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Ogun 2019: Partitioning of APC and things to come


Olamilekan Solomon Adeola<br />

• As Adeola’s Supporters Decamp
• More APC Members To Leave Soon

The recent reported withdrawal of Senator Solomon Adeola, popularly called Yayi from Ogun State Governorship race, has opened a new vista into the 2019 race. Adeola, a staunch member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was touted, as one of the gubernatorial aspirants, with the capacity to upset the incumbent governor’s to impose his anointed candidate on the party.
Adeola’s withdrawal has not only altered existing permutations and strategies in the succession battle, but has further widened the crisis within the ruling party in the state, which was kept as an open-secret in recent time.The sudden withdrawal, which came as a rude shock to his teeming followers and most political jobbers, had been a subject of intense speculation for some time, until it was laid to rest few weeks ago. 
In a letter to loyal members of the Ogun Yayi Movement, which The Guardian sighted, the members were urged not to be discouraged, but “incessantly be strong just like life goes on, no regret.”The letter titled: Ogun 2019 Senator Solomon Adeola Yayi’s Withdrawal From Gubernatorial Race; Nothing But The Will Of God, read: “Dear Members of Ogun Yayi Movement within and outside Ogun State… I plead with everyone not to entertain this as a thing of regret or shame, but only a reason for us to praise God, the Almighty, who knows what no man knows. He sees today and tomorrow.

“At this juncture, fellow Yayists, I urge everyone neither to be discouraged nor unaccented, but incessantly be strong just like life goes on, no regret.”Although, one of the sources close to the legislator told The Guardian that Adeola left the race, basically due to two reasons-one, the fact that “(Asiwaju Bola) Tinubu is not in support, secondly, that Adeola doesn’t want to move out of APC to realise his gubernatorial ambition. But his staunch followers, who rely on his platform to achieve their political aspirations, are decamping en masse to other parties.
“At present, the best option for us is to move to another party, because we have spent money towards realising our political dreams through his platform. His withdrawal has turned most of the leaders to laughing stock… “I won’t lie to you, money has been spent or wasted in support of his ambition. We all know that the Lagos West Senatorial District where he is returning to has been partially blocked and I believe he knows too. I hope the so-called godfathers won’t mess up his political career in Lagos.”
The Guardian has it on good authority that majority of Adeola’s followers moved out of the APC to two different parties-Alliance for Democracy (AD), and African Democratic Congress (ADC), while the others followed aggrieved APC members to the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).Feelers from Ewekoro Local Council, where the incumbent Governor, Ibikunle Amosun hails and other council areas in the Ogun Central Senatorial District, indicate that Adeola’s followers decamped to ADC. 
But feelers from Ogun Senatorial District, shows that his supporters from the area decamped to AD, while those who decamped to the CUPP cut across the councils.This development, which has partioned the already polarised APC, political analysts say poses a serious threat to the ruling party’s chances of retaining the state, a development that might result in a repeat of the 2015 general elections, which nearly cost APC the state, but for a last minute miracle. 
Then, due to what aggrieved party members loyal to former governor, Olusegun Osoba, a chieftain of the party called ‘intolerance’ leveled against Amosun, who was seeking his second shot in office, they defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), few months to the poll.But for political maneuvering and other strategies, the APC would have been floored at the poll, as larger percentage of National Assembly members from the state-Senator Gbenga Obadara, Adekunle Adeyemi, Adegbenga Kaka, and others defected to SDP with their followers.  
It was a similar error that ended the reign of PDP in 2011, when the party was torn apart, paving way for the coalition that installed Amosun.The factionalisation of the PDP then into the Otunba Gbenga Daniel faction and former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s faction, led to the formation of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), which led to mass exodus from PDP to PPN, and yielded GNI.
The Guardian has it on good authority that mass defection of members is likely in the APC. Sources confirmed that the move is being delayed till after the gubernatorial primary, as party stalwarts are patiently waiting to see if there is going to be imposition, as is being alleged that the governor might settle for his Chief of Staff, Tolu Odebiyi, a rumour that had been debunked.One of those eyeing the seat, reported to be getting set to cause upset if he fails to get nomination, as gathered, is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Suraju Adekunbi.
Sources say the Speaker, who believes he is qualified to be next governor will shock the governor, if he is pushed aside. “One sure thing is that all of them are ready to shock Amosun, even including the Speaker, Suraju. The guy is still insisting that it’s either himself as the APC governorship candidate or nobody else.
“The Speaker said he is hibernating till Amosun announces his candidate. And that by then, the bubble would burst.”Another factor that might puncture chances of the party is the planned defection of a handful of the House of Assembly members.It was gathered late last month that key members of the State Assembly, especially those who have spent a minimum of two terms are likely to defect en masse to other parties shortly, as the APC has perfected a new policy to disqualify those who have served two terms from re-contesting.
As at three weeks ago, two-term legislators, who are targeting a third shot on APC platform, have been holding meetings within and outside the state, in a bid to protect their political careers. A chieftain of the party in the state confirmed to The Guardian that the planned defection of the Legislators would negatively affect the party, as they “would not be leaving the party without going with their supporters.”
Another factor that might affect the party, political analysts claim is the retreat by the Osoba camp, who were allegedly lured few days to the congresses, away from the SDP, which was their planned destination, where they hibernated.As at last week, there are feelers that majority of them, who are already seeing the governor’s handwriting are strategising to either return to SDP or move to other parties to seek political nomination.

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