By OLUSESAN LAOYE
The ongoing crisis in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State is not strange, to those who have been following the political developments and history of the state, which has been synonymous with political instability, power play and intrigues, since current disposition which took off in 1999.
The struggle for supremacy which is now going on between the three successive governors of the state, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and Senator Ibikunle Amosun has further polarised the system and as well heightened the political instability which is not strange to the state. This scenarios, kept reoccurring, from time to time, since the period of the late sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Right there in Ikene his home town, he faced a strong opposition from the Shofolas whose compound is just a stone throw to the residence of the late premier of the Western Region.
While Chief Awolowo was in the Action Group the Sofolas were in the NCNC. Also in the Second Republic the same Sofolas were in the National party of Nigeria (NPN) while Chief Awolowo was the leader and the Presidential candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN)
During this period too Chief Moshood Kasiwawo Abiola was one of the strong members of the NPN that worked against Chief Awolowo. The crisis in Ogun politics continued when Abiola was to be the president of Nigeria.
General Olusegun Obasanjo , then, who happens to be an Egbaman like Abiola was not favourable to Abiola’s presidency and at the heat of the struggle for the actualisation of Abiola’s mandate Obasanjo’s input gave room for the appointment of Chief Earnest Sonekan, another Egbaman as the Interim Head of State, which was short-lived as he was dethroned by General Sani Abacha.
This instability and political power game of kinsmen oppositions continued. Even when Obasanjo, Abiola’s kinsman, who eventually became the beneficiary of the Abiola’s struggle became president, in 1999, he too began his power play and edged out Chief Osoba his kinsman from office and did not allow him a second term in order for him to actualise his own second term, in 2003.
Osoba with good intention convinced his colleagues who were Alliance for Democracy governors in the South West to postponed the Local government elections which could have exposed the political weakness of Obasanjo in the region and could have been used as well to prevent Obasanjo from having a second term.
This move by Osoba cost him and his colleagues in the South West the bid for their second term as Obasanjo used that to stabilise himself in office for a second term.
In Ogun State where Osoba was looking for a second term Obasanjo his brother used Otunba Gbenga Daniel from Remo Division of the State who himself failed to get the governorship ticket in AD because of Osoba to contest against him under the platform of the PDP and made sure he won with the apparatus of the presidency at the Federal level. That was how Osoba lost out.
For Daniel too during the process of his bid for the governorship ticket of the PDP after abandoning the AD, he did everything to outwit his own kinsmen he met in the race since the PDP had already zoned the governorship to Remo.
He went all out to ensure that the likes of Doyin Okupe, Emmanuel Soda, the present governor Dapo Abiodun and host of others were flushed out of his way.
Daniel backed by Obasanjo spent two terms but not without a serious crisis mid way. He eventually fell out of favour with Obasanjo and it took compromises for him to complete his tenure.
His crisis with Obasanjo deepened over successor. While Daniel wanted Ganiyu Isiaka, one of his closest allies from Yewa in Ogun West Senatorial District to succeed him, Obasanjo on the other hand wanted a different person from Yewa, General Adetunji Olurin former ECOMOG commander, from his military constituency to take charge of the state.
This led to a sharp division in the party and Daniel supporters went to PDM to contest while Daniel backed Isiaka for governorship, he remained in the PDP, which was a similar thing that Amosun did in APC in the last governorship election in the state
At the end of the day Amosun who had left the PDP for ANPP moved to the ACN when Dipo Dinna died to contest the governorship and he won. Both Daniel and Obasanjo eventually lost out which eventually was a pay back because Osoba who backed Amosun mocked both of them who ganged up against him. .
Though Obasanjo at the end of the day was accused of double standard there were insinuations that he only backed Olurin on the surface but worked for Amosun his brother from the same Owu kingdom in Abeokuta. The former president has now backed out of partisan politics, he is now seen as father figure by all..
However, the 2019 governorship election brought out a new chapter because that was the period when all the ethnic groups in all the senatorial zones displayed their relevance. It was also a period when succession bid caused a sharp division in the state especially within the rank and file of the APC and when there was a fight back to relevance by major players who had been humiliated in the past.
Two major players who buried their differences to fight back are Chief Osoba and Otunba Daniel. Osoba who has been fighting a running battle with Senator Amosun for totally neglecting him as soon as he came to power used the 2019 governorship election to fight .
He and the national leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the national chairman of the APC comrade Adam Oshiomhole teamed up to teach Amosun who nearly frustrated Osoba out of relevance politically in Ogun State
While Amosun wanted Hon. Adekunle Akinlade to succeed him, Osoba backed by Tinubu and Oshiomhole brought Dapo Abiodun to the field as their candidate. While this was going on in APC, the battle of who gets the PDP ticket for the governorship was equally going on.
It was a battle between Adebutu and Senator Gburuji Kashamu. Adebutu was backed by Daniel and the National body of the PDP appeared to have supported Adebutu and he even got the ticket before Kashamu through litigation later became the candidate of the PDP.
This immediately change the political equations in PDP and Daniel who had supported Adebutu took a U-turn for the APC to join forces against his two enemies, Kashamu and Amosun.
His defection at the last minute to APC baffled the people especially the top notchers of the PDP because of his role as coordinator of the Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the party campaign.
His reason was that since Adebutu he was supporting had lost out and he was not at home with Kashamu, he felt the wise thing to do was to give his support to Abiodun who has been his Allie over the years and who also hails from the same Remo with him.
Since Daniel moved to APC, it was believed that Adebutu too ought to have moved with him, but Adebutu decided differently. Though he remained in PDP he teamed up with Amosun’s candidate Akinlade. He argued that he had more confidence in him than Abiodun who ironically comes from Remo like him.
Right now, no much is being heard from Kashamu, Adebutu and Daniel and Isiaka.
Political observers were of the opinion that the reasons given by Daniel were not tenable. It was believed that his going to the APC was to revenge against Amosun who also prevented him from installing Isiaka as his successor.
Since some of the key players outside the APC have gone back to their respective camps, the battle is now raging within the core members of the APC and their generals on the field.
It is now Amosun /Akinlade versus Osoba /Abiodun who is now the incumbent governor and at the centre of the real battle. They have continued to engage themselves in war of words especially since the Court of Appeal has validated Abiodun’s victory
The Osoba’s group has been lambasting Amosun and his anointed son Akinlade who contested under the platform of Allied peoples Movement (APM) for tying to go to the supreme court, saying that court judgment is not for sale.
The APC caretaker committee publicity secretary in the state who is on the side of Osoba faction, Tunde Oladunjoye said Akinlade and Amosun are serial losers that now trying to chase shadows.
The battle is still on between the two groups over who controls the state executive of the party and the sharing of political appointment. Seven months after inauguration, the state is still without commissioners and other political appointees. Amosun’s group which has Derin Adebiyi that leads their state Exco accused the Osoba Exco of forcefully taken over the party secretariat through the backing of Tinubu and Oshiomhole
Wole Elegbede the publicity Secretary of Amosun’s APC claimed that the Osoba’s group has been going against the Court order that favoured their group and held Oshiomhole responsible for that and for constituting a caretaker committee Exco.
While reacting to the present situation in the politics of Ogun state and as it affects the APC the former governor and now Senator Amosun said Tinubu and Oshiomhole are the two people causing political instability in Ogun state
Meanwhile the National youth Democratic Network a youth wing in the APC insists that by now Amosun should have been expelled from the party for anti party activities to serve as deterrent to others.
A strong politician in Yewa and who contested the senatorial seat of Ogun West Omo Oba Segun Adewale who is also a public relation and advertising guru said the political situations in Ogun state would always be volatile because of the high level of the enlightenment of the people of the state.
He argued that one of the major reasons for political instability in the state has been lack of sincerity among the leaders and the political class. He further said that in a situation where there is no equity justice and fair play and where a section of the state is marginalised and there will always be crisis and agitations from people who are demanding for their rights.
He said that his people in Yewa have continued to be marginalised in the governorship of the state, adding that the Yewa people of Ogun West are long overdue to govern the state as governorship has always been rotating between Ogun central and East.