Ogun 2019: The Joke Not on Amosun!

Amosun and Akinlade during the campaigns

Amosun may have lost his bid to install a successor from Ogun West, the narrative of being humbled is greatly misplaced, writes Olaseni Durojaiye

The 2019 governorship election in Ogun State may have been settled for now and Mr. Dapo Abiodun announced as the eventual winner. However, on account of the interplay of forces, political scheming and deft maneuverings that characterised the election, it is worthy of some interrogations on many fronts, particularly as it concerns the quest of the people of the Ogun West Senatorial district to produce the governor of the state and the contrived narrative that the outgoing governor of the state and senator-elect, Ibikunle Amosun was humbled.

Amosun was defeated but was he humiliated or humbled? That cannot be correct. Considering the many political gladiators that rallied against him and the Armanda of political arsenal and forces massed up to undo him, Amosun could not be said to have been truly humbled even as he failed in his quest to ensure that the Ogun West zone gets the chance to govern the state after 43 years of its creation.

The forces Amosun stood were though a legion, certainly not as formidable as many would have expected. They include but not limited to the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo; two former governors of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, who are both tested grassroots politicians in the state; National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomole; governor-elect, Dapo Abiodun; the Senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Solomon Adeola, who was rattled out of the state over his desire to be governor; the Senator representing Ogun East zone, Buruji Kashamu, who is also a candidate in the race but aligned to see the back of Amosun; billionaire philanthropist and lotto magnate, Chief Kensington Adebutu and his son, Ladi.

There was the senator-elect for Ogun East and Amosun’s ex-Chief of Staff, Tolu Odebiyi; candidate of the ADC in Ogun State, Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, who was said to have had an understanding to remain in the race and divide the votes of Amosun’s candidate from the West also played along; there was Abiodun Akinlade, a former House of Representatives candidate from Ogun East, who had always wanted to be governor but aligned with anti-Amosun forces out of sheer envy; there was the Senator-elect, Lagos East Senatorial District, Bayo Osinowo, who was deployed to the state by their Lagos master.

Also on the other side were persons like Amosun’s Commissioners for Commerce as well as Culture and Tourism, Bimbo Ashiru and Muyiwa Oladipo. Added to the politically intimidating list are several scores of their foot soldiers, some of whom are former state assembly members, local council chairmen and former commissioners among other political offices.

Even then, Amosun was far from being humiliated. He, indeed, gave a good account of himself as a formidable political force in the state and the greatest grassroots politician of all time. The results of the election buttress this contention.

A look at the governorship election results revealed that while the candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and Amosun’s choice, Adekunle Akinlade polled 222,153, the governor-elect, Abiodun polled 241,670 and the margin of lead was 19,517 votes, with cancelled votes put at 20,969.

An analysis of the results showed that the forces against Amosun heavily mined votes from the Ogun East zone, where more than a handful of the political gladiators hailed from. And this is besides that Abiodun is from the zone. A breakdown of the results from the axis also revealed that Abiodun won in all the local governments in the area except in Ijebu North Local government, which was won by homeboy, Kashamu.

In the whole, Abiodun won in Ijebu-Ode, Odogbolu, Odeda, Ijebu North-East, Sagamu, and Ijebu-East. He also won in Remo- North, Ogun Waterside, Obafemi-Owode and Ikenne Local Government Areas; all in the Ogun East Senatorial District of the state.

On his part, Akinlade, of course with the clout of his promoter and his nerve-racking campaign, won in six council areas spread between Ogun West and Central Senatorial Districts, including Abeokuta-North, Egbado-South, Ewekoro, Ipokia, Ifo and Ado-Odo/Ota council areas.

Armed with the breakdown of the results and the forces of against Amosun, a defeat with 19,517 vote differential simply exposed the lie in the narrative that he was humiliated, even when the cancelled votes were in excess of the margin of lead.

This is besides the argument among some pundits, who insisted that going by the ‘Principle of Margin of Lead’ cited by INEC officials, who declared elections in states like Benue, Kano, Plateau, Bauchi, Adamawa and Sokoto inconclusive, same ought to have been applied to the case of Ogun State

Regardless, the joke really is certainly on the notable politicians of the Ogun West stock and by extension some of their associates outside of the zone but within the state, who aligned to defeat their own, after 43 years of seeking to rule the state.

Historically the zone has never produced an elected governor of the state. The pendulum of governance in the state has always swung between the Ogun Central, where Osoba and Amosun are from and Ogun East, where the late Olabisi Onabanjo, Daniel and now Abiodun are from.

But the inability of the zone to produce a governor for the state is not out of lack of push for it; rather, it has always been a case of inability of major politicians from the area to forge a united front in the push for it.

This was the case when former President Olusegun Obasanjo attempted to push for Retired Major General Tunji Olurin during the 2011 general election. At the same time, Daniel pushed for Isiaka while Amosun ran on the ticket of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and eventually won the election.

Political watchers in the state contended that had the zone agreed on a consensus candidate in 2011, the zone irrespective of its numerical weakness (which is a façade) would have produced a governor for the state. But alas, it was not to be and Amosun rode to victory on the back of that disunity and a political agreement between his political movement in the state and that of Osoba.

Similar scenario has again played out in the 2019 election. Isiaka threw his heart in the ring even when he was certain his chances were slim especially, after the presidential and national assembly elections, where he performed dismally.

No doubt, it is within his constitutional rights to aspire to govern the state. However, he would for a long time battle to dispel allegations that some parties in the election goaded him on to play the spoiler role in Yewa zone for whatever reason.

Interestingly too, others posited that the inability to come up with a consensus candidate betrays the lack of unity of purpose among the proponents of a Yewa governor for the state. Those canvassing the position argued that the quest was more of personal interest as against regional interest.

As one observer, who is familiar with the Ogun State politics posited, the quest for a Yewa governor for the state might continue to suffer until two things happen: politicians from the zone must come together, jettison personal interests and forge a united front. They must also fend off destabilising interests from the two other zones, who often times play politicians from the zone against themselves.

Agreed that Amosun may not have handled his push to have Akinlade succeed him, that is not enough to justify the narrative that he was humbled. What more, was the way Abiodun emerged APC candidate ideal? Amosun was simply outfoxed by the formidable political forces that he was up against, which is not a new occurrence in politics.

In the final analysis, it goes without saying that the outgoing gave a good and impressive fight and the fact that he secured a senate seat further confirms same. He didn’t actually lose in this contest, rather, the joke in on those, who forged a front against him and still could not secure a clean win to prove their worth or standing in the political calculus of the state.

Against the foregoing, clearly the joke is not on Amosun even with his inability to install a governor of the Yewa extraction. Rather the joke is more on politicians of the Yewa stock, who yet again scuttled the move for a governor of the state coming from among them and their associates from outside of the zone. It is around their necks that the medals of shame dangle.