By Wale Adedayo
A coalition is needed. But right now, it is individual ambition shaping things up. I totally align with an Egbon in Abeokuta that, while negative public opinion worked against Otunba Gbenga Daniel (OGD) in Ogun State during the 2011 governorship election, it was a coalition that removed his hands from office.
Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Governor Daniel’s, was the best organised political party in 2011. It spent the most money too, largely state resources, as it is being done today. The mobilisation efforts of PPN towards the election was superb too. But, in the end, those opposed to OGD’s style of administration banded together and gave victory to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to produce the incumbent, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
There has been talk about bloc votes from Ogun Central
Senatorial District going the way of Allied People’s Movement (APM). Not many
among those postulating this idea ever gave a thought to the thousands of Lagos
State workers and business people resident in Ado Odo/Ota, Ifo and Obafemi
Owode Local Governments. They constitute at least 40% of the electorate in
these LGs. In some, especially Ifo and Obafemi Owode, they could be as high as
60%. They’ll most likely align with APC, being the party that’ll certainly
carry the day in Lagos State.
Besides, the reality of a bandwagon effect is there.
APC should clear the Presidential and National Assembly election. I doubt if
allowance’ll be given Amosun to dictate the tempo of security arrangements at
voting venues. Once that happens, it’ll be APC all the way. Those who voted APC
in that election will certainly remain with the party, no doubt about it at
More than the last paragraph, Ogun Central should have
some challenges for APM. Amosun has National Assembly candidates. Plenty of
voided votes, which should have gone to APM might come due to challenges by
those in APM, but loyal to Mr. Governor. The only way to check this is for
Amosun to have control over the Police CP, DSS Director and Alamala Barracks
C.O. If he is shortchanged at the security arrangement end, APM’ll hit the dust
Intimidation of voters using boys is also key. Amosun had a monopoly before now. But it appears things are changing. Key leaders of the boys are changing camps. It’s been a rough deal for them under the current administration. Persons who had no business with the transport unions were imposed as leaders since 2011. It became worse for Okada Riders, whose union, Amalgamated Commercial Motorcycle Riders And Owners Association of Nigeria (ACOMORAN), was diluted with Articulated Motorcycle Riders Association Of Nigeria (AMORAN), mainly boys used by Amosun before he became Governor.
But much worse is the style of key Amosun’s political
appointees and associates, who collect weekly dole from the National Union of
Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria
(RTEAN), ACOMORAN and AMORAN. It has never happened before in Ogun State. And,
the boys have always been angry about this. Successive Governments have always
given these boys funds, not take from them. Today, they are sometimes tasked,
by being ordered to produce certain amounts for the personal needs of political
In all, PDP (Kashamu and Adebutu), APC, African
Democratic Congress (ADC) and to a certain extent Action Democratic Party (ADP)
are courting the boys the old way. But it is certain that they will go with not
just who has the highest amount to spend, but also the party that can assist
them with security cover in the event of any arrest. Beyond that, some are very
loyal, even unto death, as Christians would say – they’ll follow the
instructions of old leaders they know.
With the ouster of Ogun West’s popular grassroots mobiliser, Biodun Akinlade, from the APC running mate slot, ADC’s Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (GNI) should be more than happy. If things do not go wrong for GNI, getting at least 70% of the votes from Ogun West should not be a problem for him. The real challenge remains Ado Odo/Ota with its heavy voting population, mostly people from Lagos resident in Sango and its axis.
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But APC should be happy about Ado Odo/Ota. However,
the party needs to work. The people of Atan, Igbesa and Agbara will certainly
distance themselves from APM, being Amosun’s party. They have been shortchanged
since 2011. It should be the same story among residents of Akute, Lambe, Iju,
Ajuwon, whose roads remain in bad shape despite earlier promises to complete
Abeokuta South should present an interesting
challenge. I dare say Afolabi Afuwape should be able to assist APC if he
remains with the party. He remains an uncommon grassroots mobiliser. APM has
nothing to offer Odeda. It should be the same story in Abeokuta North. Apart
from the fact that residents of these areas have various economic challenges,
many are aghast with Amosun’s nepotism. The bridges in the urban parts of town
have added no economic value to the life of an average resident. Of course, the
pockets of Ijebu, Remo and Ogun West civil servants resident in Abeokuta may
not vote APM. But I am not too sure about Ewekoro.
Ogun East is PDP ‘country’. Majority are either for
Lado or Kashamu. But APC could smile here if the party is able to work on the
divisions within the PDP to get quality support for itself. PDP remains popular
in Ogun East because Amosun appears to have a deliberate policy of not
believing that the place is part of Ogun State. The party that is most able to
engage residents on turning the fortunes of Ogun East around should be able to
carry the day.