointed to take over without recourse to equity and social justice.

Every state in Nigeria has three senatorial zones.

Those arguing that Ogun State has two nations namely, the Egba with their Yewa kin and Ijebu with their Remo cousins are primordial and should excuse us in this matter.

Gov. Amosun’s plan would have sailed through without hitch but for the intrusion of the APC’s National Working Committee, which disregarded the Governor’s plan.

Consequently, two parallel congresses were held through which another candidate, Dapo Abiodun, emerged. To make matters worse, the NWC endorsed Dapo Abiodun instead of Akinlade.

To ensure that they are not frustrated, Adekunle Akinlade and his supporters moved en masse to Allied People’s Movement (APM), with Governor Amosn in full support.

That has truncated the APC support base in Ogun State, which would definitely impact on the chances of the party at the governorship poll, notwithstanding that Amosun is still, peripherally, pitching his tent for the APC at the presidential level.

One thing is clear, the battle line has been drawn between the Governor, his nominee Akinlade and their supporters on one side and Dapo Abiodun, who appears abandoned on the other side.

I respect Ogun people for one thing – they are among the most educated, enlightened, cosmopolitan and politically matured people in Nigeria. They will not be swayed by parochial and primordial considerations to promote injustice.

Amosun’s support for Akinlade has merit for lovers of justice, fairness and equity.


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