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Ogun 2011: Intense struggle for Daniel’s job begins

By  Kolade Larewaju

YEWA lokan, (Yewa’s turn). This has been the sing-song of people of Yewa/Awori in the Ogun West Senatorial District of Ogun State. The refrain is in their quest for the governorship seat come 2011.

It is all about equity, they say. Why? Of the three senatorial districts in the state, only the Ogun West district has not produced a governor. While Ogun East has produced two in late Olabisi Onabanjo and Olugbenga Daniel, the Central has produced one in Olusegun Osoba. Even when broken into zones, only the Yewa/Aworis have not produced a governor, with Onabanjo coming from Ijebu, Osoba from Egba and Daniel from Remo. The Yewas have as a result not hidden their ambition to occupy the exalted seat come 2011 with some of them vowing to give it all  it would take, especially knowing that the area enjoys the support of the incumbent Governor Olugbenga Daniel.

As a result, no fewer than 15 aspirants across the three most prominent parties in the state (PDP, AC and ANPP) have already shown interest in contesting the election from the area alone. Expectedly, the PDP alone has about 10 with at least two from the Action Congress AC and one from the ANPP.

Leading the pack in the PDP is Alhaji Gboyega Isiaka, the Managing Director of the State Government’s honey pot, Gateway Holdings. Isiaka believed to be Daniel’s candidate would have to contend with serving Senator from the area, Felix Kola Bajomo; a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Biodun Akinlade; the current Commissioner for Health; Dr Isiaq Salako; a member of the House of Assembly; Durotolu Bankole; Dr. Leke Otegbeye; Chief Jide Taiwo; Chief Ireti Oniyide; Dr. Bashiru Akinyemi; Mr. Seun Akinbiyi and a local Government Chairman; Evangelist Titus Eweje.

From the AC are Chief Kola Lawal and a telecommunication expert, Mr. Yomi Elegbede Odunowo while only former Senator from the area; Senator Iyabo Anisulowo is believed to be the only contender from the ANPP.
The unwieldy number of aspirants, especially in the ruling party, observers are saying, may be the Achilles heels of the area again as they have been known to have never been able to really put their house in order to present a common front. Some people argued that it was the serious struggle between late Chief Soji Odunjo and late Senator Jonathan Odebiyi  thatgave late Chief Olabisi Onabanjo the edge  to become the first executive governor of the state.

This is particularly worrisome to some indigenes of the area especially in the face of some formidable aspirants from the Central Senatorial Districts [Egba] who are also interested in contesting for the seat. The Egbas are not hiding the fact that some of their kinsmen intend to contest arguing that it would be impossible for the Egbas to be out of government for 16 years. Indeed if a Yewa man emerges as the candidate, he would have to pick his running mate from either Ijebu or Remo, thus shutting out the Egbas again. Thus the refrain “Yewa lokan, Egba loma se” meaning “it is the turn of Yewa, but Egba would occupy the post” in Egbaland.

In this regard, a number of Egba citizens are already jostling amongst themselves to grab the office. Again, the PDP has the largest number of aspirants. Here, Governor Daniel is being touted to be interested in his current Chief of Staff, Chief Yomi Majekodunmi, a scion of the Majekodunmi family and former Managing Director of Reliance Bank. Dr. Femi Majekodunmi and a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Kayode Amusan.

Gov Gbenga Daniel of Ogun StateAlthough, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Mr. Dimeji Bankole has not declared any interest in the race, he is believed to be interested along with the former Minister for Steel who was also Secretary to the State Government; Alhaji Sarafadeen Tunji Ishola. From the AC in the area is Femi Tejuoso, son of the Osile of Oke-Ona; Oba Adedapo Tejuoso and  Senator Ibikunle Amosun of ANPP who contested in 2007 .
Who will eventually emerge?

This is one question that has been agitating the minds of observers in the state considering the crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. On one hand is the Daniel group from which virtually all the aspirants from Yewa belong and on the other is the Elders group led by Chief Sule Onabiyi and Senator Jubril Martins-Kuye.

Of all the people believed to be interested from Egbaland, only Speaker Bankole and Sarafa Ishola are not from Daniel’s camp. But this in no way makes them less formidable. Bankole, Ishola, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo Bello and Senator Lekan Mustapha are members of the Jubril Martins-Kuye group, often referred to as “Abuja Group” whose joint political machinery can be intimidating. The group, rightly or wrongly is also believed to enjoy the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Obviously, aspirants from the Daniel camp would have to rely on his machinery and deep pocket while the
Bankoles and the Sarafas in the “Abuja Group” would rely on their group political machinery and the awesome financial war chest they seem to have especially with the support one Prince Buruji Kashamu whose “Omo Ilu group” has been some sort of pain in the neck for the PDP in the state.

Except intensive reconciliatory efforts are undertaken before the primaries expected to hold in a few months time, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] I dare say would never be the same again as already tongues are wagging about plans by some members of the party to jump ship. One group would definitely have to leave the party for the other or stay within to work for the opposition. Whichever of those two options, it is something that the leadership must work on to prevent a disastrous outing.

The primaries of all parties to select their flag bearers would however have to wait for the conclusion of the Senator Ibikunle Amosun Appeal which, if he wins would throw spanner into the works as he would have to just begin a four year term. This Vanguard learnt is worrisome to both groups within the party. Amosun on his part Vanguard gathered would be giving the slot another shot if he eventually loses at the Tribunal under the aegis of his ANPP.

For the aspirants within the AC, reorganization of the party from the ward level is the in thing as one of them told Vanguard would be the only way to come out very strongly.

way it goes, the road to Oke-Imosan, the seat of Government in Ogun State will be one that would not only be tough but also rough.


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