By Femi Ogbonnikan
In democracy, politics is a game of numbers, you either lose or win. And this is not an exception to the rank and file of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ogun state chapter. Apart from the dust raised over the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the party’s governorship flag bearer but which has virtually been laid to rest, following the prompt intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari who extended an olive branch to Ogun State Governor, Sen Ibikunle Amosun, along with his three other aggrieved co-travellers (Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Alhaji Yari of Zamfara and Rochas Okorocha of Imo States respectively who have similar case) to sheathe their sword and work for the victory of the party’s candidates in these states, preparatory to the upcoming 2019 general elections. But there still appears shrouded in uncertainty the fate of some nine candidates of the House of Representatives and all the 26 State House of Assembly who won all the seats by a consensus arragement the governor (Amosun) had initially and unilaterally handpicked them to fly the tickets of their respective constituencies but could not make the recently leaked candidates lists of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to qualify them from participating in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
Affected prominent kitchen-cabinet members, family members and close allies of Mr Governor, include the Amosun’s preferred governorship candidate, Hon Adekunle Akinlade, who is currently the lawmaker representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Suraj Adekunbi who lost out the ticket of the Yewa North/Imeko-Afon Federal Constituency to the incumbent lawmaker, representing the constituency, Hon Kayode Oladele, chairman, House Committee on anti-graft, who is also seeking re-election into the lower chamber of the National Assembly and the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr Leke Adewolu, who failed to clinch the ticket into Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituency but won by Mr Ibrahim Isiaka.
Others are the incumbent lawmaker representing Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency, Hon Mikhail Kazzim who lost out to Hon Olumide Osoba, son of former Governor of the state and chieftain of the APC, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; chairman, the state local government service commission, Mr Rotimi Rahman (aka Arugbo) could not make the list into the Ado-Odo/Ota Federal Constituency and was defeated by the incumbent legislator representing the constituency, Hon Jimoh Ojugbele who is also staging a return to the lower chamber of the National Assembly; the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye (aka D1) who lost the ticket to represent Odogbolu constituency of the State House of Assembly to Mrs Atinuke Bello and the state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Modupe Mojota, who also lost to Mr Temitope Adejojo, who won the Abeokuta North 1 State House of Assembly constituency ticket and the governor’s nephew, Yussuf Amosun, who lost out to Hon Israel Jolaoso, the incumbent lawmaker representing Ewekoro constituency at the State House of Assembly who is also seeking re-election.
However, on the heels of the outrage that had greeted the outcomes of the conduct of both the National Assembly and State House of Assembly elections held on October 7, 2018, it was gathered that the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party had to wade in and address the anomalies in the overall interest of all and sundry. Not left out, it was reliably gathered that southwest leadership of the APC and concerned friends have initiated several peace processes between Abiodun and Amosun towards resolving whatever differences therein, but Mr Governor has rebuffed every entreaty to be pacified, except he take all his demands.
Besides, the last straw that broke the camel’s back was a letter purportedly written by a member of the NWC legislative primaries, Hon Okey Nnonyelu, posted to the state, which indicted Ogun State APC leadership of monumental fraud.
According to the chronology of events of the report of the legislative primaries held in Ogun State on Sunday, October 7, 2018 and obtained by newsmen, it was said that “the entire process was heavily compromised and surrendered to the Ogun State Government officials and the party executive members”.
Going by the report of the NWC, it indicted the state leadership hierarchy of hijacking the entire exercise to favour their aspirants who had all emerged as candidates, though when the results were yet to be officially declared by the NWC.
The report dated tuesday, October 9, signed and addressed to the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, by Nnonyelu, a member of the NWC Legislative primaries, said that “the state chapter led by Chief Derin Adebiyi; recruited the returning officers, conducted the primaries, collated and submitted the results to the committee for declaration and submission to the National Working Committee (NWC)”.
Rather, to their utter dismay, it was gathered that Ogun State protocol officials made a surprise visit to the Green Legacy Hotel at about 8:00 pm and evacuated all the committee members to Mitros Hotel, which belongs to the Ogun State Government within the same precinct of Abeokuta.
“At this hotel, Mitros, the plan started to change with the visit of the Ogun State party chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi, and some party stalwarts to the members of the committee and the process, including materials, logistics and all, were surrendered and handed over to the Ogun State party hierarchy.
“At this state, the committee ostensibly surrendered her mandate to the stare structure (the Ogun State Party chairman).
“At about 11:00 am, the chairman of the committee addressed all the aspirants and some stakeholders.
“But, with a clear departure from the original position of the committee, issues about the ad-hoc and inputs by the aspirants were rebuffed by the committee.
Therefore, the aspirants were dismissed to face the voters and being a Sunday, the meeting came to an abrupt end”, said Nnonyelu.
The governor, who is unfavourably disposed to losing, at least a seat, but desirous of taking all, it was learnt, has vehemently objected to any form of sharing ratio, despite three meetings that have been held in Abuja at the instance of the NWC leaders with a view to brokering a peace deal.
Rather than shift his hard stance, it was further gathered that close aides of Amosun, who could not make the APC lists are already considering and perfecting defection as plan B, before the December 2 deadline for substitution as set by INEC.
Recent findings indicated that Amosun’s aides are considering joining and fielding all aggrieved candidates in Labour Party (LP) as a last ditch hope.
While the governor has denied speculations over the alleged plot to dump the party, the renewed attacks on the leaders have given a fresh suspicion that he might have something up his sleeves. This insinuation , it was learnt, may not be totally unfounded since he has the antecedent of traversing virtually all major political parties to actualise his ambition.
While further lending credence to the speculation, a factional chairman of the party, Mr Abayomi Arabambi, corroborated the position of the Amosun aides during a live radio programme on Sweet FM 107.1, Abeokuta, last week monday.
By and large, the embattled protégé of the Ogun State Governor, Hon Adekunle Akinlade, has failed to fault the speculation of his romance with the LP, a platform he intends to actualise his ambition.
Arabambi, while featuring on the radio programme, “fact finder”, confirmed the ongoing talk between his party and aggrieved aides of Mr Governor.
“In the next two weeks, we are going to reveal and unveil our candidate from Ipokia Local Government Area. We have so many good hands in Ipokia. We are going for our governorship. It is sealed, signed and delivered”, said the factional chairman of LP.
But in his sword reaction to the reported rumour of pitching tent with the LP, Akinlade didn’t address Arabambi ‘ disclosure, but rather, in a press statement tagged, “we are one family in Ogun APC”, signed and issued by his media aide, Alao Azeez Adelani, on behalf of his principal, said, “my attention has been drawn to an unnecessary argument orchestrated by the people of the other camp in Ogun APC to drag my principal, Hon Adekunle Abdulkadir Akinlade’s good reputation through the mud.
“I wish to share here clearly that we will not join issues with our brothers and sisters in Ogun APC as we are one family, but mind you, we will not tolerate such from the opposition.
I hereby appeal to our teeming supporters to remain calm as we await the outcome of the substitutes window of our great party before we decide our next line of action.
“Also, Hon Adekunle Abdulkadir Akinlade (MHR) will formally address the good people of Ogun state next week.
“Dear patriots, be rest-assured that Triple A is running for the governorship seat of our dear state and with the help of Almighty God and your support, we are confident of victory come 2019 governorship general elections”, the statement read.
Meanwhile, the feud within the leadership of the Ogun State chapter of the LP could be likened to a scriptural teaching of “a house divided against itself”. The party is enmeshed in a litigation before a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta over candidates’ list controversies. A group led by Chief Biodun Owolabi claims to be authentic, while Arabambi is also laying equal claims.
It is alleged that a factional governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Oladipupo Adebutu, who currently represents Remo North/Ikenne/Sagamu Federal Constituency at the lower chamber of the National Assembly, is also perfecting plans to use the LP platform to actualise his governorship ambition, if his matter before the Supreme Court challenging the candidature of Leke Shittu, the preferred candidate of the embattled Ogun East senator, Buruji Kashamu, fails.
While reflecting on the genesis of the current political impasse rocking the state leadership of the APC, a chieftain of the party, Mr Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, laid the entire blame on the doorstep of Mr Governor.
He said what the governor did with the last Ogun State primaries was self-help which eventually resulted to his self-inflicted problems.
According to Abudu-Balogun, who represented Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency at the lower chamber of the National Assembly between 2011 and 2015, in a recent interview with the New Telegraph, “a lot of people are looking at the crisis in the party from the last primaries, but I will take it from the congresses. Don’t forget that we had crisis in the party in 2014 which made some of us to leave the party with our leader, Chief Olusegun Osoba.
“For the party’s primaries, the governor wrote 40 names for all the 40 offices in a state as sophisticated as Ogun, calling it consensus arrangement. Who reached the consensus? Where was it reached?
“Also, you saw the state chairman of the party (Chief Derin Adebiyi) raising the hand of Akinlade as the winner of the primary. And the question you would want to ask yourself: does that fall within the purview of the state chairman? No! To conduct the primary is the sole responsibility of the national headquarters of all political parties. What was done in Ogun State was an aberration. What the governor did was to resort to self-help.
“Again, what is Lagos cabal? Let me tell you: we have Yoruba leadership. There is nothing like Lagos cabal. We have no apologies for that. It has been, it will be and it will continue to be.
“Yoruba leadership at present, includes Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Chief Bisi Akande, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, among others. These leaders drive the Yoruba progressive politics. We have to give them that honour.
“My governor (Amosun), who gave him the ticket of ACN that he used to contest in 2011? Is it not the same Yoruba leadership that he now calls Lagos cabal”?
To many political pundits, Amosun shot himself in the feet and over-estimated himself because of his unfeterred access to Aso Rock and his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari and the cabals, a development which beclouded his succession permutation plan.
It was alleged he (Amosun) over-hyped his political worth by plotting to wrest controls of the Southwest APC from Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Chief Bisi Akande, among others.