Ogun 2015: Amosun at the battle front

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BY DAUD OLATUNJI

Governor Ibikunle Amosun political prowess is famed in and outside Ogun State. While his performance in the provision of infrastructure has been applauded by some stakeholders, the governor’s approach to a second term is increasingly faced with challenges on different fronts.

Challenges seem to be everywhere starring Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State in the face as he prepares to bid for a second term in office in 2015.

The challenges against a second term for Amosun are coming from the just reinvigorated Labour Party; the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Ijebu/Yewa-Awori ethnic irredentists; and a faction of the All Progressives Congress in the state.

Two years after he assumed office as governor, Amosun’s imprint in the style and structure of government is evident on ground. In particular, the administration brought about a wholesale turnaround of infrastructure that led to the demolition of obstructive houses and shops.

Indeed, his government achieved the feat of being the first government to construct state-owned overhead bridges since the creation of the state 37 years ago.

While the governor has pushed through many of his plans, notably with salutary policies in the areas of education, and helped to polish infrastructure, some of the other much expected promises seem to remain in the pipeline. Notable in that category are the governor’s campaign promise of free health care service.

The PDP/FG battle front
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP which lost the governorship in 2011 is believed to be considering fielding an Egba man for the 2015 election with the aim of dividing the votes from Ogun Central, where Amosun has his stronghold.

The PDP’s calculation, according to the findings by Vanguard is to spoil the governor’s comfort in his stronghold in Ogun Central which has been his strength since 2007. That could leave Amosun bare and force him to force for full reckoning in the two other senatorial districts.

The PDP, it is believed, is also mobilizing the support of the Federal Government which is controlled by the PDP.

The interest of Abuja it is alleged, is to use the state as a springboard for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. The saying in Abeokuta is that the PDP is ready to match Amosun money for money to get the seat in 2015.

The LP, Mimiko and Daniel battles
The newly emerged Labour Party in the state is also reshaping itself into a potent force and a threat to the second term ambition of Senator Amosun. The threat from Labour is based on the increasing membership strength of the party which swells on daily basis due to the exodus of members of the PPN and aggrieved members of APC and PDP to the party.

Former Gov Daniel and Gov Amosun

Former Gov Daniel and Gov Amosun

Labour has zoned its 2015 gubernatorial ticket to Ogun West which has not produced a governor since the creation of the state.

The party is also receiving the patronage of Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State and the immediate former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel among other numerous political heavyweights in the onslaught against Amosun.

Among the political giants in the camp of Labour are the ex-minister of Mines and Steel; Sarafa Ishola; a member of the House of Representatives representing Yewa South and Ipokia Federal constituency, Abiodun Akinlade; his counterpart from Yewa North and Imeko Federal constituency, Raak Adewusi and former governorship candidate of PPN Gboyega Nasir Isiaka ; son of business mogul, Chief Kensington Adebutu, Oladipupo among others.

The Ijebu front
Amosun’s problems in the Ijebu front follows his earlier attempt, at the beginning of his administration, to scrap the first ever University of Education in Ijebu-Ode, the Tai Solarin University of Education which was resisted by the Ijebus led by the Awujale of Ijebu land Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona.

That effort irrespective of the advantages canvassed by the administration helped to diminish the governor’s popularity in the senatorial district which parades the largest number of local councils in the state.

Besides, the recent set backs for the Olokola Free Trade Zone in the senatorial district have also sought to raise suspicions that, the state administration is not favourably disposed to the people of the zone.

The impression by some Ijebus is that the governor is biased towards his Egba kith and kin in the distribution of infrastructure.

The Ogun West battle
The people of Ogun West, popularly called Yewa/Aworis have been yearning to rule the state given that none of its indigenes has ever been elected governor of the 37-year-old state.

Towards the realisation of this, the region has begun moves to choose a consensus candidate to represent the zone which is well known as the food basket of the state.

Remarkably, out of the three prominent parties in the state, only Labour has ceded its governorship ticket to the zone which is being contested by two powerful politicians- Akinlade and Isiaka.

The APC battle
It is no more news that the APC in Ogun state is facing a serious crisis which has led to an exodus to opposition parties in the state.

Aremo Segun Osoba, a national leader of the party and the governor are reportedly at daggers drawn over the leadership of the just merged party.

Osoba it would be recalled, was the undisputed leader of the party in the state prior to the emergence of Amosun as governor in 2011. Since Amosun’s enthronement in the Government House, both men sought to manage the situation until recently when Osoba boycotted the launch of the APC in Abeokuta.

To worsen the chances of the party, some members of the party in the state House of Assembly led by Remmy Hassan from Odogbolu and Khadihat Adeleye-Oladipo have pulled out of the party.

Other problems
However, the failure of local government chairmen to perform at the grassroots level in the state, as well as appointment of non-politicians in his cabinet as commissioners may also add to the burden of the Governor in the cause of his second term bid.

The party, according to findings is challenged in the grass roots, especially in Ijebu and Yewa areas due to the failed performances of some of the local government officials who are loyalists of the governor.

That nonetheless, Governor Amosun’s remarkable achievements on ground continue to count well for him among non politically biased individuals.

He is, however, expected to sharpen his strategies in ways to draw support from major Yewa and Ijebu personalities to strengthen his electoral chances.

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