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Ogun: Intrigues in quest for Senatorial seats

By Gbenga Akinfenwa and Azeez Olorunlomeru
15 May 2022   |   3:22 am
For the first time since 2011, the Yewa zone in Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State seems to be heading in the same direction in its bid to have a shot at the state’s number one seat.

Otunba Gbenga Daniel

For the first time since 2011, the Yewa zone in Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State seems to be heading in the same direction in its bid to have a shot at the state’s number one seat.

Since the creation of Ogun State on February 3, 1976, from the defunct Western State, by the military junta led by the late Murtala Muhammed, power distribution and sharing among the three socio-cultural components of the state have been tilted against the people of Ogun West, comprising majorly the Yewa, Awori, Egun and other clusters.

Before now, high level consultations and political intrigues have commenced across the zone to put all the stakeholders, irrespective of political affiliations on the same page to rewrite history.

But just as the moves seem to be paying off, the jostle for the zone’s senatorial seat appears to have polarised the zone again, especially the aspiration of the senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, popularly known as Yayi.

With the current development, the zone seems to be on the verge of repeating the same error that has handicapped its chance of producing a governor in 2011 when the zone was ‘torn-apart’ on the choice of candidate between the late Gen. Olurin of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), paving way for the coalition that installed Ibikunle Amosun, who hailed from Ogun Central zone.

The acrimony in the PDP at the time between the Otunba Gbenga Daniel and former President Olusegun Obasanjo factions, led to the formation of the PPN, which culminated in the mass exodus of the PDP members to PPN, and yielded GNI.

That would have been a very good opportunity for the Yewa zone to produce its first governor with the candidacy of the late Gen. Olurin, as both hailed from the zone. But the division within the zone, which culminated in internal wrangling scuttled the move.

It is no longer a secret that the candidacy of Yayi, GNI, the incumbent senator, Tolu Odebiyi and a three-time Federal House of Representatives member, Abiodun Akinlade, is doing more harm than good to the dream of the zone, as the peaceful atmosphere earlier prepared for a united district is being shattered gradually.

According to stakeholders and political bigwigs within the state, the case of Ogun West is a bit complicated, based on assumptions that the unity of the district will positively influence the emergence of any candidate eyeing the number one seat in 2023, coupled with the permutations that whoever gets the Senate seat may have the advantage to succeed Governor Dapo Abiodun in 2027.

A source close to the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in the 2019 gubernatorial election, Adekunle Akinlade, lamented that Yewas are always divided “and it is really making the harmonisation stressful. Even the youths of the region seem not prepared for the change.”

He advised stakeholders in the zone, irrespective of party affiliation or geographical location, to come together to advance the cause of the zone irrespective of whoever emerges as the senator.

In similar vein, Governor Dapo Abiodun and former governor, Otunba Daniel are not in agreement over who should be the candidate of the APC for Ogun East Senatorial District come 2023, which is currently being occupied by Senator Lekan Mustapha.

It was reliably gathered that one of the reasons the former governor actually left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC was the need to realise his dream of going to the senate in 2023 from Ogun East. But it appears Abiodun is preparing the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi for the ticket.

Keen followers of development in the state say it is going to be an uphill task for Talabi to scale the huddle based on the disagreement he had with the former Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Oludare Kadiri, which allegedly led to the arrest and the eventual impeachment of Kadiri.

Olamilekan Solomon Adeola

It was reported that Kadiri, who represents Ijebu-North at the state assembly, had a disagreement with the duo of Talabi and Adebiyi Odugbesan on the alleged hoarding of registration forms meant for Oru-Ijebu in Ijebu North local council during the APC membership revalidation exercise in the state.

Kadiri was one of the allies of Amosun and is still quite loyal to the former governor. On his part, OGD belonged to the faction of the late Senator Kashamu Buruji, which was only legally recognised but not accepted to the national arm of the party.

Recalled that Otunba Daniel and his group worked for the success of Governor Dapo Abiodun in the 2019 elections, but it appears the group has since been hijacked by Abiodun, who The Guardian gathered would rather support the current Secretary to the State Government for the Ogun East Senatorial seat in 2023 rather than Daniel.

Daniel also has his successor, former governor Ibikunle Amosun to contend with as the latter controls Ogun Central and enjoys the support of the national chapter of the APC as a serving senator. The incumbent Senator representing Ogun East, Lekan Mustapha, and Senator Tolu Odebiyi, representing Ogun West are both close associate of Amosun and are both working to slug it out with Governor Abiodun and Otunba Daniel.

However, with the recognition of the Yemi Sanusi-led leadership recognised at the national level, the chances of the likes of Amosun representing Ogun Central, Tolu Odebiyi representing Ogun west and that of Lekan Mustapha in Ogun East to retain the party ticket for the second term may have become more difficult.

In Ogun East, the current Senator, Lekan Mustapha would most likely contest against the likes of Daniel, and renowned Ogun businessman and philanthropist Segun Senbanjo. In Ogun West, political observers predict that it is going to be a keen contest between the incumbent Senator Tolu Odebiyi, three-time gubernatorial candidate, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) and Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola, popularly known as Yayi.