Ogun 2019: Forces coalesce to ‘take back’ APC

Buruji Kashamu

• LP: Many Frontline Politicians Are Talking To Us
As 2019 becomes real for many politicians in Ogun State, new antics and intrigues are cropping up every minute, both from within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and among opposition parties.

Both the old and new contenders, as well as pretenders are already gearing up, to have a head start.

For the APC, the party appears to be repeating the same error that handicapped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2011, when the party was torn-apart, paving way for the coalition that installed Ibikunle Amosun-led administration.

The acrimony in the PDP then-Otunba Gbenga Daniel faction and former President Olusegun Obasanjo faction, led to the formation of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), which culminated in the mass exodus of the PDP members to PPN, and yielded Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI).

That would have been a very good opportunity for the Yewa zone to produce its first governor with the candidacy of Gen. Tunji Olurin, as both hailed from the zone, but the party’s internal wrangling scuttled the move, putting an end to PDP’s reign in the state.

It is not longer a secret that APC in the state has been polarised into different factions. Amosun faction and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu/Olusegun Osoba faction are the two prominent ones, though the party bigwigs always deny this claim, but the recent happenings have confirmed this development.

While Amosun and Osoba parted ways, prior to the 2015 general elections, forcing the latter to decamp with his supporters to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the cold war between Amosun and Tinubu came after the election, as the governor was alleged to have rejected Tinubu’s choice in the list of ministerial nominees when APC was forming the national government.

Tinubu and the party had reportedly nominated Bode Adeaga, who served as the returning officer of the party during the general elections, as compensation for his efforts, but Amosun opted for his crony, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who was the former commissioner of finance in the state. To Tinubu and others, it was an affront by a man who was helped into the party.

As a payback, and to rescue the party from the firm grip of the governor come 2019, the Tinubu/Osoba camp has reportedly settled for a political warhorse, Senator Solomon Adeola (Yayi), currently representing Lagos West senatorial district in the upper chamber, and an indigene of Yewa zone, to succeed Amosun.

The Guardian learnt that the numbers of Yayi’s followers are swelling by the day, as he appears to have strong impact on the people at the grassroots, who are losing confidence in Amosun’s administration.

The supporters of the governor on the other hand, are waning by the day. According to feelers in the grassroots, his disciples are leaving him for Yayi’s camp in batches. Amosun was recently quoted at a forum, where he threatened to displace any of his aides found working or dining with Yayi, though he denied it, but the recent sack of his Special Assistant on Social Media, Damilola Ogunpola, over allegations of audio leaks to his opposition, is a pointer.

A larger chunk of the immediate past elected council officials have reportedly left for Yayi’s camp en mass. One of them told The Guardian during the week that they are set for a showdown with the governor over his deliberate attempt to withhold their entitlements since they left office.

It was also learnt that the cold war between the governor and the present Senator representing Ogun Central, Lanre Tejuoso, might also force the senator to pitch his tent elsewhere. Amosun was said to have informed the senator of his (Amosun) intention to vie for the Ogun Central Senatorial seat after the expiration of his tenure in 2019, which hasn’t gone well with Tejuoso. Should Tejuoso agree, he might be offered the deputy-governor’s slot, as compensation. But the rumour peddled around by the governor’s cronies, is that Tejuoso is eyeing the number one seat at all cost, against whoever is presented by the governor.

Adeola

The Guardian overheard one of the popular monarchs in the state, when he told a council chairman that Amosun has reported the senator to them (traditional rulers), which is a confirmation of a brewing feud that may force the senator and his supporters out of the faction.

Though Amosun counts so much on support from the presidency, added to the power of incumbency, but one move that may really boost his chances of installing a successor is the Buruji Kashamu factor.

According to feelers, Buruji is being wooed by APC, not to seek any political position, but to mobilise support for whomever Amosun presents as his flagbearer, to tackle Yayi and candidates from other political parties.

A source within APC told The Guardian that the move is not unconnected with the recent threat to extradite the sitting senator to the United States over drug related allegations. “The condition given him by the presidency is to either join the party or get extradited. If he accepts the offer, what is expected of him is to mobilise support for whoever is going to be presented by Amosun to win the seat. He was used in 2011 by Tinubu and others to put PDP/Daniel administration in disarray and he succeeded, which paved way for the APC, now he is expected to also assist Amosun, but if he fails, his case may be re-opened,” the source said.

The advantage Yayi will be having over the governor’s camp, according an elder statesman, is not only his support-base and resources, but because the masses are tired of Amosun’s administration, which he claimed has further ‘impoverished the people’.

A former legislator, who is close to Osoba, confided in The Guardian that all the nine national lawmakers, allegedly ousted by Amosun from the platform of APC in 2015 general elections, are already in Yayi’s camp, likewise a larger chunk of those who followed Osoba to SDP.

This situation, if not checked, will not only further divide the party, but might give opposition parties-PDP, Labour Party (LP), SDP, Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the opportunity to play big. If this happens, according to an APC chieftain in Yewa area, the zone will be at a losing end, as 2019 appears to be the best chance for them to break the jinx.

The Guardian authoritatively gathered that the other faction are already weighing the option of decamping to another party, possibly LP, to actualise their dream, as the level of intolerance is growing by the day. This was confirmed by LP chairman, Arabambi Abayomi, who told The Guardian that one of the aspirants is already in talk with them.

The Guardian learnt that LP is really gathering momentum and is likely to reap from the shortcomings of the ruling party, if they fail to put their house in order on time.

Former governor, Daniel, who is said to have one leg in PDP remains a major backer of the party and might use his wealth of political experience to ensure that the party gets support to win the number one seat.

All eyes seem to be on GNI, Daniel’s boy, who is also from Yewa, the same zone with Yayi. The division in the ruling party, coupled with the planned defection of Yayi and his followers, might be an advantage for LP, to unseat APC.

The LP chairman, Abayomi, said the party’s preparation transcends political guild, as it is the only party in the state tackling the sitting government on the state of economy. He noted that Ogun has been turned to a failed state by the Amosun-led administration with a debt profile of N293b that will last for 45 years.

“PDP is in disarray and even APC is divided. We are the only masses-friendly party. GNI is very much with us, Adebutu is in talk with us, Yayi is in talk with us, even Akinlade. Let me tell you, Yayi may not be able to use the APC platform to actualise his political aspiration because he cannot fight the incumbent and both factions might even lose. Our party is not just one party; our people are behind us, because we are speaking the truth.

The PDP, with its present predicament, doesn’t have the capacity to create any threat, as the current problem facing the party at the national level with two factional leaders, is having negative effect on the party at the state level. The likes of former Speaker, House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, member representing Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North constituency, Oladipupo Adebutu and Buruji, among others, who they rely on have been looking elsewhere, where they hope to make impact.

For instance, Adebutu may be heading to LP to actualise his dream, like Isiaka. According to reports, Bankole is yet to pitch his tent with any party, as he is still studying the political terrain.

The UPN and SDP are still quiet on their moves, though UPN has been vocal in recent past on other matters.



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