By Daud Olatunji
CHINUA Achebe never had the All Progressives Congress, APC in Ogun State in mind when he authored his classics, Things Fall Apart, but nothing better describes the state of affairs in the ruling party in the Gateway State.
Trouble brewed when the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun released what was dubbed as the consensus list of party candidates for the 2019 General Elections. Expectedly, the exclusion of some and the inclusion of others led to a controversy that has shaken the party to its roots in the state.
Before the release of the list, scores of aspirants had shown interest in the governorship slot. Among the more prominent ones were two former deputy governors; Senator Gbenga Kaka and Prince Segun Adesegun, former member of the House of Representatives from Yewa South/Ipokia Abiodun Akinlade, current member of House of Representatives from Ipokia/Yewa South Abdul Kabir Akinkade, Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, Amosun’s Chief of Staff , Tolu Odebiyi , former aide to governor Nasir El-Rufai , Jimi Lawal and an Oil magnate, Dapo Abiodun.
Vanguard observed that many of the governorship aspirants were not in the good book of Amosun, hence, the chorus of a direct primary.
But, Amosun, the leader of the party in the state by virtue of his status, insisted that the state chapter of the party would go for indirect primary.
The governor also maintained his stance that he was not going back on the decision to zone the governorship ticket to Ogun West.
The controversial list released by Amosun triggered a lot of reactions as many aggrieved aspirants went to Abuja to obtain the forms.
The list as released by Governor Amosun had Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade as the governorship candidate while Mrs. Adepeju Adebajo as deputy governorship candidate.
For Senators: Senator Ibikunle Amosun was chosen as representative of Ogun Central Senatorial District, Senator Lekan Mustapha was chosen as representative of Ogun East Senatorial District- and Chief Tolu Odebiyi was made as representative of Ogun West Senatorial District.
For House of Representatives, Suraj Adekunbi (Egbado North/Imeko Afon Federal Constituency), Rotimi Rahman (Ado Odo/Ota federal Constituency), Adeleke Adewolu (Ewekoro/Ifo Federal Constituency) and Biyi Ismail (Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside).
Others are: Biyi Otegbeye (Egbado South/Ipokia-), Mikail Kazeem( Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda), Lanre Edun (Abeokuta South), Kolapo Osunsanya
(Ijebu Ode/Odogbolu/Ijebu North East) and Adewunmi Onanuga (Ikenne/Sagamu/Remo North-).
The release of the list was preceded with much theatrics. Tunde Oladunjoye, a chieftain of the party in a statement issued earlier in the week said the resolution he was purported to have moved to adopt Akinlade as consensus candidate was made under duress.
“Myself and other leaders of Ogun East Senatorial District of APC invited to an emergency meeting at the Government House Oke Igbehin this(Saturday) morning for 10 am
“On getting there, the Governor decided to have a meeting with the Senatorial District Executives. Since I was not a member of the Senatorial executives, I was outside waiting along with others,” he said.
APC flay Oladunjoye
The state chapter of the APC was, however, quick to dismiss his claim.
Even more, Olumide Osoba who was not an aspirant for Abeokuta Federal Constituency released a statement also purporting that his life was under threat after he rejected his nomination as a candidate for the constituency on the basis that he did not apply to represent the constituency.
Meanwhile, supporters of one of the aspirants for the House of Representatives caused a stir at the Presidential Lodge where the announcement of the list was made by Amosun when his name was omitted from the list for the House of Representatives where he is aspiring to.
The supporters booed the Governor when their man’s name was not included in the consensus list of the party.
The supporters who expressed their anger over the omission of their leader vowed to either leave the party or ensure their leader obtains the from Abuja.
But in the State Commissioner for Youth and Sport, Afolabi Afuape has, however, dissociated himself from the attack on Governor Amosun by the party supporters.
Emerging from a meeting with the Secretary to the State Government, Taiwo Adeoluwa and other leaders of his constituency, Afuwape said he would have managed the situation better if been at the event.
He said the supporters had the right to be aggrieved but went overboard by abusing the governor adding that there’s no perfect system anywhere in the world.
The Commissioner, while decrying the attitude of the supporters, said an attack on Governor Amosun is an attack on his personality, adding that he wouldn’t allow any supporter denigrate the person of the Governor.
When asked why his name was missing on the list, Afuape said it is a normal thing in politics and that his name would come with another list.
He said, “I wasn’t at the event, it would have been managed better. Though we have issues nevertheless, no process doesn’t have problems, there’s no perfect system in the world.
“I am the one they are representing; if I were there, it would have been better managed. Those who were abusing the Governor are abusing me, and I can never abuse the leader of the party and the Governor.”
Also speaking, the SSG said contrary to the report by a section of the media, Ogun State APC and particularly Abeokuta South remains a strong and indivisible entity.
He said, “At times like this, it is not unusual to have tension and disagreement, but we have our unique ways of resolving our differences. We have issues like every other human being, and I can assure you they are being resolved.
“As a family, we have a unique way of resolving issues, and we are in the process of resolving the issues, we are one, and we are together.”
However, it is not all negative for the governor as some stakeholders under the aegis of General Assembly of Yewa-Awori Political Discourse, YAPD, rose from a meeting to commend the governor.
The stakeholders in their resolutions congratulated governor Amosun on the emergence of the consensus State APC gubernatorial candidate from Ogun West, Hon. Abdukadiri Adekunle Akinlade .
They however, appealed to the elders in APC, in the State to ensue all forms of bitterness that may surround the emergency of their Party’s consensus candidates and encourage dialogue in resolving issues around the emergence for the betterment of the party.
The group also commended a governorship aspirant on the platform of African Democratic Congress, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, for his dogged fight on the State’s political turf in ensuring that the coveted Office of the State Governor did not elude Ogun West.
According to the group “we call on all political parties in Ogun State to emulate APC by zoning their gubernatorial candidates to Ogun West.
One of the APC governorship aspirants in the state, Dapo Abiodun has described the consensus candidates list drawn by governor Amosun as “a poorly scripted dramatic fiction “.
Abiodun however vowed to defeat the candidate of Amosun, Adekunle Akinlade at the direct primary through the support of members of the party.
Vanguard gathered that Abiodun who had obtained his governorship expression of intention form has begun meetings with leaders of the APC in the 236 wards in the state.
Abiodun stated this at his home in Iperu-Remo while hosting his ward and local government coordinators to sensitise them on the ongoing continuous membership registration of APC.
Abiodun described the recent actions of Governor Amosun as a poorly scripted dramatic fiction.
He urged his supporters to stand firm and steadfast assuring them that “we are going to have a direct primary as suggested by the National Working Committee of our great party” and we shall win.
The meeting attracted several notable party leaders from the three senatorial districts of the State.