•As Gov. Amosun Weakens Party Structure
The ongoing bitter fight between the Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Ogun APC guber candidate, Prince Dapo Abiodun is likely to make Ogun APC lose the forthcoming guber election. This is because the activities in the 2 camps might lead to what a political observer calls mutual assured destruction. This is because though Amosun has remained in Ogun APC, all his key boys have joined Allied Peoples Movement (APM) and this has weakened the Ogun APC structure. Amosun believes he will win his own senatorial bid, but will block Abiodun, his good old friend from winning the election to teach him a lesson since the party leaders at the Centre (in Abuja) have refused to gives his candidate, Tripple A the ticket.
So as the 2019 elections draws near , the tension in Ogun APC is getting heightened by the day, as top members who are aspirants of the party, which includes Governor Amosun prefer guber candidate, Abiodun Abdulkabir Akinlade. A mass defection of the APC members to new political party APM occurred last week.
Two weeks ago, a group of serving Senior Special Assistants (SSA) and Senior Assistants (SA) in Ogun State under the aegis of SIA Progressive minded Forum last Friday called on the National Working Committee of All Progressives Congress, (APC) to respect the mandate given to 26 elected candidates for Legislative Houses of Assembly in the State.
The group also insisted on Governor Ibikunle Amosun’s anointed candidate, Abdulkabir Akinlade, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate.
The national leadership of APC had submitted an oil magnate, Dapo Abiodun’s name as gubernatorial candidate against the governor’s choice.
Speaking at the press conference held at the party’s secretariat in Abeokuta, the leader of the group, Otunba Sunday Abogunrin, vowed to reject any attempt to undermine the primaries which produced Akinlade and other candidates who are Amosun’s camp.
While pledging their “unflinching support and loyalty” to Amosun’s cause, Abogunrin denied plan to dump the ruling party over the crisis, saying “we are all members of the APC.”
He said “The forum is firmly behind our governor and duly elected APC governorship candidate of Ogun State, Hon Adekunle Abdulkadir Akinlade.
“We also categorically state that we stand by the results of the primary election of the National Assembly and the State House of Assembly that was held on Tuesday October 2, 2018. This is a mandate that was freely given by the majority of party members in Ogun State.
“We condemn as well as reject any attempt by any person or group of persons to undermine the results of these primaries in any guise whatsoever.”
Earlier in the following week the gist was all over the state that loyalists of Governor Ibikunle Amosun in the Ogun State will defect to the Allied People’s Movement (APM) to contest the 2019 general elections. It was said that formal declaration would take place last week in Abeokuta.
“The APC national leadership, led by Adams Oshiomhole, has not been fair to us; we need to resist the injustice meted to us in APC,” a local government Chairman familiar with the defection moves told our correspondent. Amosun is expected to stay back “tactically” in APC to work for the reelection of President Muhammadu Buhari. The impending exit of Amosun’s loyalists was as a result of the refusal of the National Working Committee (NWC) of APC to uphold the candidacy of the governor’s preferred candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade, for the 2019 governorship election. Meetings preparatory to the defection, according to insiders, had held at Amosun’s private residence located at Ibara GRA, Abeokuta, within the past few weeks. Key loyalists of the governor from the 20 local government areas of the state and top government functionaries often participated in the strategic meetings. Already, a House of Representatives member, Mikhail Kazzim, representing Abeokuta North/ Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency, has announced his defection to APM. Apart from Kazzim, who is one of the governor’s loyalists, the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Yinka Mafe and the Chairman, Ogun State Local Government Service Commission, Rotimi Rahmon, have joined APM to contest House of Representatives seats in 2019. The 26 House of Assembly candidates of APC, who are aggrieved that the party denied them tickets and annulled their mandates, are also headed for APM to actualise their ambitions.
The state chapter of APC, it will be recalled, had been engulfed in crisis following the adoption of Prince Dapo Abiodun as the party’s gubernatorial candidate as against Amosun’s choice. Several political moves by the governor to reverse the situation had met stiff opposition from Oshiomhole and APC national leadership. In a bid to take their destinies in their hands, some aides and associates of Amosun were initially registered in the Democratic People’s Party (DPP) to contest the forthcoming governorship and legislative elections. However, the DPP option was recently dropped for APM “after due consultations”, it was learnt. When contacted, Akinlade, who is currently a member of the House of Representatives, said he had yet to formally declare for APM. But a highly placed source, said the dummy candidates currently on the APM platform will soon be substituted with Amosun’s men before the deadline for substitution by political parties on December 2.
According to the source, necessary documentations are being perfected towards having a smooth outing in APM. The source added that Amosun believed that Abiodun lacked the wherewithal to win the governorship election. According to him, Abiodun who could not win a senatorial district election in 2015 will be unable to win the whole of Ogun State in 2019. Also speaking, a local government chairman, who preferred anonymity, said the moves to dump the ruling party were informed by the need to resist the injustice allegedly meted out to them. The council boss pointed out that they had waited for more than seven weeks hoping that APC leadership will take the path of honour by respecting the wishes of the “overwhelming majority” of members of the party in the state. Consequently, he said there was no crime in seeking their political fortune elsewhere. The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, could not be reached for comments as he was said to be out of the country last night.
However, one of Amosun’s aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Amosun remains committed to APC. The aide, a special assistant, declared that the governor would not abandon the APC irrespective of the political situation in the party. “You can contact those that are said to be planning to defect. That does not concern the governor. At least, he is a serving governor, he’s been given APC ticket and he is not moving. The governor is a loyal party man and he cannot comment on matters that do not concern him,” the aid said.
Last week Thursday, four members of the Ogun State House of Assembly elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defected from the ruling party to the new Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
The defectors are Majority Leader Yinka Mafe representing Sagamu 1 constituency, the Chief Whip, Idowu Olowofuja representing Abeokuta South II, Tunde Sanusi, Obafemi Owode Constituency and Ganiu Oyedeji representing Ifo 2 constituency.
The lawmakers who announced their defection at the floor of Assembly during sitting presided by Speaker Suraji Adekunbi, cited “party injustice and mandate theft in the APC direct primaries conducted on October 7” as part of reasons for leaving their party.
Abiodun Akinlade also defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Allied People’s Movement (APM).
His defection to APM was announced at the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Akinlade, who represents Egbado South and Ipokia Federal Constituency of Ogun, had lost the governorship ticket of the APC to Dapo Abiodun despite all efforts put in place by Amosun to make him secure it.
Recall that Governor Amosun had said in the heat of Ogun APC Crisis that he was under pressure to leave the ruling party.
The Ogun governor however, pledged loyalty to President Muhammadu Buhari, promising to work for his re-election.
Amosun has berated the Adams Oshiomhole led-APC and vowed to hand over to Akinlade in 2019.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) gave parties up till last Saturday December 1 to substitute candidates for governorship and state houses of assembly elections.
Bunmi Mustapha in Abeokuta