By Olamide Lawal
The political atmosphere in Ogun State is experiencing a buzz in the build-up to the 2019 general election. The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has been at the major attraction and the most interesting in the eyes of observers. This is a natural consequence of the internal wrangling, horse trading, and belligerency that led to and greeted the emergence of its gubernatorial candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
That the emergence of Abiodun did not go down well with the state governor, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun is no more news. In fact, it appears like a reoccurring decimal in the polity of Ogun state that an outgoing governor will always be at loggerheads with the gubernatorial candidate of his party. This is mostly a fallout of the failure of the outgoing governors to secure their parties’ gubernatorial tickets for their preferred candidates. The current rift between the governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and his party’s candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun reminds students of contemporary history of the failed attempt by former Governor Gbenga Daniel to foist his preferred successor on the people of the state against the wishes of his political party and the good people of the state. Interestingly, Ibikunle Amosun turned out to be the major beneficiary of the political conundrum which characterised the 2011 general elections in Ogun State.
To some, the blatant refusal of Amosun to throw his weight behind the gubernatorial ambition of Dapo Abiodun may be a huge disadvantage for the aspirations of Dapo Abiodun, however, it is important to note that the key players in the APC on whom Amosun had place his hopes to install a stooge as his successor have moved en-masse to Dapo Abiodun’s camp to ensure his emergence. While some of them have followed the governor’s directives to move to a new political party, they have only done so in order to take their share of the loot and booties from the state treasury.
In Nigerian democracy, endorsement of a gubernatorial candidate by a sitting president has, most time, served as a morale boaster for party members and their resolve to work for the party’s victory always go along this line. This is what President Muhammadu Buhari did by endorsing the Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun APC gubernatorial candidate after he had done it in many South West states.
May 13, 2018 was a reassuring day for the people of Ekiti state. This was the day President Muhammadu Buhari hosted and anointed his erstwhile Minister of solid minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi who resigned his ministerial appointment to contest as the governor of Ekiti state. The aftermath of this endorsement was the emergence of Dr Kayode Fayemi as the governor of the state. People of Ekiti have trust for Mr President and they believe, Dr Fayemi, having worked with the president in his administration must have earned the trust and conviction of President Muhammadu Buhari before such endorsement could have been made public.
Similarly, the people in the state of Osun experienced the Buhari endorsement on August 30, 2018 when Mr President raised the hand of Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola as his preferred candidate in the Osun gubernatorial elections. This was done in the presence of the outgoing governor, Rauf Aregbesola and the pictures were made public. Today, Mr President’s preferred candidate is the governor in the state of the living spring.
President Muhammadu Buhari has been known for his integrity and honesty which he has been in public attention since his days as a junior military officer. Consequently, whoever he endorses for public office always gets wide acceptance.
On the 28th day of December, 2018 President Muhammadu Buhari assured the electorates in Ogun state of his unwavering support for improved governance, party supremacy and individual integrity through his open endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun for the gubernatorial seat of Ogun state. This was done in the presence of the second civilian governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Buhari’s endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun is a major newsbreak because of the litany of lies and heavy mudslinging sponsored by the enemies of Ogun state against the gubernatorial aspiration of the Iperu-Remo prince in the polity. The endorsement thus nullifies the falsehood that the president was in support of the anti-party activities of Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
It is on record that Ibikunle Amosun has made 30 failed visits to Aso Rock within the last five weeks in his feeble bid to secure “Mr Integrity’s” endorsement of his preferred candidate, Hon. Akinlade. Due to the perceived love that exists between the President Buhari and Governor Amosun, the support of Mr President had been a major agenda in public discourse among residents of the state especially as the governor’s preferred candidate is vying on the platform of a different party from the president’s APC.
Expectedly, the most popular and widely accepted candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun got the endorsement of the president. This has not only generated widespread increased love for Mr President, it has also gone a long way in projecting his image as Mr Integrity. Undoubtedly, Prince Dapo Abiodun is the choice of the people in the Gateway state but the governor has continued to lavish the state’s funds on his new bride, the APM, instead of using the funds for the development of the state.
If this adoption and open endorsement of Prince Dapo Abiodun by PMB is not enough to get the governor back on track and re-embrace his age-long friend for the betterment of the state.
It is certain that Prince Abiodun, having served as the chairman, Corporate Affairs Commission has impressed President Buhari with his running of the affairs of the Commission to warrant his endorsement for a higher office. This gives credence to the maxim that “the reward for hard work is more work”.
It is good to emphasize that no serving governor in the history of Ogun state has been as greedy as the incumbent. He desires to single handily pick candidates for every elective office accruable to Ogun state. Having been rejected by the party members in his immoral quest, he has moved his stooges to a new political party while retaining the senatorial ticket of the APC for himself.
His well-wishers hope he gets it right now and retrace his steps before it becomes too late for him.