Abiodun’s re-election bid in Ogun amid Amosun’s onslaught, assembly crisis
• Achievements Position Incumbent Ahead Of Other Contestants, Says APC
With next year’s general elections only a few months away, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State may need more than the power of incumbency to be re-elected for a second term.
Political permutations in the state suggest that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the incumbent governor are better placed to retain power in the next gubernatorial contest, with Governor Abiodun said to be instead to reap from the benefits of similar factors that brought him to power in 2019. But some internal factors playing out within the ruling party may not make the governor’s second-term bid easily achievable.
Presently, the major opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has no candidate listed on the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2023 governorship election in Ogun. And interactions with the electorate in the state indicate that the people may be left with no alternative but to stick with the APC, especially if the PDP is unable to resolve its crisis early enough.
It would be recalled that a Federal High Court sitting in Ogun State, cancelled all the primaries of the PDP, including that of the governorship, and ordered a rerun. Oladipo Adebutu, who was initially declared winner of the party’s governorship primary, was thereafter delisted following the suit filed by some of the governorship aspirants, Jimi Lawal and Segun Showunmi, and others challenging the conduct of Ogun PDP primaries.
But while PDP’s internal fight may help Abiodun’s re-election, especially in the face of other weak political platforms, the immediate past governor of the state and lawmaker representing Ogun Central on APC’s platform, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is again sponsoring another candidate on a different platform to scuttle the governor’s re-election bid.
A semblance of what Amosun did in 2018/2019 when he undermined Abiodun, is again playing out in the ruling party. Amosun, who happened to be the sitting governor of APC during the preparations for the 2019 governorship election, sponsored Adekunle Akinlade from Ogun West on the platform of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), to contest the governorship against Abiodun.
It took the support of the likes of the presidential candidate of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba, the party’s national body and a host of other gladiators for Abiodun to win the 2019 governorship primary and also the main election.
This time around, Amosun is again using his structure to support Biyi Otegbeye as the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the Ogun 2023 governorship election. Although Amosun said he is strongly backing the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, in the presidential election, he settled for Otegbeye after he fell out with Akinlade, whom he used to contest against Abiodun in 2019.
Akinlade from Ogun West is now the running mate to Adebutu after he defected to the PDP. Unfortunately, Adebutu/Akinlade is not listed by INEC as candidates for the 2023 contest.
Another challenge Abiodun may face is the ongoing face-off between lawmakers in the APC-controlled Ogun State Assembly. Some members of Ogun APC are uncomfortable that the ongoing court case over fraud allegations between the Speaker of the Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo and his ex-deputy, Oluwadamilare Kadiri, may pose threat to the incumbent’s re-election. But the spokesman of Ogun APC, Tunde Oladunjoye dismissed Otegbeye and the Assembly issues as inconsequential to Abiodun’s second-term ambition.
Why Abiodun’s Re-election May Be Smooth
One of the games that tilted the pendulum in favour of Abiodun in 2019, which appears to be playing out at present, is that the major opposition party’s platform is ‘severely’ weakened due to internal conflicts both at the national level and in all three Southwest states where governorship elections will hold next year.
In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State, the late Senator Buruji Kashamu, who represented Ogun East in the upper chamber did everything possible using the court processes to stop Adebutu, who had the support of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC). Adebutu, who was the most popular PDP governorship aspirant then, was stopped from emerging as the party’s candidate. What Lawal and Showunmi and others are doing now is similar to what transpired in the PDP than to the advantage of Abiodun.
Again, Governor Abiodun may also cash in on the defection of Akinlade to PDP, leaving the Ogun West senatorial district open to the advantage of the incumbent governor, especially now that he (Akinlade) and his principal Adebutu are not on INEC’s list of candidates.
Amosun’s bid to use Otegbeye to upstage Abiodun may have also run into a ditch as the majority of traditional rulers in Ogun West have recently pledged to support the governor’s re-election.
Traditional rulers and leaders of thought in Yewaland, Ogun State, have declared their readiness to support the re-election bid of Abiodun, saying that his tenure has brought tremendous development to Yewaland and Ogun West Senatorial District.
Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle, who spoke on behalf of the 42 monarchs at the Secretariat of Yewa Traditional Council in Ilaro, said all the royal fathers unanimously opted for Abiodun after they had pleaded with all their sons vying for the number one position to step down their ambition.
Secondly, analysts said the combined forces of Amosun, Otegbeye and ADC are not strong enough to disrupt the political strength and the financial power of Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, who has left Lagos West senatorial ticket to pick that of Ogun West for the 2023 senatorial elections.
Senator Adeola defeated the incumbent Senator of Ogun West, Tolu Odebiyi to secure the party’s ticket. Odebiyi, is alleged to have been romancing Amosun. And the Lagos Senator is expected to do everything possible to secure Ogun West for Abiodun next year in anticipation of his (Adeola) gubernatorial ambition in 2027.
What could also have constituted a problem for Abiodun in Ogun West is the person of Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, a strong ally of former Governor Gbenga Daniel, who had also contested the Ogun governorship poll many times. Isiaka is not contesting in the coming governorship election. This is perhaps due to several factors. Isiaka is now running for the House of Representatives on the platform of APC in 2023.
Abiodun may also not have it difficult in Ogun Central, the senatorial district of Senator Amosun. Currently, the former governor, who initially picked the APC’s presidential nomination form but later stepped down for Tinubu, would not be on the ballot for the senatorial poll in 2023. The likes of Osoba and all notable politicians in Ogun Central are routing for Abiodun against the onslaught of Amosun.
In a similar vein, over 52 Ijebu monarchs in Ogun East are backing Abiodun for a second term. The monarchs, who converged on Awujale’s Palace in Ijebu-Ode, unanimously threw their weight behind the governor’s re-election bid, citing his sterling performance since he assumed office in 2019.
They stated this in a communique read by the Secretary of the Council, Obiri of Ayepe-Ijebu, Oba Rosiji Ogunbanjo, at the end of their monthly meeting presided over by President of the council, the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.
Awujale said he was proud of the governor’s giant strides and advised those eyeing the office of governor to wait till 2027.
Beyond the several advantages, Governor Abiodun may also rely on his various achievements since 2019 to convince the Ogun electorate to return him to the office next year.
Reeling out some of his achievements, government officials say Abiodun has constructed 34 roads totalling 270.88 km, with another 41 accumulating to 322.637 km being rehabilitated and at different stages of completion across the State’s three Senatorial Districts regardless of their categorization as trunk A, B or C roads. “He has kick-started the transportation master plan with procurement of wifi-enabled air-conditioned buses, and the launch of the Ogun State Digital Economy Infrastructure to position the state into becoming a major global site of the emerging telecommunication economy by making broadband connectivity available across the State.”
The government has also improved the urban water supply at Arakanga, Abeokuta North LGA to provide potable water to Abeokuta. “There has been repairing of water supply facilities in 14 other major communities in Ikenne, Igbogila, Ibooro, Odonopa, Ipokia, Idowa, Omu Ijebu, Ago Iwoye, Igbesa, Owode Yewa, Imoru, Ibefun and Ikangba.”
On social welfare, Abiodun’s administration has also commenced the construction of Prince Court Estate at Kemta, Abeokuta, an affordable housing project with a plan for 450 units out of which 130 units of the first phase are fully completed and allocated. Similar schemes are being replicated in different parts of the State including Sagamu, Ilaro, Ijebu Ode, Ifo and Kobape. These schemes are at different stages of completion.
Meanwhile, Abiodun’s assurance of victory may depend on how soon the PDP gets its house in order and Adebutu/Akinlade gets relisted on the INEC portal as a candidate for the next gubernatorial election in the state.