OPINION

2023 Ogun Guber Race: Who Holds The Ace?

As the 2023 general elections beckon, political gladiators, regardless of affiliations, are not taking any chances, as they are oiling and perfecting their strategies with renewed horse-trading to break new grounds and consolidate old camps preparatory to the polls.

This is the season that has provided ample opportunities for the politicians, whether popular or unpopular aspirants, who have chosen under different platforms to go back to their constituents to rejig their campaign organisations and foot soldiers in a bid to outdo their opponents in the political contest of either acquiring or retaining power.

The Gateway State is interestingly warming up too, signalling the beginning of another season for aspirants to jostle for various elective political offices. Come to think of it, given the present political landscape where the present administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has raised the bar of governance, the All Progressives Congress (APC) holds sway and it remains a party to beat in the state.

Nevertheless, all is still not rosy within the state leadership of the party enmeshed in a supremacy battle over the control of the soul and structure of the party. The jostle is between a camp of the incumbent helmsman, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and that of a faction loyal to the immediate past governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

Undoubtedly, Governor Dapo Abiodun’s camp holds the ace, as it is the faction accepted and recognised by the Abuja APC national leadership to direct the affairs of the party under the leadership of Chief Yemi Sanusi.

The Amosun faction has stuck its head in the sand. It has blatantly refused to accept the emergence of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the governor despite the judicial resolution of governorship electoral squabbles, and interventions by various critical stakeholders and paramount rulers to reconcile them. The unsavoury development has inexorably dovetailed into acrimonious rivalry and aggravated the already-tensed disaffection brewing within the state leadership of the party.

On a large scale, the aggrieved Amosun faction is fast losing ground and relevance on account of the recently concluded congresses at the ward, local government and state levels. The backlash for the Amosun group is that candidates in Governor Dapo Abiodun’s camp clinched all the seats.

The rift in the leadership of the party has unfortunately provided political jobbers a leeway to cash in on the crack to sell a dummy to the aggrieved chieftains to either form a new party as they did sometime in late 2018 by floating the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) or dissolve into one of the existing parties in order to contest for the various political offices.

Curious enough, for many political watchers, the political fortune of Amosun preparatory to his re-election bid may be in jeopardy if care is not taken and unless he retraces his footstep, embraces peace and joins forces with his estranged friend, Prince Dapo Abiodun, who is the state leader of the party, to move the state forward.

Already, strong contenders are warming up to slug it out with Amosun at the Ogun Central in a deft move to unseat him at the polls. Prominent among them include the current Chief of Staff (CoS) to the Governor, Alhaji Shuaib Afolabi Salisu, Pastor Biodun Sanyaolu, Chief Remi Bakare and Senator Gbenga Obadara.

It is intriguing that the contention over the preferred governorship choice preparatory to the 2023 general elections is currently unsettling the Amosun camp, as the APM candidate in the March 9, 2019 gubernatorial poll, Honourable Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, is bickering over plot by his godfather to dump and replace him with the current Senator representing Ogun East District at the National Assembly, Lekan Mustapha, in a calculated attempt to slug it out squarely with the incumbent Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, in the 2023 elections.

To a large extent, the alignment and realignment of forces that have taken place within the APC family in the last one year are strong indicators to determine the political equation of where the pendulum will swing in the 2023 polls. Boot-licking and sycophancy which are the end-products of conspiracy have given way to the modicum of decorum among the bigwigs that have pitched tent with the ruling party in the state.

As to opposition from other parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for instance, which ought to be a strong opposition/contender, is torn apart by various litigations in courts and is already fragmented into two camps – late Senator Buruji Kashamu and Ladi Adebutu factions, without the centre holding.

With the recent release of the time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the permutation may not be the same in the state any longer, because of the giant strides the current APC-led administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has made within two years upon his assumption of office. The projects are evident in many parts of the three senatorial districts, and have changed the narratives for good. Any other contender no matter their clout or financial muscle would have a mountain to climb to make a new statement that would challenge what the incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun has already etched in gold in the hearts of the good people of Ogun State.

To a large extent, the alignment and realignment of forces that have taken place within the APC family in the last one year are strong indicators to determine the political equation of where the pendulum will swing in the 2023 polls. Boot-licking and sycophancy which are the end-products of conspiracy have given way to the modicum of decorum among the bigwigs that have pitched tent with the ruling party in the state.

As to opposition from other parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), for instance, which ought to be a strong opposition/contender, is torn apart by various litigations in courts and is already fragmented into two camps – late Senator Buruji Kashamu and Ladi Adebutu factions, without the centre holding.

With the recent release of the time-table by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the permutation may not be the same in the state any longer, because of the giant strides the current APC-led administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has made within two years upon his assumption of office. The projects are evident in many parts of the three senatorial districts, and have changed the narratives for good. Any other contender no matter their clout or financial muscle would have a mountain to climb to make a new statement that would challenge what the incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun has already etched in gold in the hearts of the good people of Ogun State.

The Dapo Abiodun administration has demystified the myth of distrust in governance and reinforced confidence and trust in the ability of the government to touch the lives of the people of the state with welfarist programmes and projects anchored on five developmental pillars, with the acronym ISEYA (Infrastructure, Social Well-being and Welfare, Education, Youth Empowerment and Job Creation and Agriculture).

Governor Abiodun has cast a brand image for himself as a promise-keeping governor whose landmark achievements in different economic-driven sectors have propelled rapid growth and development of the state in the last 31 months of his stewardship. On its way to power in 2019, the administration promised to make life better for the people of the state, revamp the economy, enhance the political space and widen the frontiers of trade and investment.

Interestingly, the political base of the governor is waxing stronger in leaps and bounds by the day. Notable stalwarts with strong clouts in the camp of the governor include an erstwhile Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, Chief (Mrs) Iyabo Malthida Apampa, Senator Olamilekan Adeola (aka Yayi), Chief Waliu Taiwo, Right Honourable Dimeji Bankole, Senator Akin Odunsi, Right Honourable Suraj Adekunbi, Alhaji Tajudeen Bello, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Barrister Biyi Otegbeye, Chief Bode Mustapha, Chief Mufutau Ajibola, Alhaja Salmot Badru, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (aka GNI), Apostle Dave Salako, High Chief Ibukun Ojosipe, Mr Tunji Akinosi, Otunba Funmi Aina, Right Honourable (Mrs) Titi Oseni, Mr Bukola Olopade (aka Ozogbula), and Honourable Kayode Oladele.

Others are: Chief Joju Fadairo, Jagunmolu Jamiu Omoniyi, Chief Anthony Ojeshina, Chief (Dr) Femi Majekodunmi, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Barrister Habeeb Ajayi, Dr Kunle Isiaq Salako, Dr Remilekun Bakare, Alhaji Bakai Ajao Okedara, Chief Foun Abiola, Comrade Tunde Oladunjoye, Honourable Tayo Adekoya, Pastor Kolade Segun-Okeowo, ACP Lamidi Odulana (rtd), Right Honourable Tunji Egbetokun, Honourable Biyi Adeleye, Honourable Adijat Adeleye, Mr Deji Kalejaiye, Mr Ifekayode Akinbode, Mrs Peju Sote, Mrs Funmi Efuape, Mr Afolabi Afuwape, Mr Kunle Otun, Honourable Babatunde Olaotan, Honourable Kunle Adeshina, Engineer Fatai Bodunrin, Chief Dele Odulaja, and a host of others. All of these worthy sons and daughters of the Gateway State have thrown their weight behind the re-election bid of the Iperu-Remo born politician, Prince Dapo Abiodun.

Any secret alliance or gang-up against the candidacy of Prince Dapo Abiodun in the 2023 gubernatorial election under any guise is destined to hit the brick wall. Governor Dapo Abiodun is the toast of the Ogun political firmament. He has deservedly been receiving a pat on the back for the giant strides he has made within a short period of two years in office. He has initiated and executed some laudable projects and programmes with prudent management of state’s resources.

Coming on board is the recent light-up project stretching from Abeokuta to the Sagamu Interchange, while others are Kobape Housing Estate, renovated June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, King’s Court Housing project, Ijebu-Ode/Epe road, 42-kilometre Abeokuta/Isiun/Sagamu road, Gateway City Gate, Sagamu, among other lofty projects that the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari is billed to commission soon.

Adejobi Adewunmi writes from Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital

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