Intrigues, complexities that make Ogun guber difficult to predict
The March 9 governorship election in Ogun State will finally settle the quadrangle complexities that make the election very difficult to predict, despite the performance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
If the ruling APC were to have the capacity to sustain that feat, other major parties in the state need not to go further, but the reality on the ground shows that APC needs more than its structure as presently constituted to have a good outing on Saturday.
Analysts are of the opinion that no two elections are the same, especially when the dramatis personae and other variables differ. And in Ogun State, the war of attrition that followed the controversial APC primaries, which gave birth to the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) is one of the strong factors that will change the voting pattern and the result of the election.
So also is the internal crisis between the two gladiators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Buruji Kashamu who is being recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) because of serial court judgments in his favour; and a member of House of Representatives, Hon Oladipupo Adebutu, who is recognised by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. But the Court judgment fixed for March 6 will determine the real candidate of the party.
Although about seventeen political parties will field candidates for the governorship and state House of Assembly elections, observes in the state have argued that it is going to be a hot contest among the APC, APM, PDP and African Democratic Congress (ADC), which has Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) as its candidate.
Prince Dapo Abiodun is the candidate of the APC, while Adekunle Akinlade will fly the APM flag.
While the APC had President Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar flew the flag of the PDP, both the ADC and APM had no presidential candidates in the keenly contested election that saw Buhari and Atiku as poster-boys.
However, both the APC and APM members temporarily sheathed their swords to cast their votes for Buhari because Governor Ibikunke Amosun who is the chief promoter of the APM wanted it that way to achieve the governorship ambition of his godson, Akinlade.
Amosun also contested for a seat in the Senate under the APC.
The issue of anti-party stance of Amosun is no longer news, even as the party’s NWC prevaricated on disciplinary action against him, which has become a reference point on the debate on party supremacy, especially in the APC.
But last Friday, the APC summoned courage to apply the big stick on Amosun and his colleague in Imo, Rochas Okorocha. That now seems belated, because Amosun could as well be a free agent from now on, having put in his kitty the senatorial election.
In fact, the party needs him more than he does come Saturday, even though the larger picture is still unfolding.
If Amosun were to play any principal role in the 9th National Assembly, surely, he would need the party. But Saturday is too crucial for now.
Amosun’s closeness to Mr. President has been cited as one of the reasons that incapacitated the party leadership to take action even when they were booed and assaulted by party thugs in Abeokuta during their presidential campaign.
A top APC member disclosed that the battle for 2023 might have been the remote cause of the irreconcilable crisis between Amosun and APC leadership.
Some APC core loyalists had mooted the idea not to vote for Amosun in the last election, but realising the complexity of asking largely illiterate voters to cast their votes for two different parties on the same election and how it will badly affect their chances, they quickly dropped the idea.
More so, when the President and son of Chief Segun Osoba, who also contested for a seat in the House of Representatives might fall victims, the idea failed to fly.
But shortly after the election, Amosun who had openly led the campaign for the APM governorship candidate claimed that the APC victory became possible because of the APM members that voted for the APC candidates and claimed the glory for the victory and this has pitched him against some members of the APC in the state who are battle ready for the final onslaught.
Amosun, who won the election for the Senate pointedly accused APC group being led by Osoba of working against him, claiming that some APC candidates benefited from the collaboration between APM and APC members during last Saturday’s elections.
He said, “I am happy for the result of the election. People have benefited from it. That is the way life is, people know whom they were voting for in the APC.
Clearly, when the result was out, check Mr. President’s result and check mine, you will see that there are little differences. Those that want us are between 80 and 90 per cent and those that don’t want us are about 10 per cent; that is life.
“I don’t hate anybody. Truly, I wasn’t taking them seriously that they wanted to gang up against me. But if you see the result of the election, you will know that truly they ganged up against me.”
But the Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee in the state, Tunde Oladunjoye commended members of the party for not paying Amosun in his own coin.
Oladunjoye said the governor would have lost the election but for the APC. He noted that APM members cast 10,038 votes against Amosun who was the combined candidate of the APC and the APM.
He said: “We have cause to thank the good people of Ogun State for voting massively for President Buhari and other APC candidates as shown in the final results.
“We must also thank the people of Ogun Central Senatorial District, who, as good party loyalists, listened to the call of our foremost leader, Aremo Segun Osoba, who pleaded with them not to disgrace Amosun.
“In fact, APM made the poorest outing despite the billions of Ogun taxpayers’ money expensed by Amosun on the moribund project, as the party scored just about seven per cent of the total votes in Amosun’s senatorial district and less than five per cent across the state.”
Oladunjoye said the party discovered that contrary to Amosun’s claim, APM members, especially in Ogun East Senatorial District, worked against Buhari.
He said: “They were openly telling voters that they were not concerned about Buhari’s re-election, but we thank God for the voters who stood their ground and voted for Buhari and the APC.”
While the rat race continued between the APC and APM in the state, which reminded many of PDP/PPN scenario, which paved way for Amosun in 2011, the ADC, which seems to be penetrating the nooks and crannies of the state does not only enjoy relative peace amongst its fold but was said to be parading the most credible candidates for the election.
ADC did not only condemn the outcome of the Presidential and parliamentary elections in Ogun State as “elaborate charade” but alleged that the election results were “bought and not won.”
The Director General of GNI Campaign Organisation, Tony Ojeshina and the State Secretary of ADC, Niyi Salako said last Saturday’s elections were marred by alleged incidences of multiple voting, use of fake ad hoc staff and security agents as well votes buying by the APC.
Ojeshina regretted that the party’s earlier warning of planned manipulation of election results by the agents of the ruling party was not heeded by the INEC.
Salako on his part, said: “This election was not won in Ogun State, it was bought,” vowing that any attempt to manipulate March 9 governorship would be resisted through all legal means.
The Campaign DG said: “It is unfortunate to note that our warning was not heeded. The National Assembly elections were indeed marred with not just the identified plans but more than we envisaged; suffice to say that, the February 23rd election in Ogun state was an elaborate charade.
“However, as we face the Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly election on March 9th, 2019, we are again calling the attention of INEC, the Police and all relevant agencies to these wanton irregularities in order not to have a repeat episode. We are conscious that the stakes in the next election are high and the opposition will be more determined to up their rigging plans. We want to sound a note of warning to these political parties that the robbery and fraud they went away with last Saturday will not be tolerated next week.”
But speaking on the factors that will determine the governorship election, Oladunjoye said: “The quality, calibre, acceptance of our governorship candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun speak for us.”
He added: “We expect Ogun State workers, pensioners, unionists and others who have been ill-treated by Governor Ibikunle Amosun to come out and vote against his puppet in the APM. No Governor has ever been able to install, let alone impose a successor in Ogun State. Amosun won’t be the first. Remember I once said he (Amosun) is suffering from outgoing syndrome bothering on political amnesia, lack of touch with reality and fear of life after office.”
But an APM chieftain, Kayode Arigbajo said the party will rely on the goodwill of Amosun to win the election and ability of Akinlade to govern the state.
He said, “Amosun is the only politician that controls voters in Ogun State, he has demonstrated it with the last election and he will do it again”
For the PDP, the philanthropic gesture of Kashamu is resonating well in the state and that has been considered as his winning strength.
But a staunch supporter of the ADC in Abeokuta, Comrade Sola Adisa said: “If honesty and integrity is what Ogun people want, only GNI can stand among all other candidates.
How do you expect people to vote for governorship candidates that did not attend any debate because of the skeleton in their cupboards? We know those who are still battling with certificate scandal, we know those that cannot travel outside the shore of the country because of various criminal allegations against them, we also know those who had been imprisoned before in America, but want to cover up for financial malfeasance of a desperate politician. We want somebody we can trust, somebody with unblemished record as the governor. That is why we are rooting for Isiaka.”
“Credible opinion polls conducted in the state clearly put GNI in the lead as the most popular governorship candidate people want. I challenge anyone to walk round Abeokuta and sound people’s opinion to confirm what I am saying. His time has come and we shall vote for him. He is not only the choice of Yewa people but the most credible and capable among the contestants.”
Also, another resident in Lafenwa, Abeokuta North Local Government, Pastor Babatunde John said: “I think the election will be peaceful but some of our people are nursing the fear that there will be violence. We are getting some reports that some people who are hell bent on winning the election are planning to use thugs and security personnel to rig the elections.”
“As a result of this, the turnout may not be as high as what we had during the last election. There is tension across the state concerning this forthcoming election but we pray that God takes control.”
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