When did it become politically or electorally mandatory that the next governor of Ogun State must come from Yewa (Egbado)?
The political crisis in APC in Ogun State which started like the cries of babies after losing out in the sharing of ice cream (has just) reached a decisive stage with Governor Ibikunle Amosun declaring openly that he would campaign against the election of the party’s governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun. Nothing could be more daring and contemptuous of the party’s national leadership, which, to be fair, had been inconsistent in enforcing party discipline in some states but proved too lily-livered to ensure same in states like Kaduna.
The party’s national leadership is, therefore, indictable for inconsistency rather wild allegations of corruption, which, anyway, has been probed and dismissed by the EFCC. All the same, Ogun East must resist the state governor’s contempt and unprovoked declaration of war. It is unfortunate that the state governor chose the eve of his exit from office to squander the goodwill he all along enjoyed in Ogun East. The governor’s parting of ways is traceable to two sources – his determination to choose, indeed handpick, his successor and his failure in that effort.
Nowhere in the genuinely democratic world is it the business, still less the prerogative, of an outgoing elected public office holder to impose his successor. And the fact that General Olusegun Obasanjo, even as President Obasanjo in 1979 and 2007, respectively, displayed that authoritarianism or that the same undemocratic practice operates in Lagos State does not make if right for Governor Amosun to try it in Ogun State.
In any case, the people resisted the so-called consensus primary election in which the governor and/or his cohorts hand-picked candidates for all elective positions – in the Senate, House of Representatives, State House of Assembly and governorship.
The APC national headquarters upheld the people’s protest, nullified the so-called primary elections by consensus and organised direct primary elections in which willing registered members of their party, the APC, took part in a free and fair atmosphere. The governor, as a democrat, should have accepted the result. Anything less is an assault on the people’s voting rights.
By the way, when did it become politically or electorally mandatory that the next governor of Ogun State must come from Yewa (Egbado)? Why was that not the case eight years ago? In which case Ibikunle Amosun couldn’t or indeed shouldn’t have been elected Ogun State governor eight years ago. At that time, Segun Osoba had been state governor and Gbenga Daniel was outgoing, the governorship ticket should at that time have been conceded to Yewa (Egbado division) instead of once again Egba division, which produced Amosun.
Had appointments and siting of projects in the state ever been on the three senatorial districts? Never. All Federal projects/ministerial appointments had always been based on the basis of the old (Egba and Ijebu) provinces with 90 per cent, repeat 90 per cent, going to Egba province, courtesy of Obasanjo through his military officers. There were 24 provinces in Nigeria, all now defunct as states. Two of such provinces, Egba province and Ijebu province, comprise today’s Ogun State. Twenty-three of these provinces form part of today’s 36 states. The only one province never appointed a state, at least so far and without such prospects in the immediate future is Ijebu province, owing to stiff opposition from Olusegun Obasanjo for some unknown reasons. The old Ijebu province comprised Ijebu division and Remo division, while Egba province comprised Egba division and Egbado (Yewa) division.
So far, which Federal Government projects or ministerial appointments accrued to Ogun State and which side bagged such appointments or virtually monopolised siting of the projects? The appointments? Late Adebayo Adedeji (Ijebu-Ode), Minister for Economic Development under General Gowon. Information Minister under Obasanjo, Major-General Henry Adefope. (Odogbolu) Olu Adebanjo (Idowa), Adviser on Information under Shehu Shagari. Onaolapo Soleye (Egba), Finance Minister under General Muhammadu Buhari. Prince Bola Ajibola (Egba), Attorney-General and Minister of Justice under General Ibrahim Babangida. Minister of Health, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti (Egba) under IBB. Wole Adeosun (Egba), Minister of Transport and Aviation under IBB. Head of Interim National Government under and after IBB, Ernest Shonekan (Egba). Jubril Martins Kuye, Minister of State for Finance under President Obasanjo (Ago-Iwoye). Minister of State under Obasanjo, another Egba man, Sarafa.
Compromise and tolerance by Ijebu over the years allowed this disparity to subsist almost as a state policy. Governor Bisi Onabanjo (Ijebu) had an Egba man as his deputy. Segun Osoba as governor had Gbenga Kaka (Ijebu-Igbo) as his deputy. Osoba (Egba) once again as governor had Mr. Bamgbose (Ago Iwoye) as his deputy. Federal projects in Ogun State? Federal Polytechnic (Ilaro). Federal Government College (Odogbolu), Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta. $500 million Police Computer College serving policemen from all over Africa, Abeokuta. Nigerian Paper Mill, Iwopin Waterside. Olabisi Onabanjo University (Ogun State-owned), Ago Iwoye. But Obasanjo forced Governor Gbenga Daniel to move the Engineering Faculty to his (Obasanjo’s) birthplace, Ibogun. The same Obasanjo soon forced Gbenga Daniel to elevate the Engineering Faculty at Ibogun into a full University of Engineering, Ibogun.
The fact of a state capital does not necessarily warrant the siting of all Federal projects in Abeokuta. The Federal University of Ekiti is sited at Oye Ekiti, even as the capital is Ado-Ekiti. The Federal University of Bayelsa is sited at Otuoke. Yet the state capital is Yenagoa. Many examples from other states can be cited with key Federal projects spread in different parts and not necessarily in state capitals.
After Bisi Onabanjo as state governor, Ijebu division conceded the ticket to Gbenga Daniel of Remo division. The same governorship ticket has so soon been conceded again to Remo division with Dapo Abiodun as the candidate. Through a gentlemen’s agreement and/or negotiation, Egbado division, styling themselves as Yewa, could even have been conceded the governorship ticket. Who lost that chance for Egbado division? A former Minister of State for Education, Iyabo Anisulowo. When she announced her bid for the governorship in 2007, she gave as her sole reason for the venture to correct what she called the imbalance of sitting all federal projects in Ijebu-Ode. Anisulowo specifically mentioned Ijebu-Ode for her false and ignorant allegation. Has this lady ever visited Ijebu-Ode? Or, how, in the light of indisputable facts and figures listed above could any governorship candidate falsify history to establish her reason or claim to state governorship?
Even till today, what are the Federal Government projects (if they can so be described) available in Ijebu-Ode to the detriment of Ilaro, Abeokuta and even Sagamu? There is federal prison in Ijebu-Ode just as there are federal prisons in Sagamu, Abeokuta and Ilaro. There are federal post offices in Ilaro, Sagamu and Abeokuta, similarly at Ijebu-Ode. There is a single, repeat a single, federal road – Folagbade Street – in Ijebu-Ode. It can only be hoped there is also a single federal road in Ilaro, Abeokuta and Sagamu. The nearest to a second federal road is the Ijebu-Ode-Ibadan road notorious for regular motor accidents. My father died in a motor accident on that road on March 3, 1951. In any case, Ijebu- Ode-Ibadan road is no more than Abeokuta- Ibadan road or Ilaro-Abeokuta road. Ijebu- Ode is a completely commercial city without a single federal project. What, therefore, could warrant Iyabo Anisulowo’s enmity for the city?
The same former minister of state for education, Iyabo Anisulowo, lately worsened matters when, with the emergence of Dapo Abiodun (Remo division) as APC candidate, she (Anisulowo) openly threatened to declare what she called spiritual war on any candidate other than from Egbado division. Spiritual war? What could be so wrong to warrant such desperation and hostility? Well, the die is cast. Ogun East candidate picked the ticket. We may as well wait for the spiritual war from Yewa. It is an unprovoked spiritual war, which will be resisted by every man or woman in Ogun East.
Outgoing Governor Amosun did not help matters by declaring that he would campaign against the party’s candidate, Dapo Abiodun, who is from Ogun East. Is that how to pay back Ogun East after supporting him to be elected governor eight years ago? Our northern brothers always philosophise that God gives to and takes power from whom He pleases. Amosun has taken a public stand against a candidate from Ogun East. Therefore, the only alternative for all Ogun East voters is to resist that affront with their support for Dapo Abiodun. Amosun’s surprise outburst has only succeeded in generating a throw-back of mobilising rather effortlessly total support of Ogun East behind Dapo Abiodun.
I don’t normally get involved in the domestic politics of Ogun State. But this time, it is compelling for everybody to stand and be counted. I have a legitimate interest as an indigene of Ijebu-Ode in the resistance against any declaration of war. What does Amosun do when Dapo Abiodun is elected governor?
As former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University always puts it, it is a question of numbers. Ogun East has the voting strength to subdue any aggressor. You don’t dare Ijebu, not in Ogun State. We try our best to be nationalistic but, as Obafemi Awolowo once put it, no matter how nationalistic you are, first of all, you are from a ward, a local government before a state and the country.
For purposes of clarity, there is no disagreement or misunderstanding among the people of Ogun State who have always jointly resisted traces of injustice. What we have now on our hands is the mischief and desperation of aiming to divide and rule. It must not happen and we must remember there is always a payback time. The people of Ogun State had always been cohesive in opposing injustice in any part of the state such that thwarted the attempted deposition of a deceased traditional ruler on the ground that his son was convicted and publicly executed, and a similar attempted deposition of reigning Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, for merely speaking up for his subjects to be provided good roads, among others.
There is this blackmail that candidate Dapo Abiodun is the preferred choice of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. We can only hope this is true. But so what? Every candidate is always somebody’s candidate. In any case, Osinbajo is a registered voter and, therefore, like the governor, has the legitimate right to cast his vote. Yes, for the candidate of his choice. There should be no apology for that. APC’s national headquarters organised free and fair primary elections in Ogun State and a candidate emerged. Such candidate is naturally expected to be supported by loyal party members. Including the Vice President, if from the same constituency.
Here is a challenge. When Ogun State governorship ticket returns to Egba province (Egba and Egbado divisions) the ticket should be handed over to Egbado division to prove the sincerity of those agitators.
Postscript: An outside contributor to the daily current affairs programme, Freshly Pressed, hosted by Tope Edwards on an Ibadan-based radio station, this Tuesday, wrongly claimed that President Olusegun Obasanjo introduced partition of Nigeria into political zones. The correct position of zoning is that it was the brainchild of the late Vice President Alex Ekwueme, who introduced it at the 1995 constitutional conference organised at Abuja by the late General Sani Abacha.