Ogun 2019: Uncertainty pervades political terrain
Capturing the Ogun State number one seat in 2019 would be a hard nut, considering the many twists and turns that have characterised the process so far.
For now, uncertainty pervades the political terrain, as no political party, factions or camps, is sure of where the pendulum of victory would swing. Even the Labour Party (LP), which positioned itself as the main opposition party, is unsteady, with the array of politicians cross carpeting to the party.
Based on findings, The Guardian learnt from informed sources that none of the ‘living’ parties in the state is sure of producing the next governor, though the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to have upper hand, due to incumbency power, but the sharp division in the party might be its undoing, which if not managed might result in what happened to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2011 election in the state.
During the countdown to the 2011 general election, the acrimony in the PDP then-Otunba Gbenga Daniel and that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which divided the party into factions, led to the formation of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), which culminated in the mass exodus of PDP members to PPN, and yielded Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) as governorship candidate.
That was a very good opportunity for the Yewa zone to produce its first governor with the PDP presenting Gen. Tunji Olurin, who is also from the zone like Isiaka. But the party’s internal wrangling scuttled the move, putting an end to PDP’s reign in the state.
At present, the same scenario is almost playing out in APC, as the party appears to be in three different camps. At the initial stage, it was Governor Ibikunle Amosun faction; and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu/Olusegun Osoba faction that existed, but a new faction-Senator Solomon Adeola (Yayi), currently representing Lagos West senatorial district in the upper chamber, and an indigene of Yewa zone entered the scramble.
One of the issues causing disaffection between the APC is zoning, which the Osoba camp is said to be averse to. From the onset of his second term in office, Amosun made it clear that his successor would come from Ogun West Senatorial zone and he has shown no pretenses about it.
Few months ago, the Governor publicly endorsed the aspiration of the Yewa to produce the next governor. Former president, Olusegun Obasanjo was also reported to have backed the move at a social event.
But in August, Osoba debunked the insinuation that the party has zoned the governorship slot to any section of the state.
Osoba who disclosed this at a gathering of party faithful in his Ibara Government Reservation Area, Abeokuta home, declared that Ogun East Senatorial District is also eligible to contest the governorship seat, just as the Yewa-Awori people of Ogun West.
“No single individual within the party, no matter how highly placed, could determine where the next governor of the state would come from in 2019. The party needs to embrace internal democracy in order to strengthen its chances in the general elections. There was nothing like zoning of elective posts in the past, any zone in the state except Ogun Central is eligible to contest for the exalted position.
“As a party, we have not zoned the governorship seat. There is nothing like zoning of office in the past. We give opportunity to anyone to aspire, but we always used maturity to settle it among us. That is unwritten, it is a convention. It is not the rule and nobody will go against the agreement. Now, so many things have divided us. The Ijebus now come together to be claiming the Ijebu agenda. We must leave the field open. We must examine the Yewa and Ijebu Agenda,” the APC chieftain said.
For the Yayi camp, the group, The Guardian learnt has a good following in the grassroots, with a strong impact on the ordinary people who seem to have lost confidence in Amosun’s administration.
According to feelers, the governor needs to shore up his support base, especially in the camp of past elected council officials, past National Assembly members, former commissioners, aides and party members, who no longer have strong links with him.
The state chairman of LP, Abayomi Arabambi, confirmed this to The Guardian in a recent interview, where he stated that aspirants from other parties are in talks with the party ahead of 2019 general elections, to seek alternative platform in case they run into trouble in their parties.
Sensing the challenges, Yayi is reportedly threading softly in order not to lose both ways. He is weighing the options of playing in the governorship, as well as holding forth in Lagos.
Should Yayi scale through by decamping to another party, he could pose serious threat to whomever APC presents. Sources privy to development within the party said that is the major nightmare for the ruling party, especially with the disenchantment of party faithful
With APC, the Governor’s faction is said to be having the upper hand over two other factions, due to support from Abuja, in addition to the power of incumbency. According to feelers, one factor that could boost the Governor’s chances of installing a successor is if President Buhari runs for second term, otherwise Amosun would find it difficult to replicate the victory he achieved in 2015.
For the PDP, since Senator Buruji Kashamu loosened his grip on the party after victory of the Senator Makarfi faction at the Supreme Court, the party is trying to find its feet under the leadership of House of Representatives member, representing Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North constituency, Oladipupo Adebutu.
Those who pitched tent elsewhere while the crisis lasted are coming back. But the threat against the party is the fact that Kashamu’s supporters are still holding on despite the decision of the Supreme Court. This is fueling new crisis that might affect chances of the party ahead 2019.
One other thing is that those claiming to be godfathers in the PDP and others are alleged to be romancing and funding LP activities, though they are in PDP.
The Guardian authoritatively gathered that LP might reap from the trouble of both APC and PDP, as event unfolds. For instance, APC national lawmakers who were schemed out in 2015 might decamp to LP to actualise their fresh dreams. It was also learnt on good authority that Kashamu might also come to LP, likewise Adebutu, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) and Daniel, which might be an advantage for LP, if well managed.