The battle for the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State seems to have commenced ahead of 2019. The choice of successor is believed to have pitched the incumbent Governor Ibikunle Amosun against former governors of Ogun and Lagos States; Chief Olusegun Osoba and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Daily Trust on Sunday, in this piece, looks at the issue which heat is said to have led to the suspension of some local government area (LGA) party officials who met Chief John Odigie-Oyegun led APC National Working Committee (NWC) in April to submit a petition on their plight.

Seven APC LGA chairmen in Ogun State wrote the petition against Governor Amosun over the running of party affairs.

The petitioners protested against alleged unlawful suspension, illegal removal, intimidation, and harassment of the party chairmen in the state.

In the petition signed by Mr Ladi Lekuti, Ijebu Ode; Mr Idowu Adetunji, Yewa South; Mr Onaolapo Olawale, Odeda; Mr Muhammed Azeez, Ado Odo-Otta; Mr Sunday Akinyemi, Yewa North; Mr Emmanuel Oguntade, Ipokia and Ayo Banjo, Odogbolu local government area, they claimed that they wrote the petition on behalf of all the 20 party chairmen.

The petitioners, who complained that the party statutory meetings had been stopped and replaced with briefings from Governor Amosun, implored Chief Odigie-Oyegun-led APC NWC to stop what they called the “ignoble and illegal activities” of the governor.

Part of the petition reads, “since the 2015 general elections, the party has not been holding meetings at all levels in the state viz state, senatorial, local government and at the ward levels. All party meetings have been replaced by briefings only from the governor – Sen. Amosun.

“The state executive organ was and still is hardly financed by the APC-led administration of Gov. Amosun even with countless pleas from elders of the party.

“The state exco organ of the party in the state has become an appendage of the governor and this has divided and paralysed party structure at all levels in the state.”

The APC chairman in Odogbolu local government area, Barrister Banjo, who spoke on behalf of six others after submitting the petition, said three of the party chairmen who met with Chief Odigie-Oyegun in Abuja, had been suspended.

He said that the party buses had been withdrawn, while some of them had had their dresses torn at political gatherings.

He also said that people were afraid of defecting to the APC because of the current development in the party,

Barrister Banjo said the fortune of the party would be affected during the next election if nothing was done to tackle the current trend in Ogun State.

The APC National Chairman, who received the petition, said appropriate people would intervene to resolve the internal party strife.

But Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the current political situation was fallout of the power struggle between Governor Amosun and the former governor, Chief Osoba ahead of 2019.

The possible governorship candidacy of Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola popularly known as Yayi, which was said to have received the blessings of Tinubu and other key political leaders in the South-West, was behind the ongoing political maneuverings in Ogun State.

The political intrigues and horse trading

The incumbent governor can’t contest the seat again in 2019. But he seems to have also commenced moves to determine his successor. At a recent forum, the governor said he knew the personalities who could not succeed him. He went further to say that he would determine his successor as seven aspirants who had indicated interest in taking over from him were not qualified.

The governor, who said he would never play God on any matter, promised to unveil his successor when the time was ripe.

He said the “lucky candidate” would be acceptable to the generality of people of the state.

He said, “for us in Ogun State, I cannot tell you quickly this is who our governor will be, but we know those that will not be governor….I had all my education here and I know, with all our elders, even those that are apolitical, I know those that will not be governor and I know that at the appropriate time, we will get our people together and present our sons and daughters; we will pick and whoever we pick will be governor,” he said.

Sen. Adeola is believed to be among those aspirants who the governor is not willing to succeed him. The high ranking National Assembly member and the Lagos-based politician has his root in Yewa section of Ogun State.

The incumbent senator representing Lagos West has made his mark politically in the Centre of Excellence and from the most populous senatorial district of Lagos State. Since making his ambition to contest the top job in Gateway State known, Yayi has continued to exert influence across Ogun State. He is said not to be in the battle to outsmart Amosun for the control of the party alone, Tinubu and Osoba are said to be backing the moves to halt the incumbent governor’s bid to present a successor.

It would be recalled that both Tinubu and Osoba contributed to the emergence and electoral victory of Amosun in 2011 on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). But the three key political fugures fell apart later, thereby having what the pundits see a cat-and-mouse political relationship since then.

In the run up to his re-election bid, Tinubu and Osoba were believed to have battled to pummel Amosun. But the governor’s sterling performance overwhelmed the opposition.

By that time, Adeola sought to contest for the Ogun West senatorial district ticket. But he made a u-turn, having studied Amosun’s opposition to the bid. So, he was given the ticket on the APC platform in Lagos State on a platter of gold.

Since, it has been a political war between the duo. As 2019 draws nearer, the Lagos State Senator has been tapping into the governor’s structure to build his own political structure for the governorship election.

Daily Trust on Sunday learnt that Adeola had won the hearts of some of the governor’s loyalists from his Yewa Awori section.

Among those who had teamed up with Adeola was a former Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperatives during Amosun’s first term, Chief Samuel Aiyedogbon.

The national assembly member spoke at the ex-commissioner’s residence in Ota during a Christmas party last year.

Adeola said, “I have been contesting for about 20 years and I have been winning. If I have not been doing good things, it wouldn’t have been possible. I am therefore assuring you that I will continue to do the good works for which I am renowned.

“All that you have lost will be restored. When you go to the local governments (in the state), there is nothing there again. All your losses will be restored when I emerge as the governor.

“Some people said certain seven people have come out and approached them, that they don’t have leadership qualities.

“I have the belief that it is only God as well as the entire people of Ogun State that have the right to determine who is fit to become next governor,” Adeola, in an apparent response to Amosun, who fired the first salvo, said.

A former local government chairman from Ogun East senatorial district, who preferred anonymity, said Amosun’s camp would lose membership because his cronies were benefitting from his government.

As parts of the moves to overcome the incumbent threat, key loyalists of erstwhile governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have also teamed up with the Yayi group, called “De- democrats”. They include former commissioners, Samson Olopade, Dr Isiaq Salako and Tunji Akinosi.

However, despite the rising resentment, Amosun seems unperturbed by the development. He had often said that his achievements in eight years of his expected administration would speak volume of his acceptability and succession plan in 2019.

The governor’s support for a Yewa-Awori successor is now working in favour of his group. It is now a consensus that people in Ogun West senatorial district are ripe to produce governor for the first time since the creation of the state. But the popular saying among Amosun’s supporters is “it is Yewa, but not Yayi”.

The underdogs

In the emerging permutations, three APC members are said to have been penciled down. Those reportedly shortlisted include Senator Gbolahan Dada, representing Ogun West; Prince Suraj Adekunbi, the state House of Assembly Speaker; and Chief Tolu Odebiyi, an industrialist and son of the late Second Republic Senator, Chief Jonathan Odebiyi.

Sources close to our correspondent said that Dada had made it known that he was not interested, while Odebiyi’s popularity may not be enough for the party’s success. As at today, the only option on the radar is the incumbent speaker Adekunbi.

With expected eight years on the saddle, political observers note that Adekunbi’s experience in both politics and administration are enough criteria to weather the storm in the road to Okemosan. Findings also revealed that since about five years ago, the speaker has been meeting with the who-is-who in the state to garner support.

Penultimate week, the state lawmakers endorsed him as replacement to the governor, hinging the endorsement on his performance so far in the hallow chamber of the state House of Assembly.

As the 2019 draws nearer, the political calculations will continue as both Amosun, who claims to be “true son of the soil” and Adeola, an undoubtedly Lagos-based politician, now “omo bo wale” (the child has returned home) square it up for the Oke Mosan Oval Office.

Source; Daily Trust

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