The Ogun ‘Musketeers’ and Amosun’s Transition Committee

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Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the Ogun State Musketeers, their strides and conflicts, and the eventual constitution of a transition committee by the outgoing administration in the state

Conflicts are inevitable parts of life, either at workplace or among family members or friends. But the way these conflicts are managed can have a major impact on success, happiness and one’s fulfillment in life. Conflicts can build up over time, or can flare up suddenly. They can be based on genuine personal disagreements or hatred, fears of the unknown, deceit, lies, perfidy, sheer greed, selfishness, pride, among others.

Reminiscent of “The Three Musketeers”, a historical adventure novel written in 1844 by French Author, Alenxadre Dumas, former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the outgoing governor, Ibikunle Amosun, and the incoming governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, hitherto, were very good friends. They are successful businessmen who did things together and have distinguished themselves in their various spheres of human endeavours. By sheer providence, Daniel and Amosun have been opportune to be governors of the state, while Abiodun, in a month’s time, will also call the shot as the number one citizen.

In retrospect, at the twilight of the 2003 general elections, Amosun and Abiodun contributed significantly to the emergence of Daniel, as governor. There and then, Daniel, Abiodun and Amosun were the leading figures of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and they rode on the back of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. But after Daniel assumed office as governor, and Amosun also won the Ogun Central Senatorial seat, both on the PDP platform, the former’s relationship with the latter became frosty. Pride and power were at play. Despite every entreaty by close associates, political leaders and elders to mend the fences, the gulf created between the duo was never bridged. With the turn of events, Amosun dumped the PDP and defected to the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), a platform he subsequently tested the water in his gubernatorial bid in the 2007 general elections, but lost out to Daniel, who was re-elected.

Unsure of his electoral victory in the subsequent general elections, precisely in the 2011, Amosun decided to act smart. He romanced and worked closely with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was a bigwig in the defunct Action Congress (AC) that subsequently metamorphosed into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and soon afterwards emerged as the All Progressives Congress (APC).

At the 11th hour of the AC’s primaries in Ogun state, with the interventions of Tinubu, Prince Dapo Abiodun, former Ekiti and Osun state governors, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Chief Bisi Akande, respectively, Amosun was favoured and he became the governorship flag bearer of the party.

In 2015, preparatory to the general elections, Abiodun supported Amosun financially and morally to boost his re-election campaign. That aside, Abiodun supported Amosun when civil servants in the state threatened to down tools in 2014.

But when Abiodun signified an interest in the number one job of the state in 2017, Amosun objected. He didn’t conceal his disdain for Abiodun’s bid. The outgoing governor deployed every trick to thwart the electoral victory of Abiodun. Unperturbed and dogged, despite all odds, Abiodun took up the gauntlet and squared up with other co-contenders to the governorship race. He eventually won.

Abiodun said after his victory: “If men were God, I wouldn’t have won the governorship race. What has kept me going in the journey of life, despite daunting challenges is my absolute and unshakeable faith in God. My faith is anchored on the message of Christ in Mark 11:23 that assures of an unwavering faith that could relocate a mountain from one point to another.”

While predicating his electoral victory on faith in God, Abiodun gave the testimony during a thanksgiving service held at St James Anglican Church, Iperu-Remo, his home town, to appreciate Almighty God for protection and his victory at the governorship poll.

Meanwhile, vision drives ambition. The governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun, leaves no one in doubt, tightening the loose ends, in the commitment of his incoming administration to take Ogun State to a greater height, by exploiting its economic potentials. The incoming governor and the United States of America (USA) Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Stuart Symington, deliberated on different issues that are germane to the socio-economic development of the state when the Ambassador visited him in Lagos, on Monday. Specifically, the discussion was on how to attract investors from the US to the state’s thriving economy.

Meanwhile, following perennial crises rocking the state-owned tertiary institutions, especially the Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), located in Omu-Ijebu, Odogbolu Local Government Area, the governor-elect, in his bid to restore sanity, met with the Coalition of Tai Solarin College of Education Staff (COTAS), led by their Chairman, Comrade Daniel Aborisade.

Their visit was hinged on two reasons: to felicitate with him on his recent electoral victory at the poll and, more importantly, to ventilate their views on some critical issues affecting them and the overall survival of TASCE, an institution named after a foremost Nigerian educator and author, Augustus Taiwo “Tai” Solarin.

“During our interactions, part of the issues raised ranged from non-payment of salaries and arrears, non-payment of pension, non-remittance of cooperative society deduction to absence of governing council board, among others. “To have a deeper understanding of their challenges, the delegation requested that a visitation panel should be constituted to look into the affairs of the institution.

“On my part, I assured them that all the challenges currently facing TASCE will be given immediate and proper attention by the incoming administration, with a promise to personally visit the institution upon my assumption of office,” said Abiodun.

On the recent arson carried out by some suspected political thugs during the grand finale of “Akoogun” festival in Ifo, the governor-elect, who was on an on-the-spot assessment tour of the trouble scene, read riot acts to potential hoodlums, to repent or face the wrath of the law.

During the fracas on Sunday, April 21, that led to the killing of a man simply identified as Hakeem, the thugs razed down the constituency offices of the Deputy speaker of the Ogun state House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo and that of the lawmaker, representing Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituency, Hon Ibrahim Isiaka.

The governor-elect who talked tough against cultism, among other vices which he linked to the dastardly act, said he had instructed the Commissioner of Police and the State Director of the Department of the State Service (DSS) to ensure the arrest of the evil perpetrators and bring them to book.

It would be recalled that violence broke out in the ancient city and claimed the life of a 25-year old man, when some operatives of the police force from Zone 2 Command headquarters, Ikoyi, Lagos, attempted to arrest a suspect in the area. Abiodun, while speaking when he visited the scene of the violence, vowed that his government would not tolerate any act of hooliganism or indiscipline but will embark on aggressive programmes that would better engage the youths.

He said: “For those that seized the opportunity to commit arson, they would be brought to book. We will not tolerate indiscipline; we would not tolerate hooliganism; we would not tolerate thuggery and we would not tolerate or condone cultism.

“So, I am using this opportunity to sound a very serious note of warning to all those that have been engaging in cultism across the state, that the time for that is over.

“We have an aggressive programme to engage our youths. When we are sworn in on May 29, we will also review the programme that will allow anyone in possession of illegal firearms to come out and lay down their weapons.

“We will not condone brandishing of weapons and arms in this state. This is not a banana republic. So, for those that are engaging in that, they should begin to have a rethink,” said Abiodun.

The governor-elect, however, appealed to the people to be more tolerant with one and other, saying that Ogun is known for peace.

“We want to use this opportunity to implore our people to be more tolerant of each other. The level of intolerance that we have seen in this state is something that is strange.

“We are very peace-loving people in Ogun. We are not violent people, but the level of violence we have seen lately is unprecedented. So, I am using this opportunity to implore all our people to learn to be more tolerant.

“Politics comes and goes, but the kind of life that we live, and how we relate to each other is definitely not what we want to be defined with.

“We don’t want to be known as Ogun State where people are killing each other, burning houses and committing arson. These things are not dignifying.

“We want to commend the efforts of the police for what they have been doing in Ogun state, but I also want to implore them that things like this will happen from time to time that should not lead to such an occurrence involving the loss of a human life.

“We have to be very careful in effecting arrests and enforcing law and order, without having to lose innocent lives. My prayer is that this kind of thing will not characterise us in Ogun state,” he added.

Surprisingly, following public outcry, the outgoing governor made a u-turn on Monday, April 29, when he inaugurated a 26-man transition committee, headed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barrister Adeoluwa Taiwo.

Amosun told the governor-elect that the keys to the government house were ready if he intends to move in, on Tuesday, April 30 when Abiodun’s delegation, led by the deputy governor-elect, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, met the outgoing administration’s transition committee members.

“Government house, Oke-Igbein (Abeokuta), is ready, if you want to move in tomorrow (Tuesday).

“Both the Presidential lodge and government house are ready.

As soon as you tell us when you need the keys to the government house and that of the Presidential lodge, we will make them available,” he said.

Amosun said: “Contrary to insinuation in some quarters that he had no plans to hand over, this transition committee had been put in place since December 2018. By God’s grace, 28th of May, 2019, we can sit down like this and hand over to you. We have not been sleeping, so as to have a smooth running of the transition.”

Amosun, while promising a seamless transition ahead of May 29 handover date, said his outgoing administration would not “bequeath disorder” on his successor.

He said: “we will be in a position to hand over a comprehensive note to you on May 28, 2019.”