Posted by News Express | 2 July 2018 | 1,127 times
As the 2019 general election draws near, permutations, calculations and realignments become the order of the day: friends are turning foes, just as many foes are sheathing their swords and embracing instantaneous friendship. That's how our politics is in this part of the world - there is never a permanent friend, neither do you find a rigid enmity - what remains sacrosanct is interest.
Just like every two-term governor in Nigeria, the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, FCA, CON, is also interested in who succeeds him. Having upped the ante of governance with the re-awakening of a dying state with massive infrastructural development, Amosun has made Ogun State first choice destination of most of Nigeria's foreign direct investment (FDI). He has created an enabling peaceful coexistence and political stability within the hitherto politically volatile state.
It is a popular saying that we do not expect to do same thing, same way and expect a different result. This is aptly why Governor Amosun is yet to unveil his anointed candidate, as this was one of the grave mistakes his immediate predecessor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, made in his choice of a successor in 2011. It would be recalled that OGD, as Daniel is widely called, anointed his then close ally and former MD of Gateway Holdings, Mr Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, to be his successor. But his ill-calculated early endorsement caused serious animosity within is party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that eventually culminated into the defeat of Daniel's candidate who, eventually couldn’t get the PDP ticket (Gen Tunji Olurin (retd), an ally of former President Olusegun Obasanjo got the PDP ticket), but went on to use PPN. In a nutshell, PDP, PPN, Daniel's choice Isiaka and Olurin, all lost. And that was how Senator Amosun became the fourth executive governor of the Gateway State.
Although Amosun hasn’t presented anybody as his anointed candidate, but he has repeatedly emphasised that his support will be for the Yewa-Awori people of Ogun West; a senatorial district in Ogun state that's yet to produce governor. But the time is now, further delay is dangerous! The governor must anoint who he is supporting now. Thank God, he has promised after Ramadan, so that fence-mending can commence in earnest and all the ground work will kick-start immediately.
For not producing governor in the last 42 years, many see Ogun West as less of the other two districts in Ogun State, yet the zone is home to the state’s biggest industrial estate, situated in the highly industrialised local government area, Ado-Odo/Ota. Yewa-south, Yewa-north, Ipokia and Imeko Afon are the remaining local government areas that make up Ogun West.
For Amosun to succeed where OGD failed as regards ensuring an Ogun West man becoming governor in 2019, I think an unusual succession plan is the masterstroke that can be deployed. Looking at the electoral value of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is the governor's party, one can say the stakes are high. Yes, they are high, as there is no formidable and co-ordinated opposition in the state. Like a friend once said, the opposition parties are too scattered. But beyond political parties, three oppositions the governor must be aware of are: the seeming disunity in Ogun West, where he is to pick his party's candidate; the well co-ordinated, well funded and articulately projected “Ijebu Agenda” and, the last, the “see no good in an outgoing governor” syndrome of our people. Of the three non-partisan opposition factors, the strongest is the “Ijebu Agenda”, followed by the seeming disunity of the Yewa-Awori. Alas, there is always a way out for an enigmatic political heavyweight like Senator Amosun, who has won elections in very scary, unfavourable and unbelievable circumstances. His 2019 project, if well played, won't be an exception.
In 2011, as the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Amosun, a politician with good exposure - having served in the National Assembly and with a cult followership within Ogun Central - was able to defeat a greenhorn in person of GNI, as Isiaka is fondly called. For Amosun to have his successor in 2019 win the election, a man with good political exposure, track records in public service who is tested, trusted and very popular within the Ogun West Senatorial District with massive followership should be considered from among the aspirants. Anything short of a man with a household name and verifiable achievements to the betterment of the people of Ogun West will spell doom for the APC across the zone in 2019. If the APC has a good candidate, as described above, such a person will dwarf GNI’s new party, the African Democratic Congress (ADC), leaving the candidate to a distant third. Conveniently, such APC candidate will amass to himself close to 80 per cent of the Ogun West votes, considering the electoral value of the APC. It is also worthy of note that such a candidate must have goodpolitical base in Ado-Odo/Ota, Ipokia, Yewa-south and Yewa-north, given the density of voters in those local government areas.
In Ogun Central, APC, despite the many of achievements of Amosun, might only get about 45 per cent of the district's votes. But, if Amosun can have his name on posters and the ballot as a candidate seeking votes for himself and not just endorsing a candidate, the Egba nation will surely compensate him and his party with more votes. The permutations here are simple. Every human has the spirit of insatiability as Oliver Twist tendencies are innate. With the orchestration going on in Ijebu, a strong deputy governorship from Egba for the Ijebu agenda will be parasitic to the bloc votes of Ogun Central, without forgetting that a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole, is still very ambitious. The antidote to this is simple: Amosun must grudgingly, please, kindly seek return to the Senate, so the APC can secure nothing less than 70 per cent of votes in Ogun Central.
How many votes can APC get in Ogun East, with an exposed Ogun West man as its gubernatorial candidate - with a good senatorial candidate in Ogun East and great grassroots politicians flying the House of Representatives and House of Assembly tickets, despite the ongoing Ijebu guber project? It will not be less than 30 per cent. And with all these, a jinx would have been broken and one name would have been etched in the book of history: that name is Ibikunle Oluwatoyin Ikhleel Amosun, Ajiri omo Oye himself.
One big lesson Amosun must learn is that it is only divine to make someone a governor and get his 100 per centloyalty. And within the political clime here, the few men that have enjoyed that include national leader of the APC, fondly called Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the incumbent Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki. The duo can't even boast they have it all rosy. One would be caught dazed that a friendship of decades between Kano State Governor, Alhaji Umar Ganduje and his predecessor, Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso, could be axed; or, who knew a greenhorn in person of Chief Willie Obiano could call the bluff of his predecessor and benefactor, Mr Peter Obi in Anambra politics. Governor Amosun, sir, you are close to making history, kindly do this and see how God will reward you.
•Omooba Oloyede, a media practitioner and public affairs analyst, wrote from Ado-Odo/Ota Local government, Ogun State, via omoobadare@yahoo.
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