April 6, 2019

How power brokers determined 2019 elections in South-West

By Dayo Johnson, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye, Ola Ajayi, Daud Olatunji & Rotimi Ojomoyela

The combatants in the just concluded general election in the country, deployed every arsenal in their armoury in their bid to emerge victorious and at the end of the contest, like every other battle, casualties were recorded, veterans showed their resilience and new forces emerged.

Tinubu and Oshiomhole

In the South-West geo-political region, some of the old warlords demonstrated that they still had what it takes to dictate the direction as well as draw the political map of the region.

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The outcome of the election also witnessed the birth of new power brokers who are determined to continue to be relevant for a long time to come in the scheme of things in the region.

The joint force of both the old and the new masters of the game was what made the 2019 general election an interesting one in the South-West region where some of its sitting governors were taken as prisoners of war


Tinubu, the pathfinder shows supremacy

Unknown to many, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has shown supremacy as far as Lagos politics is concerned.

From 1999 till date, his image continues to loom large over Lagos State. Interestingly, Tinubu has devised a smart way of sharing political largesse among many powerful groups and individuals who are his followers.

These powerful groups and individuals wield enormous powers within their spheres of influence.

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It is important to note here that Nigerians see the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as the only and ultimate decision maker in the running of the state.

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Also, as a smart politician, Tinubu cedes power to these powerful politicians and community leaders and allows them to take decisions in their territories where they reign supreme.

The two dominant movements in the Lagos political circle are the Mandate Group, led by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the Justice Forum, controlled by the Oba of Ewekoro in Ogun State, Oba Olatunji Hamzat.

However, one thing that is common with the groups is that they pay allegiance to Tinubu as their leader. They largely remain loyal as long as their interests are protected. The outcome of the general elections in Lagos has once again proved that Tinubu knows his onions as far as politics is concerned.


Mimiko, Boroffice aim to oust Akeredolu

Even out of office, the immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko remained a power broker. Mimiko, who, however failed in his bid to go to the senate continued to be reckoned with even by his successor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

Former Ondo state Governor, Olusegun Mimiko

Akeredolu had to seek the support of Mimiko during the last House of Assembly election after his party, the All Progressives Congress performed woefully in the Presidential and governorship elections.

The APC lost two of the three senatorial seats to the opposition PDP and won five seats in the House of Representatives leaving three to the PDP and one to the ADC.

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The arrangement with Mimiko paid off as the APC won 23 out of the 26 seats in the assembly.

Another power broker is the Senator representing the Northern area of the state, Prof Ajayi Boroffice who despite all odds was re-elected to the senate for the third term.

Despite the state government and party apparatus’ support for one of the loyalists of the governor, Dr Tunji Abayomi who defected from the APC to the Action Alliance AA to slug it out with Boroffice, he lost the election. Boroffice remained a power broker even in the six council areas in the Northern senatorial district where the governor himself hails from.

Other notable power brokers in the state include the newly elected House of Representatives member representing Akure North and South, Hon Adedayo Omolafe and the senator representing the Central Senatorial district, Pius Akinyelure who incidentally was one of the loyalists of the immediate past governor, Mimiko, but defeated his boss (Mimiko) in the last National Assembly election.

In the southern senatorial district known as the stronghold of the PDP, Chief Olusola Oke remained a major power broker. He is being rumoured to contest the next governorship election in 2020. He is a force to be reckoned with in the politics of the state.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu also calls the shots and remained a power broker going by his achievements which may earn him the second term ticket if he survives party politics.


Adeleke dynasty holds the ace in Osun PDP

With the 2019 general elections over, the outcome of which surprised the general public, those who were considered as political heavy weights have been demystified.


The major factor responsible for the emergence of new political power brokers in Osun state is traceable to their wealth and the ability to spend it without looking back. This is mainly because politics has been monetised as a result of the new political trend of vote buying.

Before the last election, anybody who wanted to be relevant in the political arena of Osun State would have the backing of Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Olu Alabi, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. But events have overtaken the political relevance of these people as they no longer enjoy wide consultations from the young politicians.

Leading the pack of the new power brokers in Oaun state is Dr. Deji Adekeke, the CEO of Pacific Holdings and the elder brother of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, candidate in last September’s governorship election in the state.

The oil magnate and the proprietor of Adeleke University Ede, is not a professional politician but he always gets involved in any political activities involving the Adeleke political dynasty. He was actively involved in the emergence of late Isiaka Adeleke as the first governor of Osun state in 1992 and remained the pillar of the Adeleke political family.

Throughout the political life of late Adeleke, he was always there for him till when he died of cardiac arrest in 2017 at a private hospital in Osogbo.

Also, the emergence of Ademola Adeleke on the political scene of Osun was also through him when he contested and won the bye-election to replace late Isiaka Adeleke for the Osun West Senatorial District. Senator Adeleke went further to contest the PDP governorship primary in 2018. The final outcome of the contest is presently before a court of competent jurisdiction to determine the actual winner.

Tinubu, Aregbesola control Osun APC

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is a Lagos based politician though his place of birth has been traced to Iragbiji, Osun State. The APC leader’s political influence transcends beyond Lagos state. It has spread to other South west states and beyond. This is because there is hardly any governor in the Southwest at present whose victory was not traceable to him.


Asiwaju Bola Tinubu

He was behind the emergence of the immediate past governor of Osun state, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and the emergence of Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the September 22 governorship election in the state.

Dr. Ajibola Bashiru is an upcoming and high rising politician. Dr Bashiru, until the last general elections was the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice when he contested for the senatorial seat of Osun central on the platform of APC and won convincingly against all odds.

The senator-elect for Osun East senatorial district, Prince Francis Adenigba Fadahunsi is another political combatant in Osun presently. The retired Deputy Comptroller General and a PDP stalwart is very wealthy and has been making use of his wealth.

Mention must also be made of the House of Representatives member representing Obokun/Oriade federal constituency, Hon. Oluwole Oke, a fourth time member of the Green Chamber. Hon. Oke is in his early 50s, he is humble and still has many years ahead of him politically.


Ladoja, Makinde, Alao-Akala trounce Ajimobi in Oyo

In Oyo, the Pacesetter State, the baton of governance has changed hands. The All Progressives Congress, APC, which has been in the saddle for the past eight years, has unwillingly passed the baton to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Mr. Seyi Makinde and Abiola Ajimobi

Without any iota of doubt, Engr Seyi Makinde, has assumed a new role of PDP leader in the politics of the state and possibly in the South West zone. Although, many political bigwigs contributed to his emergence as the governor of the state, he remains the statutory leader of the party.

However, the handwriting of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is boldly written on the wall in the emergence of the young engineer and business mogul. This explains why the governor-elect rushed to the Ota farm in Ogun State where the ex president resides to pay a thank-you visit.

Also in the radar of power in the state, is a former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja who also played a prominent role in the victory of Engr Makinde. His Bodija residence was the meeting place where the plans to defeat APC were hatched and executed.

Among the power brokers in the state are people like Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, who relinquished his governorship ambition as African Democratic Congress candidate to pave way for the coalition which ousted the APC; Mr. Sarafadeen Alli, a former Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff to Ladoja; serving senator, Mrs Monsurat Sunmonu, who is the first female senator in the state and Elder Wole Oyelese, former Minister of Power and Steel.

Also of importance is another former governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala. Though, many people may have written him off politically due to his sudden defection to APC just few days to the gubernatorial election, he has proved a point that he holds the ace when talking about Ogbomoso politics. He has the magic wand in his kitty. Whether the state likes it or not, successive politicians in the state will still be soliciting his support in local government areas of Ogbomoso North, Ogbomoso South, Oriire, Olorunsogo and Itesiwaju where he is very influential.

Another enigma in the control of political power in the state is the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi. Although, he distances himself from partisan politics, he has been able to wield tremendous political power in the state. Whichever direction he goes, his people follow him.


Fayemi establishes self as force in Ekiti

The just concluded election no doubt consumed some power brokers and threw up new ones who would dictate and determine the shape and look of things in the next political dispensation


These new power brokers have not only successfully crashed the political base of some entrenched political godfathers but also permanently retired them from the nation’s political space.

Among the emerging power brokers are, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Senator representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Senator Dayo Adeyeye, his counterpart in Ekiti Central, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, a former gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Ojo, a former Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, who got elected as the representative of Ekiti South Federal Constituency 1, Femi Bamisile and his counterpart in Federal Constituency 2, Yemi Adaramodu, who was a former Chief of Staff to Governor Fayemi during his first tenure.

Governor Kayode Fayemi has been able to establish himself as one of the political forces to watch out for in the South West, his rise from the rubble of 2014 excruciating governorship election defeat to the present political stardom is legendary.

Fayemi got his ticket to return to frontline politicking when he was appointed as the Chairman, All Progressive Congress, Presidential Primary Election Committee, a body saddled with the responsibility of conducting primary election for the party’s presidential candidates.

He wormed his way to the heart of General Muhammadu Buhari, who happened to be one of the presidential aspirants of the newly formed APC as an intellectual giant and his administrative prowess as the man at the helms of the presidential primary election endeared him to the old General.

Fayemi became a member of Buhari’s kitchen Cabinet immediately after the 2015 presidential election and he was rumoured to be one of the presidential speech writers and policy formulators and was a prominent member of the party’s think tank. This must have fetched him his appointment as a Minister, which aided his return to political limelight and the much needed impetus to seek a return to the governorship seat of Ekiti State.

He was also said to be instrumental in helping to win strategic friends for APC, especially during the crucial stage in Osun governorship election, when Senator Iyiola Omisore of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, was wooed to the APC as well as securing partnership with Otunba Christopher Alao Akala of the Action Democratic Party during the recently concluded governorship election in Oyo state.

Already, a group within the Southwest has started mobilising for his candidacy as one of the possible successors to President Muhammadu Buhari.

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Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Political Adviser to the President and a member of Senate from 2011 to 2015, is also a frontline politician and prominent member of the APC.

Ojudu, a close ally of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was also part of the forces that demystified, dismantled and ousted Ayo Fayose’s stranglehold on Ekiti politics.

Another power horse, Opeyemi Bamidele was a former member of the House of Representatives who was recently elected as a Senator at the just concluded general elections.

Bamidele is a close ally and prominent member of the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s think tank. He is expected to be one of the major play makers and rallying point in the Senate.

Dayo Adeyeye, a former spokesperson of the socio-political organisation, Afenifere, also a former spokesperson of the Ahmed Markarfi-led PDP caretaker committee, decamped to the APC at the twilight of Fayose’s government and on the eve of Ekiti Governorship election.

He contributed significantly to the defeat suffered by Fayose’s anointed candidate in the Ekiti governorship election, Olusola Eleka.

This contribution earned him a Senatorial ticket of the APC and eventual emergence as Senator.


Osinbajo, Osoba, Abiodun alter political permutation in Ogun

The emergence of the governor-elect in Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun has altered the political permutation and created new power brokers in the state.


Abiodun’s victory which came with the barrage of political crisis caused some realignments before and during the elections.

Prior to the elections, the governor of the state Senator Ibikunle Amosun had been the only known power broker in the state and would have retained his status if his favoured governorship candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, had not lost the elections.

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His loss led to the emergence of new power brokers which included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Governors of the state, Segun Osoba and Gbenga Daniel; a Senator representing Ogun East, Buruji Kashamu and former speaker of the State House of Assembly, Tunji Egbetokun.

By virtue of his position and being an indigene of Ogun State, Osinbajo emerged a power broker of note.

The Vice President was involved in the efforts that dislodged the incumbent governor and this has made him a political leader in the state.

Governor Amosun

Meanwhile, Osoba lost his grip of the All Progressives Congress during the first term of Governor Amosun, the development which forced him to defect to the Social Democratic Party where his supporters contested during the 2015 elections. But he has remained a force in the politics of Ogun state and played a prominent role in the emergence of the governor-elect.

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However, Kashamu despite the fact that he is not a member of the APC, his body language indicated that the senator tactically supported the governor-elect to emerge victorious at the polls.

Also, Daniel renewed his status following the emergence of Abiodun whom he supported. He has a large number of loyalists across party lines.

Egbetokun, who was with Governor Amosun during his first tenure, later parted ways with him in his second term. He stood firmly behind the governor-elect through-out his travails with the incumbent governor. In fact, it has been rumoured that he might be considered as Secretary to the State Government in Abiodun’s cabinet.