This is big news among politicians in Ogun East senatorial zone of Ogun State. It is about a popular Ogun East politician, Dapo Abiodun. The hot gist is that the Oil magnate has joined the Ogun governorship race, on the platform of APC. He contested in 2015, but that was for the Senatorial seat in Ogun East. This time around, Dapo Abiodun is going for the kill. And he is fully prepared for the race. For those who still don’t catch the drift, lets quickly tell you about Abiodun who runs his oil business quietly in Lagos has a chain of filling stations scattered across Lagos. He is a big Oil player and he presides over a successful oil marketing company called HEYDEN Petroleum.
City People gathered that after much pressure from his kinsmen back home in Iperu remo he has decided to bow to pressure and has agreed to run for governorship.
When Abiodun ran in 2015 it was for Senate. At the time Abiodun joined the race, then, the governor had just parted ways with members of the Osoba group, headed by a former two-term Ogun Governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, who led his group to defect to SDP along with the 3 Senators of the state. So, Amosun, who was nursing a 2nd term ambition then decided to get Dapo Abiodun to come and take up the slot of the incumbent Senator, Gbenga Kaka in Ogun East.
Abiodun came into the race and he traversed the length and breadth of the senatorial zone, meeting with stakeholders to tell them about his ambition and to feel the pulse of Ogun East people as regards what they wanted him to do for them.
Not only did he reach out to stakeholders and opinion leaders in his district, he visited well known party bigwigs from the opposition party, like the PDP in the zone. And that endeared him to the grassroot who found his style of playing politics novel, in many respects. Shortly after he took stock of the needs of Ogun East people, he set to work, as he began to singlehandedly grade bad roads, renovate classrooms, sink boreholes and the height of it was when he decided to restore power supply to a whole zone in the Ogun Waterside area which cost about N50 million, with the effect that in 6 months Dapo Abiodun had brought smile to the faces of many rural dwellers in his zone.
What equally worked for him was that once he decided to run for elective office, he relocated to his country home in Iperu where he has a palatial mansion and on a daily basis, his constituents trooped to his house to see him for solutions to their sundry problems.
What many people don’t know is that he is not a rookie or a first timer in politics. He has been in politics for over 14 years and had contested twice for elective office.
“This is not my first time in politics,” he told City People when we met him a while back. My first showing was in 1997, I ran for the same seat in 1997, on the platform of UNCP. And I won that election.”
“But we were not sworn-in. Just before we got sworn-in, Abacha died and that changed the whole scenario. It ended that whole process.”
“After that, I ran against Otunba Gbenga Daniel in the governorship election and I came 2nd. After that I left Politics and I went back to my business. I learnt a lesson that many times, when you seek something it should not be a do or die affair.
“There is this saying that he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day. I said to myself, look, for now maybe God is telling me something that this is not where he wants me to be or the direction he wants me to head for at this point in time. So, I should look elsewhere. What was the instruction? Maybe God was telling me to go and face my business. So, I went ahead to go and face my business squarely. And God blessed my business. I was doing so well and I didn’t think in my wildest imagination that I will come back to politics. I am grateful to God that my business has done very well.”
“But in 2011, my friend Senator Ibikunle Amosun, became the Governor of Ogun State.”
So, how did Amosun get him to leave what he was doing to come and run for political office?
“It wasn’t easy. When people began to talk to me about running, I didn’t think about it at all. I said look, I don’t have to run. There are many other ways of supporting a Governor without holding public office. But people kept on telling me that look, Amosun is your friend. If you don’t join him now, how will you then show that you are supporting him, come and join hands with him in the mission to rebuild Ogun State. He is doing well. He needs all the support. Your coming in will further show that good people are with him.”
“I thought about it over time. The only reason I accepted to run was because many of them made me realise that it is important to appreciate that if people like me stay away from politics, the system would throw up all sorts of people and we would not be able to complain.”
“I agreed. That’s why I went into it. I thought about it, not too long ago, a couple of years ago, I had an accident in which God miraculously saved my life. And I thought I know a few people who have had accidents not as major as mine and they didn’t survive. A lot of people kept saying to me God must have saved your life for a purpose and a reason.”
“So, I reflected on all that and I thought that truly, God must have saved my life for a purpose. So, I decided to run.”
“It was in 2014 August. That was when I finally gave in to run. And I committed myself to running a very sophisticated campaign process. I just wanted to do mine differently. The reason I have come is because I truly want to give my people the representation they deserve. So, there is no other thing to do than to go out there and convince them that I am worthy of that representation.”
How did he go about doing that?
“By going round my senatorial district, local government to local government, ward to ward. Immediately I started, I went about intimating my people, in the local governments, wards that I was running. This is who I am. This is my track record. I am a successful businessman. I have a verifiable past.”
“This is my background. And I am worthy of your support. It has been a privilege. The support given me was overwhelming. I had to visit all the big stakeholders house by house, ward by ward, local government by local governments. I even wrote some of them personal letters, telling them my mission.
Any lessons learn?
“If I had not gone through that experience, I would not be so familiar with the needs and sufferings of our people. The poverty level is high. I know what I am saying because I have been through the length and breadth of Ogun East. I have been round every ward in Ogun East senatorial district.
“By the way, let me quickly add that Ogun East senatorial district is the largest. It is made up of 9 local governments out of the 20 in Ogun State, Ogun West has 5 local governments, Ogun Central has 6 local governments, Ogun East which is mine, has 9 local governments and 102 wards out of the entire 236 wards in Ogun State, So you can see it’s big, its huge. It’s a very large constituency. Its almost half the state.”