Femi Ogbonnikan writes that the Ogun State Governorship election on Saturday, March 9, which produced Prince Dapo Abiodun of the All Progressives Congress as Governor-elect was characterised by one of the biggest surprises
Even the blind could sense the direction where the pendulum would swing. The momentum had already gathered. Saturday, March 9, was a day of reckoning. The people of Ogun state kicked against a third term elongation agenda of the incumbent governor (Senator Ibikunle Amosun) through his preferred candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM).
The pattern of the governorship election in Ogun state, with the consequent outcome in favour of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Dapo Abiodun, was by no means different from the usual practice: No governor of Ogun has succeeded in installing his preferred candidate.
Since 1999, when the fourth democratic dispensation was ushered in, no sitting governor has ever succeeded in imposing his “anointed son” as successor in office in an unbroken pattern. Thus, the candidates of the opposition parties have always been the beneficiaries. In 2011, Otunba Gbenga Daniel attempted to foist his candidate, Prince Gboyega Isiaka of Peoples’ Party of Nigeria (PPN) on the people, but he failed. While brandishing his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari at every turn, the outgoing governor, Amosun, who remains in the APC, though subsequently suspended on allegations of anti-party activities, has also been elected as Senator-elect. He attempted the same succession approach through his candidate, Akinlade of the APM, but he too has lost.
On account of irreconcilable differences, Daniel and Amosun, shortly after the former assumed the throne, parted ways.
Having tried unsuccessfully in 2007 general elections, through his defunct All Nigeria Progressives Party (ANPP), to upstage his hitherto bosom friend, Daniel, who was seeking a second term re-election, Amosun, subsequently, dissolved his party into the CPC. At the twilight of the merger of the CPC, Alliance for Democracy (AD), ANPP and other political parties, which subsequently, metamorphosed to the Action Congress (AC), the governor wangled his ways, through the intervention of former governor of Lagos and a leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to defeat other co-contestants, like Dr Razaq Bakare and Engineer Temitope Kuyebi, and emerged as the standard bearer of the party in 2011.
Former governor of the state and a state leader of the, then, AC, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, was unfavourably disposed to the candidature of Amosun. Following several pleas and persuasions, more than 10 times, involving the intervention of notable stalwarts of the party, including erstwhile Osun and Ekiti state governors, Chief Bisi Akande and Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Prince Dapo Abiodun, among others, there from, Osoba who owned the party’s structure in Ogun, accepted to allow Amosun fly the governorship flag of the party.
Shortly after, he assumed office, the real self in Amosun began to show in him. He shunned party elders’ advice. Even in his cabinet lists, no leader of the party had an input in it, but rather, he unilaterally drew them. It was gathered that four names for Commissioner nominees, that Osoba brought to Amosun in his office, in the presence of Chief Doja Adewolu were trashed into a waste bin.
With the turn of events, the ACN collapsed its structure and merged with aggrieved PDP leaders to form a mega party called the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, in order to wrest power from the then, self-proclaimed biggest political party in the country, the PDP.
However, miffed and distraught by the disdainful treatment meted to them, Osoba, the state leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), three senators, Gbenga Kaka (Ogun East), Gbenga Obadara (Ogun Central) and Akin Odunsi (Ogun West), who were privileged to have been picked at the party’s primaries, and a sizeable number of the party’s chieftains, had no option than to pull out of the party and formed a new party, Social Democratic Party (SDP), in 2014, preparatory to the 2015 general elections when it became obvious that Amosun didn’t want them in the party. The aggrieved party chieftains and loyalists felt they had been totally edged out of the party and Amosun had become the sole leader, calling the shot.
They often referred to him as an “emperor”.
Consequently, the SDP crashed out when it lost all the seats (Governorship, National Assembly and State House of Assembly) contested in 2015. Soon afterwards, a truce was brokered when the national leaders of the party waded in, and reconciled all the feuding parties.
By and large, the expectations of the aftermath of the reconciliation, subsequently, working together and build the party were still far from being over, just as the governor decided not to have anything to do with Osoba and other aggrieved leaders, but rather elected to run the affairs of the APC in the manner of a personal estate. Towards the tail end of the party’s primaries to elect candidates into the various political offices in October 2018, the unsavoury development escalated and reared its ugly head. The aggrieved leaders who had enjoyed the strong support of the members of the National Working Committee (NWC), national leader of the party, Tinubu, and others who the governor himself labelled “Lagos cabal”, called the bluff off Amosun. They presented an oil magnate, Prince Dapo Abiodun, who hails from Iperu-Remo, in Ogun East, through a direct primary held on October 3, 2018, against the preferred candidate of the outgoing governor, Akinlade, an illustrious son of Ago-Sasa, in Ipokia local government (Ogun West).
Amosun who professed to be a promoter of a power shift to Yewa/Awori zone, a zone that has never ruled the state, since its creation in February 1976, is caught to be pursuing a selfish interest.
In a recent interview with THISDAY, Osoba noted that the promotion of the power shift to Ogun West was the sole plan of Amosun for his personal and selfish interest.
According to the Octogenarian, the outgoing governor is the greatest enemy of the Yewa/Awori people who designed his elongation in office through a third term agenda.
Osoba faulted the process that brought about the emergence of the Akinlade, before the principal moved his preferred Governorship Candidate and his close aides vying for both the National Assembly and State House of Assembly seats to the APM, in order to actualise their respective ambitions, while Amosun still remained in the APC, before his suspension, the platform he sought to contest.
His former close allies and kitchen cabinet members that felt slighted by this sudden move to the APM, in a quick succession, dumped him and pitched their tent with the APC Governorship Candidate, Abiodun.
At every public forum, he was sure of electoral victory for Akinlade, as he used to tell the people that his candidate was going to win the governorship ticket.
“Those people that are going against us here, they are not up to five percent.
“We know ourselves and we know how we do our things here in Ogun state. Don’t mind them. They are just making noise. Let them come and make their noise here,” said Amosun.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the recent disruption of the Presidential rally held at the MKO Abiola stadium, Abeokuta, the state capital. The outgoing governor could not hide his disdain for the national leadership of the party, just as hired social miscreants stormed the main bowl of the stadium, booed and hurled missiles at the President, Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, serving Southwest governors, and other members of the entourage.
Without mincing words, Amosun started beating the ear drum, while addressing the charging hired social miscreants in Yoruba dialects.
According to him, “Let us swallow our pride. If we are afraid of the dog, it doesn’t mean we are afraid of its owner.
Don’t worry, we are going to show them, that we are on ground in the coming elections.”
Meanwhile, with an ominous sign of defeat that had beckoned, a few days away to the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections, various rigging plans, both hook and crook, were deployed. Also, the APM signed a pact with a faction of the PDP, led by Hon Oladipupo Adebutu, federal lawmaker, currently representing Remo North/Ikenne/Sagamu Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, in order to shore up its support base. Besides, in his support for the APC candidate, Abiodun, former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, threw his weight behind his bosom friend and delivered his Sagamu home town with a landslide margin of votes.
But the Presidency that was unaware of various threats to human lives and property, following painstaking intelligence reports, wasted no effort in rejigging the security apparatus of the state. Aside the State Commissioner of Police (CP), Alhaji Ahmed Iliyasu, three additional CPs were deployed to man the three senatorial districts to forestall the eventual breakdown of law and order, while a Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Mr Yakubu Jubril, was to supervise elections in southwest (Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun and Lagos states respectively), but to make Ogun state his operational headquarters. Also, apart from armed soldiers (operation “python dance”) that were positioned at every strategic location, they patrolled every flash point, an effort that eventually paid off, though with a few pockets of violence recorded in some parts of the state, especially the border towns and villages.
Gradually, before the day peaked it had become glaring that the power-that-be, through his preferred candidate, was almost biting the dust with the various collation of results trickling in, at polling units, within the Ogun East, Ogun Central and other parts of Ogun West, through its Central Information System (CIS).
Nonetheless, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared Prince Dapo Abiodun, the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), winner of the Saturday’s governorship polls in the state.
While announcing Abiodun, the winner of the Governorship election at the Magbon, Abeokuta, INEC State Collation Centre, the state Returning Officer, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, at about 12. 45 a.m on Monday, March 11, 2019, said that the APC Governorship candidate scored a total of 241, 670 votes to coast home to victory.
According to Olayinka, who is the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan (UI), stated that Abiodun beat his closest rival, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM), who came second with 222, 153 votes.
He said that the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Prince Gboyega Isiaka, came third, having polled 110, 422 votes, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate, Sen. Buruji Kashamu, scored 70,290 votes to emerge fourth in position.
Total breakdown of the results on a local government basis, as announced by individual local government collation officers, shows that Abiodun won in 11 council areas.
They are Ijebu-Ode, Odogbolu, Odeda, Ijebu North-East, Sagamu, Abeokuta South and Ijebu-East.
Others are Remo- North, Ogun Waterside, Obafemi-Owode and Ikenne,
Akinlade of the APM won in six council areas which are Abeokuta North, Egbado-South, Ewekoro, Ipokia, Ifo and Ado Odo- Ota.
Isiaka of the ADC won in Imeko-Afon and Egbado-North local governments, while Kasamu of the PDP won in the Ijebu-North local government area.
According to Olayinka, the total number of registered voters was 2, 375, 003, while the total number of accredited voters was 708, 807.
He said that the number of valid votes was 680,947, while 20,969 votes were rejected.
Olayinka added that the total number of votes cast was 701,916.
The Returning Officer who noted that the margin of lead between Abiodun and Akinlade was 19,517 votes, also said that the figure was more than the total cancelled votes which stood at 7,100