The APC in Ogun State has insisted that only the gubernatorial primary election of October 2, 2018, was held in the state.
Duro Onabule, former Press Secretary to President Ibrahim Babangida and current chairman of the board of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), recently joined the fray of Ogun State politics on the pages of The Sun. In his weekly Duro Onabule Today column of December 7, 2018, he threw his hat into the ring by stating, unequivocally, his preference for Dapo Abiodun as the next governor of Ogun State. He has every right to do so.
It is only unacceptable that he did so on a very wrong premise. His arguments are purely on two grounds: it is the turn of Ijebus to produce the governor and, secondly, Abiodun was the choice of the members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State. He was wrong on both grounds.
The choice of the next governor of Ogun State on the grounds of which section of the state is due to fill the office has dominated political discourse in the state for the better part of the year. It is a debate that is unending. Chief Onabule added his voice and his preference but the fact of the matter is that there are many informed people in the state that hold different opinions. While one cannot question Onabule’s preference, his recourse to selective amnesia to confuse the issues is simply unexpected of someone of his calibre. In the build-up to the APC primaries, the party had a stakeholders’ meeting where it was openly resolved that the party would elect its gubernatorial candidate from the Yewa zone of the state. The meeting was attended by party elders and activists from the Ijebu zone. Dapo Abiodun was not in attendance because he had walked away from the party since his woeful loss to Senator Buruji Kashamu in the 2015 senatorial election. His godfather,
Chief Segun Osoba, had defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), from where he could not lead his group to win a single House of Assembly seat in the Ogun State House of Assembly election of 2015. He only returned to the party few weeks to the primaries in a plot orchestrated in Lagos to hand over the government of Ogun State to their paymaster in Lagos.
In spite of the consensus in the APC to elect its gubernatorial candidate from Yewa zone, the party opened its doors to aspirants from other zones to contest against whoever was presented by the people of Yewa Zone. Hon. Adekunle Akinlade was presented by the elders and members of the party in Yewa and he went into the primaries with other aspirants who insisted on going into the exercise, including Dapo Abiodun, Bimbo Ashiru, Jimi Lawal and Sen. Gbenga Kaka, all from the Ijebu zone. The outcome of the primaries has been an issue of controversy. Onabule chose the version to believe and built his argument on it.
The APC in Ogun State has insisted that only the gubernatorial primary election of October 2, 2018, was held in the state. Dapo Abiodun and those who claimed he won a primary election that was never held have failed to present any shred of evidence of such primaries whose result was announced in a hotel in Lagos. Besides, Onabule who had always claimed to stand for truth and fairness does not see any incongruence in Dapo Abiodun’s claims by the fact that in the primaries for the national and state assemblies, which the Adams Oshiomhole election panel, under Col. Ahmadu Ali (retd), supervised, all the available 38 seats were won by supporters of Adekunle Akinlade.
If none of his supporters could win a single national and assembly ticket, how could he have won the governorship primary? This is a question to that Onabule, who is known for logical arguments, inexplicably failed to address his mind. Or is it that the love of the Ijebu Agenda precludes reason and logic? Furthermore, did it strike any chord in Onabule, the defender of justice and fairness, that the Oshiomhole leadership of the APC denied four winners of the House of Representatives primaries their hard-earned tickets? Does it not strike any chord in him that the Oshiomhole leadership also denied all the 26 winners of the primaries into the House of Assembly their hard-earned tickets? Does the denial of these tickets to the rightful owners not point at a sinister motive that disregards the wish of the overwhelming majority of the members of the APC in Ogun State? Are these facts dismissible simply because Onabule, who started out as a nationalist, has so much become an Ijebu irredentist that he would rather stand logic on its head and throw away his hard-earned reputation for standing by truth and fairness over the decades?
The rumble in Ogun State, as Onabule describes it, is the outcome of the plot hatched in Lagos by some territorial expansionists who want to bring Ogun State under their control for economic exploitation. They have willing tools in the hands of some ambitious politicians who have lost relevance in Ogun State. For the attention of Chief Onabule, who, apparently, had not been paying attention to the politics of the state, the whole plot did not start as an Ijebu agenda. Their choice candidate was Sen. Adeola Yayi, who they claimed has his roots in Yewa but who ran back to Lagos when he found the people of Ogun State too sophisticated for the falsehood and deceit. The resort to the Ijebu agenda, which Chief Onabule attempted to use as a justification for the expansionist agenda, is, therefore, at variance with the objective of the expansionists. If Onabule thinks they are on the same page on this project, it will only show his failure in interpreting the contemporary politics of Ogun State.
On a final note, we will not begrudge him for taking a position on who should be the next governor of Ogun State. The choice is not to be determined on the pages of newspapers. It will be determined by the good people of Ogun State who are Ijebu/Remo, Egba, Yewa/Awori and non-indigenous residents. The members of the APC in their overwhelming number are united about resisting the attempt to outsource the government of Ogun State to some forces in Lagos State. They are determined to sustain the good work of Senator Ibikunle Amosun. If it requires contesting in another party to protect our values, so be it.
• Sen. Anisulowo is former Minister of Education