By Joshua Elegbede
When some personages in society claim to be wiser than others because they have unfettered access to power itself or the corridors of power by any means, or they control huge resources such as money and have human capital in their fold because they call the shots, they revel in the supposed feeling of the whole world bowing at their feet.
And in the process, they play the tricky cards of playing on the sensibilities of a section of the society in the hope that such pranks would help them build and sustain political patronage for as long as they desire. But there comes a time when the people will read the political treachery correctly, rise and push for their rightful place in the scheme of things. And that time is now for the people of Ogun West to burst the bubble!
For the records again and the curious reader, Ogun West is made up of five local governments: Yewa North, Imeko-Afon, Yewa South, Ipokia and Ado-Odo/Ota; with a land mass of 6,297.64km2 which is 37 percent of the sum landmass of Ogun state, and it is geographically bordered to the West by the Republic of Benin; to the South by Lagos State; to the North by Oyo state (Oke-Ogun); and to the East by Ogun Central (Egba Division). The sub-ethnic groups in Ogun West consist of the Yoruba, Eyo, Anago, Awori, Ketu, Ifonyin, Ohori, Sade and Egun.
The outcry of the marginalisation of the people of Ogun West isn’t a new narrative in the politics of Ogun. Depending on who gives the narrative, one fact which remains constant is that history and the statistics of representations are there to bear us witness as to how the Ogun West people have been integrated or sidelined in Ogun politics. So, the question of making sentiments of the political situation or denials of the allegation of marginalisation can only be rested when facts and figures are placed side by side in terms of how the illustrious sons and daughters of Yewa/Awori extraction have fared when compared to their compatriots from other Senatorial districts in the state.
The sentiment has either been the people of the Ogun West aren’t well read or qualified enough unlike their kiths and kin from the other two senatorial districts (Ogun Central and Ogun East) to occupy the number one seat (Governorship) of the state since its creation on February 3, 1976. Truth be told, the Yewa/Awori people have never been found wanting. They have the human capacity to drive the machinery of the state, just like their brothers and sisters from other senatorial districts.
Right from the Second Republic in 1979 to date, both Ogun East (where Chief Bisi Onabanjo, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and currently, Prince Dapo Abiodun hail from) and Ogun Central (which has produced Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Senator Ibikunle Amosun) have always called the shots and produced the number one citizen of the state. Sadly, Ogun West hasn’t had any shot at the most exalted office in our Gateway State! In the very intriguing political game, Ogun West has always been at the receiving end of political gladiators testing their popularity. With an attendant politics of succession crisis, it wasn’t a tea party on two separate occasions when a unilateral decision was taken by two incumbents (Daniel and Amosun) to foist their anointed godsons on the people.
Otunba Gbenga Daniel fielded Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka (aka GNI) in 2011. His attempt caused a huge crack within, and tore apart the leadership of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a parlous state that the party has found itself to date. When his kite couldn’t fly, he (OGD) was left with no option other than to hurriedly package the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) platform for GNI to contest the governorship seat. Not unexpectedly, GNI was drubbed by the then “beautiful bride” candidate of the Action Congress (AC), Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Preparatory to the 2019 general elections, Amosun carried the “Ogun West For Governor Agenda” on his head, as if hell would be let loose and there would be no tomorrow if the dream wasn’t actualised. He seemed to be crying more than the bereaved in a bid to actualise the dream of getting an Ogun West candidate succeed him in office. He stopped at nothing and traversed every length and breadth of the district, meeting with elders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and diverse leaders of thought, while scouting for a “wizkid”. The lot fell on Prince Olalekan Olude, promoter of Jobberman, who later became Special Adviser (SA) to Governor Dapo Abiodun on Job Creation. But his choice was rejected.
‘Gambit’ appears suitable for the word to justify the next phase of the shenanigans that characterised the search. He afterwards forgot the source of how he assumed the mantle of leadership of the state.
He was rude and had no regards for the elders and leaders of the party. He operated a one-man show and was given to handpicking political office holders at his own whims and caprices. Internal democracy wasn’t allowed to take its full course but subject to a one-man show to determine who took or got what from the polity. He deployed various tricks and subsequently came up with another formula. Without recourse to, or consultation with critical stakeholders and notable leaders of thought from the zone, Amosun raised ten (10) wise men whose mandate was to determine the future prospect/fate of Ogun West.
However, he eventually unilaterally picked his anointed son, Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, an erstwhile Federal lawmaker who represented Ipokia/Yewa South at the National Assembly. But he lost out at the 2019 general elections to the candidate of the APC, Prince Dapo Abiodun. All the 26 candidates into the State House of Assembly, he also unilaterally drew the list. What happened next? It was an implosion. Angst, hatred, disaffection and vindictiveness were the order of the day.
When the centre could no longer hold, the emperor started engaging in anti-party activities. He formed the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to enable his preferred godson to fly the ticket, while he remained in the APC. Despite a series of attempts by concerned stakeholders to make the National leadership of the APC intervene and axe him for the brazen display of anti-party activities, he still had his way because he had taken cover the show in the Presidency.
Now, the curious reader can link the introduction of this piece to the antics of Senator Amosun.
Apparently, his make-belief agitation for the shift of baton to Ogun West wasn’t borne out of sincerity and genuine intention, but his vested interest. Ogun West deserved more than it was offered under the leadership of Amosun between 2011 and 2019.
Ogun West was a strong support base for his emergence as governor in 2011. He assaulted the psyche of every Ogun West person and made them a ribaldry butt of jokes to their kinsmen and women too in the other two districts. Starting from political appointments to road projects, the district never had a fair share. His disdain for the district started to manifest with lopsidedness in the appointments to his cabinet. Of the total 17 number of the appointed Commissioners, only four were given to Ogun West.
The appointees were Chief Daniel Adejobi (Imeko-Afon), Chief Samuel Ayedogbon (Ado-Odo/Ota), Mr Ayo Olubori (Yewa South) and Mrs Ronke Sokefun (Yewa North).
He made the district his launching pad for regenerating and oiling his shenanigans and deceptive machinery for failed electoral promises. He was fond of using and dumping his followers at will to fortify his political base. It is not an understatement that he left the district worse off than he met it and the people would never forget him in a hurry for compounding the underdevelopment of the area. All they can do is to ask that God forgive him for treating Ogun West with such disdain.
Amosun is a known player and a mastermind who stops at nothing (whether by crook or by hook) to realise his dreams. He is crafty. He cringes when he sets out to obtain anything, not within his reach. He doesn’t mind sacrificing his ego to eat the humble pie. The Ogun Central Senator often grins with his deceitful gait to infect his followers. Prior to his emergence in 2011, he warmed himself into the hearts of notable Yewa/Awori chieftains, like Senator (Mrs) Iyabo Anisulowo, Chief Mufutau Ajibola, Mr Ayo Olubori, Chief Samuel Aiyedogbon, Chief Daniel Adejobi and a host of others, with his usual sugar-coated mouth to get into office. His foxy dispositions thereafter belied his initial gesture of camaraderie to the Ogun West people.
Without prejudice, none of the road projects Amosun initiated in the district was completed. They were literally abandoned for no plausible reason. One of such is the 105-kilometre Oja-Odan/Ijoun/Ilara road with a section almost five (5) kilometres asphalted before it was abandoned. One would have expected the rehabilitation of Lafenwa/Olorunda/Imeko road to lessen the burdens motorists and other users are encountering on a daily basis. But it was jettisoned for a new project, Oja-Odan/Ijoun/Ilara road, where it is of no relevance, as motorists don’t use the route as such.
Other projects, include the 21-kilometre Ilaro/Owode road in Yewa South LGA; Imasai/Igan-Okoto/Aiyetoro road in Yewa North LGA; Papalanto/Ilaro road; failed construction of Ilaro township roads, including the erection of flyover; 3-metre width Oyo and Afon culverts in Imeko-Afon LGA; amongst others, suffered the same fate of abandonment, despite the claims that the immediate past administration made that it had fully paid up for the initiated projects and mobilised the contractors. Since no serious efforts were made to fix these roads before he left office, the abandonment has plunged the state into unimaginable huge debt burdens for the successive administrations.
By and large, two posers for Amosun: Why hasn’t he deemed it necessary to lobby for a federal appointment for his so-called godson, Akinlade, a Yewa man, whom he has rendered jobless, in spite of his closeness to the Presidency? If truly Amosun has the interest of Ogun West at heart, why hasn’t he ensured that majority of his followers who are of Yewa/Awori stock are given Federal appointments as a way of empowering them preparatory to 2023 general elections?
It should be noted and let it register in the tympanic membrane of every naysayer that Yewa/Awori people are no pushovers in the scheme of Ogun politics. They have the wherewithal to take their rightful place in the politics of the state. Time to be fair to all senatorial districts of the state and anoint Ogun West to take the first ever shot at the exalted office of the chief executive of the state to all intents and purposes.
We have carefully dissected the political game and can now separate the wheat from the chaff. We know those who truly believe in the Ogun West cause and also know those who pretend to work for us while their hearts are far away from us.
Now, we know the true Ogun West enemy! But we remain open to have the support of all and sundry to truly make us feel we belong to the same fold and that Ogun belongs to all of us as well. Let our friends continue to keep our dreams alive and let our traducers have a rethink and stop fooling us. We now know better!
Elegbede wrote from Aiyetoro, in Yewa North LGA of Ogun state