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Ogun 2019: More trouble for Amosun, as Abuja plots sanctions

By Muyiwa Adeyemi(Head South West Bureau)
09 December 2018   |   4:05 am
The defection of some core loyalists of Ogun State Governor,Senator Ibikunle Amosun to the Allied Peoples Movement(APM) and his open...

[FILE PHOTO] Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun. Twitter/Govsia

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The defection of some core loyalists of Ogun State Governor,Senator Ibikunle Amosun to the Allied Peoples Movement(APM) and his open support for the party, despite claiming to be a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has set tongues wagging, and may pitch him against the party leadership.
Amosun, who has been in a protracted battle with APC leadership over the governorship primaries, where his anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade emerged winner, but was replaced with APC’s choice, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has adopted a new survival strategy.

With one leg in APC, where he is contesting for Ogun CentralSenatorial election, and another one in APM, where all his associates, known as SIA group, now seek their political fortunes, Amosun seems to be redefining party loyalty and daring APC leadership.

Aside Akinlade who is flying APM flag, all the 20 APC aspirants, including three members of State House of Assembly that were denied APC ticket have decamped to APM.

That Ogun State APC has been split into two is not in contention. The parallel events that held last Monday showed where members belonged. While some joined Amosun at anAPM event held at the Presidential Lodge at Ibara in Abeokuta,where he declared his support for the party and Akinlade, others attended another event at former Governor Olusegun Osoba’s residence, where Prince Dapo Abiodun unveiled his running mate, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele.
At the APM event, Amosun told his loyalists they should canvass votes for only President Muhammadu Buhari and himself in APC and that all others should go to the APM. Present at that event were state APC executive members, led by Derin Adebiyi.

Although there is rumour that the APC National WorkingCommittee (NWC) may withdraw the senatorial ticket givento Amosu, there are also strong indications that Ogun StateWorking Committee (SWC) may be dissolved and replacedwith a caretaker Committee.

A top APC source in Abuja told The Guardian that the NWChad been inundated with several petitions of anti-party activities against the state Exco allegedly working against Dapo Abiodun’s interest.
The source said: “Most state Exco members have proved that their loyalty belonged to SIA group, and by extension APM.There are several petitions against them that they have not accepted the party’s choice for the governorship election. Itwill be suicidal to go to election with disloyal Exco members.But the party will soon make public its decisions on them.”

But Adebiyi denied the allegation, saying: “My executive members and I have not done anything to attract sanctions fromthe party.”

Explaining why the SWC did not attend Abiodun’s event, the state Chairman said: “We were not aware of that event.Nobody wrote to the party regarding such event, and you cannot call a gathering that took place at Chief Osoba’s personal residence as a party event. Ask them if they informed us. It is a factional affair and nobody can accuse us of anti-party, because we did not attend the event at Chief Osoba’s house. We have a state secretariat and they all know the place.”

The internal crisis within the party has not only polarised its members, but has also weakened the structure to its foundation.

Many analysts see the self-destruct going on in Ogun APC asa replay of the political situation in the state in 2011, which enabled it to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).Though the PDP held sway then, it was enmeshed in internal crisis that forced some members, led by the then governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel to join the Peoples Party of Nigeria(PPN). The aftermath of that crisis paved way for APC’s victory.

Dapo Abiodun

However, APC seems to be looking beyond Amosun and his co-travellers to win election in the state.
The party’s National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, while reacting to anti-party allegations against Amosun said: “Those who think our political future is tied to them are poor students of political history. Some of these people who talk as if they are invincible, have forgotten they contested elections in the past and lost, until they abandoned their parties and joined us. So, if they return, history will repeat itself. Whether you are a big or small man, the rules are not supposed to discriminate. Our popularity in Imo and Ogun is much higher. It is not as if once you are a governor,you have high electoral value.”

However, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has advised the party’s national leadership to withdraw the ticket of any party leader backing candidates in other political parties for the 2019 election.
The Organisation said: “We are disappointed that some high ranking APC members, who are actually founding members of the ruling party have encouraged some of their associates who lost out in the recent party primaries to seek elective offices on the platforms of other parties

“It is wrong for these party chieftains to publicly exhibit acts of disloyalty and still expect to be accorded respect and rewarded by the ruling party. If they feel their associates are good enough to contest on other platforms, they should also go pick the tickets of those parties.

“We at BMO, therefore, call on APC leadership to sanction these leaders, by withdrawing their party tickets and give them to more loyal members. It may be counter productive to expect party supporters to vote for APC in the Presidential election and thumbprint the ballot for some other parties in other elections.
“This could lead to confusion and render some of the votes meant for the party candidates invalid. No manner how big these politicians are, they have to be subjected to the same rules guiding all party members and not be allowed to getaway with acts of disloyalty.”

Although Comrade Oshiomhole and other APC leaders were looking beyond Amosun to deliver the state in next year election, observers are of the opinion that Ogun State residents are already looking beyond APC, which might have informed some of their members at the grassroots decamping to other political parties.

The political atmosphere in the state is still cloudy. The PDP that fielded Senator Buruji Kashamu and spokesperson to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati as its flag bearers is yet to rid itself of internal crisis.
Only this week, the Supreme Court ruled against a suit filed by the party’s factional leader, Hon Ladi Adebutu, asking for stay of execution on the Appeal Court judgment that recognised Kashamu faction led by Bayo Adedayo as authentic.
But while the Kashamu group rolled out the drums to celebrate the judicial victory, the party’s National Secretariat issued a statement insisting that Adebutu was the party’s governorship candidate.

A statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan insisted that, Ladi Adebutu is its candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Ogun State.

“Ladi Adebutu was duly elected as the PDP candidate in the primary conducted by the NWC, the only body empowered to conduct such primaries. And his name and particular shave since been duly submitted to the IndependentNational Electoral Commission (INEC) by the party leadership.

“All PDP members, supporters and the general public should, by this declaration, completely disregard, as an impostor, any other person parading himself as PDP governorship candidate in Ogun State, as only Ladi Adebutu isour flag bearer and governorship candidate.

With this statement, PDP members, like other electorate,are confused about who will eventually fly the party’s flag.
While APC/APM, PDP are yet to settle down for campaigns,the African Democratic Congress (ADC) launched its manifesto on December 1, 2018 and began campaigning immediately.

But the party, which seems to be spreading fast in the state,may not have it smoothly, as it is being curtailed by yet to be identified elements.