The failure of some Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, backed by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party to decisively deal with Governor Ibikunke Amosun, for alleged anti-party activities has not only confused many members of the party but cast doubt in the minds of the electorate about its seriousness to win the governorship election in 2019.
It was learnt that the leadership of the party had mooted the idea of suspending Amosun and withdrawing his senatorial ticket for openly endorsing the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) where most of his allies will contest the next election, but President Muhammadu Buhari was alleged to have frustrated the move.
The president’s position on treating Amosun’s matter with kid gloves was said to have angered the national leaders of the party that seem to have no choice but to play along because of the election.
It was also learnt that the NWC was planning to exclude Amosun, Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu from the Presidential Campaign Council because of their legal actions against the party, but the source alleged that the president did not agree.
There is no doubting the fact that President Buhari has a soft spot for Amosun who has been his political ally since their days in the defunct All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and the closeness has made him a sacred cow the Adams Oshiomhole-led national executive cannot touch.
But, the party succeeded in announcing the suspension of the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party and its other executive committee up to the ward level and replaced them with a three-man caretaker Committee headed by Chief Yemi Sanusi with Mr Ayobami Olubori to serve as Secretary and Tunde Oladunjoye as the Publicity Secretary of the party.
The dissolved SWC led by Chief Derin Adebiyi has dismissed its suspension, insisting that it has a four-year mandate and disclosed that there was a petition in court against the decision of the NWC. Amosun did not only assure the state Exco that they would complete their terms but crticised members of the NWC for trying to “destroy Ogun State because it is the home of President Buhari.”
For Amosun, both the APC and APM members in Ogun State are working for the re-election of President Buhari and they are to ensure he (Amosun) wins the senatorial election. To him, with the election time table that fixed Presidential and National Assembly elections for February 16, next year and state governorship/State House of Assembly on March 2, 2019 it is possible to use the two weeks period to de-orientate electorate to switch from looking for broom logo on the ballot paper to cassava.
But he seems to be getting it wrong. The free-for-all between some members of the APC and APM in Odogbolu and Iperu where many were allegedly wounded must have signaled the dangers ahead when the campaign properly begins.
For the members of both parties, the bitter rivalry has begun and all efforts by the governor to make them see themselves as one has not proved successful. While members of SIA political caucus have embraced APM, the members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) within the party led by the former Governor of the State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba have rejected the double-dealing, otherwise tagged as anti-party activities of the SIA group and have seen the development as opportunity to have their party back.
But the APC members were rattled with the takeoff of the APM governorship campaign at MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta where Amosun was alleged to have spent over N1billion Naira for mobilisation.
The root of the alleged NYSC certificate scam of the APC governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun was traced to some APM members in the state as a way of discrediting the business mogul. Although some people have blamed some APC members for the alleged scandal for losing the primary to Abiodun, it was surprising that Abiodun has not come out clean on the certificate scandal.
Also, some APM members have gone to town to remind the electorate on how Abiodun allegedly withdrew electric transformers he donated to some communities in Ogun East Senatorial District after losing the election to the PDP candidate, Senator Buruji Kashamu in 2015.
However, some APC leaders in Ogun State have described Amosun as a desperate politician who was bent on destroying the party to achieve a personal interest. They alleged that his desperation to impose Adekunke Akinlade on the state was to cover up on sundry financial misdeeds, which have left the state in a huge debt.
To his critics, Ogun State has never been so divided along tribal lines as Amosun’s policies in the last eight years have polarised the indigenes. They have constantly accused him of concentrating infrastructure on only two local councils – Abeokuta South and Abeokuta North local governments while roads in Ogun East and West Senatorial Districts have been abandoned. The non payment of several months of deductions from the civil servants and abysmal treatment meted out to the staff of Tai Solarin University, Ijebu Ode where workers are owed about two years’ salaries and emoluments are part of the criticism of Amosun.
But the pig fight between APC and APM members was not strange to many observers who described the imbroglio as reminiscent of what happened between PDP and PPN in 2011.
However, Amosun’s supporters have disagreed and opined that the current political scenario is not the same as that of 2011. To them, Amosun has achieved more than his predecessors in office and has more followers who are ready to obey his instructions. They also believe that with the support he is getting from the presidency he is likely to successfully handle two political parties