Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the house-to-house local government campaign of the Ogun State governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Dapo Abiodun, which kicked off 12 days ago
The electorates in Nigeria are ready to support candidates with broad vision that will translate into good governance. While taking cognizance of this fact, the events of the last few days, since the flag-off of the house-to-house campaign tours of local government by Dapo Abiodun, beginning from Ijebu North-East to Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Areas, is a proof of what to expect in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The Monday January 7 campaign at Ijebu North-East Local Government Area turned out to be an outpouring of blessings from both the Christian and royal communities, just as it coincided with the annual new year interdenominational thanksgiving service, held at the Ijebu-Ode residence of the Chairman, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun, the Olori Omo-Oba of Ijebuland and Asiwaju, Ijebu Christians. It was an assemblage of traditional rulers who jointly prayed for the victory of the APC governorship candidate in the March 2 election.
Abiodun was in attendance at the annual prayer session.
Shortly after the early morning prayer, prominent sons and daughters of Ijebuland, like Olorogun Sunny Kuku, Otunba Wahab Osinusi, Alhaji Agboola Alausa, Chief Olu Okuboyejo, Chief (Mrs) Lolade Oduwole, Major Richard Ajayi (rtd), Senator Dipo Odujinrin, seized the occasion and converged at the Palace of Ilisa of Olisa, Oba Rasheed Adesanya, where the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) offered a special prayer for Abiodun before his campaign train moved down to Isonyin, in Ijebu North-East Local Government Area.
While at Isonyin, the APC governorship candidate recalled how in 2015, when he was vying for Ogun East Senatorial seat, he was inundated with the challenge of total blackout in the community for almost a decade without any ray of hope and how he quickly came to the rescue of the inhabitants within a week. “While on a campaign here in 2015, as Ogun East APC Senatorial candidate, I made a pledge to provide transformers for the restoration of light to the Isonyin community; I promised a week but the following day, I made good the pledge. Till date, I believe you are still enjoying uninterrupted power supply.
“I am promising again, when I get to Okemosan, Abeokuta, the seat of power, beginning from May 29, 2019, I am promising that I will repeat the same feat and redeem all pledges to make life meaningful to all inhabitants of the state.”
Traditional rulers under the aegis of Council of Baales, drawn from across 50 villages within Ijebu North unanimously prayed for, and adopted the APC governorship candidate. Head of the council, High Chief Durojaiye Olugbode, said the endorsement had become imperative in view of the kind gestures of Abiodun to about six communities that were thrown into total darkness for almost a decade, following the intervention of Abiodun in 2015 with the provision of six transformers to the affected communities. “We are ready and we are poised to deliver all votes cast in all the 98 polling booths within our local government for the victory of Prince Dapo Abiodun”, declared Olugbode, Baale, Idode-Momo village.
Besides, in demonstration of their unalloyed support, love and commitment for his candidature, traditional rulers, including the Iworo of Oworo community, played host to Abiodun, endorsed and prayed for the success of the APC governorship standard bearer. The tour of Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area began on a sound note. At the Palace of Awujale and Paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona, Abiodun was endorsed by the Oba. The Awujale threw his weight behind Abiodun and declared him as the best candidate to succeed Ibikunle Amosun come May 29.
The first class monarch affirmed his support for the APC governorship candidate when he received Abiodun and his running mate, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, who were led to his Palace by a national leader of the party and former governor of the state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba. According to Oba Adetona, Abiodun has the political wherewithal and business acumen to govern the state, if given the mandate, urging all Ijebu sons and daughters to cast their votes for the party.
The monarch noted that March 2 governorship election will be a “pay-back time” for Abiodun, who contributed to the development of Ijebu land at different times. He, tasked the APC candidate to give priority attention to reconstruction of roads linking Ogun and Lagos and Oyo States respectively, as well as rural roads to enhance economic development at the grassroots.
Oba Adetona further advised Abiodun not to take the people of the state for granted when he becomes the number one citizen of the state, but fulfill his electoral promises. He specifically admonished Abiodun, not to take his running mate as a “spare part”, by making her redundant, which according to him, is peculiar to some governors in the country.
“When you informed me about your desire to contest for the office of the governor, I was a bit skeptical. I wondered why you wanted to leave your business for governance. I believe that God had answered your prayer.
“You will never be put to shame. God will back your administration and you will succeed. This is pay-back time for somebody who has been doing well. We must all support you, by casting our votes for you. The Ijebus must not be put to shame in this cause. Dapo Abiodun, this is a pay-back time for you, for all your good deeds. We will support you with prayers to ensure your victory at the poll”, declared the monarch.
Osoba, who is Aremo of Ijebuland expressed confidence in the APC governorship candidate, noting that he (Abiodun) would not fail the people of the state, if elected governor.
He, therefore, urged Abiodun to cooperate with other governors in Southwest, especially Lagos and Oyo states, in developing the state, by reconstructing link roads to the two states. “Today’s meeting is a meeting to pledge. It is a mission of promises. He will not be a sectional governor. He will keep all his promises. His administration will restore the dignity, image and the respect of the Ijebus in the days to come, by the grave of God”, Osoba assured.
On the third day been Wednesday, January 9, Abiodun, in recognition of the importance of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government, in terms of the overwhelming voting populace and economic base of the state, was in Agbara and Igbesa where he was treated to a heroic and warm reception.
Also, on Thursday January 17, the APC governorship candidate trekked from the toll gate through Sango flyover, on his way to Ijoko. Those who could not see his face had to climb the flyover where Abiodun had to stop over and address the unusual crowd who had surged towards and were eager to catch a glimpse of him. Osoba, added colour to the event. His arrival, in company with Senator Akin Odunsi, buoyed the jubilating people of Sango-Ota and passers-by who were hailing and chanting “Dapo”! “Dapo”!! “Dapo”!!!. In his response, the APC governorship candidate promised to fix the affected roads, if elected.
Abiodun has also promised to put the state’s ministry of works under the direct supervision of his deputy who is a civil engineer by profession.
He spoke in Ado-Odo town, during his ward-to-ward campaign, pledging not to make his deputy redundant in his administration, noting that the party would address the deplorable conditions of roads in the local council, if elected.
“I have gone round the major towns in your local government, beginning from Agbara through Lusada to Igbesa and down to Ado-Odo here and I have seen the deplorable conditions of the roads.
“I can feel the agony of the residents of these areas and I want to assure you that we will address these conditions immediately we are sworn in, by the grace of God.
“Let me also state categorically here that, my deputy, Salako-Oyedele, who is a qualified civil engineering and a daughter of this local government, will oversee the ministry of works to ensure that all these deplorable roads are prioritised in our administration.”
Meanwhile, scores of former ADP and PDP members were received by Abiodun into the APC family in Ado-Odo.
Speaking on behalf of the ADP and PDP defectors, Rahmon Ogunola and Michael Adekunle, respectively, said they decided to join APC, because of Abiodun’s lofty programmes for the state.
On Saturday, January 12, charged students of Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu-Ijebu, in Odogbolu Local Government Area, in their hundreds, trooped to the only major road linking the ancient town to welcome Abiodun. President, Student Union Government of the institution, Mr Qazim Olamilekan (aka Kosoko), described the APC governorship candidate as a true leader who has injected kindness and enthusiasm into students’ union movement and people of the state with his philanthropy.
He said the governorship ambition of Abiodun is meant to restore the lost glory of the past and also wipe out tears from the faces of the people, if he is elected.
In his response, Abiodun said: You can see that the people in Odogbolu Local Government Area have come out to welcome us. This turnout is not for no other party than the APC. This turnout is encouraging. With this turnout, I believe the message will be taking to other 19 local governments in the state. And in this forthcoming general election, APC will win all seats.”
Besides, he promised to defray the 40-month old salary backlogs of the staff of the state-owned institution.
Earlier in the day, the Gbengade of Ososa, Oba Adetoye Alatishe, played host to Abiodun and his campaign train, and blessed his ambition.
Abiodun, in his short remark, reiterated his determination to construct more rural roads to ease movement of people and farm produce from one location to another.
While at Odogbolu town, jubilating APC supporters and members took to major streets, chanting DA! DA!!. Not left out, Arewa Community led by Alhaji Garuba Dankashi pledged their support for the governorship ambition of Abiodun.
Other towns visited during the ward-to-ward tour, include Ibefun, Aiyepe and Idowa.
Speaking at the Palace of Isheri-Olofin, in Ifo Local Government Area of the state, as parts of his ward-to-ward campaign tour of Ifo 2 State Constituency (Ogun Central), on Monday, January 14, Abiodun who was accompanied by his running mate, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Hon Abiodun Akinlade, Director General (DG), Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organisation, Chief Segun Adesegun, Hon Ganiyu Hamzat and others, said that, the people “can’t afford to lose Ogun State governorship seat to another party and expect to attract federal government projects in as long President Muhammadu Buhari is re-elected into office.
While inundated with various challenges facing the Isheri-Olofin community which include bad roads, absence of a public hospital and a secondary school, security, among others, the APC governorship candidate noted that his campaign train visit is not meant to make promises without fulfilling them.
“APC is our party. I am the Ogun State governorship candidate of the APC. The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, is our son and he is from Ogun State as well, while President Muhammadu Buhari is our presidential candidate.
“I am urging you to cast your votes for all candidates that we have fielded into all elective offices in Ogun State on the platform of the APC.
“Kabiyesi, I want you to help us spread the good news about our party to all your subjects so that they can vote for us in the forthcoming general elections.
“On the various problems facing you in the community, I want to assure you that, we have not only come here to seek for your prayers but to afford us opportunities to know the problems you are facing here.”