Femi Ogbonnikan x-rays the emergence of Hon Abdulkadir Adekunle Akinlade as the Ogun State APC consensus governorship candidate. He takes into account the attendant grievances that have trailed the consensus model applied in choosing the 49-year-old legislator, currently representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly
The atmosphere was charged, the ambience appeared calm and quietude pervaded the entire conference room. The venue was MITROS Residence located at GRA, Ibara, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Already seated on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, but awaiting the arrival of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, were Rt Hon. Suraj Adekunbi (Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly), Sen Lanre Tejuosho (lawmaker, representing Ogun Central District), Alhaji Tajudeen Bello (ex-APC National Treasurer), and Chief Derin Adebiyi (Chairman, APC, Ogun State chapter). Also present were two erstwhile Ogun State Deputy Governors and Governorship aspirants from Ogun East, Chief Segun Adesegun and Adegbenga Kaka,
Time was not wasted for the business of the day. Just as the governor was ushered in and took his seat a mild drama ensued. Adebiyi, the State Chairman set the tone for discussion when he suddenly took on Tejuosho and threatened to walk him out of the meeting if he declined to retract his earlier action and apologise to the party for his recent anti-party activity, emanating from his abrupt dumping of the APC and subsequent defection to PDP. Unperturbed and within a jiffy, the medical doctor-turned senator, rose from his seat and apologised.
With matters arising, speaking intermittently, Amosun addressed the gathering and insisted on a no-going back decision the party had taken in zoning the governorship ticket to Ogun West, a position further re-echoed by the party chairman, Adebiyi. He further admonished aspirants from districts other than Ogun West that they risked a waste of their funds if they insisted on obtaining the governorship nomination forms.
With the major thrust of the day, the party adopted a consensus model in choosing its governorship candidate.
The party said that if consensus method fails in any of the selection processes, then direct primary would be used.
The decision was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting which lasted for almost two hours.
“That the APC in Ogun State shall have a consensus primary for all elective positions in the 2019 elections.
“That where consensus fails, a direct primary will be used to choose a candidate for such a position,” read the communiqué.
The decision followed a motion moved by the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Yinka Mafe and seconded by the Chairman of Yewa North Local Government, Mr. Kayode Abiola.
However, counter-reactions brewed over the adoption of the consensus arrangement when Kaka, also a governorship aspirant from Ogun East, kicked to the bewilderment of the gathering, when he was called upon to give a “vote of thanks”. He retorted: “where was the decision for the zoning arrangement taken? “Also, when was the idea of the consensus model mooted?”
Also at the occasion, the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, declared his intention to run for the senatorial seat of the Ogun Central district.
The governor further explained that he would, later in the day, have a meeting with governorship aspirants from Ogun West, the district to which the governorship seat had been zoned, to agree on a consensus governorship candidate for the party.
Amosun said his decision to support Ogun West was to ensure fairness equity and justice.
By and large, in the early hours of the following day (Thursday), it was a done deal. social media networks were awash with a “breaking news” of the emergence of Hon Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, who is the incumbent lawmaker representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly.
Shortly after, distrust, displeasure, misgivings, bickering and angst trailed the emergence of the 49-year-old legislator.
At the meeting held at the basement of the Ibara Housing home of the governor, between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm on Thursday, informed sources hinted that the consensus arrangement could be likened to a palace coup where the Ogun West elders were not given a free hand to choose whoever would be their preferred candidate, rather the power-that-be imposed the candidature of Adekunle Akinlade on them.
“None of the supposed Yewa elders could object to the decision of the governor, except Chief Tunji Akinosi, who was opposed to the imposition. He wore a sad look, while filing out from the inner room, the governor had an audience with them. But others could not raise an eyebrow, as they accepted the decision. The outcome of the stakeholders meeting didn’t have input of the Yewa elders at all,” a source said.
Likewise, the aspirants (Tolu Odebiyi, Abayomi Hunye, Tope Kuyebi, Kola Lawal, Abiodun Akinlade, Suraj Adekunbi, Aderibigbe Tella and three others) were not given an opportunity to agree among themselves who should be their consensus candidate.
Shortly after the meeting, it was gathered that the governor directed the elders to go to the residence of the Late Deacon Poju Adeyemi, Ibara Housing Estate, Abeokuta, to face cameras of television houses which included Channels, OGTV and others, and tell the whole world that they had chosen Akinlade as the consensus candidate.
Meanwhile, in separate statements issued by the oil magnate, Dapo Abiodun, an Ogun East Governorship aspirant, and the Ijebu-Remo Agenda from Ogun East, they disagreed with the consensus arrangement through which Akinlade emerged.
They premised their arguments on the deviation of the state leadership of the party from the direct primaries the National Working Committee (NWC) has adopted to pick its candidates into all elective offices.
Abiodun, who hails from Iperu-Remo, described as “sham, charade and misleading,” a news report suggesting that the Ogun APC had adopted a consensus arrangement to pick the state governorship candidate.
According to Abiodun, it was only sitting governors that were afraid of winning elections in whatever mode of primary elections or voting patterns, whether direct or indirect primaries, that were the major problems within the party.
“I don’t see any reason sitting governors, particularly those in offices for almost eight years and who have made electoral promises to the people would be worried or jittery about having direct primary elections.
“We expect that having been governors it should not matter to them what mode of primaries is to be used in their states, because if a governor is worried about direct primaries, how would he lead his party to win general elections in such states, if at intra-party level he is worried about having control. This shouldn’t be about control, but it should be about all-inclusiveness because the party belongs to the people.”
Abiodun, who spoke through his director of media, Emmanuel Ojo, added that it was a “total misrepresentation of facts” allegedly “sponsored by Amosun, and his puppet State Exco.”
Also, in its own statement, signed by its media head, Tayo Mabeweje, the Ijebu-Remo Agenda, said it was the Ogun East zone that should produce the governor in 2019, arguing that the Egba/Yewa province has had its turn.
In defiance, Ogun East APC Governorship aspirants have threatened to go to Abuja before the close of sales of the nomination forms slated for Tuesday, September 12.
But the question yet to be unraveled and which is on the lips of many people is, “Is Akinlade the Ogun West APC Consensus Governorship candidate or of the Ogun State?”