August 14, (THEWILL) – A few weeks after the internal wrangling within the Osun State chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) cost the party victory in the 2022 governorship election, the Ogun State chapter appears to be heading in the same direction.
Ogun APC is currently entangled in a divisive web spun by an open conflict between the incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun and his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Although Abiodun won the APC governorship primary in Ogun and he is planning to return to office for a second term in 2023, Amosun has vowed to ensure that the governor does not get re-elected after his first tenure expires.
Amosun said he would tell his loyalists what to do next after his pronouncement, but THEWILL exclusively gathered that he is having private discussions with Adekunle Akinlade, who he backed in the 2019 governorship election, and will soon direct his loyalists to vote for him.
Akinlade was the governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in 2019 and he contested against Abiodun but lost. He is currently the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general election.
The PDP governorship candidate, Hon. Ladi Adebutu, is also a kinsman of Governor Abiodun as both are indigenes of Ijebu-Remo.
After receiving an award from the Abeokuta Club to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the association, penultimate Friday, Amosun said he was not in support of Abiodun’s government in Ogun, saying the governor must vacate his seat at the expiration of his first four-year term.
Speaking after the award event, Amosun said, “Well, I am happy. When you are in a place and they are telling you that you have done the work of four or five governors put together, I feel elated. I am happy that they appreciated our little efforts.
“Just wait. Very soon, you will hear where we are going next. Clearly, you know my stand and my stand is my stand. I am not supporting this administration that is there now. He must be removed.”
Background to the Conflict
In 2019, the APC had parallel governorship primaries. One of them was organised by Chief Segun Osoba’s faction and it led to Abiodun’s emergence as governor, while the faction led by Amosun produced Akinlade as its candidate.
The National Working Committee of the APC recognised the primary that produced Abiodun, though Akinlade was backed by Amosun who was the sitting governor at the time.
Not satisfied, Akinlade and other members of the Amosun’s faction in the APC went to APM where Akinlade was given the governorship ticket.
Amosun even took Akinlade to President Muhammadu Buhari for his blessing at the Aso Villa, though he didn’t contest on the APC platform.
Abiodun eventually won the 2019 election with a margin of 19,517 votes.
Speaking penultimate Friday, Amosun stated that the 2019 governorship election in the state was rigged to favour the incumbent governor.
He added that he had moved on because those who orchestrated the rigging had apologised to him.
“During the last election, thank God, Chief Osoba is here, I have said it, we won convincingly. They rigged and ended up with 19,000 votes.
“Some of them came to apologise to me. I can mention names. We won that election. But I have moved on,” Amosun said.
Reactions Trail Amosun’s Rejection of Abiodun
In a swift reaction to Amosun, the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Ogun State, Tunde Oladunjoye, dismissed Amosun’s threat to prevent Governor Abiodun from returning to office after the expiration of his tenure.
Oladunjoye said the former governor was “obviously suffering from political amnesia and out-of-office loneliness.”
Calling on the people of Ogun to pray for Amosun, he described the former governor’s claim as an insult to the psyche of the people.
Oladunjoye said, “It is a sad indication that the former governor is yet to purge himself of extreme arrogance and intolerance that were his trademarks, which earned him suspension from our party, even as a sitting governor.
“There is absolutely no truth in the specious utterance of the former governor who is obviously still sulking from the electoral defeat of his surrogate party in 2019,” he said.
“Our party and candidate not only won fair and square, the victory of Prince Dapo Abiodun was also attested to by his co-contestants, many of whom later joined APC and are still in APC.
“It is on record that many of the then opposition figures, such as a former Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Alhaja Salmat Badru, the deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party Transition Committee chaired by Mr. Tunde Lemo, which was set up by Prince Dapo Abiodun immediately after the elections.”
Oladunjoye also accused the former governor of littering the state with unfinished projects, despite paying for them “100 percent upfront.”
“Despite the handover without a handover note, the wanton destruction of public facilities, including pipe-borne water taps in Abeokuta, and notwithstanding the untoward provocations and shenanigans; Governor Abiodun remained focused and determined to leave Ogun State much better than he met it.”
Reacting penultimate Saturday, Abiodun declared that he would not be distracted by any person who has a problem with self-delusion, noting, “Ogun State is not anybody’s father’s inheritance”.
He called on the people of the state to ignore his predecessor, insisting that he would not join issues with him.
“I will not be distracted by any person or persons who have a problem with self- delusion. I will not be distracted by any person who does not appreciate that Ogun State is not anybody’s father’s inheritance. We are all stakeholders in these commonwealth called Ogun State.
“I am not going to join issues with anyone that wants to play God; I will leave them to God. God can deal with whoever is challenging His authority and wants to play God. All I can say is that what we stand for in Ogun State is administration that is committed to providing purposeful leadership and purposeful infrastructural development across the length and breadth of the state,” he said.
Abiodun added that his administration remained committed to the development of all the sectors of the state’s economy.
He expressed disappointment that a former governor and a sitting governor in 2019 would cry that he was rigged out during the election.
“How can we that were on the outside take on an incumbent and then be accused of rigging out an incumbent in the same party? Anyone can explain their failure whichever way they like,
Another group, Ogun Professionals Watch (OPW), in its reaction to Amosun’s threat, accused him of playing God in the state’s affairs.
The group accused Amosun of arrogating to himself the attributes of God, which it described as blasphemy.
Describing Amosun’s statement as an empty threat, OPW, in a statement released penultimate Saturday, said that only the people of the state who installed Abiodun in office in 2019 would determine who will govern them in 2023.
The group also called on the police to invite Amosun for questioning, since he admitted knowing those who rigged the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State.
The group recalled that Amosun’s efforts to ensure that Abiodun did not emerge governor in 2019 were frustrated by God as “Governor Abiodun resoundingly defeated the candidate backed by him during the 2019 governorship poll because Ogun people were tired of the then governor’s antics. That victory was affirmed by the country’s apex court”.
The statement read in part: “The Ogun people remember too well how the vainglorious Amosun committed anti-party activities by sponsoring a governorship candidate on the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) platform, even while enjoying the perks of office as an All Progressives Congress (APC) governor and running for the Senate on the same platform.
“But for the pardon granted him by the APC leadership, he would have been confined into political oblivion. Yet this fellow still has the effrontery to move around in the state, lambasting the sitting governor, claiming that his election was rigged and promising to repeat the mischief that led him nowhere in 2019.
“The people of Ogun are aware of the Omoluabi practice that Governor Abiodun brought into office as against Amosun’s warlike behaviour and outlook, which kept his predecessors away from the state, lest they be harmed.”
The Zonal Executive Committee of the APC in the South-West said it has initiated moves to quench the raging fire that is threatening the party in the South-West, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The National Vice Chairperson, South-West APC, Isaac Kekemeke, said the party had observed the misunderstanding between the respected leaders/elders of the party in Ogun state.
In a statement, Kekemeke said that nalthough misunderstandings and quarrels were inevitable, the APC, especially in the South-West, could not afford any form of dispute at this time.
He said the contention was coming at a time when all hands must be on deck to secure a resounding electoral victory for the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
“The party in the zone has already initiated actions to ensure that this family misunderstanding and others elsewhere in the South-West are amicably resolved,” said Kekemeke.
Kekemeke, who also doubles as the Chairperson of the South-West Executive Committee of the party, appealed to the former governor and his successor to sheath their swords and direct their supporters to cease henceforth from making public statements that would divide the party in Ogun State and the zone.”
“I urge all party faithful in the state to remain steadfast, rest assured that our party will emerge stronger and better,” he added.
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