2023: Ogun West and necessity for consensus candidate
Since the creation of Ogun State on February 3, 1976, from the defunct Western State, by the Military junta led by the late Murtala Muhammed, power distribution and sharing among the three socio-cultural components of the state have been unbalanced against the people of Ogun West, comprising majorly the Yewa, Awori, Egun and other clusters.
The chronicle of political epochs in the Gateway State, specifically democratic administrations indicates a power-sharing arithmetic continually domiciled between the East and the Central, perpetually putting the West at bay in the status of second fiddle.
While genuine concerns and efforts of critical political stakeholders in the state and beyond have resulted in efforts towards changing the narratives on the grounds of fairness and equity, several factors within the zone and from outside had continually prevented it from coming to fruition.
Despite the quality and quantity of human resources from Ogun West and the strategic location of the zone, absence of clarity of purpose and cohesion among the people, not to talk of inability to make deliberate simple sacrifices on behalf of one another have been militating against an array of efforts to balance the political equation in the State to the advantage of the West.
There is no doubt that many leading political players and leaders in the State, especially from the other two Senatorial Districts are disturbed by their conscience, in the face of seeming political inequality and injustice against Ogun West. Even the Awujale of Ijebu land, Oba Dr Sikiru Kayode Adetona is on record to have thrown his weight in support of Ogun West agitation in 1999 before Aremo Olusegun Osoba finally won the race.
However, no matter the degree of political sympathy and solidarity Ogun West enjoys from other zones and individuals with political influence across the state, there is an urgent need for internal resolve among the people of the zone to have a common front towards achieving their goal. Their task is well cut out for them. It is that straightforward.
Since politics is all about negotiation through constant consultation and pragmatic engagement, what should be the necessary and urgent next line of action for political gladiators in the Senatorial District now is to commence genuine reconciliation, negotiation and robust consultation within the zone for formidable consensus and further engagement across the state.
Strictly speaking, comprehensive analysis and empirical investigation of events have shown a downward trend in the political debacle of the zone, with the last gubernatorial election of 2019, which indeed signalled hope of imminent accomplishment for Ogun West in no time.
For instance, in 2011, two candidates from Ogun West, namely: Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and General Adetunji Olurin contested for the governorship seat in the state, with Olurin finishing second, losing the election to Ibikunle Amosun with a margin of 188,000 votes. Put together, Ogun West actually lost the race.
Again in 2015, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and Senator Odunsi, both from the West vied to become governor. Eventually, Isiaka lost to Ibikunle Amosun with about 100,000 votes. Ogun West as a whole also lost in that instance collectively.
The 2019 election, where Gboyega Isiaka contested again alongside Adekunle Akinlade, also from Ogun West, was a watershed in the political history of the zone. Akinlade, running on a relatively new political party, lost the election by whiskers with a tiny margin of 19,000 votes to the Incumbent governor, Dapo Abiodun. A simple analysis of the result of that election shows that Ogun West actually won but Akinlade lost in gallantry.
The above chronological index of the election cycle in the state clearly indicates a downward trend in the degree of loss against candidates from other zones, which is a result of increased political engagement across the state and the strength of personalities involved. Regrettably, the vicious cycle of electoral loss continued due to a lack of internal strategy of engagement, negotiation and consultation to reach a formidable consensus.
Going forward, therefore, the recent political reality in the state has necessitated a conscious rethink and renewed strategy among political gladiators in Ogun West.
Serious negotiation and consultation must commence immediately in the Senatorial District; it is on that note that one would commend the display of patriotism and maturity by Gboyega Isiaka, who sometimes ago announced that he would not be contesting during the 2023 governorship election in the state.
So, from all indications and in line with the present political permutation in the state, all eyes and attention are in the direction of the last man that sprung a surprise in the political space, the man who displayed uncommon political dexterity and sagacity of virile engagement across the state and beyond party lines even with all odds starkly against him. He crossed the finish line in a blaze of glory albeit without the laurel.
But it was clear to all and sundry that he has the heart of gold to break the historical record on behalf of his people.
This young, dynamic and responsive agro-entrepreneur cum politician is the man to look out for and by the preponderance of public opinion across the three Senatorial Districts in the state, he remains the point of compensation and emancipation for Ogun West.
Aside his impeccable pedigree and impressive academic background, he has carved a niche for himself as a vibrant lawmaker and seasoned administrator with remarkable achievements. Even out of public office, he is still making his impact felt towards the emancipation of his people.
This Yewa man, by his unprecedented record at the poll in 2019, has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that he possesses the requisite capacity, acumen and personality to break the age-long jinx of political stagnation in Ogun West and liberate the zone into a new dawn of inclusive governance and create a better Ogun State we can all be proud of.
As it stands, every individual from Ogun West, irrespective of party affiliation or geographical location, must readily come together in unison and utmost agreement to advance the cause of the zone by supporting a consensus candidate for the zone. That’s the way to go. No shortcut beyond that.
It is crystal clear that by backing a consensus candidate for Ogun West, coupled with the present mood of the state and the sympathy the zone presently enjoys across the state, the coast can only be more than clear for victory come 2023.
– Tayo Oyekanmi, former House Leader, Ipokia local council, wrote from Ogun State.