Dayo Rufai, Abeokuta
Meets APC Senatorial Leaders, Others in Abeokuta
Less than two years into his administration in the Gateway state, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Friday, November 13, 2020 tacitly began the process of his second term bid, Gateway Times Nigeria can authoritatively reveal.
This sudden move which came to many as a rude shock due to circumstances which heralded Mr. Governor’s coming into power in 2019, according to inside sources, was carefully crafted by the political think-thank of the Iperu Remo born politician, majorly to test the waters from other political gladiators in the state.
The meetings which were held at the Obas Complex in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital had in attendance each of the three senatorial Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), prominent political appointees, the Governor’s political think-thank as well as select members of the party across the 20 local government areas of the state.
Ogun Central Senatorial District was the first, followed by Ogun West with Ogun East coming last. Abiodun at each of the meetings reeled out the achievements of his administration and later sought to where each local government in a particular Senatorial District want him to work on. Only a Leader from each local government was allowed to talk.
It would be recalled that Gov Dapo Abiodun has been at loggerheads with his predecessor, Sen Ibikunle Amosun and some other top politicians in the fold of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Though, Abiodun and Amosun were said to be long-time family friends, but the duo’s relationship however turned sour in the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, which Abiodun won through the efforts of a cross-party coalition.
Amosun, had wanted Hon Akinlade, a former member of the House of Representatives who is from Yewa area of the state as his successor, but some key leaders who were opposed to his leadership style preferred the Heyden Petroleum boss.
Prince Abiodun, with the help of the nation’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Chief Olusegun Osoba, and even Sen Solomon Olamilekan Adeola (Yayi), Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and late Senator Buruji Kashamu defeated Amosun’s annointed candidate.
The aftermath of the fight to finish within the fold of the APC in the state has been devastating as the party remain polarized, with only a cosmetic appearance till today.
Investigation by Gateway Times Nigeria revealed that part of the early move was to create an independent campaign structure for the Governor second term bid. Mr Governor only rode on both Chief Osoba and Yayi’s structure, and few left over from the opposition parties in the state; the Action Democratic Congress, ADC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to realise his governorship ambition.
This magazine can also tell you for free that Gov Dapo Abidun kitchen cabinet as we put pen on paper are dominated by the Yayi loyalists. An issue which was reported to have been causing sleepless nights for some of the old political foot-soldiers of Dapo Abiodun, who want the Governor liberated from the grip of the Lagos senator’s men.
Though, Gateway Times Nigeria could not however confirm the reaction of the Governor’s erstwhile friend, Sen Ibikunle Amosun on this new development, but a source close to him who doesn’t want his name in print disclosed that Amosun definitely has a plan B, and will make known his move at the right time.
Meanwhile, the state Publicity Secretary of the party, who doubles as the Chairman of the state-owned television station, OGTV management Board, Hon Tunde Oladunjoye however denied the second term bid report, stressing that the Governor’s task for now was to find solution to the myriad challenges facing various communities.
Oladunjoye who spoke to us on Sunday, 15 November, 2020 added further that it was impossible for the Governor to start a race for his second term in office, when he has hardly spent 18 months in office.
In his own words, “of course you know that can’t be true! It is a feedback meeting with Ogun Senatorial District, similar meetings having been held with the two other senatorial districts earlier on.
“Governor Dapo Abiodun, is cerebral and focused on serving the people and building a post-covid economy for Ogun people. He is not a desperate Governor that will start a race for second term when he is yet to spend eighteen months in office”, Oladunjoye concluded.
Mr Kunle Somorin, the Governor Chief Press Secretary while speaking with us on Sunday morning on the development though confirmed the meeting, but clarified that the motive was not for a second term bid.
‘’No. The governor is too busy with his Building Our Future Together Agenda. He has a responsibility to explain the operationalization of his policies, projects and programmes and get a buy-in as well as feedback to know if it sits well with them and grey areas.
“He did that with leaders of Ogun West and Central senatorial districts earlier. Friday’s meeting wasn’t peculiar.
“At any rate, the governor addressed the second term issue when asked at the Youth Parley on Tuesday, 3rd November and told the enquirer that 2nd term is earned and not lobbied for.
“For me talks about 2nd term now is frivolous. The work at hand, on infrastructure building, education, social welfare and wellbeing and wellness of the citizenry; security, agriculture and food security, the economy and youth empowerment are too engaging to start talking about 2023.
Didn’t the Holy book say: “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow shall take care of the things of itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil of that day” – Matthew 6:34”, Somorin added.
But observers believe that Abiodun’s move to establish a group loyal to him as a formidable force towards the 2023 general elections was designed to wrest control of the party from the grip of the Yayi group, which appears to be the biggest in the coalition that brought him to office.
An impeccable source close to the party hierarchy in the state confided in this magazine that Abiodun new move didn’t come to them as a surprise, stressing further that Dapo actually wanted a clear departure from both Osoba and Yayi’s structure in a more strategic move geared towards controlling both the government as well as at the party in the state in his second coming.
Another highly placed official of the APC told Gateway Times Nigeria in Abeokuta that on Saturday, November 14, 2020, “You know the National Convention of the party is coming up and President Muhammadu Buhari has given a directive that new members should register. Everybody need to register again, because it is the new party register that will be used to conduct Ward, Local Government and State congresses. He is the only one without a group in Ogun State APC today, because Yayi, Osoba, OGD, late Prince Buruji Kashamu and Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, GNI all have their groups. He needs a formidable group personally to be able to seek a second term ticket.”
The source argued that it will be unwise for the Governor to continue to rely on Yayi’s structure who has also made an unsuccessful move in the past to become the number one citizen of the state.