Ogun 2019: Absence of cohesion might rob Yewa/Awori of zoning advantage
This became more pronounced, few weeks ago, immediately the Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola withdrew from the race, citing superior reasons from godfathers.
Of the total of 13 aspirants, excluding Adeola that have so far declared intention for the state’s number one seat, four are from the Ogun West zone.
They are: House of Representatives member, Adekunle Abdikabir Akinlade; Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Suraju Adekunbi; former House Representatives member, Abiodun Isiaq Akinlade; and former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI).
The likes of Chief Kola Jimi Lawal, aide to the Kaduna State Governor; House of Representatives member, Oladipupo Adebutu; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo; Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru; former Commissioner for Information, Sina Kawonise; and former deputy governor, Adegbenga Kaka are from Ogun East zone, while former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and former Green Eagles captain, Segun Odegbami are contesting from Ogun Central.
A reliable source in the ruling party in the state confirmed to The Guardian during the week that: “The game has been shifted to ljebu (Ogun East).”
While the 2019 general elections present a good opportunity for the Yewa zone to produce its first governor since the creation of the state in 1976, sources say that a Yewa agenda is no more viable because those who claim to support the Yewas are not sincere, on one hand; while those who purport to be kingmakers have a hidden agenda to want to take it to the east.
Like what happened in 2011 with the emergence of Gen. Tunji Olurin of PDP and GNI of PPN, who both hail from the zone, which divided their votes, aspirants and elders from the zone are being used to scuttle the zone’s chances.
Despite all the parties claiming to zone their governorship to Yewa, the discrepancies within the different camps are daily canceling the chances of the zone.
This development has given courage to other zones, especially the East Senatorial District, which has continued to mobilise support, insisting that zoning is unconstitutional.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, one of the aspirants, Lawal, who postulated that there is no zoning in APC, said the outgoing governor, Ibikunle Amosun is already using the slot meant for the Yewa people.
“There was nothing Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) did not do then to stop Amosun.
It (Governorship slot) was meant to go to Ogun West then, but the PDP members divided themselves into two factions in PDP and PPN fielding Yewa, their votes were divided to pave way for Amosun to emerge as governor.
This is very instructive, because that was when it was Ogun West’s turn to become governor.”
But just few days ago, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo restated his support for “any credible candidate produced by the Ogun West Senatorial District for the governor of the state in 2019, due to the fact that it had not produced a governor since the creation of the state 42 years ago.
“I am going to support a credible governorship candidate from Ogun West Senatorial District.
So, I want to appeal to you to look inward and produce a credible candidate, who is tested and trusted and will deliver for the betterment of the state.”
Grapevine sources disclosed that due to the fact that of all the contenders, Adeola was the only one who has muscle to give the incumbent sleepless nights and a fight for his money, that compelled the powers that be to surrender to the Yewa agenda, but since his withdrawal, the focus has now shifted to Ogun East, which was where the original attention was focused.
Though Governor Amosun was expected to announce his choice of candidate last Wednesday, after several months of suspense, with the likes of the House of Assembly Speaker, Adekunbi, who believes he is qualified to be next governor, hoping to be picked, the delay, as gathered is not unconnected to some suspicious attachment to a choice of candidate in the person of the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Ashiru who is from Ijebu area.
While it is feared that the crisis within the state chapter of APC, which has been severally denied, may explode when its governorship candidate finally emerges, The Guardian learnt that what may balloon the crisis out of proportion is the magnitude of interference by the power that be.
Due to fear, the resort to the direct primary is being considered to ensure that a popular candidate emerges, irrespective of the fact that someone is in control of the structure in the state today.
“If the direct primary option is adopted, there is no way one man could win because not only delegates will be voting. But if someone tries to impose his candidate on the party, the party stalwarts are patiently waiting to fight back.”
A party chieftain confirmed to The Guardian that the party is already shopping for an alternative, in case an unpopular aspirant the governor presents someone who is not widely accepted by the party is imposed.
One thing that is likely to facvour Ogun West if by benevolence the APC succumbs to fielding someone from the zone is the quality of such aspirant. From investigation, the most visible aspirant apart from Senator Adeola, is the Speaker, Adekunbi.
Feelers are that Ogun Westr deserves to present more capable hands to convince other zones to surrender the governorship to Yewa.
But should the zone stuck with what it has; other zones might be tempted to do a battle.
That might even compel temporary change of parties just to secure the governorship by one or two aspirants from Ogun East.
For the two Akinlades, not much has been heard about their aspiration because they are either not willing to ‘invest’ or they are waiting for nomination to office of deputy governor.
Currently, only GNI, the 2011 governorship candidate of PPN and PDP in 2015, who is currently in African Democratic Congress (ADC), appears to be the only aspirant on ground.
His only minus is that GNI is said not to be very reliable. He was anointed in 2011 by OGD, but in 2015 he abandoned his boss and aligned with Buruji camp.
“Now that Obasanjo is backing ADC, he has abandoned Buruji and PDP to align with Obasanjo.
We consider him as an aspirant who should not be trusted,” A PDP chieftain, disclosed.
The influence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in ADC might also frustrate GNI’s chances, The Guardian reliably gathered.
The former president is said not to be in control of the state, as it is difficult to have him as a political partner.
For now, unless leaders and political players in Ogun West put their heads and acts together, the much clamoured desire for equity and fairness ahead the 2019 could be used against the zone.
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