Ogun 2019, a battle from three possible fronts
Yewa elders meet Amosun lament backward development in Ogun West
The struggle to produce the successor of Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, in 2019 is not taking the back burner among other crucial issues that need attention in the state.
Although the governorship election is still about two years away, in the characteristic manner of politics in Nigeria, preparations for presidential and governorship elections have commenced in the state.
From critical observations of political movements, body languages of politicians and government policies, the game to ensure who gets what in 2019 is on.
While the stakeholders in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which lost power to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2011 governorship elections, due to irreconcilable internal crisis are strategising to reclaim the state in 2019, the ruling party is battling to avoid implosion that may likely characterize its preparation for Amosun’s successor.
As the two major parties get set to face each other and at the same time work out modalities to address their internal challenges, the elders of Yewa from Ogun West are not relenting on their long time agitation to have their turn on the premise that their zone remains the only one that is yet to savour power in the state.
Political pundits have therefore said that three critical issues may likely determine who becomes the governor in Ogun after the incumbent who will complete his two-term tenure in 2019.
The indigenes of Ogun West, popularly known as Yewa and Egbado will have to harmonise and agree on the best and most presentable person among their politicians on any of the two platforms, the APC and PDP in 2019, as “anything outside this may cause the zone its chances again, as it happened previously,” a stakeholder posited.
Secondly, there is the possibility that Amosun will face challenges with some forces in his party over the decision on who would succeed him.
It is obvious that his choice of a successor may not tally with the desire of some leaders of the party, particularly one of his predecessors, Chief Segun Osoba and the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. Both of them were alleged to be pushing for a particular candidate that is not in good terms with the governor.
The third factor is the ambition of Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, who currently represents Lagos West senatorial district on the platform of the APC but hails from Ogun West.
From The Guardian investigations, Adeola’s ambition is already creating confusion in Ogun West, Amosun’s cabinet as well as among some eminent personalities in the state.
This perhaps may be due to his enormous financial strength, and the likelihood of him getting the support of Tinubu and some other APC strongmen like the incumbent did during the 2011 and 2015 elections.
There are divergent opinions on the morality of someone who have exhausted his political will in Lagos now wanting to shift his governorship ambition to Ogun. Some argued that such move is not only immoral “but will not also portray the indigenes of Ogun, one of the most educated states in Nigeria, as being serious. When we get to that bridge we shall cross it.”
They boasted that should the APC and Ogun West agree to present “a political foreigner in 2019, then the governorship chances may slip Yewa people and the party. There is no crime in power moving from one party to another.”
Indeed there is bottled-up anger among some stakeholders from Egba and Ijebu, some observers claimed, insisting that mentioning Adeola’s ambition to govern Ogun alone evokes negative reaction particularly having represented Lagos on several elective capacities. Those opposed to it from Yewa described it as political aberration.
And for those that are not bothered by it, the Nigerian Constitution allows it and if the people of Ogun accept him, there is no crime in it.
According to them, “Adeola’s ambition to rule Ogun, if accepted and voted for may be the beginning of the turn around for the good in the state.”
A legal luminary and former National Secretary of the Labour Party, Dr. Kayode Ajulo said as far as the 1999 Constitution is concerned “Any Nigerian, irrespective of his state and whatever elective position he may have held in any part of the country is free to contest election anywhere in any part of Nigeria. The two positions anybody cannot hold for more than two terms of eight years are the presidency and governorship.”
However, a reliable source hinted The Guardian that there is disquiet among the traditional rulers and critical stakeholders in Yewa over who to support in 2019 that would not cost the zone the seat of power.
One major challenge Ogun West has faced in its previous attempts to get the governorship slot has been the lack of coherence and multiple ambitions of politicians from the zone for which the Central and East usually take advantage of.
Nonetheless, some of the leaders of Yewa who spoke with The Guardian anonymously confessed that Amosun’s self-will to determine who succeeds him and his aversion to Adeola’s ambition is nothing to overlook “if we really want to produce the next governor.”
While it is asserted that Adeola is making inroads into Ogun through strategic mobilisation of the grassroots people, other interested persons like the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; former governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who is allegedly suporting Mr. Gbenga Isiaka ambition; incumbent senator Buruji Kashamu, who represents Ogun East; Keshinton Adebutu; former Senator Akin Odunsi, among others are not resting on their oars.
However, a former civilian governor of Ogun, who pleaded not to be dragged into the Yewa’s ambition to produce the next governor, said Amosun has no right to determine who his successor will be “it is the people through their votes that will determine that. Not even the APC or the PDP but the electorate. That fact must be understood.”
He said Ogun West is due to have the governorship slot “as a matter of fact it is long overdue for the zone to produce the governor. The two senatorial districts, Central and East have had their turn.”
The former governor dismissed what he called ‘political brouhaha’ of Adeola as he advised other interested persons to go to the field and test their popularity instead of being cowed by the governor.
According to him, “The more you shout a particular individual name, the more you make him popular. The bottom-line is does he have the constitutional right to contest in Ogun despite having served in elective capacities in Lagos?”
In particular, he said the leaders of Yewa need to start their homework in earnest to ensure they get it this time around because no one can stop anybody from Central and East from contesting constitutionally.
Meanwhile, the Forum of Concerned Yewa Elders, one of the leading organisations in Ogun West has met with Amosun over critical issues affecting the zone especially growth-related matters.
It was not clear whether matters of who will succeed the governor were discussed but the elders expressed displeasure over the developmental gap between their zone and others in the state.
Beyond their quest to produce the next governor, which is believed to be one of the undertones of the meeting, the forum pleaded with the governor over the alleged long-standing neglect of Yewa.
Essentially, the group harped on the infrastructural decay in the roads once styled as ‘major roads’ in Yewa land and the supposed long-standing neglect of the zone as an important border region deserving equal attention with the other divisions of the state.
In a presentation signed by Prof. Biyi Afonja for and on behalf of the group, the forum lamented the issue of the confusion and uncertainty being created inadvertently by some government agencies over the collective identity of Yewa people through the use of Egbado instead of Yewa in government publications.
They said this was in retrospect to the 40th anniversary celebrations. Some issues also highlighted were the place of Yewa ‘paramountcy’ among the other three ‘paramountcy’ of Egba, Ijebu and Remo.
The group expressed displeasure over the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to visit the paramount ruler of Yewa land during the 40 anniversary celebrations of the state whereas others were acknowledged. They also complained about the delay in installing the paramount ruler of Yewa land as chairman of the Ogun State Traditional Council.
While the forum appreciates the government’s efforts to make life better for the people of Ogun state in spite of the nation-wide recession, it commended the recently announced plan to establish Ogun State Polytechnic in Ipokia.
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