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Why Akinlade’s APM holds the ace in Ogun State

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Akinlade

As Nigeria goes into the second phase of the national elections on Saturday to elect governors and states’ Houses of Assembly members into the 36 states of the federation, one state that presents an interesting scenario is Ogun State.

Just as it happened in 2011 when the then governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, made a fruitless attempt to install a successor, the incumbent governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, is on a similar voyage, and so makes it difficult to predict a likely winner of the election.

In 2011, the then incumbent had issues with the leadership of his party at the centre following the emergence of two candidates after the party primaries.

Circumstances arising therefrom forced him to form another political party, which he had hoped to realise his dream of installing a successor from Ogun West Senatorial District in order to assuage the zone on the cry of marginalization.

It is the only zone that was yet to produce a governor in the over four decades since the creation of the state. His political party, People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN), which was formed just weeks to the election, could not produce the governor as it lost to the main opposition party at the time.

Ironically, the beneficiary of the 2011 imbroglio, Senator Ibikunle Amosu, who is also the incumbent, has been having a running battle with the leadership of his political party, All Progressive Congress (APC), as they both differ on who should be the candidate of the party.

Prior to the party primaries, which were held on October 2, 2018, Governor Amosu has not hidden his preference for a candidate from Ogun West Senatorial District and has, in fact, drummed this to the hearing of all at every available opportunity. The failure to have the national body accept his preferred candidate at the party primaries gave birth to the Allied Peoples Movement  (APM), which has been enjoying the backing Governor Ibikunle Amosu.

As it stands, there are four formidable parties vying for the number one job in the state and, incidentally, all have their candidates from two senatorial districts of Ogun West and Ogun East.

While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressive Congress (APC) have their candidates from Ogun East, Allied Peoples Movements (APM) and African Democratic Congress (ADC) have both their candidates from Ogun West Senatorial District.

The PDP, which is the main opposition party, could not benefit from this split as it is also enmeshed in internal squabbles.

Four days to election, there are two candidates laying claims to the sole ticket of the party. While Senator Buruji Kasamu, the Senator representing Ogun East, is recorgnised by INEC following a court order, Honourable Ladi Adebutu, representing Remo Federal Constituenc,y is backed by the party hierarchy.

Another formidable party, ADC which has Prince Gboyega Isiaka, as its candidate, is viewed not to be having the wherewithal to wrestle power from a party backed by incumbency or a party that controls the government at the centre.

While the flag bearer is well known to the people, the fact that the party is relatively known places, it stands at a disadvantageous position and a lot is required to etch it in the minds of the people.

The candidate of APC, Dayo Abiodun, whose emergence caused a split in the party, is from Ogun East where PDP holds sway.

As a matter of fact, the last Presidential election revealed that APC needs a lot of work to do in that axis if it hopes to have a meaningful showing.

The candidate is also enmeshed in certificate scandal in which the court will decide a day to the election.

Complaints across the state have been that he is an imposition from the neighbouring state, Lagos, and many people do not know him. He has neither attended any debate organised for the electorate to feel the pulse of the various candidates, preferring to send his aides.

APM, on the other hand, enjoys the full backing of the incumbent.

Within the short period the party came into existence, so many efforts have been put in place to introduce the party and its flag bearer, Hon. Akinlade, to the people and its popularity is growing like bush fire in harmattan.

It is no coincidence that the symbol of the party is ‘Cassava,’ which everybody, both literate and non-literate, old and young and wherever they live in Ogun State, can easily identify and relate with, and this has greatly paid off. It is said that so many APC chieftains are backing the governor to choose a successor, as the symbol of the party.

They believed that he and his teeming supporters were unjustly treated at the party primaries where the National Working Committee of the party accepted the outcome of ‘flawed’ primaries.

This school of thought believe that Amosun’s performance on infrastructure and other people-oriented programmes and policies helped to position the party in the enviable position it is today in the state.

Akinlade has never hidden his passion to govern the Gateway State.

This is evident in the way he is accepted wherever he goes to campaign, as mammoth crowds welcome him. He has traversed all the nooks and crannies of the state to sell his candidacy and the tremendous support the incumbent enjoys should rub in.

While speaking on a radio programme last week, the APM candidate listed five cardinal points he will anchor his government on.

These are rebuilding education system, developing strategic infrastructure, creating jobs, boosting internally generated revenue (IGR) and attracting foreign direct investment.

These are programmes, he said, that would take the state to greater heights if vigorously pursued. His interface with the people first as Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation and Revenue and later in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development have endeared him not only to the civil servants, but also across other agencies and professional bodies who see him as a youthful, new blood who could steer the ship of state.

Another strong point being canvassed for the possible success of APM is the fact that it’s financier, Governor Amosu is from the Central Senatorial District, which has no strong governorship candidate.

If the result of the last election is anything to go by, Amosu is set to sway the votes from that zone which hitherto has the largest number of voters APM could garner because of his popularity there.


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