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Opposition’s ‘silence’ worries stakeholders in Ogun

By  Gbenga Akinfenwa
06 December 2020   |   4:25 am
It appears Ogun State is gradually tilting to a one-party state, considering the deafening silence from the ‘supposed’ opposition parties since the current administration came on board.

Dapo Abiodun. Photo: twitter/dabiodunMFR

It appears Ogun State is gradually tilting to a one-party state, considering the deafening silence from the ‘supposed’ opposition parties since the current administration came on board.

The Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, also attested to this in January at the Ake Palace ground of the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, in Abeokuta, when political bigwigs from other parties defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). Abiodun, in his speech at the event, stated that with the defection, “the state had become a one party state.”

Aside those who wittingly ceded their votes to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the 2019 general elections, at least, 17 other parties, approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), contested against APC, including the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) that gave the ruling party a run for their money.

 
They include the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Action Democratic Party (ADP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Yes Electorates Solidarity, among others.

Based on past precedents, this will be the first time in the last few years in the Gateway State, that a sitting government will directly or indirectly silence opposition parties.

For instance, between May 29, 2003 and 2011, a period of eight years that former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) reigned in the state, the defunct Action Congress (AC), which later metamorphosed to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) on several occasions held the administration by the jugular.

The governorship hopeful of the ACN then, late Dipo Dina constantly put the OGD’s administration on its toe. The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) was also constantly pulling the trigger to awaken the PDP government.

When former governor Ibikunle Amosun administration came on board in 2011, the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), which was still leaking the wound of its defeat in the hands of ACN were at the forefront of the onslaught against the administration.

Recall that the PPN broke-away from the PDP in the build up to the 2011 general election, when the incumbent, OGD planned to foist his candidate on the party. But the resoluteness of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s faction, which forced the OGD-led faction out of PDP, led to the formation of the party, which flew Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) as the flag bearer.

Meanwhile, during Amosun’s second term in office, when the PPN seemed to have faded away, the LP took over as the main opposition party in the state, forcing the governor and his administration to focus more on masses friendly policies.

Currently, to political analysts and the electorate within and outside the state, the APM was considered as the formidable opposition that could have given the APC a run for their money, considering the manner with which they broke-away from APC, but the sudden collapse of the party’s political structure back to the ruling party, put an end to that.

Recall that the APM and its governorship candidate in the state, Adekunle Akinlade, who was Amosun’s anointed candidate, lost APC governorship ticket to the incumbent, Abiodun, through what many called ‘superior power-play.’
 
What actually dashed the hope of the Amosun’s faction was the suspension of State APC Executives led by Derin Adebiyi, the former governor’s loyal party man and replaced with the three-man Caretaker Committee, chaired by Yemi Sanusi; Ayo Olubori as Secretary and Tunde Oladunjoye as Publicity Secretary.
 
The political scenario prompted, Akinlade, his followers, as well as all the then APC faithful loyal to Amosun to dump APC and formed APM, to slug it out with APC in the governorship election, which they lost with a slim margin.

The return of the Amosun’s caucus last December did not only put an end to people’s expectation, it also put the responsibility on the PDP, ADC and ADP that were more popular parties in the election.

For the PDP, the party appears to have lost its ground and living on past glory in the state. No thanks to the challenges that have plagued the party before the 2019 general elections. Though several reconciliation moves have been done to unite the rank and file of the party, but currently two different factions are laying claim to the party in the state
 
Political analysts claim that a party like PDP, trying to hold its own in the face of internal wrangling threatening its existence, is not organised in any way to act as watchdog to any administration.

The ADC, where GNI pitched his tent in the last election, is also literarily dead since the candidate defected to the APC with thousands of his supporters across the 20 Local Councils last January.

It’s the same scenario for the ADP, the party where the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole contested. Based on feelers from political analysts, the party is near comatose, as it cannot hold its own due to financial crisis after the general elections in 2019.

The State Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Comrade Ogini Olaposi Sunday, who told The Guardian that his party has not been silenced, said NNPP has been criticising nearly all the aspects of the administration objectively

He said: “Other opposition parties might have gone silent but not NNPP. As far as we are concerned as a party, Prince Dapo Abiodun has nothing to offer people of this state with nearly two years in office. He has tried to silence the opposition parties by telling them he will operate an all-inclusive government, but at the end of the day, it was an all inclusive-nonsense.

“He has been making appointment where there are no offices, where there are no structures, he is also fond of forming committees, wasting taxpayers’ money without result. So, as a matter of fact, our position is resolute that this is not what Ogun people are asking for and we know that by 2023 Ogun State people will change this government.”

Ogini said NNPP would continue to strife to liberate the people of the state. “We’ll continue to tell them that this is not the best they are asking for. And we know that this is one of the clueless government we have ever had in the history of Ogun State. There is nothing this government can show us in terms of education, infrastructure and other aspects. What we are witnessing is a kind of marginalisation that we have never seen in the history of the state. Go to Ogun West and see what is happening there-decadence, the roads are bad, he is just governor by accident and I am very sure that come 2023, these anomalies will stop.”

Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Sunkanmi Oyejide, said the PDP is not silent, as it has been taking on government where necessary. “Where there is nothing to talk about, we don’t talk. We have exposed them where necessary like the Ayetoro road, the contractors are no longer there, likewise other areas, we have been calling them to perform their electoral duties.

“We are consulting with some of our leaders who led the parties in the past. We are just waiting for the state government to announce the process of the councils election, when there is no election, you can’t really ascertain the level of an opposition. As it is, you’ll agree with me that this government has failed the people. During the electioneering, they promised good roads, quality health delivery, infrastructure and others, but till now, no improvement in all the three sectors.

“The people of the state are now calling on the PDP and we are ready. Though the death of Senator Buruji Kashamu caused us a lot, but we have new leaders that will lead the new PDP. During the reign of OGD as governor under the PDP, people see improvement in almost all the sectors and we are set to repeat that.”

The Chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Adeshina Abraham, who accepted that the opposition parties have not done enough, said his party has woken from its slumber and ready to compel the administration to impact positively on the electorate.

“We have tried our possible best; unfortunately I cannot actually say why the administration has not been able to up its game. We are very ready to act as an opposition party. We as a party did not collect any money from the state government, so nobody can silence us.”