By Ibidapo Balogun
In the days after the recently-ended Ondo State governorship election, there were lurid tales of what transpired in the Sunshine State, known for its adherence to the finest attributes of representative democracy. A state where an orgy of violence, arson and looting would normally be the order of the day once electoral returns are doctored, once elections are rigged; a state where perpetrators of rigging and electoral malpractices would be made to pay for their sins. This has happened before in this state of progressive-minded leaders such as late Chief Adekunle Ajasin, the first civilian governor of the state, and late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, among others. The aftermath of the rigged 1983 election in Ondo is still very fresh in our memory, when the National Party of Nigeria rigged the governorship poll in favour of Chief Akin Omoboriowo, as against his former boss, Chief Ajasin of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria, who was massively voted for by the people. Many political analysts believe the seed for the collapse of the Second Republic in 1983 was partly sown with the rigging of that Ondo poll.
Now, there were allegations that the November 26, 2016 election in Ondo was heavily monetised. Yet, not a whimper was heard in protest against the bastardisation of the electoral process. The state did not burn in spite of the debauchery allegedly perpetrated in that election as it is customary with Ondo, a people who hate unfairness and injustice like a plague. The fraud had started from the way and manner the Chief John Oyegun-led All Progressives Congress (APC) national leadership doctored the Delegates List to favour former Nigeria Bar Association President, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as the party’s governorship candidate.
Ondo did not explode in protest after the election of Akeredolu. Not that the process was not manipulated on the altar of money, as widely speculated. The jigsaw is now falling into place with the revelations by Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun. According to reports in some online platforms, Amosun vowed that his group within the APC would defeat all other parties and tendencies in the 2018 elections in Ekiti and Osun, saying the party would repeat the feat it performed in the recent Ondo governorship poll won by Mr. Akeredolu. The governor reportedly spoke at the meeting he had with members of the National and State House of Assembly members from the state. The meeting reportedly held a couple of days ago at the Governor’s Office.
At the meeting, Governor Amosun also dropped hints about his 2019 senatorial ambition, saying he is under severe pressure to contest as the Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District, a position currently held by Senator Lanre Tejuoso.
“Even Tejuoso, that is seated here, might re-contest and might not re-contest. The same goes for Micky and others here,” Amosun reportedly said. According to the source at the meeting, Senator Tejuoso, who was also seated at the meeting, was said to have been shocked to the bone marrow.
The governor, who was oozing massive confidence at the meeting, revealed that he was aware of underground moves by some of the people in his government to move to the camp of Asiwaju Tinubu. He reportedly said in Yoruba: “We are aware of the moves by some of you but if I get to know that you have gone public with such moves, you are finished”.
Governor Amosun also hinted about the plans to create crisis for Asiwaju Tinubu in the Lagos APC. “Even Lagos will go out of Asiwaju’s grip. We will bring in a few PDP to decamp to APC and cause problems for them (laughter). You don’t know anything. You can go ahead and tell them o, I don’t care”.
None of the House of Assembly and National Assembly members uttered a word throughout the meeting as they were all in shock.