Ogun 2019: Obasanjo, Osoba’s APC Caucus Team Up To Install Next Governor!
As various individuals, groups and political parties jostle ahead of Ogun 2019 governorship race to succeed the outgoing Senator Ibikunle Amosun as governor, the original progressives under the leadership of Aremo Olusegun Osoba that ceded the position to Amosun in 2011 are poised to stage a comeback to ensure that anyone that flies the flag of APC is nominated from their caucus of the ruling APC now that Amosun is rounding up his mandatory two term in office.
Feelers from Ogun State indicates that while the incumbent governor may want to and is surreptitiously planning to install a successor, the chances of such ambition are slim in Ogun State as there is no precedent for such succession in Ogun State history and more so the fact that Amosun has not wholeheartedly groom a successor or indicates preference for any candidates midway to his second term. The other factors working against Amosun succession plan are the peculiar nature of Ogun State politics with many political actors that can pull their weight against any one-man succession plan. Such actors includes the former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former governors including Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel as well as top traditional rulers and other well- known politicians that were schemed out of playing any roles in the affairs of Ogun State. There is also the issue of zoning the governorship position to Ogun West Senatorial District of the state that had not had opportunity of governing the state in its 40 years history.
Only recently the former president, Obasanjo was rumoured in the social media as vowing not to allow any imposition or dictation on who becomes governor of Ogun State without his input as this may be detrimental to Ogun State development. While some are construing this to mean that he may be wary of the trend of the emergence of all former governors and indeed the incumbent from bases or influences in Lagos or imposition from there, it is believed that his major grouse is against the incumbent who was singlehandedly imposed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in 2011 against the wishes of the then Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in Ogun State under the leadership of Osoba.
A source familiar with the undercurrent of Baba OBJ grouse who pleaded anonymity revealed that while Baba OBJ may be in support of Amosun ‘biting’ the finger that fed him in the manner he had treated Tinubu and all that assisted him to come to power, he secretly detest his running the government of Ogun State as a one-man show in most of his actions some of which has directly slighted Baba OBJ.
“You will recall that when Baba OBJ left PDP, he directed his supporters to join APC with the understanding that they will be fully compensated after the 2015 re- election bid of Amosun. This was what led to Hon. Bode Mustapha, a loyalist of Baba to join APC and be made the Director General of Amosun Campaign Organization. After the election, Baba OBJ choice for minister from Ogun State was Mustapha. But this was not to be as Amosun tricked everyone and successfully pushed for the candidacy of Kemi Adeosun, a commissioner in his state executive council. Baba OBJ was crossed but took it in his strides but as it is well known Baba never forgets such offense, more so when it was based on “gentleman agreement” that involved him”, the source said.
So Baba OBJ may not sit idly to allow another imposition in his state without making an input. But Baba OBJ has since renounce party politics officially and may have to rely on others on ground politically to ensure that the ongoing “one-show” is not allowed to be repeated. Considering his sour relation with Otunba Daniel and his death sentence on PDP, his erstwhile political party, observers believe that Baba OBJ, may prefer to work with Osoba and his progressive group in APC to ensure the incoming governor of Ogun State would not be determined by one man but will emerged at of consensus of caucuses and interests.
The Osoba group in APC unarguably the senior partner in the merger as the original owner of ACN recently staged a comeback after a short sojourn in SDP for the purpose of 2015 election. With the tacit support of Tinubu, who it was gathered had apologized to Osoba over the imposition of Amosun in 2011 the progressives now has many old and new progressives in its fold with a passion to restore APC’s credo of internal democracy and progressive politics of caucuses and consultative decision making.
Said a member of APC who prefer anonymity in view of his position as a member of the party’s LGA executive, “ Governor Amosun control of majority of the party exco and his appointment of some of them to government position without relinquishing their party positions is causing disaffection among party members who felt shortchanged with fellow party members holding double positions in the party and government”
The APC stalwart who share the view of restoring internal democracy said the unilateral control by Amosun as stated above was responsible for his appointing Mr. Gbenga Ademosun, the State Organizing Secretary of the party as State Commissioner for Community Development and Cooperative Societies, Chief Wole Adesiji, the State Treasurer as Commissioner 1, State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr. Toyin Aiyebusuwa, the State Secretary of the party as Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to the Governor among others.
“These appointments are gross violation of the party constitution, particularly Article 17(1V) as well as denial of patronage to other party members all in an attempt to hijack and control party machinery. This and other issues of running the party and governance affairs are what the Osoba group is insisting must be corrected and they have a case as we go towards 2019” he said.
The Osoba Group with original claim to progressive identification in APC through their origin in CAN have such players as former deputy governor to Amosun Prince Segun Adesegun, Senator Gbenga Kaka, another deputy governor, Senator Kamal Odunsi, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Chief Olu Agemo, Engr. Tommy Akintomide ,Hon. Bode Mustapha, who was in AD before joining PDP but is now in APC, Hon. Allen Taylor, about 7 former House of Representatives members and majority of original ACN members of the party now in Amosun government as they are relegated to the background in favour of SIA group whose loyalty is to Amosun alone.
So far, the Osoba group has not positioned any candidates for the post of governor in 2019. However, Prince Segun Adesegun is said to be nursing ambition to contest while Senator Solomon Adeola, a Lagos based senator from Ogun West is hobnobbing with the Osoba group as well as other stakeholders in Ogun State with an eye on Oke Mosan. It is not clear if Senator Odunsi, who flew the flag of SDP in 2015 may want to try his luck again.
Another LGA party executive member from Ijebu Igbo close to the Osoba Group of APC said, “Whatever is the case, any candidate for the post of governor will be chosen from the Osoba group with the possible support of Baba OBJ and others. That is seen as better than what Tinubu single handedly did in picking Amosun in 2011 only for him to be voted in on popular sentiment prevalent among Ogun state people without sharing any progressive ideal of inclusive government. But a lot will still depend on possible party alignment and emergence of new parties as we move closer to 2019.”
What is certain is that any attempt by Amosun to anoint a successor may be dead on arrival from experience in the state and popular sentiment among the people of the state against such an eventuality.