As the geopolitical contest for the governorship of Ogun State builds up ahead of 2019, Femi Ogbonnikan looks at some of the leading aspirants from Ogun East Senatorial district
The stage appears set for the governorship contest in Ogun State, as the various senatorial districts intensify their bids to succeed Governor Ibikunle Amosun in 2019. Though, the agitation for the governorship seat has been more forceful in Yewa/Aworiland, Ogun West senatorial district, the people of Ogun East senatorial district (Ijebu/Remo) have also mounted a campaign to produce the next governor of the Gateway State.
Two sons of Ogun East have governed the state. Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, from Ijebu Ode, was governor from 1979 to 1983, in the Second Republic, on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria, Otunba Gbenga Daniel from Sagamu, Remo governed on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party between 2003 and 2011. No one from Ogun West has governed the state since its creation on February 4, 1976. But the preponderance of opinion in Ogun East senatorial district is that such geopolitical consideration does not count in the politics of the state. Some in the zone have, thus, signified their intention to occupy the Okemosan Government House, in Abeokuta, in 2019. They believe what matters is the competence of the candidates and not where they come from.
Ogun State has produced many iconic figures in the country. They include Chief Alexander Akintola Sapara-Williams (the first Nigerian lawyer), Hon Justice Olumuyiwa Jibowu (the first Nigerian judge to sit on the Supreme Court Bench), Sir Adetokunbo Ademola (the first indigenous Chief Justice of Nigeria), Chief Obafemi Awolowo (the first Nigerian lawyer to head a regional government), Chief Simeon Adebo (the pioneer Federal Government Permanent Secretary), Professor Wole Soyinka (Black Africa’s first Nobel Laureate), Professor Anthony Asiwaju (a renowned historian), and Professor Afolabi Olabimtan. Many in Ogun East feel that state deserves nothing less than merit as a prerequisite for governorship – not calculations based on the district that has never produced a governor. They say this is what would make Ogun maintain its leadership position in the country.
No fewer than six aspirants of Ogun East origin have joined the fray to vie for the number one position in the state. Ogun East district is made up of nine local government areas, namely, Ikenne, Remo North, Ijebu North, Ijebu North-East, Ijebu Ode, Ogun Waterside, Sagamu, Odogbolu, and Ijebu East. The aspirants include Senator Lekan Mustapha, Otunba Rotimi Paseda, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamowora, Asiwaju Olajide Awosedo, Hon Ladi Adebutu, and Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Senator Lekan Mustapha
Senator Ramoni Olalekan Mustapha was born on February 25, 1960. He hails from Ijebu-Igbo, in Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State, and has a National Diploma in Public Health from the Ogun State College of Health Technology, Ilese. Mustapha was council chairman for Ijebu North local government between 1996 and 1997. He was elected as a member of the House of Representatives for Ijebu North/Ijebu North-East/Ogun Waterside on the platform of the PDP between 2003 and 2007. Afterwards, he was elected senator for Ogun East district on the platform of the PDP between 2007 and 2011. In 2011, he ran for re-election into the upper chamber of the National Assembly on the Labour Party platform, but lost to Alhaji Adegbenga Kaka (a former Ogun State deputy governor) of the then ACN, also from the same town, Ijebu Igbo.
Mustapha is nursing the ambition of becoming the governor of Ogun State in 2019, but the platform he intends to use is not clear yet. This may not be unconnected with the seemingly irreconcilable differences and cracks within the leadership of the PDP.
Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora
Senator Adeleke Olorunnimbe Mamora hails from Ijebu Ife. He is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress. He was born on February 16, 1953. Mamora obtained a BSc degree in Health Sciences, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the University of Ife (now, Obafemi Awolowo University) and became a health practitioner. He was medical director of a medical centre between 1987 and 1998 and a company adviser from 1988 to 1992.
Mamora was elected to the Lagos State House of Assembly in 1999 and he served as Speaker between 1999 and 2003. While a Speaker, he was chairman of the Conference of Speakers (2000-2001). On account of his exemplary leadership role, the national leadership of the then ACN fielded him to vie for the Lagos East senatorial seat and he was elected as a member of the upper chamber of the National Assembly, where he spent two consecutive terms, between 2003 and 2011. While in the Senate, he was appointed chairman of the Ethics, Privileges, and Public Petitions Committee.
He has come back home to Ijebu Ife to prepare for the Ogun State governorship contest in 2019 on the APC platform.
Hon Ladi Adebutu
Hon Oladipupo Adebutu is a successful businessman and the scion of Sir Kensington Adebutu dynasty of Iperu-Remo, in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. He is a staunch member of the PDP in the state. He is currently a member of the House of Representatives for Remo Federal Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Rural Development. He is a Dublin, Republic of Ireland -trained Analytical Chemist. Adebutu is the Chief Executive of JB Farms, one of the largest pig farms in the country. He is also an Executive Director of Premier Lotto. Ladi, as he is fondly called, is jostling for the number one position in the Gateway State on the platform of PDP.
Asiwaju Olajide Awosedo
Asiwaju Olajide Awosedo is a chieftain of the APC in Ogun State and a native of Okun-Owa, in Odogbolu Local Government Area. A former banker and now a real estate guru, Awosedo is the chairman of Goshen Beach Estate, Lekki, Lagos. In 2011, the 65-year-old politician was the Ogun State governorship candidate of the Labour Party. He is a close friend of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
Prince Dapo Abiodun
Prince Dapo Abiodun is a prominent leader of the APC. He is a native of Iperu – Remo, in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. He is an accomplished business mogul in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry, with his company, Heyden Oil & Gas Limited, and a big-time player in the energy sector, with his firm, First Power, the first indigenous power generating plant in Nigeria. Abiodun was the Ogun East senatorial candidate of the APC in the 2015 general election. DA, as he is fondly called, who was born on May 29, 1960, studied at the University of Ife (now, Obafemi Awolowo University) where he obtained a degree in English Language before he proceeded to the United States of America where he obtained another first degree in Accounting.
DA, a bosom friend of Amosun, is aspiring to govern the Gateway State, come 2019.
Otunba Olatunde Rotimi Paseda
Otunba Olatunde Rotimi Paseda was the Ogun State governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria in 2015. He hails from Ijebu Omu, in Odogbolu Local Government Area of Ogun State. The 52-year-old politician needs little introduction because his entry into the political space of the Gateway State has been quite seismic, sending jitters down the spines of the opposing forces. Those who know him say he is an inborn leader with characteristics that only leaders with plus factor possess. His humble life is a tapestry of success and accomplishment in various fields of human endeavour.
Paseda’s services are profound in various communities in the state, and these stand him out in the league of those who are aspiring to lead Ogun State in 2019. There is no denying the fact that Ogun State is blessed with many great minds, and Paseda ranks quite high among them. Regarded as one of the very few with leadership qualities similar to those of Pa Obafemi Awolowo, ORP, as he is fondly called, is at home with his people. He delights in giving back to the society that produced him. He is popular, yet unassuming. The determination to succeed against all odds encourages him to forge ahead. Paseda believes if he could succeed out there in the UK, then, he has a lot to contribute towards the development of his home state of Ogun and Nigeria at large.
But the contention among political pundits and observers is that Amosun wields considerably huge powers in determining his successor on account of the incumbency factor and the seemingly irreconcilable differences within the PDP leadership. The PDP national leadership crisis has split the party in the state into three or four factions, and it has weakened the capacity of the opposition party to put up a serious fight at the polls during the next general election. Within the governor’s APC, too, he possesses enormous power to neutralise opposition to his choices due to his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari.