Dapo Abiodun Springs Surprise in Ogun State

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Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the intrigues that trailed the Ogun State APC governorship primary which subsequently produced Dapo Abiodun, an Iperu-Remo Prince, against the anointed candidate of Governor Ibikunle Amosun

Dapo Abiodun has picked the APC governorship ticket in Ogus State contrary to circumstantial events that preceded the governorship primary election. Governor Amosun wanted the flag for his anointed aspirant, Adekunle Akinlade, but it did not work out that way. In a twist of fate, an arch-rival of the governor, Abiodun, a multi-billionaire and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Heyden Oil & Gas Limited, carried the day. ,This is a rare feat in the history of a ruling party in the state, where a neutral aspirant would drub an anointed candidate of an incumbent governor during an intra-party contest.

Thus, Abiodun, DA as he is fondly called, was declared winner on Wednesday evening by the eight-man National Working Committee (NWC)-led by Alhaji Muhammad Indabawa, having polled 102,305 votes to defeat five other aspirants. While declaring the oil magnate winner in Abeokuta, after the primary election conducted in the 236 wards across the 20 local governments areas of Ogun State, the Chairman of the Committee, Muhammad Indabawa added that the five other contestants-Jimi Lawal scored 51, 153 votes while Abimbola Ashiru polled 29, 764 votes.

Also, Senator Gbenga Kaka got 17,771 votes and Abayomi Hunye 9,110 votes while Akinlade scored 23, 443 votes. The electoral chairman noted that the declaration of Abiodun winner of the primary and governorship candidate of APC in Ogun state for 2019 governorship election, is “subject to ratification by the National Working Committee” of the party.

While fielding questions from reporters regarding the primary earlier conducted by Committees set up by the Ogun state APC and subsequent declaration of Abdukabir Akinlade winner and gubernatorial candidate by the state Chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi, Indabawa denied knowledge of any parralel election in the state, saying “I was not aware of such a primary.” He added that the Committee he led, is the “authentic body constituted by the NWC” of the party to conduct and supervise the governorship primary in the state, in line with the party’s guidelines and constitution.

Other members of the panel include Sen Gbenga Aluko (Secretary), Alhaji Ali Magashi, Hon Matthew Omegara, Alhaji Kabir Ahmed, Mr Osita Okechukwu, Mr Echeza Oshogwe and Alhaji Abdulazeez Anuchi. The state chairman of the APC had on Wednesday declared Amosun’s man the winner of the purported governorship primary, allegedly, conducted by the governor’s caucus of the party. Thus, the intrigues that played out before and during the primary election could be likened to a test of might.

It was a straight fight between two titans, the incumbent governor, who wanted his anointed aspirant to succeed and the Iperu- Remo, both of the APC family. Prince Abiodun, son of Dr Emmanuel and Mrs Victoria Abiodun from Iperu-Remo, in Ogun East Senatorial district was born on May 29, 1960. He studied civil engineering at the then, University of Ife (now, Obafemi Awolowo University), Ife, Osun State and subsequently, Accounting at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, United States of America (USA).

By virtue of the sense of independence instilled in him by his parents who were from the academic community (both still alive), DA proceeded to establish his own enterprise. He is a serial entrepreneur who has founded quite a few companies in the energy and real estate sectors, namely Heyden Petroleum Limited and First Power Limited, among others. He acquired a wealth of experience in boardroom activities, corporate governance and finance. He currently holds a Honours et Doctorate Degree in Finance from Ekiti State University and another in Business Administration from Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State.

Growing up with principled parents and charting his own course from employment to entrepreneurship, life has taken him on a path of building capacity and diverse experiences which has culminated to where he is today and has as well, prepared him for the journey of service that he now seeks to embark on, with the good people of Ogun state. In his service to the nation, Abiodun was elected a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the defunct UNCP at a younger age of 33 in 1993.

Also, he has served as a member of various Presidential Committees and organisations, including the Presidential Think-Tank in 2001, appointed Chairman, Oil and Gas Committee, Ogun State in 2009, chairman, Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) in 2012 and also appointed chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2018. Abiodun declared after his victory: “I am grateful to have parents who have experienced and lived to tell the good old days of positive leadership and people-driven governance in Nigeria, I also have myown children whose generations have little idea if what a good governance is.

Education has become effective and the most basic of human needs are elusive, even, while the people continue to work harder than ever. This is a situation I see to change from the grassroots by reaching for the opportunity to serve as the Governor of our beloved Gateway State of Ogun. “My life and personal experience have revealed to me more than anything that, if given the right environment, values and opportunities, anyone can rise to become anything. I believe that beyond investing in sectors and trades, investing in people should come first. This is something that is evident in the most prosperous nations of the world.

“Towering magnificent structures and good, roads are beautiful to behold but build the individual and each one can grow to build you the best infrastructures the world has ever seen. “I know of no impossibilities in a world where the people are ready to thrive. Our dear state is blessed with both the human capital and intellectual capacities to equate and exceed other successful states in Nigeria. “I strongly believe that strategic positioning and close proximity to Lagos can also be maximised to our greatest advantage where we can easily generate as much internal revenue as Lagos State, if the opportunities are properly harnessed.”