After much bickering and several failed attempts to seize control of the structure of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State, former governor Ibikunle Amosun has joined the race for the 2023 presidential election. He is now among the galaxy of gladiators who are haggling to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari on completion of his tenure on May 29, 2023. By his declaration of intent to pick the presidential ticket of the party in the coming primary, he has undoubtedly reached the nadir of his political career.
From being a senator on the platform of the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) to an eight-year reign as a governor, to a serving Senator, and now with the eyes on the presidency, his insatiable quest for power has run a complete circle.
Before the final round out of his tortuous political journey, he had made several clandestine efforts to wrest power, and supplant the governor (Prince Dapo Abiodun) with his protégé, but he failed. Yet, he won’t just let go. Instead, he wants to make the state ungovernable, while pretending to be playing national politics.
Reading the balance of political equations in the state, he has suddenly realised that he could no longer face the electorate for another senatorial election. So, the only way to save his face is to take a dive into national politics, and at the same time fueling the rage of disaffection within the ruling APC in his home state. It is only a question of time before his evil plots to bring the governor down crashes with a resounding thud.
Of course, making advancement into national politics is the normal trend of politicking in this clime, but his vaulting ambition to lead the country only reminds one of a popular aphorism that says, “no one can rise above the circumstance of his emergence.” Take it or leave it, Amosun is one of the beneficiaries of Tinubu’s political wizardry. Without his foresightedness, doggedness and shrewd political maneuvering which had helped to nurture and sustain the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) which metamorphosed into APC as a dominant progressive force in the Southwest nay Nigeria, He could not have actualised his ambition to be governor in the first instance.
But by joining the intense jostle for the presidential ticket of the APC, he has wittingly resolved to confront the power that brought him to the limelight as the governor of Ogun State for eight years. And by so doing, he has chosen to be on the wrong side of history, and nothing on this earth planet can absolve him from most severe judgement for being one of those lots who are responsible for the fragmentation of the dominant progressive forces of the Southwest and its consequential effects on the future politics of the Yoruba. But he carried his vaulting ambition to a mockery and intolerable level by this decision to confront Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, who provided him with the ACN platform through which he ascended the position of governor in 2011 having failed to actualize the ambition with the ANPP’s ticket.
While eulogizing Tinubu for his doggedness in entrenching progressive politics in the Southwest in a booked titled Asiwaju: Leadership in Troubled Times edited by Tunji Bello, Sam Omatseye and Segun Ayobolu, he had this to say in his feeble tribute: “A strong fighter who one should wish to have as a friend and ally than as a political opponent, Tinubu, the last man standing, survived the PDP onslaught in the2003 elections. He moved on to ensure that subsequently, Lagos not only remained solid for the progressive ACN, but that the party extended its tentacles to Edo, Ekiti, and Osun states. Today, with me in the saddle in Ogun State and my brother, Senator Abiola Ajimobi at the helms of affairs in Oyo State and we are still counting…
“Tinubu can often identify talent from a thousand miles. And that attribute has helped in making him a successful politician. He supports himself with talents, experienced and budding ones. One can identify this in the calibre of men and women who are today sponsored into office by our political party, ACN, where he is a national leader. Look at the pedigree of those of us who are governors, Senators and Representatives et cetera.”
Rhetoric! More intriguingly, that acknowledged national leader of the APC is his number one political opponent who must be fought to submission. What a betrayal? To be sure, he is not alone in this lust for power. There are other willing tools among those Tinubu helped to bring to the limelight who are working in concert to feather their own nests. They do not care a hoot about how to sustain the Southwest as an impregnable fortress for the reactionary forces who are masquerading as progressives?
Rather than rallying forces behind the national figure who has the capacity to stave off the looming threat of Hausa/Fulani dominance, he, and some of his ilks are doing it all alone, threatening the fabric of the progressive camp for no other reasons than their disdain for the power and influence of Tinubu, a man who toiled with resources of money, time and energy to form the APC in collaboration with other political groupings to defeat the PDP. Is there no limit to human treachery? Is there no more loyalty in the nation’s political lexicon? Granted that it is the right of everyone to aspire to the highest political office in the land, yet no man of good conscience will stand face-to-face with his benefactor to battle for the same position whatever the office is worth. But as a form of betrayal, he is all out to take on the national leader of his party.
The same reason he wants to make Ogun State ungovernable. By stopping at nothing, he is here again leading an insurrection against Governor Abiodun. Charity, they say, begins at home. Yes, indeed. Today, nothing happens in Ogun State without his imprimatur. He is the main character in the movie of politics in the State. Every crisis in the APC has his imprint. Now, having been drubbed at home by the superior clout of Prince Dapo Abiodun, and also having been overwhelmed by the heat turned against him by genuine admirers of the governor for all his dirty plots to make the state ungovernable, he has shifted the battleground to the centre.
Every true born indigene of Ogun State understands the underbelly of his political scheming. Interestingly, much as they try to fuel the ongoing campaign of calumny against Governor Abiodun to forestall his re-election bid, so the people’s support for his leadership continues to swell in leap and bound by the day.
This past week, the governor answered the clarion call on him to continue the giant stride he has made since his assumption of office, as he made a formal declaration of his intention to seek for re-election in 2023 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). While making the declaration at the Executive Council Chambers of his office at Oke-Mosan Abeokuta, when he received the nomination form bought for him by his kinsmen and women under the aegis of the DA Mandate 2023, he said he remained undaunted and resolutely determined to achieve more for the state. He also announced the re-nomination of his deputy, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele as his running mate.
The governor, who expressed surprise at the gesture, recounted the many trials he and his team had passed through in the quest to lead the State.
His words: “This gesture touches my bone. It is like a balm that sooth all the pain that we suffered in the course of our campaigns. I am happy particularly that this is coming from my home base.
“Today is a significant day in my life and because of this gesture, I am officially declaring my intention to run for the second term and in the same vein, I am declaring my deputy as my running mate. You are investing in an administration and I want to assure you that you will not regret, as the only way I can reward you is by more superlative performance.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Matters and leader of the group, Biyi Adeleye, on his own part, said the performance of the governor and the desire to see him complete his good works, led to the purchase of the form.
He explained that members of his group were from the three Local Government Areas of Sagamu, Ikenne and Remo North that make up the Remo Zone. “We taxed ourselves to raise the fund for the form as a result of the confidence we have in the capacity of our brother and boss, Prince Dapo Abiodun, to lead the State to greater heights”, he added.
The governor’s desire for a second term further received a boast when political leaders and business men from Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State recently presented a cheque of N50 million to assist in his campaign expenses.
Presenting the cheque on behalf of the group, Otunba Akeem Adigun said the gesture was born out of love the people of the district had for the governor. He particularly commended the brilliant way Governor Abiodun had conceived of developmental projects spread across different zones of the state.
“We had planned to buy you the nomination form as part of our contribution to your re-election process, but our brothers from Remo beat us to it. Nevertheless, we are presenting this N50 million cheque to help you take care of your campaign expenses”, Adigun stated.
Also weighing in, a former deputy governor in the state, Alhaja Salimot Badru, lauded the governor for treating all sections of the state equally in the area of project execution, adding that the district was happy that the governor had once again chosen one of its own as his running mate.
All these are a clear indication that the good people of Ogun State are very well at home with Governor Abiodun, the more reason his popularity and acceptance as a visionary leader continues to swirl by the day. It further bears an eloquent testimony to that fact that Amosun and his evil promoter of imaginary disaffection among the populace are absolutely on the own. With the unsolicited gestures, the people have spoken in an unmistakable terms that are satisfied with the performance of the administration, hoping to benefit more in its second tenure.
For the state workers in particular, the battle cry remains ‘never again will the state fall into the abyss of the immediate past eight-year reign of terror of former governor Amosun, when deductions were made from salaries but never paid into their coffers, when retirees and pensioners were owed several arrears of their gratuities and entitlements without hope of a reprieve. Today, it is gratifying to note that Governor Abiodun has cleared all the mess and restored the dignity of labour.
Even the students are lost out of the ecstasy occasioned by the benevolence of the present administration. Earlier in his plot to distort the peace in the state, the sponsor of the petition that recently went viral had made spirited effort to recruit students as willing tools for the campaign of calumny against the governor, but it all fell like a pack of cards.
Already, genuine members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS) have both disowned a student group calling for the disqualification of Governor Abiodun from participating in the governorship primary of the APC.
While condemning a group which identified itself as Coalition of Ogun State Students and Youths (COSSY) which is linked with the petition, the two unions collectively described COSSY as a “faceless group” which has no affiliation with any recognised student organisations in the state.”
In a statement jointly signed by the Ogun State Chairman of NANS, Damilola Simeon Kehinde and the National President of NAOSS, Oluwagbemileke Ogunrombi, they threatened to sue the coalition for alleged impersonation.
The reality is that support of the good people of Ogun State for the re-election of Governor Abiodun has reached a flood tide and anything on it way can only come down before its overwhelming powers. “A word, they say, is enough for the wise.”
Ogbonnikan wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State.