Senator Ibikunle Amosun (CON, FCA)
‎At every public gathering,  Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun does not miss the opportunity to tell his audience that he will handover power to a governor-elect from Ogun West Senatorial District. Femi Ogbonnikan wonders if the governor has the power to ensure that his candidate wins the governorship election 

Nowadays, little premium is placed on the concept of internal democracy. To many lovers of the concept, internal democracy has long died a natural death. No thanks to the overbearing tendency of sitting governors.
In order to cover their track when they leave office, incumbent governors often try as much as possible to install a successor. While some succeed, others fail. A former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan tried to influence the choice of his successor and failed whereas a former Akwa Ibom governor, Godswill Akpabio succeeded.
In their bids to anoint and install a successor, governors often throw decorum overboard. They also abandon internal democracy. Today, some members of the Peoples Democratic Party agree that the party lost the 2015 general elections partly because it disregarded its own constitution and paid little or no regards to internal democracy.

Thus, the aftermath of the absolute power exercise by governors is that many of them have come to believe that that they have absolute power to control and impose their surrogates as successors with consequential loss of internal democracy.
For instance, the immediate past PDP-led administration of ex-President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan suffered the same fate. The PDP was at the receiving end of candidates imposition, breeding acrimonious rivalry, and without recourse to the party’s primaries. The aftermath, the centre could no longer hold, internal democracy was thrown to the wind, thereby witnessing mass exodus of party stalwarts, defecting to the beautiful bride of the time, APC, in droves.

Narrowing it down to Ogun State, the path to self-destruct beckons unless urgent steps are taken to prevent the situation from degenerating. The state governor has been carrying on as if he has an absolute power to produce a governor for the state.
If he is a good student of history, the governor should not have difficulty remembering that it was the decision of his predecessor, Gbenga Daniel to ensure his favoured candidate emerge as his successor that was partly responsible for him (Amosun) to emerge governor.
Amosun had announced his opposition to the most popular aspirant from Ogun West, Senator Olamilekan Adeola even though the governor said he supported the district to produce the next governor.
To lend credence to the scorn the governor has for the Lagos West Senator, at a recent parley with Ogun West Elders Council and Yewa Think-Tank group that visited him at his Okemosan Office, Abeokuta, to protest the endorsement of Adeola as the Ogun West APC consensus candidate by the Ogun West Elders Forum (OGWEF), Amosun said no “foreigner” would be allowed to emerge as governor of the state under his watch.
Though the governor said any bonafide indigene but not based in the state, could be considered for the number one position, he however, vowed that he would use resources at his disposal to thwart efforts to hijack the state by outsiders.
Amosun noted that the state has been held under siege by a ‘foreigner’ who served as a governor and urged the indigenes of the state to work against anyone whose origin cannot be ascertained, to hijack the state.
Even though, Amosun described Adeola as a foreigner because he is coming from Lagos to seek election as governor of Ogun State, many in the state do not share the his sentiment. The generality of the people of Ogun State appear to prefer the stranger and are flocking round him.
Sooner than latter, Amosun, who himself as become unpopular among the people, risks isolating himself further as long as he maintains his opposition to Adeola’s ambition.
Chief Bode Mustapha, an APC chieftain from Egbaland and an apostle of power shift to Ogun West, in a recent interview with THISDAY, has warned Gov Ibikunle Amosun of dire consequences in meddling over who succeeds him in office. He admonished Mr Governor to learn a big lesson from his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who eventually lost out while in his bid to foist Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (aka GNI) against the collective popular decision of the PDP in the state, and heed the popular demand for an internal democracy to prevail in choosing his successor from Yewa/Aworiland.
“Let us face it. When APC was coming, the mantra at that time was “Any Other But Jonathan” (AOBJ), but that had come and gone. Now, the PDP is trying to put its house in order. Now, APC is beginning to make the same mistake that PDP made. I was privileged to know this because by the grace of God, I was the first person from Ogun State to be a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the then, largest party in Africa that was ruling this country. And at that time, the governors thought that they were invincible and infallible. They were thinking that it was about them, they were imposing people. Internal democracy was thrown to the dogs and immediately that thing started happening, danger signals were there. APC should not fall into the same pit or trap that PDP fell into. That is why, I believe that again, in Nigeria, we should stop exercising, celebrating people but we should start to strengthen institutions.
There is a party, strengthening the party, open the doors for the party for people who wish to join the party, who believe in the party, take the party back to the people, not about imposition. Let the people choose who to represent them, whether as councillors or as House of Assembly member or House of Representatives member or senators or as governors or as president. Because in Nigeria now, we are not in Nigeria of about 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Today, people would vote for individuals in this country. I see many people who would say to me, in that Ogun State, I don’t care what it is, I am going to vote for Mr X, Y, Z. I have seen people who have told me, who are not politicians, talking to me, that they would vote for the same person each of them have been mentioning. Now, they are going to vote for individuals and if we don’t get it right, you would just make mockery of the so-called party. So, I think that the party should be given back to the people and in the process, let the strengthening of that institution begin or emerge or run at the grass root level, all to the Presidency and then, we would get a good candidate. Of course, that candidate could be supported by the incumbent, based on many factors that we would take into consideration”, declared Mustapha.
In the absence of internal democracy, Mustapha, a former National Auditor of the PDP, disclosed it was the over-bearing influence of the chieftains that knelt the death of the party.
“That was what killed PDP, lack of internal democracy. That was why you had governors of PDP who were sitting governors who ran for the National Assembly seats and lost. We had Babangida Aliyu, he ran, he lost; we had Jolly Nyame, he ran, he lost; we had Suswan, he ran, he lost. Because they imposed themselves on the people. Unfortunately APC is following the same path at the moment and I hope, it is not going to be a self-destruct path”, warned Mustapha.
Besides, Mustapha who is an erstwhile legislator that represented Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), between 1999 and 2003, further urged the incumbent governor to exercise caution in picking his anointed candidate.
“Well, as far as I am concerned, I have said it and I have made it abundantly clear, that there are many, many people who want to join APC today, in many states of Nigeria, and Ogun State in particular. People have come to me, to say, sorry, we are not talking about APC, we like APC, we are only associating with the candidates because we are not wanted in APC. And that is a danger signal. Now, I was privileged to be part of PDP, that lost the election in 2011 to ACN in this state. And quote me, that I, Bode Mustapha, went to the governor at that time, the sitting governor and he is alive, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and I said to him, “don’t play this card of fragmentation”. And I told him to his face, that if you play this card, that the best your PPN would get, would be third position, PDP would come second and ACN would win this election. And after this election, they would maltreat you and it came to pass. I hope, we are not going to allow that happens in APC. People want to join the party, the door of the party should now be opened to everybody, and I am saying it emphatically, let people join this party, open the party and when people join the party everybody who has an ambition, let him sell himself to the members of the party and let the best be chosen by members of the party, and not by any individual or group of people”, he concluded.
Adeola, who currently represents Lagos West at the Senate, in a recent interview with THISDAY, has also advised his compatriots from Ogun West not to wait for anyone to make them governor.
He said: “The good people of Ogun West should sit back and be sure of what they want. If we are waiting on somebody to give us the governorship ticket then, we are not ready to become the governor. Because nobody, nobody I repeat, gave the Egbas. Nobody handed over Chief Gbenga Daniel to the Remo people that, this is their governor. Nobody handed over Chief Bisi Onabanjo to the Ijebus that he was their governor. Nobody handed over Sen Ibikunle Amosun to the Egbas that he is their governor. Nobody handed over Chief Olusegun Osoba to the Egbas that he was their governor. So, why do they want to hand over somebody to the Yewa people or to the Ogun West people that, this is your governor?
“Yes, the good people of Ogun West want to produce the governor, come 2019 but we will need to get our acts together. We need to be more focused and dedicated more than ever before because this is our time. And for it not to slip from our hands, all hands must be on deck. We must thank those supporting us, including Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and others, But the fact still remains, that the governor should not force any aspirant on us in Ogun West. He should allow the Ogun West people to decide who becomes their own governor. We don’t want a governor that will be remote-controlled. We don’t want a governor that will be looked after like a baby and be spoon-fed like a baby. We don’t want a governor that will not be independent–minded to carry out programmes, policies and objectives that will be state-driven. We don’t want a governor that will stay in office and will not ensure fair equitable distribution of the state’s resources across all the local governments. If we crave to be governor, we must put our best hands forward, because at the end of the day, you are not going to be governor of Ogun West but the governor of Ogun State”, said Adeola.