By Tunde Abatan, [email protected] 08165660217
Ordinarily,Senator Ibikunle Amosun,former governor of Ogun state and his successor in office,Prince Dapo Abiodun are friends both in and out of politics.
Even when Amosun became governor in 2011,the friendship continued as Abioduns face is a constant feature among visitors to the Oke Mosan seat of Power.
Amosun /Abiodun face off: Adeola joins the fray
During the election that saw Amosun clinched the governorship in 2011,Abiodun lost his own bid to be Senator Representing Ogun East in the upper legislative chamber.
Abiodun bade his time and silently work to succeed his friend in office.
Today,the two friends are no longer one but political foes within the same party.
This is a function of interest and ambition.
While one wants to preserve his larger interest with his political family ,followership and relevance in the state,the other wants to serve a second term as governor and probably end up in the Senate like most former governors.
Indeed,it will not be out of place to say that the clash of interest and ambition drew a line between the two and by inference divided the once united house of the All Progressives Congress,APC till date in the state in spite of winning the election in 2019.
The cookies began to crumble among the friends as few months to the end of the tenure of Amosun, Abiodun saw the handwriting on the wall that he is not likely to be his friends preferred candidate.
Instead of jumping out of the party, he rallied round party leaders seen as powerful enough to checkmate Amosun in order to realise his own ambition which clashed with the political and personal interests of his once jolly good friend.
While Amosun was in firm grip of the 236 wards of Ogun state APC and not ready to share control with the Chief Olusegun Osoba tendency in the party and the larger than life influence of former Lagos state governor,Asiwaju Bola Tinubu coupled with overiding presence of Vice President Osinbajo at the seat of power,there was a clash of interest which led to a fight of titans.
At the end of the day,in spite of his control of the 236 wards of the party in the state,Abioduns ‘godfathers’managed to ‘rubbish’ Amosun during the fiercely contested primary and in spite of his closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari.
While Abiodun ran away with the APC ticket, Amosun pitched his tent with newly formed political spring board,Allied Progressive Movement,APM and went into battle with his candidate and ‘godson’, Adekunle Akinlade .
While Abiodun managed to defeat Akinlade with 19,000 margin vote having polled 241,670 against the laters 222,153 votes.
While his candidate lost,Amosun stood behind in APC and won election to the Senate.
Until,he spoke last week condemning the governance style of Akinlade and asking the people of the state to reject him during next year’s election, Amosun had kept a distance with the Abioduns government.
You cannot fault him for having publicly criticised the floopy Abioduns government for once.
While the later has also kept away from residing in the government lodge in Abeokuta accumulating huge amount shuttling daily between his native Iperu Remo and the state capital, Amosun on his own continue to show face at home.
Abioduns preference to staying away from living in the government residence in the capital though personally convenient may not be politically expedient and reasonable given our climate.
Afterall,there are two well built and furnished government houses-the Governors lodge at Oke Igbein and Presidential lodge at the Government Reserved Area,GRA arecgood enough for his status.
If they are not, he should have fixed at least one of them after spending 39 months in office.
His recent preference of commuting in Chopper between Banana Island in Lagos and Abeokuta is not in any way economically and politically justifiable.
If those who ruled Lagos have not governed well, would he have built a haven of a home there?
Would the people have voted for him in 2019 if he had told them he would be a shuttling Governor?
Yet, in spite of Amosuns absence from APC now in the firm grip of Abiodun as does other state governors who has also killed internal democracy in their party for obvious reasons, Amosun too had been at work looking intently toward next year.
The emergence of Adekunle Akinlade, Amosuns ‘godson’ who lost in 2019 to Abiodun posed a new challenge to Abiodun but the party pretended that all is well.
But when Amosun pronounced his opposition to Abioduns second term through his political ‘fatwah’ Abiodun and supporters described him as frustrated and lonely.
.Their description of Amosun as lonely was perhaps their calculation that since the party structure and all his supporters have been weaned from him,what is left is making pronouncement that holds no water.
But then,it will be suicidal for Abiodun whose performance in office is quite below average especially in areas considered as crucial to electoral fortune.
It remains to be seen if Abioduns invicibility in the politics of the state in spite of his being a sitting governor is not a mirage afterall.
Today, besides his not being politically friendly with Ogun Central considering his distance style of running government, his abandonment of important border towns in the state with their economic potentials and numerical voting strength may be his undoing.
Considering the strength of the now resucitated APM tendency within the PDP in the most neglected areas of the state like Ifo local government especially abandonment of the strategically important Ijoko,Agbado,Akute, Lambe-Agbado and Alagbole axis with their voting population,Abiodun has a lot to do to prevent a backlash.
Recent moves to get youth leaders in the area to begin in earnest to campaign for Abioduns re- election,remains the biggest challenge to the youths who reportedly asked the leaders what programne or achievements of the incumbent to use to campaign..what do we tell the people?
These are the question on the lips of the youths.
The people of the aforementioned area may not be commited to an Amosun candidate but they are obviously not like to look in the direction of a government and party that has kept them in limbo and reduce their human value for over twenty years.
You may not blame Abiodun for the abandonment of the 32 kilometre road which if completed would’ve make Ogun harvest from the Lagos population implosion,vbut his distance from them as the inheritor of a party system that neglected their live will definitely make them look elsewhere.
Forget the recent attempt of palliative on a road that has disappeared from existence but fir efforts of community development associations,the whole area would have been totally condemned to misery.
To majority of increasingly politically aware residents of many parts of Ogun state that is suffering utter neglect,voting for a none caring governor and party for a second term in office may mean eternal neglect.
This is for the simple reason that second terms are normally treated as period of do nothing by governors.
It is seen as era of impunity in governance since no vote is required from the belanguered citizens by the outgoing governor.
But the losers in this game are always their anointed successors in the party who has to defend the non- performance of their party and political benefactor as represented by outgoing governor.
Hence,in the context of 2023 ,while it is quite obvious Amosun may want to use his existing followership to proof a point and exact a pound of flesh from Abiodun and backers in the state,his interest may be in tune with disgruntled voters who have been under serious economic hardships occasioned by the APC misrule at the centre.
Ogun state voters in 2023 may behave like Osun voters who voted against APC not necessarily because they loathe Governor Gboyega Oyetola but because the economic hardships occasioned by the Buhari government is like rain which pours on saints and sinners.
Since politics is a game of interest,it should not surprise close watchers of Amosun in spite of his preference for Tinubu for Presidency to also ask his supporters to switch role and vote out Abiodun.
Again,since there is no strict line of demarcation in terms of ideology between the ruling APC and opposition People’s Democratic Party,PDP, Amosuns preference for a strong PDP candidate in person of Ladi Adebutu, coincidentally from the same Ogun East is also strategic.
In terms of logistics and followership, Adebutus PDP remains the leading opposition party in the state while the deep pocket of Adebutus father is a good match anyday for Abiodun.
That the PDP stand to gain from a rupture in internal dynamism of the ruling APC is not in doubt.
What is also not in doubt is the APC lack of concrete achievements in the life of the citizens with which to campaign .
In the light of Buharis lack lustre performance in economy,insecurity and his ethnic configuration which has divided Nigeria more than any previous government since 1966.
The only snag in the PDP/ Amosun romance and political calculation is, will Ogun West which has been clamouring to rule the state since it’s creation in 1976 ,vote for another man from Ogun East who will probably want to spend two terms in office in spite of their son, Akinlade, being his Deputy?
With the ‘importation’ of Senator Solomon Adeola, aka Yayi, a politician who has served Lagos state for twenty years to obtain the Senate slot in Ogun West, it is quite clear not many indigenes and grassroot politician from Ogun West will be at home with this strange neo colonialism out to serve an end for Abioduns immediate interest and Senator Addolas future ambition.
But with the influence of money in politics,would the Yewa, Awori voters be politically savy enough to assert their independence when the time comes with all the above variables.
For now, the Ogun Central,remains the political bride and indeed determinants of who among the two forces within Ogun East to vite for depending on who they think will serve their interest best.
With the huge voting population of the six local government areas in the zone, Ogun Central remains the decider in who governs the state.
From all indications,Abiodun has not by his aloofness proof to be politically pragmatic enough taking into consideration the governance style.
For now,he is fighting against vested interests not only in Amosun,but in Ogun Central as a block; Ogun West with it’s divisive politics and the generality of Ogun people who are reeling under the economic and security yoke of the Buhari government.
Yes, he may claim to have been hampered by most of the projects left abandoned by his predecessor,since government is a continuum,he should have borrowed a leaf from Governor Babajide Sanwoolu of Lagos who has continued even with the completion of projects left behind by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
Among all the states in the South West Nigeria,Lagos remains the most consistent in continuity of infrastructural development .
This alone makes it rank the lowest in poverty rate among the 36 states in the country as adjudged by the World Bank.
Governor Abiodun should play less of politics since Senator Amosun has served his term and recorded his modest achievements irrespective of what others may think of him.
At this time, when elections is near the corner,Abiodun should play less politics on fixing federal roads since many roads and facilities like Water,rural electrification and dilapidated health facilities within his electoral constituency are begging for attention.
Isn’t it shameful that a densely populated settlement of 35 kilometres stretch has no single health centre, general hospital while the few primary and secondary schools are more of glorified sheds.
Of what value is the life of residents,civil servants, pupils,students and other private sector employees who are tax payers within this vicinity and many others in the state.
To our governor, adopting the saying- Charity begins at home,should be enough for him to get the attention of the people he swore to protect and serve when he took the oath of office in 2019.
He has more at stake to loose!
He has to put in all his best within the next eight months to reverse the Eleyi title bestowed on him by one of his strong backers and ‘helpers’ who has by that statement painted him with tar brush which will probably require more than a bathe in River Jordan to cleanse.