The Ogun 2019 succession drama

Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun

THE political drama that is unfolding in Ogun State leaves no one in doubt that the 2019 elections, especially the governorship are going to be keenly contested.

Though the contest is about one and half years away, political intrigues, scheming and strategies started over two years ago. Presently, 19 contestants have lined up for the hilly Isale-Igbein, Abeokuta Government House.

Two governorship candidates have been endorsed by groups in their constituencies as consensus candidates.

A serving commissioner, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru was on Wednesday, November 15 endorsed by “Ijebu/ Remo Governorship Agenda Forum.”

Among those the Forum said they screened before endorsing Ashiru were another serving commissioner, Hon. Muyiwa Oladipo, Senator Gbenga Kaka, a former Deputy Governor, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora and former Deputy Governor, Prince Segun Adesegun.

Just a week later, Senator Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, popularly known as Yayi was endorsed by Ogun West Consultative Forum at a ceremony in Ilaro. But Adeola’s endorsement has been trailed by controversies

Two of those allegedly screened together with him, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and Hon. Abiodun Akinlade by the panel have denied their participation in any screening exercise by any group.

Adeola now seems to be fighting what could probably be described as the toughest political battle of his life. He has spent all his political life in Lagos. In fact, he represented Lagos West at the State House of Assembly for two terms on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) before he contested and won on the same platform to the House of Representatives for another two terms. He is now representing the same Lagos West at the Upper Chamber.

His critics see this as enough reason to refer to him as non-indigene. Even though he insists he is an indigene of Ilaro, paramount city of Yewaland, an assertion that has been confirmed by some prominent indigenes of the area.

After Adeola’s endorsement, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun told Yewa leaders, who called on him at his Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta office that he would ensure that a “foreigner” does not succeed him.

He did not mention names, but discerning minds knew he was referring to Adeola.

It did not surprise keen observers of political development in the state, when Adeola issued a statement a couple of days later to indicate that all the Civilian Chief Executives who had administered the state since its inception in 1976, have had their roots in Lagos.

He mentioned past governors such as pioneer governor, Chief Olabisi Onabanjo, Chief Segun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Amosun himself, to support his assertion.

Amosun has made it public that for fairness and equity sake, he would give his full backing to a Yewa governorship candidate since no indigene of theirs has occupied the governorship seat before. It was same reason that former President, Olusegun Obasanjo is said to have also thrown his weight behind a Yewa candidate.

With this backing, the thinking was that the Yewas, for the first time would agree to anoint a consensus candidate.

But as it is now, all the six Yewa aspirants are insisting that they will go for the contest. This is history repeating itself.

For example, in 2011 governorship elections, despite efforts to persuade them to present a common candidate, they still went ahead to present Gboyega Nasir Isiaka on the platform of Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) and Gen. Tunji Olurin (rtd) on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Both of them lost to the incumbent Governor, Amosun.

It was a bitter lesson, which everybody thought the Yewas had learnt and will never repeat it.

But the drama unfolding indicates that they have learnt nothing.

First, it was Yewa leaders, who on Thursday, October 26 addressed a press conference where they charged that all their sons and daughters should cooperate to produce a common candidate.

Alhaji M.A. Olaboye who spoke on behalf of the group stated: “We are not unmindful of the fact that our irredentist enemies out there are already at work, sponsoring candidates meant to divide us.”

The leaders appealed to all political parties in the state to pick their gubernatorial candidates from Ogun West.

But a couple of weeks later, another Yewa group, the Ogun West Consultative Forum met at Ilaro and endorsed Adeola.

The President of the forum, Kayode Ajibola told journalists at a Press conference in Ilaro that Adeola was the most qualified out of the six Yewa aspirants, they had screened.

Those screened, he said were two-time governorship candidate, Gboyega Isiaka, the State’s House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi, Commissioner for Forestry, Kola Lawal, Chief of Staff to the governor, Chief Tolu Odebiyi and a former member, House of Representatives, Abiodun Akinlade.

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