Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
In Ogun State, the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections held across the country last Saturday turned out as political pundits predicted.
The battle was strictly between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). For the ‘third force’, African Democratic Congress (ADC), it was an unimpressive outing. The party, with its ‘poster boy’, a two-time governorship candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, otherwise known as GNI, could only manage to win a seat in the House of Representatives, despite the party’s pre-election supposed acceptance by the electorate.
And for the Allied People’s Movement (APM), it appears a disappointing outing, particularly in Ogun Central senatorial district, where the ‘Chief Promoter’ of APM, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, holds sway.
With the massive campaign, media hype, show of strength, financial muscle and backing of the governor, APM, pundits say ought to have won at least four of the nine House of Representatives seats in the state, just as the party was expected to deliver a House of Representatives seat in Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda and Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituencies, where the incumbent member, Mikail Kazzim and the immediate past Commissioner for Special Duties in the state, Leke Adewolu, were candidates.
But expectedly, APM put up a good show in Egbado South/Ipokia Federal Constituency and grabbed the seat of the constituency, as the party’s candidate, Kolawale Lawal defeated Biyi Otegbeye of the APC. There were also unconfirmed reports of ballot stuffing and snatching, allegedly masterminded by one of the parties in the contest
What played out before the elections
The ruling APC, PDP, ADC and APM, had hit the ground running and canvassing for votes from Ogun electorate. For the presidential election, the PDP, led by the former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel crisscrossed the state to market its candidate, Atiku Abubakar. But because of the crisis in state chapter of the party, Atiku could not visit the state for a campaign. Daniel however campaigned in all the three senatorial districts of the state. Just like the PDP, Ogun APC was also embroiled in crisis as a result of the governorship primaries. But President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state to campaign, which, however, ended abruptly. Amosun was opposed to the party’s candidate, Dapo Abiodun.
For the ADC and APM, they adopted Atiku and Buhari as their presidential candidate respectively in Ogun, while they fielded National Assembly candidates for the election.
At the elections, Abiodun lost at his polling booth in Iperu, but APC managed to win his council by a slim margin. Abiodun and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are from Ikenne Council. But Osinbajo voted in Lagos, where he also lost his polling unit to the PDP.
In Ogun Central, the battle was between Amosun and ADC senatorial candidate, who is the former Speaker of the state Assembly, Titi Oseni-Gomez. Ordinarily, Amosun, as a sitting governor and former senator, was expected to pummel his main challenger. But power game and political maneuvering reared its head few days to election, as large number of APC members and supporters who are aggrieved, vowed to cast their votes for ADC candidate against Amosun. But barely three days to election, former governor, Olusegun Osoba, whose son was also a House of Representatives candidate came out publicly to urge the party members to vote APC candidates all through. This decision, our correspondent gathered, was taken not to confuse eligible voters ahead of the poll. It was also envisaged that the voters might not know the difference and vote for ADC candidates, at the expense of APC candidates, including Osoba’s son.
For the senate, Oseni-Gomez of the ADC at some polling units, particularly in Abeokuta metropolis, outscored Amosun, but at the end of the poll, Amosun emerged winner by polling 88,110 votes against Oseni-Gomez, who polled 37,101 votes.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Apostle Biodun Sanyaolu, came third by polling 33,276 votes.
But the ADC candidate cried foul and accused the APC of result manipulation. She equally alleged that the governor capitalised on the poverty level of the electorate to “induce” them with money ahead of the Saturday poll. Expectedly, President Muhammadu Buhari also had an impressive outing in Ogun Central as he floored Atiku, to emerge winner in the senatorial district.
The battle here was between the APC and PDP. With Senator Buruji Kashamu in Ijebu North, the incumbent PDP House of Representatives member and candidate in Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside, Segun Adekoya otherwise known as ‘Attacker’, Oladipupo Adebutu in Remo federal constituency and former governor Gbenga Daniel, who is also the deputy chairman, PDP Presidential Campaign Council (South) in Sagamu, the battle was expected to be fierce.
The senatorial candidate of the APC, Lekan Mustapha, though not a push over, as he was in the Senate from 2007 to 2011, presence of Kashamu in Ijebu Igbo, where Mustapha also hails from, and the popularity of ‘Attacker’ in the axis, APC candidate faced the political battle of his life. Apart from that, APC House of Representatives candidate and Adekoya ‘s challenger, Biyi Ismail, stood a little chance of winning, especially with his reported unacceptability by several members of APC in Ijebu East, where he hails from. And from the results collated so far, Adekoya of PDP defeated Ismail in the LGs that make up the federal constituency.
For the senatorial election, APC’s Lekan Mustapha defeated PDP’s Adeola Sosanwo. The declaration was made on Monday morning by the Returning Officer for Ogun East Senatorial District, Prof. Chris Onwuka, at the collation centre, Itoro Hall, Ijebu-Ode.
This senatorial district, excluding Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government area, is split between APC and PDP. Even with the crisis in the PDP, the party has a considerable high number of supporters in the area.
But with the high population of Ota and its proximity to Lagos, APC was expected to carry the day. And like it was envisaged, APC came out tops in the senatorial race, as the former Chief Of Staff to Governor Amosun, Tolu Odebiyi, emerged the senator-elect on the platform of APC, while three House of Representatives slots in the senatorial district were split between APC, ADC and APM. The incumbent member for Ota Federal Constituency, Jimoh Ojugbele of the APC, was re-elected, while that of Egbado South/Ipokia and Egbado North/Imeko Adonis federal constituencies, were won by the APM and ADC candidates, respectively.
In the presidential election, Buhari won in Ado-Odo/Ota, Egbado South, Egbado North and Ipokia Local Government Areas, while Atiku won in just Imeko-Afon Local Government.
Reactions trail elections
To a chieftain of APM in Ogun Central, who craved anonymity, the outcome of the presidential and National Assembly elections should be used as a yardstick for the forthcoming governorship election in the state. According to him, voters and supporters of the party found it confusing to vote for Amosun as a senatorial candidate of APC and vote for APM candidates.
The APM chieftain who vowed that the tide will change on March 9, expressed confidence that the party governorship candidate, Abdul Kabir Adekunle Akinlade will succeed Amosun.
On his part, Publicity Secretary, Ogun APC Executive Caretaker Committee, Tunde Oladunjoye, thanked Ogun electorate for voting President Muhammadu Buhari and commended party members for not disgracing the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun. The party, rising from its strategic review meeting of the election, noted that its findings showed that APM members actually voted against Buhari.
“We have cause to thank the good people of Ogun State for voting massively for President Buhari and other APC candidates as shown in the final results. We must also thank the people of Ogun Central Senatorial District, who, as good party loyalists, listened to the call of our foremost leader, Aremo Segun Osoba, who pleaded for people not to disgrace Amosun.
“A close look at the figures from Ogun Central, showed that but for APC, Amosun would have lost woefully, as even his touted APM members cast a vote of 10,038 against Amosun who was the combined candidate of APC and APM.
“Our findings, from the reports from the field, contrary to what Amosun will want us to believe, was that APM members, especially in Ogun East Senatorial District, actually worked against President Muhammadu Buhari. They were openly telling voters that they were not concerned about Buhari’s re-election, but we thank God for the voters who stood their grounds and voted for Buhari and APC,” the party said.
Reacting, the PDP state chairman, Bayo Dayo, expressed delight at the outcome of the presidential election, particularly in Ogun East, where Atiku had a good showing. He, however, alleged there was rigging and intimidation of voters by the incumbent government in the state.
Speaking on the outcome of the polls, the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Ogun, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, urged ADC members and supporters across the state to remain strong and focused on victory at the governorship and House of Assembly poll.
Speaking through his media aide, Bolaji Adeniji, Isiaka, said that despite the party’s relative poor showing at the just concluded National Assembly elections, he remained committed to winning the governorship election convincingly.
While appreciating party faithful for voting the ADC candidates, Isiaka, further observed that the concluded election marked a paradigm shift in the state’s political history, saying “we have effectively birthed a third force built on sound democratic credentials and peoples power.”
He further said “the battle continues and our chances remain very bright. As party members, we must not be despondent or discouraged at the final results of the National Assembly elections.
“The governorship and state House of Assembly elections on March 9th, 2019 will be a watershed in Ogun State. That day represents another opportunity for the will of the masses to prevail. It is a stand-alone election that will be determined purely by the votes of Ogun electorate.
“I am very positive that no two elections are the same. The fundamentals and dynamics will confound the critics and pundits. We have traversed the length and breadth of Ogun State. The people have made up their minds to give us the winning votes; and that must be our abiding motivation,” the ADC candidate said.