2019: Can Adeola Succeed Amosun?


Lekan Fatodu

The political cloud is gathering and getting thicker by the day ahead of Nigeria’s general elections in 2019. And from every discernible indication, a heavy political downpour is in the offing.

Just as we all know already, President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence from work because of an undisclosed ailment has fuelled the hunger for power by some politicians who are already crafting means to take over at the Aso Villa come 2019. And an interesting part of this fervent quest is that it is not just the familiar political names that are eyeing the presidency in 2019, there a few unusual characters that are adding up to the mix.

Monica Ambrose, a Netherlands-based Nigerian lady, first expressed her interest in the presidential seat come 2019 in a five-minute video broadcast that was widely shared on the internet. According to her, she will not be contesting on the platforms of the notable political parties so her plan for a “better hope for Nigeria” will not be soiled. Good thinking you would say, but how realistic it is, is a different kettle of fish entirely.

That said, as it were, the coming elections would arrive with unusual attention-gripping dramas and intrigues. Along with this, it is hoped that there will also be greater ideas and commitments to addressing the problems that are bedeviling the nation by the office seekers.

Though the presidency remains the highest political office in the land, the opportunities, influence and power that are inherent in governorship positions in Nigeria has made the gubernatorial elections as fierce as that of the president.
That is why many politicians would pull out all the stops in an effort to occupy the position of the chief executive office of their states.

Across the length of the country, quite a number of known individuals in politics have been covertly and openly showing their intention to contest for a gubernatorial seat.

Of particular interest is the governorship election in Ogun State, South-West, Nigeria, and a contender, Senator Olamilekan Adeola a.k.a Yayi, whose name has been featuring in virtually all the political analyses as regards the state’s governorship race in 2019.

Note that by 2019 the current governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, would have completed his constitutional two terms in office. At that conjuncture the seat is open to anyone to fight for without the direct threat or intimidation from an incumbent which has always been a major obstacle to the aspirations of many contestants.

This circumstance, I suppose, is the fuel in the zeal for Yayi, a serving senator, that is propelling him to want to drop his service in the federal upper legislative house for the governor’s office in Ogun State.

But Yayi has got some pertinent, albeit sentimental, posers to answer before probably achieving his goal. It is on the basis of these posers that some analysts assume that the politician is still some distance away from the governor’s seat in Ogun State.

Yayi is the senator representing Lagos West senatorial district in the National Assembly. So, according to the politics that is played in most parts of Nigeria, he is a “Lagos” politician which as such would hinder his right to aspire for the top political position in Ogun State. In this instance the competence and character of the individual that is seeking this position does not matter. What is seen to be supreme in the rules of the political elites is the “primary” residence of the candidate or his business operational base.

On many occasions, and mostly in the public service, the state of origin and gender of a candidate seeking a job or an appointment have been made into terrible encumbrances that prevent capable hands from getting positions they qualify for. This development is largely responsible for the country’s growth in mediocrity instead of merit.

It is therefore on the basis of the antiquity of such practice that I submit that Yayi is not yards away from attaining his ambition as wrongly thought by the old and young who are still living with primordial sentiments that continuously rob Nigeria of her best brains.

Interestingly, his uncommon fortitude and considerable war chest, a vital asset in Nigerian politics that he’s said to be spreading equally unlike is competitors, is already reported to be creating serious disturbance amongst the traditional politicians in the state while helping to recruit legion of supporters and fans on a daily basis.

Fascinatingly, Yayi himself is not unaware of what lies ahead hence he has commenced his canvassing and consultations early enough. And commendably, Yayi has given a good response to those who thought him a “foreigner” in Ogun State just by his accomplishment in Lagos state.

“If a child makes success of his trade abroad, it will be beneficial to a whole community, if he returns home,” he said.

Really, it’s just inconceivable that a nation of people who are usually quick to align with and offer best wishes and even extend unsolicited invitations for lavish congratulatory visits to their foreign-based nationals or individuals of Nigerian extraction who have excelled abroad couldn’t see the necessity to increase and tap the potentials of others at home.

Frankly speaking, Nigeria can only make significant progress the moment several written and unwritten anti-development practices and beliefs are banished in our national life.