Posted by Peter Moses, Abeokuta | 24 February 2019 | 785 times
The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) have been flexing political muscles in Ogun State. The battle of supremacy between both parties, it was said, resulted in crisis during the recent presidential rally in the state, where hoodlums hurled missiles at party chieftains, a development that forced the event to end abruptly. The APM was formed following internal wrangling in the APC.
In Ogun State, there has been a battle of supremacy between Governor Ibikunle Amosun and former Governor Olusegun Osoba, over who would occupy the Government House after the 2019 general elections.
An oil magnate and Amosun’s longtime ally, Dapo Abiodun, had won the ticket of the APC against his preferred candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, amidst high-level political scheming and power play by some forces within and outside the state.
As a result of this, the governor reportedly vowed to work against Abiodun in the APC, but would ensure that Akinlade, who now holds the APM ticket, succeeds him.
For about four months after the APC primaries, the two camps have been locked in a cat and mouse relationship, fiercely engaging each other in the media. Despite being members of the APC, they carried out their campaigns independently.
The disagreement between the two political blocs highly manifested during the recent presidential campaign rally of the APC at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, where they attempted to outshine each other. As a result, suspected thugs threw dangerous objects at the presidential candidate of the party, Muhammadu Buhari and other chieftains.
Insiders told Daily Trust that Abiodun banks on the structure of the ruling party across the state, as well as external forces, including the Lagos political bloc, to win the election. It is believed that as an oil magnate, he equally has the financial muscle to battle the incumbent governor, who is believed to be bankrolling APM campaigns.
But some observers believe that what Abiodun cannot get from Amosun, Osoba’s political structure would provide. Osoba’s faction controls the Caretaker Committee of the party in the state, and has been running the affairs of the party, weeks after the party primaries.
Findings revealed that the immediate past chief of staff to Amosun, Tolu Odebiyi, had joined Abiodun’s camp before his resignation two weeks ago. Also, a former Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Afolabi Afuape, resigned to pick a state House of Assembly ticket for Abeokuta South I constituency. However, the agitation for power shift to Ogun West, against Ogun East where the APC candidate hails from, may hamper his chances at the poll.
More so, keen political watchers argue that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for the ruling APC to win Ogun Central, which has become the battleground, without Amosun’s support.
For the governorship candidate of the APM, Akinlade, his lifeline is Governor Amosun. The governor picked him using the instrumentality of the Ogun West Elders Forum, which nominated him out of many aspirants. The fact that Akinlade hails from Ogun West, a region that has not produced governor since 1976 when the state was created, is the party’s selling point. However, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Party (ADC), Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, another formidable candidate and a veteran in the race, equally hails from the region. GNI, as he is popularly called, is also flying the kite of power shift to Ogun West.
The APM candidate, who current represents Egbado South/Ipokia federal constituency, belongs to the young generation of politicians. This, analysts say, may earn him more votes among the youth, who have the largest voting power.
Also, owing to Amosun’s influence, Triple A, as he is popularly called by his admirers, may win more votes in Ogun Central, the region that would largely decide who wins the governorship poll.
However, top monarchs from Ogun West, as well as socio-political organisations in Yewa-Awori, have openly identified with the ADC candidate, a development that may have depleted the APM candidate’s home-based strength.
But Akinlade believes that in an atmosphere of peaceful and credible election, he would emerge governor.
“We are on ground and we have always been with the people. They know us. What we are just asking is for a peaceful election and we will win. We have told our people to remain calm and resolute. We will vote and our votes will count. We will not be involved in violence and we will not encourage it. Buhari is the president of the country and our party has adopted him. I think I reserve the right to meet him and reassure him that we believe in him,’’ Akinlade said.
•Excerpted from a Daily Trust report
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