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Ogun West and the 2019 Governorship Race
By Raheem Ajayi
It is no longer news that the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has thrown his weight behind the Movement for Power Shift to Ogun West (MOPSOW). The governor has made open declaration on a number of occasions and he has also enjoined his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to tow the line of justice, equity and fairness.
The decision of the de-facto APC leader in Ogun State has become imperative and expedient in view of the fact that no indigene of Ogun West Senatorial District which comprises Yewa/Awori people has been elected as governor since the creation of the state in 1976. In spite of the compelling and political exigency of allowing power shift to Ogun West, it is indeed surprising that orchestrated scheming are in the works to frustrate the agenda of MOPSOW through subtle and naked blackmails by individuals and groups who ordinarily should appreciate the need for power shift at this juncture. More curious is that Governor Amosun and supporters of MOPSOW agenda across the state who have decided to be on the side of justice, equity and fairness by demanding for power shift to Ogun West have been singled out for needless attacks.
Till date, Ogun State has had four elected governors out of which the late Olabisi Onabanjo (1979-1983) and Otunba Gbenga Daniel (2003-2011) are from Ogun East Senatorial District while the other two; namely Aremo Olusegun Osoba and the incumbent Senator Ibikunle Amosun are from Ogun Central. The only Senatorial District that is yet to produce a governor is Ogun West. It is also instructive that all the four governors were elected twice with overwhelming support of the people of Ogun West. While the four governors from Ogun Central and Ogun East did their best befitting enviable places in history of Ogun state, the time has come for major stakeholders in Ogun state to rally in support of power shift to Ogun West. It is however intriguing seeing individuals hitherto in support of Yewa/Awori agenda for governor turning 180 degrees and working strenuously against movement aimed at realising the agenda in 2019. Some of these individuals have suddenly become “fear mongers” touting the red-herring to the effect that APC will suffer defeat in 2019 if the party presents a candidate from Ogun West. It must be emphasised that nothing could be farther from the truth because the mass of the people of Ogun State are justice-loving and democratically conscious.
A typical example of the “fear mongering” aimed at blackmailing Governor Amosu and the leadership of the APC into abandoning MOPSOW agenda was demonstrated in a recent interview which featured a political leader of APC from Ogun East in a national newspaper. The said politician’s position that APC would suffer electoral defeat if it settled for a candidate from Ogun West is nothing but huge blackmail, aimed at derailing the ruling party on whose platform the agenda of Ogun West for Governor could best be realised at this moment. While commending the determination of Governor Amosun as well as other justice-loving people from Ogun East and Ogun Central to stand on the side of truth, my appeal to APC and other political parties in Ogun State is that they should settle for candidates from Ogun West so that head or tail, Ogun West will produce Governor come 2019. This is important because none of those that were elected Governors would have been able to get to that position without the support of people of Ogun West.
It is recalled that during the primary election that produced late Onabanjo as the gubernatorial candidate of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in 1979, it was the aggregate support from the Ogun West that gave him the edge in the Electoral College. Without the votes from Ogun West, Onabanjo’s closest rival, Chief Odunjo, who is from Ogun Central, would have emerged the UPN gubernatorial candidate. Similarly, Chief Gbenga Daniel of PDP secured the votes from Ogun West in the PDP primary elections in 2002 despite the fact that Chief Jide Taiwo from Ogun West was one of the aspirants. Those who care about history and the need for inclusive democracy towards enhancing equitable governance in Ogun state would appreciate the need to support MOPSOW agenda. The choice before APC and its leadership therefore is to take a cue from Governor Amosun thoughtful decision to support Ogun West agenda to produce governor in 2019. APC must not pander to devious tactics of orchestrated blackmail aimed at perpetrating further injustice against Ogun West. APC must do all that is necessary to entrench principle of fairness in the polity in the state.
- Ajayi, former Special Adviser to the Ogun State governor on Youth and Sports, writes in from Imasayi, Ogun State.