Road to Ogun government house mired in conjecture
Just as calm returns after a rickety truck plies a bad road, the heavy dust raised in Ogun State after All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries seems to be settling down, although the coast remains fuzzy. Those wounded by the outcome still nurse grievances to the extent of plotting a belated defection to rival platforms. Among these wounded gladiators include Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who is reportedly hobnobbing with Labour Party (LP).
Although the state LP Chairman, Abayomi Arabambi, corroborated such schemes, Amosun faction has denied it, contending that all the 39 registered political parties have fielded candidates. As at now, prominent among the gubernatorial candidates are Dapo Abiodun (APC), Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (ADC), Buruji Kashamu (PDP), Dimeji Bankole (ADP), and Prince Rotimi Paseda (SDP).
The two major parties, APC and PDP, are still squabbling over the authentic candidates, even as PDP factions are in court to determine whom between Hon. Ladipupo Adebutu and Senator Buruji Kashamu should fly the party’s flag during the governorship poll. Within APC, governor Amosun is still adamant in his rejection of the candidacy of Dapo Abiodun, maintaining that he would handover to Hon. Adekunle Akinlade (his preferred candidate).
Before the primaries, APC used to be the strongest party in the state. PDP, which ought to be the strongest apposition, became a shadow of itself due to protracted internal crisis. As a result, APC had a field day, with no strong opposition.
Governor Amosun was in absolute control of the party, and he dictated who occupied which positions and who got what. At the time Amosun defected from ANPP to ACN, which later metamorphosed into APC, former governor, Chief Segun Osoba, was the father and the leader of the party. Amosun got the upper hand during the struggle for the control of the party. In fact, he took total control of the party’s structure and allegedly sidelined Osoba and his loyalists. The two factions, that of Osoba and Amosun, have existed within the party and the struggle has continued till now.
The trouble that followed the primaries was a manifestation of the continuation of the struggle. Before Amosun joined APC, former governor, Chief Segun Osoba was the father of ACN. That was in 2010. Before Amosun joined ACN, Remi Bakare, according to a credible source, had been given the governorship ticket for the 2011 election.
But former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was said to have persuaded Osoba that the flagship ticket should be given to Amosun, who in his view, was more popular to win the state for the party. Amosun won in 2011 and won again for the second tenure in 2015.
A few months before the 2015, Osoba left for SDP, but following the intervention of APC national leadership, he returned to the party. But all along, the relationship between Amosun and Osoba had not been cordial. The crisis following the primaries began when Amosun reportedly attempted to select candidates for the forthcoming elections through ‘consensus,’ which was fiercely resisted by Osoba’s camp. The party’s National Working Committee (NWC) ordered that the candidates must be selected through Direct Primary.
APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomohole, has disclosed that Amosun’s camp failed to participate in the primaries that the panel set up by NWC conducted and instead chose to conduct its own primaries. Dapo Abiodun emerged as the party’s governorship candidate in the primary conducted by the panel while Hon. Adekunle Akinlade emerged from the primary allegedly conducted by Amosun’s camp.
Amosun’s camp and halo of defection
The question many people are asking is, will the decamping of Amosun’s supporters significantly affect the chances of the party in next year’s election? Some say, ‘yes,’ others say, ‘no. Incidentally, Yewa, who Amosun is working tirelessly to ensure that they produce the next governor for the first time since the creation of the state 42 years ago, seem to be divided over the issue.
Ogun West Senatorial District is populated by the Yewa while Ogun East is inhabited by the Ijebu and Ogun Central by the Egba. Out of the three Districts, only Ogun West is yet to produce a governor. Yewa Monarchs have made it clear that they would not support Amosun’s candidate, but will rather support Isiaka, another Yewa indigene. Isiaka has found himself in the same dilemma he was in 2011, when as a PDP candidate, former Governor, Gbenga Daniel, supported him while former President Olusegun Obasanjo supported Gen. Tunji Olurin. Isiaka lost to Amosun.
The party’s national leadership’s efforts for reconciliation are yet to be realised. PDP’s internal crisis is still lingering, thus reducing their chances of making any impact in the coming elections. The crisis within APC has also dimmed their chances of winning the elections, as some members may like to defect to other parties. Those who would not have courage to defect would remain but might cast protest votes. Besides, it is difficult to ascertain whether Amosun would genuinely work for the party’s victory with Abiodun as the governorship candidate if he decides to remain in APC.
Amosun was reported to have bought over 50 buses for APC’s campaign. The question is, with the present situation, would he put those buses at the disposal of the party? Will the Yewa vote for Abiodun, an Ijebu man, who in their view had deprived them of their chances of possibly winning the governorship seat for the first time? Abiodun was expected to choose his deputy from Yewa so as to divide Yewa votes, but for reasons known to him he is reported to have chosen Hon. Bode Mustapha, an Egba instead, apparently to divide Ogun Central votes in case Amosun, who has total control of votes in the area, decides to work for another party or dump APC.
Isiaka, ADC’s rising clout
Already Yewa monarchs, who were strong supporters of Amosun, have publicly declared their support for Isiaka, he is also strongly being backed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who strongly opposed his candidature in the 2011elections, forcing him to contest on the platform of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN). This is Isiaka’s third attempt at occupying the state’s number one seat. He contested again in 2015 under the platform of PDP and lost to Amosun.
Abiodun is not a well-known political figure, but he is said to be a wealthy man. He is an indigene of Iperu, the same town Adebutu comes from in Ogun East Senatorial District. The revered Ijebu monarch, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, according to a source, before the primary, was said to have insisted that he preferred a ‘core’ Ijebu indigene to be the next governor. However, five ‘core’ Ijebu, Senator Gbenga Kaka, Prince Segun Adesegun, Bimbo Ashiru, Jimi Lawal and Senator Oloruninbe Mamora contested against Abiodun.
Whether Oba Adetona has accepted Abiodun as his son and would therefore promote his candidature or not is not certain. What is also not certain is whether the ‘core’ Ijebu he contested with would be large hearted enough to work for him.What is not certain is whether Adebutu will work for Abiodun or the PDP candidate, Buruje Kashamu, who he sees as his political enemy. The rumour is that the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Tinubu are the backbones of Abiodun. In fact, the speculation is that it was through the influence of the duo that Abiodun emerged as candidate. Osinbajo, like Abiodun, is a Remo indigene from Ikenne, hometown of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
One thing that is also working for Abiodun is that Senator Solomon Adeola is said to have handed over his political structure to him. Yayi’s structure is said to be very formidable even as he currently represents Lagos West in the Senate.Former Governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel used to belong to Adebutu’s faction within PDP until he decided to contest PDP’s national chairmanship seat a few months ago. Adebutu chose to support Uche Secondus against him and this brought bad blood between them. Daniel and Kashamu are not the best of friends.
Daniel, Kashamu and party loyalty
The question many are asking is, will Abiodun and Isiaka’s campaign teams be able to make appreciable impact in Ogun Central Senatorial District considered to be Amosun’s stronghold?The belief is that no matter how much they try, Amosun’s preferred candidate would win Ogun Central. The reason is that the governor concentrated most of the infrastructural development during his eight-year tenure in Ogun Central and therefore the electorate in the district would like to pay him back by voting for his candidate.
But what those who hold this opinion have ignored is that former governor Chief Segun Osoba also hails from the same District and he commands large followers in the area. Another hindrance for Amosun’s candidate in the area is former Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole, who is also contesting the governorship seat on the platform of ADP and who also comes from the area.
Who reaps from APC’s controversial primaries?
Yes, he might, some people insist. Out of the over 10 Yewa governorship candidates that declared their intentions to contest the seat, he is the only one still standing. The Guardian gathered that Abiodun had concluded plans to replace Adekunle Akinlade, a Yewa indigene with Hon. Bode Mustapha. This would mean the Yewa votes are going to be divided between Isiaka, Abiodun and Akinlade. With the alleged strong backing of Abiodun by Yayi (a Yewa man), who is said to have a large following in Yewaland, APC candidate stands a better chance of garnering more votes.
How far can reconciliation go?
APC national leadership has set up a Reconciliation Committee to look into cases of aggrieved individuals and factions within the party. Last week, the committee met the state’s party leaders, led by Chief Yomi Ademefun in Abeokuta for discussion. But the leaders were said to have insisted that the only condition they would agree for reconciliation is for Akinlade to replace Abiodun as the governorship candidate. All things considered, it can be safely said that the forthcoming elections in Ogun State would be one of the fieriest fights in the political history of the state.
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