The die is cast in Ogun State. On Saturday, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Allied Progressive Movement (APM) will test their popularity at the governorship and House of Assembly elections. Who wins? EMMANUEL OLADESU writes on the battle for the Oke Mosan Government House.
The stage is set for the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Ogun State.
In the governorship race are Dapo Abiodun (All Progressives Congress (APC), Adekunle Akinlade (All Progressives Movement (APM), Buruji Kashamu (Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Gboyega Isiaka (AFrican Democratic Congress (ADC).
Since the Second Republic, no incumbent governor has had the privileged of handing over to an anointed candidate. Former Governor Gbenga Daniel, who attempted it, failed in 2011. Can Governor Ibikunle Amosun, who is backing Akinlade, succeed where his predecessor failed? Can he break the jinx?
Since last year, the governor has declared that he will like to hand over to a governor from Ogun West Senatorial District. However, to counter him, many indigenes came up with an ‘Ijebu-Remo Agenda.’
While Amosun has maintained his position on power shift to yewa Division, other party leaders, led by former Governor Olusegun Osoba, are backing Abiodun in the succession battle.
Against all odds, the governor fortified his stronglehold on the party leadership. Thus, he opted for a consensus candidacy, picking Akilade as flag bearer, Mrs. Bimpe Adebajo as running mate, National Assembly and 26 House of Assembly candidates. The situation generated a bad blood. Following protest by other chieftains, the APC national leadership intervened throug a ‘direct selection.’ Abiodun emerged as the candidate.
Amosun fought back, firing salvos at Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Osoba and APC National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, describing them as architects of his political travails. All pleas to back out of the ‘Akinlade project’ fell on deaf ears. As an APC governor and senator-elect, Amosun is suppporting APM candidates.
However, close associates have deserted the governor, vowing to toe the party line. They include former Chief of Staff and senator-elec t from Ogun West Chief Tolu Odebiyi, former Special Adviser (SA) on Special Duties, Princess Peju Shote, former Special Adviser on Forestry, Chief Yinka Odufuwa, Special Assistant (SA) on Energy, Mrs Adenike Osoba, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Environment, Chief Yetunde Onanuga (now, newly elected member, House of Representatives for Remo North/Ikenne/Sagamu), former Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Afolabi Afuape, Special Assistant (SA) on Culture, Sunday Baminola, Chief Ayo Olubori.
Odebiyi said: “At various fora, Senator Ibikunle Amosun said he was considering me for the Ogun State governorship ticket. I thought over it and I decided to contribute my quota to the development of the state.