All The Behind The Scene Moves Revealed!
Many Ogun politicians are currently in a state of shock, as a result of the list of Commissioners Gov. Dapo Abiodun submitted to the House of Assembly last week. This is because the names that came out were different from the names they were expecting.
For several months, before Ogun Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun came out with his list of Commissioner-designates, the speculation was rife that whenever he was ready with his list of Commissioners he would definitely take care of a lot of political interests. Many political watchers had believed that he will pick representatives from the various political interests that had helped him come to power. They believed that he will take into consideration the interest of some of his political godfathers, and juggernauts who rallied round his bid to be governor. At least 5 political camps helped him win the governorship. They had assumed that his list of appointees will come from Vice-President Osinbajo’s Camp, the Osoba Camp, the Yayi Group, the OGD Camp, GNI Camp, and a few people from the other camps who at the last minute threw their weight behind him after having fallen out with the then Gov. Ibikunle Amosun.
The story in town before now was that what had delayed the Ogun Cabinet list since May 2019 was Gov. Abiodun’s bid to properly balance out all the various interests.
But all that turned out not to be, last week when the list came out and many political interests were not adequately taken care of. All those who had jostled for a slot from the various camps were thoroughly disappointed. The state which has 22 ministries released 18 names to be screened at the House of Assembly. The Governor sent the names to the Ogun Assembly for confirmation and hours after, the Speaker, Mr. Olakunle Oluomo, read out Abiodun’s letter, during the House’s Plenary Session.
The names are as follows: Mr. Afolabi Afuape, a former Commissioner for Sports in the state; Mr. Oludotun Taiwo, Mr Ganiyu Hamzat, Mrs. Funmi Efuape, Dr. Kehinde Oluwadare, Mr Femi Ogunbanwo and Chief Jamiu Omoniyi, and Mr. Tunji Akinosi. Others include: Mr Ade Adesanya, Dr Adeola Odedina, Prof. Sidi Osho, Mr. Dapo Okubadejo, Dr. Yomi Coker, Mr. Abiodun Balogun, Gbolahan Adediwura, Mr. Tunji Odunlami and Mr Laolu Olabintan.
Governor Abiodun wrote to the House: “In furtherance of our mission to build our future together, please find attached the list of nominees for the post of commissioners for your consideration.”
One of the Commissioner designates is Afolabi Afuape. He is a 2019 House of Representative candidate. Hononorable Afolabi Afuape was also a former Commissioner during Governor Amosun’s administration. He is one of the Commissioners nominated for screening. Afuape popularly known as Afo was Commissioner for Youths and Sports of Ogun State, a position he occupied after stepping down for the current House of Representatives member, Hon. Olusegun Williams who is representing the premier local government, Abeokuta South Federal Constituency of Ogun State. He was one of Amosun’s close aides before they fell apart, since than, he has joined the Dapo Abiodun political family.
Afo was a lecturer at the prestigious Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta before serving the state as a Commissioner, and Special Adviser on Political Matters to former House of Representatives Speaker, Honourable Dimeji Bankole. He was also former Secretary of Abeokuta Local government.
His political ambition was in line with his antecedents while he was Special Adviser to Bankole where he enrolled several Abeokuta indigines into the Nigeria Civil Defence Corps, Federal Airports, Immigration and other agencies.
Mrs Funmi Akinyebo- Efuwape is another nominee. She was the former Chairman of Sagamu Local Government, She was an arrow head in Yayi for Governor Campaign which metamorphosis into Dapo Abiodun’s Campaign Train. This beautiful female politician of repute played a key role in leading the women towards the success of Dapo Abiodun’s governorship election ant till date, she still plays the role of a women leader accross the state. Her effort and huge role in the present government has earn her to be on the list of the commissioners that will be screened soon.
Oludotun Taiwo of the APC also made the list. He was the APC House of Assembly candidate for Abeokuta North Constituency in Ogun State.
There is also Hon. Ganiyu Hamzat, a ranking member of the House of Reps. He is another son of Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat.
Dr. Oluwadare Kehinde aspired for Ijebu East/Ijebu North & Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency. There is also Barrister Femi Ogunbanwo. He is popularly called Omo Iwa. He is from Odogbolu LG and has lived all his life in Ijebu-Ode. He is a Lawyer. There is also Jamiu Akande Omoniyi (FCA) from Yewa North/Imeko Afon Federal Constituency. There is Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina who is into Agriculture.
There is Dapo Okubadejo, who is close to the Governor. He is a Partner at KPMG. Hon. Abiodun Balogun also made it. He is a Food Systems Agriculture Expert and pioneer VC Afe Babalola University. The list is long.
There is no doubt that Members of the Yayi Group benefited a lot from the nomination.
They actually dominated the list. Insiders say the idea is perhaps to break into Yayi’s Camp as there is a general believe that Yayi has plans to stage a come back.
There are those who believe that the preponderance of Yayi loyalists is a lot more dangerous than it seems. “ “Many of these Yayi loyalists are not the organic or original Yayi people, but those who gravitated to where to where the power resides. They have travelled the whole journey across various political lines and interest. When the news came out, many were shocked. No Osoba loyalist in the list. No VP Osinbajo loyalist. No well-known, OGD guys.
Some political watchers were not amused because like someone pointed out, most (about 70%) of the people nominated for Commissioner posts have actually resumed to their duty post since the past 5 months in their capacity as Consultants to the Governor and so they only transmutted into the office. Their effectiveness can then be determined by the public perception of the Governor and the government in the period. But it was clear that the established political class were not factored in. The greatest loser in this instance is the GNI Group and his ADC group who recently declared support for the Governor and the APC.
The only ADC person in the list is Jagunmolu Omoniyi, who earned his space not through the party but on personal relationship with the Governor. He was on the first set of appointment as Consultant on Housing. Meanwhile some of the people who resigned from Amosun’s cabinet in the heat of the APC crisis to support Gov. Amosun are already kicking that they have been shortchanged. They feel they have not been fairly treated with the nominations.
Explained an insider, Dapo Abiodun’s political calculation may just be to whittle down Yayi’s political influence by engaging his key political actors and get their loyalty. This may be a wrong political move, he reasoned. Why? Because Yayi does not have organic political followers but those who felt shortchanged by Amosun and needed a political platform to express their dissent. Some are nomadic politicians, he explained, who are impatient with a political configuration which fails to capture their interests. One of them for instance started off with the PDP, served as SA and moved on to Amosun and later Yayi, then joined the Osoba group and at the peak hours to the 2019 election declared for Dapo Abiodun. There is also the case of another politician who started off with OGD, and in the crisis between PDP (Olurin) and GNI (PPN) chose to go with the Buruji Kasamu Omo Ilu group against OGD. He later moved to the APC, starting off with Yayi, moved to Amosun to spite Yayi and at the twilight of the election joined the Dapo Abiodun movement. How Gov. Abiodun hopes to retain the loyalty of such tendencies leave much to be desired.
There is also the case of one politician who used to be an influential lawmaker but has been kept permanently irrelevant since the Amosun days. He has been retained in the same title. He was given a somewhat ambiguous and non definitive title. He is not a cabinet member and he cannot see the Governor at will. He had hoped he will be elevated like others.
Many have wondered what made Abiodun to wait for 8 clear months before picking his commissioners? The general feeling was that he was trying to do some political balancing and to be able to outmaneuver key members of the political class.
What has made Gov. Dapo Abiodun’s issue more interesting is that he does not have an established political structure like other big players. Maybe that is why he is trying to build a new political structure from the ashes of the existing multiple structures like those of Aremo Osoba, OGD, GNI and the people he inherited from Yayi.