Uneasy Calm Reigns in Ogun

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Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the festering crisis that has engulfed the Ogun State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress over the outcome of the governorship primary which produced Prince Dapo Abiodun as its standard bearer

The last four weeks have witnessed an unprecedented uneasy calm in Ogun State, particularly within the apparatus of government, largely due to the emergence of Dapo Abiodun, a successful businessman and Iperu-Remo born Prince, which was an unexpected blow to Governor Ibikunle Amosun. The unforeseen twist truncated the Governor’s attempt to unilaterally foist Hon. Adekunle Akinlade on the state as his successor. He had also concluded plans to install 39 other candidates into various elective offices, both at the National Assembly and State House of Assembly, without recourse to the founding fathers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.

Amosun has bluntly refused to accept the defeat of his preferred candidate Akinlade in the October 3 direct primary election in the state. Rather, he has chosen to embark on several moves to upturn the decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party which supports Abiodun’s emergence as the governorship standard bearer of the party. The governor’s apparent desperation for power elongation through his puppet, Akinlade, has drawn critical comments from many political watchers. The overwhelming opinion is that Amosun is engrossed in a personal inordinate ambition to entrench himself as an emperor in the control of the soul of the party in the state, but using the smokescreen of trying to get ‘justice’ for a governorship candidate of Ogun West extraction, since they have never governed the state.

Poised to upturn the decision of the NWC, Amosun began running helter-skelter and shuttling between Abeokuta and Abuja almost on a daily basis to see President Muhammadu Buhari and wanted him to interfere in the matter, but all his moves met a brick wall. On a particular Thursday, it was learnt that an angry President Buhari, shortly after attending his co-traveller from Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdul-Aziz Yari Abubakar who was also at Aso Rock, seeking the intervention of the President on a similar matter, cautioned the Ogun State governor not to drag his name into the mud, that he had directed the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to accede to his request of dropping Abiodun for his preferred candidate, Akinlade.

“Just to shed more light on the provisions of the APC constitution, President Buhari quickly called on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, to interprete the power vested in the office of the national leadership of the party concerning the decision in electing governors, National Assembly and States House of Assembly members into elective offices. Amosun left Aso Rock disappointed, sensing that would put pay to his unscheduled visits to see Mr. President over the Ogun State APC crisis. Afterwards, he persuaded two revered royal fathers, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo (Alake of Egbaland) and Oba Kehinde Olugbenle (Olu of Ilaro and Paramount ruler of Yewaland) and Sen. Iyabo Anisulowo (former Minister of State for Education) to join him to Aso Rock to seek the President’s intervention in giving the Ogun State APC governorship ticket to Akinlade, but the story was still the same. Buhari didn’t betray his emotion. He told Amosun and his entourage that the power is vested in the national leadership of the party, led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole on such a matter,” said an anonymous chieftain of the party who was privy to the discussion.

At the turn of events, another method devised was a gathering of selected cronies of Amosun under the aegis of Ogun West APC stakeholders led by Alhaji Yakubu Ajayi (chairman), Chief Kayode Kajebora (Secretary), Sen. Iyabo Anisulowo, Chief M.A. Olagbaye and Chief Jide Ojuko on Tuesday, October 23 gathered at Ilaro to announce their support for Akinlade.

In a communique, the stakeholders commended Amosun for standing firm in the struggle for the “Ogun West for governor agenda”, culminating in the supposed mandate of Akinlade. They, however, tasked the lawmaker representing the district at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly, Sen. Gbolahan Dada, the three members of the House of Representatives and those of the State House of Assembly to make their positions known concerning the “Ogun West for Governor agenda” or else they would disown them.

Also, protesting women took to major roads within the Abeokuta metropolis, gave a week ultimatum to the national leadership of the party and threatened to travel down to Abuja and go naked if it failed to reverse the governorship candidacy in favour of Akinlade. The women were led by the Chairman, Ilugun Local Council Development Authority (LCDA), Mofoluke Soremekun and other women leaders across the three senatorial districts.

Penultimate Friday, a group, “Ogun West APC Elders”, led by Chief Mufutau Ajibola, Yahyah Fadipe and Chief Samuel Ayedogbon, issued a communique to caution traducers from making inflammatory statements, capable of stoking discord within the APC family in the state.

In the same vein, the immediate past governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel admonished Amosun to shun personal ego, if he was truly interested in an Ogun West candidate to succeed him in office.

They noted with displeasure that the leadership of the party in the state betrayed their trust for a processed, empowered and mentored Yewa-Awori man to take over the mantle of governance in the state.

The elders averred that they vehemently object to any form of ‘third term agenda’ in Ogun State using a Yewa-Awori man.

They said they were aware of the current intrigues that have been playing out in the State, shortly after the hitch-free conduct of the gubernatorial primary. They unanimously aligned, agreed and supported the decision of the NWC that conducted APC gubernatorial primary in the state to uphold the mandate freely given to Abiodun by the overwhelming majority of the party members.

According to them, “Yewa-Awori governorship candidate of our dream must be credible, have the full virtues of Yewa-Awori, without any blemish. He must be acceptable to the vast majority of other equally important stakeholders across the state and responsible to the citizenry and not to a selfish cabal under the leadership of tyrant emperor and self-acclaimed governor of Ogun State,” said the elders.

“We appreciate the efforts and salute the courage of Mr. Governor in the quest for “Yewa-Awori for Governor,” but we equally want to remind him that in democracy, the power belongs to the teeming party members. We appeal to Mr. Governor to respect, support and rally round the choice of the party members in Abiodun (his bosom friend) in the overall interest of our great party APC.
However, the group took exception to recent uncomplimentary comments by Mr. Governor and Sen. Anisulowo against the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole and former governor Segun Osoba and warned that a repeat of such action would be met with appropriate actions.

Mr. Governor having exhausted all known avenues to have his way through, took on Oshiomole, of conniving with a cabal in Lagos that wrote a fake result which produced Abiodun as the party’s governorship standard bearer.
Amosun had made the allegation in an interview on Monday shortly after the swearing-in of the new Chief Judge of the state, Mosunmola Dipeolu, held at the Governor’s office Chamber, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
The embittered governor also fingered former governors Tinubu (Lagos) who is the national leader of the party, and Osoba (Ogun), as having played a strong role in the fraud, while predicating his argument on the silence of the duo, which he said translated to their consent to the electoral fraud.

The issue of Chief Osoba and Asiwaju and co, what we said was that there was a defeaning silence from their end, and silence means consent.

“We have not heard one word from any of them. Was there any election in Ogun State? Yes or No? People at this level should be courageous enough to take position and tell us whether there was election or not.”

As if his travails are not yet over, a chieftain of the APC, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, indicted Amosun of impoverishing the state, describing the governor as the real problem of the APC in Ogun State.

Akinola claimed that the way and manner Amosun carried on the state, particularly his alleged habit of hand-picking and imposing candidates on the party, should be a source of concern to all well-meaning APC members.

According to him, he alleged that Amosun’s disregard for internal democracy was demonstrated earlier this year when the APC conducted its ward, local government and state congresses.

“Only those hand-picked by Amosun were returned to office,” he declared.

Akinola also claimed that the people of Ogun state had had enough of Amosun and would resist any attempt by the governor to impose an unpopular candidate on the state as his successor.

Amosun became a regular caller at Bourdillon, Ikoyi, Lagos, almost on a daily basis and had warmed himself into the heart of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Tope Kuyebi whom the Ogun West Elders had picked, among three other contestants, to fly the ticket was prevailed upon to step down for Sen Ibikunle Amosun, likewise Prof Remi Razak Bakare (aka Arole Osoba) who was a leading aspirant from Ogun Central. A confirmed source hinted that it took emissaries, including Asiwaju Tinubu, Prince Dapo Abiodun and others, 10 times to beg and persuade Aremo Olusegun Osoba, former governor of Ogun state and the then, leader of the Action Congress (AC) in the state, to shift ground, allow and accept Amosun to fly the governorship ticket of the party.

Having realised his dream and emerged as governor-elect, despite the maximum support he enjoyed from the party faithful and supporters, Amosun turned his back at his benefactors. At the formative stage, he turned down four names of commissionership nominees, including that of Mr. Kayode Soyinka, which Osoba submitted to him and elected to unilaterally pick all the cabinet members. He treated with scorn and edged out all the founding fathers of the then, AC, and made them look, like interlopers. He alienated Osoba, Sen. Gbenga Kaka, Akin Odunsi, Gbenga Obadara and other prominent leaders from the party, not minding whose ox was gored. He elected to erect his own structure through his defunct platform, CPC, and established a close contact with President Buhari.

Meanwhile, a fresh twist was added to the festering crisis, just as names of close aides and political appointees of Amosun were found on the candidates list of the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) released penultimate Friday, giving a hint that the governor may have entered a romance with another political party and on his way out of the APC. Amosun may have resolved to play the role of a spoiler, if the name of his anointed candidate does not scale through on the INEC list.

The names of State Commissioner for Special Duties, Leke Adewolu, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye, Hon. Mikhail Kazim who is presently representing Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda Federal Constituency and others, who were not lucky to have their names on the APC National Assembly and State House of Assembly lists, appeared on the DPP candidates’ list.

Everyone is waiting to see if the governor’s preferred candidate, Akinlade, will fly the governorship flag of the DPP. This new twist may open an avenue for the governor to be questioned for anti-party activities. Except there is true reconciliation, it almost certain that Amosun would not accept the governorship candidacy of  Abiodun and would, therefore, work against the victory of the APC in Ogun State.