Preparations and political activities in Ogun State, South-west geo-political zone, ahead of the 2019 general election, are becoming the more engaging and interesting as the country approaches the D-Day.
For those who have followed political developments in the state in the last few months, the major issue has been the propriety or otherwise of Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s bold support for a gubernatorial candidate of an opposition party.
It is no longer news that Governor Amosun is rooting for Adekunle Akinlade as his possible successor despite an avalanche of opposition from his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
During the APC gubernatorial primary, Amosun, being a sitting governor, favoured Akinlade as a successor and communicated same to his party, but some interest within the APC kicked against it, preferring Dapo Abiodun who hails from Iperu-Remo in Ogun East zone.
The real issue is the fact that the incumbent governor believes that for equity, justice and fair play, all the ethnic groupings in the state should be given the opportunity to exercise control of power.
Since the creation of Ogun State, Yewa-Awori people of Ogun West have not produced a governor for the first time, a situation that has bred rancour and feeling of marginalisation. So, the thinking is that Akinlade’s emergence would placate the people in that axis and also help to address whatever infrastructural deficit they may have suffered over the years.
Although Akinlade, if elected, must not concentrate wholly on his side of the state, it is expected that his emergence would nonetheless enable him embark on projects that would make his people feel belonged and heave a sigh of relief, such as construction of rural roads to ease transportation of farm produce, among other developmental projects.
These were the thinking of Governor Amosun that pitted him against some party bigwigs in APC. Undaunted, he decided to swim or sink with Akinlade, who has not only moved to the Allied People’s Movement (APM), but has become the party’s gubernatorial candidate, and he looks good to become the next governor of Ogun State, going by a groundswell of support he is garnering.
Despite the fact that Amosun has thrown his weight behind a gubernatorial candidate of another party, the governor has, however, made it abundantly clear to the world that he is 100 percent in support of, and working for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Campaigning for President Buhari the other day, Amosun, who is currently the APC senatorial candidate for Ogun Central, said: “From 2015, President Buhari has focused on delivering on his three-major campaign promises: security; curbing corruption, and the economy.
“President Buhari has systematically plugged leakages through which enemies of our country siphoned our resources. We all know that there are many who are ‘uncomfortable’ with the current environment as it is no longer ‘business as usual’.
“But I attest to the fact that we in Ogun State stand for what is right, for collective prosperity, for the good of all, and this is why you have supported me and President Buhari in the past seven-and-a-half and three-and- a-half years, respectively.”
Some analysts, who do not understand politics, accuse the governor of engaging in anti-party activity. But good a thing, to show his level of innocence and the fact that he is innocuous in this journey, the governor paid a visit to the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja where he presented Akinlade.
They were well-received by the President. And in a release by the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) last week, it described the President’s meeting as a positive development.
BMO said in the statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, and Secretary, Cassidy Madueke, that “We are aware of some disquiet among APC members on seeing the picture of the President with Governor Amosun and the APM candidate on the front page of national dailies after the weekend meeting at the Presidential villa.
“But just as the Presidency has made it clear that the President would only back APC candidates, we don’t see the meeting as a contradiction of the stance. It, in fact, shows the acceptability that President Buhari enjoys across party lines.”
As Akinlade tours the state to sell his candidacy to the people and solicit their votes, he has continued to pledge improvement in agriculture and the need to make the state self-sufficient in food production.
In line with the party’s symbol, which is cassava root, signifying APM’s commitment to food production and abundance in the state, Akinlade has pledged to make a strategic investment in cassava which is part of effort to unlock the entire value chain of the produce through production, storage and processing for both domestic and industrial uses.
He also said he would improve on rice production earlier financed by Amosun administration.
The APM candidate has promised to acquire needed farm implements and equipment that will hasten and facilitate huge investments as well as harvests of such investments in that direction in the first 100 days of his administration, saying that the party would guarantee bountiful harvests of both food and cash crops for people of the state.
Recall that Governor Amosun, the political godfather of Akinlade, had invested state resources, as governor of All Progressives Congress (APC), in rice production and processing, and has succeeded in providing employment for hundreds of the state residents as well as internally generated revenue.
Having been part of the Amosun administration in the last seven-an-half years, the APM candidate will no doubt complete all the ongoing capital projects initiated by current government in the state if voted into power.
The Amosun administration has made a lot of feat in terms of infrastructural development and economic vibrancy for which Ogun State’s internally generated revenue increased from N750 million to N7 billion monthly, Akinlade would never do less but increase the tempo of work.
Ayodeji writes from Abeokuta, Ogun State