As the clock ticks towards the governorship election on Saturday, it is imperative to unwrap what political pundits and some politically sophisticated Ogun State indigenes have identified as the four major agenda that voters would be aligning themselves to in whoever they choose to cast their votes for out of the two frontline parties jostling for power.
Based on the campaigns and other behind-the-scene activities by both the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), it is no longer a secret that each party is out to pursue power to fulfill divergent purposes.
These agenda have been dubbed; Mission to Sustain Ogun Rebuilding Project, the Equity Project, the Take Over Project and the Remo Renaissance. While the arrowhead of the first two agenda has been identified to be Kunle Akinlade of APM, Dapo Abiodun of APC is said to be the arrowhead of the other two. Besides the arrowheads, there are identifiable groups of powerful politicians pushing the two sets of agenda.
Behind Akinlade is the Ibikunle Amosun political family made up of the outgoing governor and aggrieved APC members who were pushed out of the party to join APM by the perceived high handedness of the APC national leadership.
Also said to be in this category are many self-effacing economic and socio-political stakeholders whose intellectual and policy inputs behind-the-scene have aided the unique successes of the Amosun administration in the areas of infrastructure renewal, creation of conducive environment for industrialisation, economic integration, security and maintenance of peace.
And lastly, the Yewa-Awori ethnic bloc and other minority tribes that make up the Ogun West Senatorial zone who strongly believe now is the time to correct the injustice of the past, together with their sympathisers in Ogun Central and Ogun East, have also been identified as strong promoters of the Akinlade candidacy.
On the other side, Abiodun is said to have behind him the strong hand of the political family of a Lagos-based prominent APC leader. The major thrust of this group, according to analysts, is to establish a political influence outpost for the group in Ogun to complement what has been achieved in Osun State and what is being concurrently pushed in both Kwara and Oyo states by the same proxy tactics so that a seamless political field is established in Yoruba land in preparation for the leader’s political ambition come 2023.
Grapevine further has it that the vice-president, who is one of the major strategists of the 2023 project being carefully put together by the political family of the Lagos godfather, is leading the charge. A Remo man like Abiodun, the vice president, unconfirmed intelligence reveals, sees in the Take Over agenda of the Lagos group a strong platform to launch his own Remo renaissance agenda in support of his kinsman in the race as well as Abiodun’s running mate who is also a Remo by marriage.
As things stand, the Remo Project has been sold to some gladiators in the PDP, leading to what some analysts describe as a total decimation of the party, thereby making it weaker than ever before. A factional governorship candidate of PDP and a former governor who is also a prominent PDP leader in the state are said to have been recruited and are working for the Remo renaissance agenda. Both of them are of Remo stock. The legally recognised PDP candidate in this election is of Ijebu stock.
One delightful trait of Ogun voters, however, is the high sense of political sophistication that has helped them to understand that the approaching election has nuances. Shorn of all emotions and pretenses, the average voter knows that the task ahead is to elect a governor whose fidelity to Ogun State and desire to serve the generality of citizens would be his paramount mission.
The people know that their state needs to march into her bright future, under the watch of a truly peoples’ governor; not an elitist governor, not one with moral, educational or professional baggage, not a yes-man whose administration would be remotely or openly controlled by any cabal.
And it is as a result of this awareness that public support for Akinlade of APM has been growing well above what obtains for Abiodun of APC. While Abiodun is generally perceived as a greenhorn when it comes to public service, Akinlade who has, in the last eight years, proved himself as a public service administrator of note with tremendous impact and contribution at both state and federal levels is generally seen as a safer option.
At the state level, he has had interface with critical stakeholders during his nearly four-year stint as special adviser and later commissioner in the first term of the Amosun administration. At the National Assembly, he has emerged as one of the brightest in the lower chamber, heading very vital committees that have responsibilities to oversee some of the nation’s critical economic sectors. For these reasons, people believe he understands what the task ahead requires and is primed to deliver.
That Akinlade’s APM has been growing in momentum, confidence and mass followership over the past three months is a clear indication that the citizens know where their interest is best protected.
Given the direction the outgoing Amosun has brought the state, it may not seem far-fetched to expect the voters on Saturday to display their preference for the Amosun-Akinlade mission to sustain the rebuilding agenda over a revisionist subjugation agenda of the Remo expansionist clique that can only truncate the people’s expressed desire for sustainable development and just and equitable treatment of all.
• Kujore is Organising Secretary, Advocates for Good Governance (AGOGO), Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.