As Ogun APC swims in muddy waters

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Bola Tinubu

In this piece, SAMUEL AWOYINFA, writes on the
various intrigues that may shape moves by the
Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives
Congress
to produce Governor Ibukunle Amosun’s
successor in 2019
When the national leader of the All Progressives
Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and some other
leaders of the party visited the former governor of
Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, in his Ikoyi,
Lagos home, on Sunday April 3, 2016, not many
knew that it was a sort of political calculation
toward the 2019 governorship election in Ogun
State.
Shortly before the 2015 general elections, Osoba
had dumped the APC and founded another party,
the Social Democratic Party.
The prelude to this could be traced to a split in the
Ogun State chapter of the APC.

A faction of the party then had Governor Ibikunle
Amosun and his supporters, while the second
faction was led by Osoba.
Some of the sympathisers of Osoba then accused
Amosun of running a one-man government. They
alleged that their principal, Osoba, was sidelined in
the scheme of things. They said that members
who worked for the enthronement of the party in
2011 were not taken care of by the governor.
These politicians also argued that some sections of
the state were more favoured in appointive
positions than others.
One of the party supporters and a former deputy
governor in the state, Chief Adegbenga Kaka, had
painted the grouse of Osoba’s camp against
Amosun thus, “While some of the local government
areas then were having two or three
commissioners in the state executive council,
some did not have one.”
But Amosun’s supporters believed that the
governor had not done anything wrong. According
to them, Amosun has not overreached his brief.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state,
Sola Lawal, had risen stoutly in defence of the
appointments. He had said that “merit and
qualifications were considered in the appointments
and definitely it is not possible to appoint all those
who worked for the party during the 2011
elections.”
The face-off between Amosun and Osoba dragged
on till the March 2015 general elections. Osoba
pulled out of the APC with his team of supporters
to the SDP, while Amosun and his men remained
in the APC.
Amosun, however, won his re-election for a
second term against the SDP’s candidate and that
of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Many of the APC’s candidates also won the state’s
and National Assembly’s seats.
The SDP did not have any good showing in the
general elections, as none of its candidates won
any elective positions at both levels.
Though the return of Osoba was well publicised,
has that rapprochement move settled the problems
of division in the party in Ogun State?
Only the players themselves could answer this
question. Observers of unfolding events have
concluded that though Osoba is back in the APC,
the gulf between him and the governor still
subsists.
But some others have equally replied those
nursing such a thought as existing only in their
imagination and that there is no division of any
kind or camps in the party.
Many people have said that the rapprochement
may not be sustained till the 2019 general
elections. They argued that the Yewa factor or
what is called the Ogun West factor may come to
play.
The Yewa/Awori section of Ogun State has not had
any of their people elected as governor since the
state was created on February 3, 1976.
Both camps had realised this, but would they reach
a common stand on a single candidacy?
However, many names have started appearing on
the horizon, which are bandied about by their
supporters.
Some say the governor has started looking at
some names as his possible successors, while the
Osoba camp too has its own candidates.
Again, some political watchers in the state had
discountenanced this, saying the party would
produce an acceptable and credible candidate
through the primary.
However, names that have started appearing as
possible governor’s successor include the current
Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Suraj
Adekunbi; the current Chairman of Local
Government Service Commission in the state,
Rotimi Rahmon; the current Commissioners for
Forestry and Agriculture, Kolawole Lawal; the
current Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial
District, Gbolahan Dada; and Mrs. Kemi Shokefun.
Amosun is believed to be considering many
options and not putting all his eggs in one basket.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that he might even
be looking to get his successor from Ogun-East
Senatorial District. The choices still being toyed
with are the current Commissioner for Commerce
and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Senator Lekan
Mustapha and even the governorship candidate of
the Unity Party of Nigeria in the 2015 governorship
election, Prince Rotimi Paseda.
However, topmost on Osoba’s list is Olamilekan
Adeola, popularly known as Yayi. Yayi is currently
representing Lagos-West Senatorial District. He
had wanted to contest in the Ogun West Senatorial
District during t2015 general elections, but
Amosun’s camp had the upper hand.
Some still see this as being in the realm of
conjectures, as it is rather too early to start such
political permutations, as party supremacy may
play up when the time comes.
However, the state publicity secretary of the party,
Sola Lawal, has said contrary to insinuations or
belief that the APC in the state is polarised into two
camps, the party is one indivisible entity.
Lawal said, “The APC in Ogun State remains intact
such that there are no camps or factions.
“Any thinking about camps or factions only exists
in the imagination of the thinker. As far as the APC
is concerned, we accommodate all views.”
Talking about names being thrown up as possible
successors to the governor and that of Senator
Adeola on the other hand, Lawal said the more the
merrier for the party.
He noted that there are over 20 aspirants for the
APC governorship seat in Ondo State and only one
would finally emerge as the candidate, describing
the development as the beauty of democracy.
Lawal said, “The APC is popular and
accommodates all political thinking and diverse
opinions. When it comes to aspirations, there is
usually multiplicity of interests; the party will
accommodate as many aspirants as possible.
“For example in Ondo APC, over 20 aspirants are
vying for the governorship ticket, and at the end of
the day, only one candidate will emerge.
“So, there could be 20 or 30 aspirants for 2019
governorship slot in Ogun State; they will all be
welcomed.”
A foundation member of the APC and an opinion
leader in the state, who pleaded anonymity, said it
was too early to begin to talk about 2019 general
elections.
He said that the National Executive Council of the
party had yet to convene national congress.
This party leader however argued that it is
expected that every incumbent governor may have
an “anointed” person, but that party supremacy
should also be considered.
He, however, added that so far, the incumbent had
yet to anoint any candidate.
He said, “There are different permutations on
ground. While it is true that there is party
supremacy; governors will normally have their
anointed candidates. But it is better for the party to
allow all aspirants for the governorship ticket in the
state to go for the primary.”
Meanwhile, both camps are not leaving things to
chances, as they have continued to oil their
political machinery.
The governor is said to have the ears of President
Muhammadu Buhari, having been instrumental to
the appointments of some ministers from the
South-West, most especially the Minister of
Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The President and the governor were said to have
a relationship that dates back to their days as
members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party.
Both parties are said to be mustering all their
political influences in getting the upper hand.
As Sola Lawal said, do we agree there are no two
camps but one fold in Ogun APC? Or if at all the
two camps exist, would they resolve their
differences and come together before the 2019
general elections?

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