In this piece, SAMUEL AWOYINFA, writes on the various intrigues that may shape moves by the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress to produce Governor Ibukunle Amosun?s successor in 2019
When the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and some other leaders of the party visited the former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, in his Ikoyi, Lagos home, on Sunday April 3, 2016, not many knew that it was a sort of political calculation toward the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State.
Shortly before the 2015 general elections, Osoba had dumped the APC and founded another party, the Social Democratic Party.
The prelude to this could be traced to a split in the Ogun State chapter of the APC.
A faction of the party then had Governor Ibikunle Amosun and his supporters, while the second faction was led by Osoba.
Some of the sympathisers of Osoba then accused Amosun of running a one-man government. They alleged that their principal, Osoba, was sidelined in the scheme of things. They said that members who worked for the enthronement of the party in 2011 were not taken care of by the governor.
These politicians also argued that some sections of the state were more favoured in appointive positions than others.
One of the party supporters and a former deputy governor in the state, Chief Adegbenga Kaka, had painted the grouse of Osoba?s camp against Amosun thus, ?While some of the local government areas then were having two or three commissioners in the state executive council, some did not have one.?
But Amosun?s supporters believed that the governor had not done anything wrong. According to them, Amosun has not overreached his brief.
The Publicity Secretary of the APC in the state, Sola Lawal, had risen stoutly in defence of the appointments. He had said that ?merit and qualifications were considered in the appointments and definitely it is not possible to appoint all those who worked for the party during the 2011 elections.?
The face-off between Amosun and Osoba dragged on till the March 2015 general elections. Osoba pulled out of the APC with his team of supporters to the SDP, while Amosun and his men remained in the APC.
Amosun, however, won his re-election for a second term against the SDP?s candidate and that of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Many of the APC?s candidates also won the state?s and National Assembly?s seats.
The SDP did not have any good showing in the general elections, as none of its candidates won any elective positions at both levels.
Though the return of Osoba was well publicised, has that rapprochement move settled the problems of division in the party in Ogun State?
Only the players themselves could answer this question. Observers of unfolding events have concluded that though Osoba is back in the APC, the gulf between him and the governor still subsists.
But some others have equally replied those nursing such a thought as existing only in their imagination and that there is no division of any kind or camps in the party.
Many people have said that the rapprochement may not be sustained till the 2019 general elections. They argued that the Yewa factor or what is called the Ogun West factor may come to play.
The Yewa/Awori section of Ogun State has not had any of their people elected as governor since the state was created on February 3, 1976.
Both camps had realised this, but would they reach a common stand on a single candidacy?
However, many names have started appearing on the horizon, which are bandied about by their supporters.
Some say the governor has started looking at some names as his possible successors, while the Osoba camp too has its own candidates.
Again, some political watchers in the state had discountenanced this, saying the party would produce an acceptable and credible candidate through the primary.
However, names that have started appearing as possible governor?s successor include the current Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi; the current Chairman of Local Government Service Commission in the state, Rotimi Rahmon; the current Commissioners for Forestry and Agriculture, Kolawole Lawal; the current Senator representing Ogun West Senatorial District, Gbolahan Dada; and Mrs. Kemi Shokefun.
Amosun is believed to be considering many options and not putting all his eggs in one basket.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that he might even be looking to get his successor from Ogun-East Senatorial District. The choices still being toyed with are the current Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Senator Lekan Mustapha and even the governorship candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria in the 2015 governorship election, Prince Rotimi Paseda.
However, topmost on Osoba?s list is Olamilekan Adeola, popularly known as Yayi. Yayi is currently representing Lagos-West Senatorial District. He had wanted to contest in the Ogun West Senatorial District during t2015 general elections, but Amosun?s camp had the upper hand.
Some still see this as being in the realm of conjectures, as it is rather too early to start such political permutations, as party supremacy may play up when the time comes.
However, the state publicity secretary of the party, Sola Lawal, has said contrary to insinuations or belief that the APC in the state is polarised into two camps, the party is one indivisible entity.
Lawal said, ?The APC in Ogun State remains intact such that there are no camps or factions.
?Any thinking about camps or factions only exists in the imagination of the thinker. As far as the APC is concerned, we accommodate all views.?
Talking about names being thrown up as possible successors to the governor and that of Senator Adeola on the other hand, Lawal said the more the merrier for the party.
He noted that there are over 20 aspirants for the APC governorship seat in Ondo State and only one would finally emerge as the candidate, describing the development as the beauty of democracy.
Lawal said, ?The APC is popular and accommodates all political thinking and diverse opinions. When it comes to aspirations, there is usually multiplicity of interests; the party will accommodate as many aspirants as possible.
?For example in Ondo APC, over 20 aspirants are vying for the governorship ticket, and at the end of the day, only one candidate will emerge.
?So, there could be 20 or 30 aspirants for 2019 governorship slot in Ogun State; they will all be welcomed.?
A foundation member of the APC and an opinion leader in the state, who pleaded anonymity, said it was too early to begin to talk about 2019 general elections.
He said that the National Executive Council of the party had yet to convene national congress.
This party leader however argued that it is expected that every incumbent governor may have an ?anointed? person, but that party supremacy should also be considered.
He, however, added that so far, the incumbent had yet to anoint any candidate.
He said, ?There are different permutations on ground. While it is true that there is party supremacy; governors will normally have their anointed candidates. But it is better for the party to allow all aspirants for the governorship ticket in the state to go for the primary.?
Meanwhile, both camps are not leaving things to chances, as they have continued to oil their political machinery.
The governor is said to have the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari, having been instrumental to the appointments of some ministers from the South-West, most especially the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
The President and the governor were said to have a relationship that dates back to their days as members of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party.
Both parties are said to be mustering all their political influences in getting the upper hand.
As Sola Lawal said, do we agree there are no two camps but one fold in Ogun APC? Or if at all the two camps exist, would they resolve their differences and come together before the 2019 general elections?