•What He Won’t Tell Anybody
Since he went lowkey in early 2020, many have been wondering what his plans are for 2023. Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the former Governor of Ogun State and now a Senator, shocked many when he suddenly changed his tactics and reduced his visibility in public. He went below the radar. He even reduced his appearance at the Senate, where he represents the people of Ogun Central and chose to do more of caucus meetings in Abeokuta. That is why for the past 19 months, he has been meeting with his followers inside his Abeokuta mansion, which has a big hall inside it, for meetings.
But a few days ago, many were shocked when they saw the photos of this former Ogun Governor, in London with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, when he went to visit him. Immediately the photos hit the internet, it began to trend fast, for many reasons. The belief hitherto was that both had parted ways, politically. Many wondered how the 2 political gladiators reconciled. Both are known not to be on good terms, especially after what happened at the M.K.O Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, just before the Ogun guber elections that brought Gov. Dapo Abiodun to power.
That is why many saw Amosun’s visit to Tinubu in London and the photos taken together by the 2, as a twist in the tale and perhaps the shape of new things to come. For a long time, political watchers had predicted that Amosun had presidential ambitions. They hinged their claim on the fact that he is one of the South West politicians close to Pres. Buhari apart from Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and that he would most likely use his closeness to Pres. Buhari to good advantage.
There are those who also feel he might just be eyeing the Senate Presidency since he is a ranking Senator. They believe that his calculation is that the Presidency may not swing to the South and if that happens, that No 3 slot will definitely go to the South. So, he prefers to position himself for the slot. Whichever way, Amosun is getting set for 2023 and both he and Asiwaju have discussed exhaustively the shape of what will come, politically, in 2023.
One thing Senator Amosun has going for him is his vast experience in Politics. And the fact that he has learnt a lot in Politics. He is a 2 term, former Governor of Ogun State and two-term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He first served as an elected Senator for Ogun Central district of Ogun State, Nigeria from April 2003 to April 2007, and got reelected in 2019. After an unsuccessful bid for governor of Ogun State in April 2007, he was elected governor of the state on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) platform in 2011. He successfully ran for a second term as governor under the All Progressives Congress and was sworn into office on 29 May 2015.
Many don’t know he was born and bred in Abeokuta. He was born on 25 January 1958 to a Muslim family. He attended primary school at African Church Primary School in Abeokuta (1965–1970), and then African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta (1971–1977). He then went to Ogun State Polytechnic, graduating with a Higher National Diploma (HND) in 1983.
He gained an Associate membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in 1990. He became a fellow of the Institute in 1996. He also became an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (1998).
He began his career as an Audit Trainee with Lanre Aremu & Co. (Chartered Accountants) in 1984. Later he joined XtraEdge Consulting as a managing consultant. From 1990, he was Principal partner of Ibikunle Amosun & Co. (Chartered Accountants) in Lagos. Amosun went to the University of Westminster in London, United Kingdom, where he acquired a Master of Arts in International Finance in 2000.
In April 2003, he was elected to the Senatorial seat of Ogun Central Senatorial district. He was an unsuccessful candidate in his bid to become Governor of Ogun State in April 2007, running on the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) platform, he was defeated by Gbenga Daniel. He disputed the result, but in August 2009 the Ogun State Election Petitions Tribunal dismissed the petition.
He was the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for the April 2011 Ogun State gubernatorial election. A report in the Nigerian Tribune on 12 February 2011 quoted his media aide as saying he had switched to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), but this was denied by ACN officials. Amosun won the 26 April election running on the ACN platform with 377,489 votes. Adetunji Olurin of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) polled 188,698 votes and Gboyega Isiaka of the PPN came third with 137,051 votes.
In 2015, Amosun stood for a second term as governor. He chose, Yetunde Onanuga, as his running mate. He had to find a new running mate as his previous Deputy Governor had defected to an opposition party. Amosun chose Onanuga who had been working in the Lagos State Ministry of Environment over three other possible candidates. On 29 May 2019 Amosun handed over to his successor, Dapo Abiodun after completing the constitutional maximum 2 terms of 8 years as a governor. However, he was elected Senator for the Ogun central senatorial district at the National Assembly.
The former Ogun Governor has been in politics for the past 21 years. In a book he wrote years back to mark his 60th birthday he revealed why he went into Politics. He also revealed all the hard lessons he learnt.
“The challenge of Politics is entirely a different kettle of fish,” he conferred. “In the year 2000, I decided to delve into Public service, as I realised that while I was able to do things for the under-privileged in my private capacity and had been doing so for many years, the most veritable tool to reach out and touch people across all cadres of society is through active partisan politics.”
“What may be a subject of intense debate would be how to realise this vision, given the challenge of what many would describe as the corrosive and corroding political environment. And that was the crux of the matter-the challenge”.
“To this end, I joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), contested for and won a seat in the Senate, representing Ogun Central Senatorial District in 2003. Perhaps, I have presented my successful contest to the Senate, as a piece of cake. Nothing could be far from reality. Prior to my involvement in Politics, my primary calling my professional practice has clearly defined rules of engagement. So, you could easily predict what the outcome would be, given the input and the standardised processes and procedures. After all, the principle of Double entry, in Accounting, remains the same, every time, everywhere. However, I found that, unlike the Accounting profession, the rules of engagement in politics do not largely follow any standard. Indeed, the rules of engagement may as well be defined as the absence of any codified, sacrosanct rules. Those who coined the phrase “political expediency” perhaps had this in mind. For a professional with little or no prior engagement in politics, I found the environment for my new calling, to put it mildly, challenging and intriguing, Accounting is about numbers and inanimate objects. Politics is about People, who have emotions, who could decide to be rational or irrational, who have interests and nurse ambitions all of which may align or be at cross purposes with those of others. Friendship is not permanent in politics. Interests are constantly shifting and the measure of time and space is different.”
“The goodwill I had garnered growing up in Abeokuta, the heart of Ogun Central Senatorial District, stood me at an advantage to have a relatively easy win of the Senate seat. As in every endeavour, the timing of the contest also helped a great deal in the success. The parliament provides a good platform to make laws, nudges the executive in a particular direction and generally has a feel in the governance of the country. However, the real day-to-day running of government lies with the executive. So, I realised that to power my vision, I needed to work with others to have the mandate of the people to lead our State at the Executive arm of government. So, in 2007, I contested for the position of Governor of Ogun State on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP). By now, old friends had become implacable foes, some foes became impracticable to maintain, while new ones had to be formed. Those who had their hands on the political levers of the State and those who wielded even higher political powers were rallied against my ambition. I kept 2 things paramount my faith in God and my ability-cun-focus on the people-the real essence of my being in politics.”
“We went into the elections and the umpire declared my opponent as winner. Of course, I went to the Tribunal to challenge the outcome, which I and a significant number of people believed were at variance with the will of the good people of Ogun State as expressed through the ballot boxes”.
“In all, I traversed all the courts in the land for 3 years (April 2007 to March 2010)-from the Election Tribunal, Federal High Court, through the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court. These efforts were not fueled by the ambition to be Governor at all cost. I was just determined to challenge, on one hand, the impunity that characterised the 2007 general elections, defend the tenets of democracy, and, on the other, justify the confidence the electorate reposed in me. The court endorsed the results as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)”.
“As a democrat, I respected the verdict even though I thought otherwise till today. The 2007 experience did not discourage me from taking another shot again in 2011, that time, on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). I did. I won, INEC confirmed it and I was so returned as the winner.”