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Ogun: Parallel primaries dim fortunes of APC, PDP


Osoba and Tinubu

This is not the best of times for the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunke Amosun, who seems to have lost chances of getting his choice aspirant as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Amosun had through the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party engaged the National Working Committee (NWC) in a war of attrition over the modalities to be employed to elect the governorship candidate.

For the SWC, consensus option was initially adopted in defiance of the direct primary option, which the NWC approved for Ogun State.

It took the aspirants little efforts to discard the consensus list, which Amosun was alleged to have single-handedly arrived at.

When that failed, Ogun SWC announced that it had opted for the indirect primaries and that option, again, was thwarted by the majority of the aspirants who seemed to have stronger ties with NWC than Amosun and his state Exco.

Indeed, former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who also kicked against indirect option, said it would lead to chaos.

He advised Amosun that it “was constitutional to follow the decision of the party’s NWC, which earlier embraced direct primaries for elective positions ahead of 2019 general election.”

The Muhammed Ndabawa-led Electoral Committee members sent by the NWC to conduct primaries in Ogun State did not pretend that they were not in the state to do Amosun’s bidding, the reason why the date of the primaries were shifted twice.

On Monday evening, last week, when the Electoral Committee called the aspirants for a peace meeting in Abeokuta in order to discuss modalities, the meeting was dispersed by gunmen, who stormed the venue and shot sporadically into the air.

By Tuesday, the SWC went ahead to conduct the governorship primary and declared Amosun’s choice, Abiodun Akinlade as the winner.

The state chairman of the party, Chief Derin Adebiyi, who announced the result claimed that Akinlade polled 190,987 votes, out of 201,620 valid votes cast across the 236 wards in the State.

Sensing that the primaries conducted by the state Exco would not deter the Electoral Committee of the NWC from going ahead with the direct primaries, the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa had in a state-wide live broadcast accused that National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole of bias for a preferred candidate and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call him to order.

He wondered why the national leadership of the party had to shift the primaries three times and vowed that the “APC in the state would not participate in any further primaries unless a sacrosanct date is fixed.”

Adeoluwa, said: “With all due respect, we are not known for reckless, irresponsible allegation but it appears a carefully written script is being directed by the National Chairman of APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

“We have learnt on good authority that the national headquarters of APC is determined and desperate to force a particular candidate on the people of Ogun state. We will be ready for them, but we shall do nothing unlawful.

Unperturbed by the threat from the state government, Muhammed Ndabawa-led Electoral Committee on Wednesday held a direct primary at all the 236 wards in the state and declared Dapo Abiodun the winner of that primary.

Abiodun, who hails from Remo in Ogun East Senatorial District was said to have scored 102,305, while Jimi Lawal scored 51,153 votes; Abimbola Ashiru, 29,764; Senator Gbenga Kaka, 17,771; Abayomi Hunye, 9,110; and Akinlade, 23,443 votes.

However, a chieftain of the party in the state and former Minister of State for Education, Chief (Mrs) Iyabo Anisulowo has accused Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Oshiomhole of meddling with Ogun APC politics.

She said it was unfortunate that Osinbajo, who had been playing politics in Lagos State will now be involved in dictating who should win the governorship primaries in Ogun State.

She said, “He (Osinbajo) did his politics in Lagos. He came to be Vice-President from Lagos but we cannot deny that he is an indigene of Ogun State.

“But for us, I have been in politics for 35 years. We don’t know him in the politics of Ogun State.

The only thing we knew about him is that he was a commissioner in Lagos State and his brother was a commissioner here in Ogun State and many times we met, they were very respectful.

“So, how do we feel that he would be the one that is trying to rock the boat here? But Oshiomhole, everybody knows him.

And if he is faulting the system here, what about the system that made him the national chairman of our party?

How clean was the process? And now he wants to turn everything upside down for us here.”

But unknown to many APC members in Ogun State, a political revolution is sweeping across the South West, where the former Alliance for Democracy (AD) members are re-launching themselves to control the heart of the party in the zone.

An analyst said: “What is happening in Ogun State was not only to cut Amosun to size but to tell him he is not part of the real progressive politicians in the South West.

The party will soon be handed over back to Osoba and the SIA group that have held sway in the last eight years will be put to where they belong.”

With the parallel congresses held in Ogun State, the internal crisis that has been rocking the party has just assumed another dimension that is capable of dimming its chances in 2109.

Observers are of the opinion that the choice of Abiodun by the powers that be in the APC was against the political trend and zoning arrangement in the state.

Abiodun is from Remo in Ogun East Senatorial District, the same zone where the immediate past governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel comes from.

Even in the calculation of the protagonists of power rotation between Egba and Ijebu districts where Remo was seen as part of Ijebu, power ought to go to Ijebu Ode axis now.

Although Amosun had the desire of having a Yewa man to succeed him, it appears his choice of Akinlade as the candidate of his party may be truncated by the high-wire politics being played by the NWC of the APC.

But the hope of Yewa to produce the next governor is still alive with the emergence of Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) as the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Some political watchers see the current political underpinnings where the APC and PDP are producing candidates from Ogun East as a good opportunity for Ogun Central and West to team up and break over four decades jinx.

The Chairman of the party’s National Electoral Committee, Alhaji Fatai Akingbade, who presented the certificate of return to Isiaka said, he polled 207,334 votes as an unopposed aspirant of the party.

Isiaka, who described the ADC as a moving train said he was sure of victory in 2019 and urged the people of the state to vote for him.

Meanwhile, the crisis bedeviling the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state was yet to abate as the two factions of the party also held parallel governorship primaries.

The group recognised by the national body of the PDP held its primaries at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), where Hon. Ladi Adebutu emerged as the candidate.

Adebutu, who is representing the Remo/North Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, was the sole aspirant of the group.

He emerged after all the 2,369 delegates from the three Senatorial Districts was said to have voted for him.

Similarly, Mr. Adeleke Shittu emerged the governorship candidate of the party in another primary organised by Senator Buruji Kasamu, who has been expelled by the party.

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