By Omoniyi Salaudeen
the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, must be ruing the ugly incident that marred the presidential rally of the All Progressives Congress (APC) held at the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta. The trigger was the attempt by the National Chairman, Adam Oshiomhole, to introduce the governorship candidate of the party, Prince Dapo Abiodun, for the audience recognition. Hardly had he finished his introduction when some hoodlums rudely interrupted his address with the shout of ole, ole, ole (thief, thief, thief), pelting him with stones and water sachets. The security operatives had to swiftly form a ring round President Muhammadu Buhari, the candidate of the party, to shield him from the rampaging political thugs.
Doubtless, it will take a while for Amosun, the host governor, who had been mouthing support for the president’s re-election bid, to overcome the psychological trauma of the bad outing and the avoidable embarrassment it caused to the party supporters and other dignitaries. Though he made frantic effort to restore normalcy, the frenetic energy with which he appealed for calm looked rather more alarming than assuring. Speaking in Yoruba, he said: “I beg you in the name of God… this is what they want to happen… Please don’t disgrace me here.
“Our father is here, please don’t disgrace me. I beg you in the name of God, please don’t disgrace me before our father… We have laboured this hard. I am appealing to you. Please, leave. I beg you in the name of God, please leave. I beg you. I am begging.”
Regrettably, all his pleas fell on deaf ears. And understandably so because the disruption was the backlash of the deep animosity arising from direct governorship primary that produced Abiodun as against his (Amosun’s) anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, a serving member of the House of Representatives. While the controversy lasted, the governor had accused the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) and some APC leaders, including Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of working against the interest of the state through the emergence of Abiodun, a development that compelled Akinlade and his supporters to abandon APC to join the Allied People’s Movement (APM) to actualize his governorship dream. Since then, Amosun has been caught in the delicate balance between his desire to go to the Senate on the platform of the APC on one hand, and the promised support for President Buhari’s second term bid, on the other hand, with no less commitment to Akinlade’s governorship ambition.
The result was the multi-party rally that ended up in fiasco. As the Coordinator of President Buhari Campaign Council and Chief Security Officer of the State, Governor Amosun had the responsibility to organize a violent-free rally. But unfortunately, he failed to act his role, looking the other way while the APM supporters thronged the MKO Stadium.
From available reports, Segun Osoba-led faction had raised the alarm about the alleged plot by some aggrieved members of the APM to cause mayhem during the rally. A statement signed by the state Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, reads in part: “It has become necessary to alert the general public, especially the security agencies, that the members of the Allied People’s Movement, being sponsored by the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, are planning to disrupt and cause mayhem and bloodshed at the presidential rally slated for the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, tomorrow Monday.
“Intelligent reports at our disposal reveal that leaders of the surrogate party have been circulating messages to their member to attend the APC presidential rally in specific uniforms and campaign materials in such a way that they will be identified and saved from the attacks that will be unleased on the APC members as soon as the flag is presented to the APC candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun.”
Ordinarily, this was enough to prompt intelligence gathering that could help the security operatives to forestall the ugly situation. But nobody did. And so the hoodlums had a field day. Expectedly, APC has vowed to deal with Amosun for the disgraceful outing. What form of disciplinary action it would take is yet to be determined.
Senator Amosun, a fellow of the chartered Institute of Accountant (FCA), began his full-time political career in 2003 when he was elected to represent Ogun Central Senatorial District on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). SIA, as he is fondly called, has been in the saddle as elected governor of the state since May 29, 2011. He was elected on the platform of the ACN, which later metamorphosed into APC. His second term will end on May 29. Since his days in the ANPP, he has remained a close political ally of President Buhari. The outcome of this election in Ogun State will decide whether he is genuinely for or against Buhari.