At the stroke of the midnight hours and beyond, when the world goes to sleep, when the birds have gone to their nests, when the fishes are busy catching their funs at the banks of their waterbeds, there are those of us who are usually awake thinking about the situations in our State and about our community. One of the issues in the front burner interestingly is the next general election where the people of Yewa and Awori would again be in the saddle in another attempt to produce the next Governor of Ogun State in the 2015 general election. We keep busy lines, we connect to the internet, we attend meetings and fora reviewing political activities as it affect good governance and collective aspirations towards achieving the long overdue dream of our people who have been politically deprived and heavily marginalized by successive Administrations in Ogun State since its creation in 1976.
Let me once again reflect on the botched political agenda of 2011 which many has often referred to as the best opportune time for Ogun west people to sit on the Governorship chair at Okemosan. One may be left to wonder that despite the widest publicity and effective coordination of the agenda, we still failed again to produce desirable result of securing the mandate to occupy the Isale Igbehin government house. I vividly remember how we embarked on the agenda then with a dream and the prayer “lead us not into the temptations and misdemeanors of the past", we had a vision and our mission was perfectly clear with everybody boarding the vehicle that was meant to take us to the mountain top. Of course, our starting was good, impressive and well calculated with good logistics in view of the fact that the sitting governor then was the driver of the agenda.
The first error was the fact that we over relied on two godfathers who were working at cross purposes, we were looking up to them for our salvation and keeping faith in their projections unknown to us that the hitherto strong and virile family ties that produced the victory at the two previous elections had since been broken beyond any amicable repairs. But who will ever think that the sitting Governor and the former President, who were the major pillar of our dream and aspiration would find it difficult to agree on a consensus candidate for the project up to the very minutes of our failure. So when people talked of 2011 as our best opportune time to be Governor of Ogun State they completely forgot the fact that it was not God’s appointed time as what was supposed to be our strength became the real weakness that worked against us. For all I cares about that election, Ibikunle Amosun was ordained to rule Ogun State in 2011- 2015.
Hardly had we started the trip that we begin to see a disconnect in the family set up, first, we were told it’s because of our (Ogun west) political agenda but we concluded within us “this is a very clear and scientific issue to which no sane human being among the family members should raise any objection”. Since then, so many questions were raised to which satisfactory answers were not missing but like the proverbial Irish questions; they kept on changing the questions at the blink of an eye each time the right answers were provided until we got to the final point of no return when all hopes were dashed.
Several of such questions were that Egbas cannot wait for sixteen years before returning to power: Chiefs Niyi Adegbenro, Bode Mustapha and Sule Onabiyi were prominent Egba leaders who told us point blank in 2010 that Egba cannot wait, they told our leaders “it is natural for an average Egba man to disapprove of the Ogun west agenda claiming that it is on records that on two occasions that the Yewa people had cause to determine who emerged the Governor of Ogun State, the Yewa people favoured the emergence of an Ijebu man” referring to 1979 and 1983. Some of us who knew the history of the making of Ogun State were quick to remind some of them that our leaders had paid their dues for the unity and peaceful coexistence of all the major blocs that constitute Ogun State, while it was true that we supported an Ijebu man to become the first executive Governor of the State in 1979 our leaders had equally in 1976 aided the choice of Abeokuta as the capital against the more central Sagamu and Ijebu ode.
Another one is the Muslim agenda syndrome that was imported into the political game at that time perhaps to destabilize us, again we asked ourselves, has it ever been a criterion in any democracy or in the choice of past Governors in the State and why bringing up the issue now at our turn which we considered was a plot to restrict and limit our available human resources for the contest. Even when there was a Nasir from our clan, did the people of Ogun State not abandon him for party dynamic that produced the incumbent from Ogun Central hence Egba did not wait as envisioned. It later became known that the muslim agenda was probably introduced mainly because of Amosun Muslim ticket propaganda as the then Governor did not want to leave any stone unturned.
Next was the issue of the removal of Right Hon.Titi Oseni as the Speaker of the House of Assembly, at first it has no bearing to Ogun West agenda as initially echoed but in the end it became a major torn in our flesh. We again asked in what way should Titi’s removal be a threat to our political agenda?. But it really was the final stroke that broke the camel’s back, we later saw how the new Speaker, Tunji Egbetokun worked in concert with ACN and the conspiracy of those in the G15 to hold the State to ransom over the bond issue until the entire party and government machineries became grounded and became obsolete to win the election unknown to many that there was a hidden agenda within the original intention of the group obviously preparing the ground for the emergence of the incumbent in what some of us called the plot of Egba agenda to stop Yewa Awori agenda.
At a time too, the main gists were that OBJ want her daughter to be the Governor, but we later saw how Iyabo became Tunji. We were fed with the information that JMK wanted to impose Sarafa, his political son to be Governor, we later saw how the same Sarafa became the Chairman of Olurin’s campaign organisation while, at a time when one of us should have been given the State Ministerial position to the vantage position of our agenda, the slot was again given to a close associate if not a family member of one of the arrow heads of the PDP faction in the State which further polarized the party beyond peoples imagination.
Then came the story that OGD want to do it all alone, of course, we all saw that in the body language of Okemosan and the systematic attrition of other camps, the eventual candidature of GNI and the subsequent scenario that made the centre too weak to hold. These were the situations at the close of party nomination when Olurin and GNI emerged as candidates for the election under two different platforms that should have been one strong and reliable PDP. One can have a brief synopsis of the diary of event that led us out of the race in PDP thus; ·
1.The PDP began a succession process leading to emergence of two parallel candidates for the office of Ogun State Governor, the process became contemptuous as an extension of the crisis within the party creating factions since 2009 and inability of the National working Committee to harmonise the party Exco to prevent factionalisation of the party ( case open) ·
2. The two factions of the party produced their choice of candidate from parallel congresses and primaries in their desperate moves to show strength and control of the soul of the party ( case unresolved) ·
3.The matter became a subject of litigation based on existing court injunction and determination of the substantive suit in an Abuja High Court ( Case in court, in line with democratic principles) ·
4. On 4th March 2011 judgment was delivered recognizing 1. Basorun Dayo Soremi led Faction as the authentic State Executive of Ogun PDP and that Joju Fadairo led Exco stand dissolved 2. That Chief Adetunji Idowu Olurin is the authentic and validly elected Flag bearer of the party ( voice of the Court,…Case resolved) ·
5. Now, without considering the appeal option which is more legalistic and reasonable, the other party in the crisis became disgruntled and settled for defection into another Party PPN to continue pursuance of Ogun west for Governor agenda whereas, the original copyright of Ogun West Agenda based on Equity, fairness and justice still validly belong to PDP, while the proponent of the agenda OGD still reside within the Party. (Opening of another chapter)
At this point, it became evidently clear that our agenda had developed a cancer ailment and the question was how do we treat a cancer without a surgical operation and spilling of blood if truly our mission was a life saving one. As you can see, the leadership of the People Democratic Party gave us too much dried curried meats to chew without a glass of water to push down the tough-meaty substance. We became constipated in the process and the result was the purging and conspicuous loss of weight before the real contest. Of course, it was not Ogun west agenda alone that suffered the defeat, Dimeji Bankole, the sitting nation’s number four citizen failed woefully to return to the House while the entire Yorubaland paid dearly for his loss, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, daughter of former President was swept off the Senate by the broom revolution while the incumbent Governor then OGD was also humbled at the poll by the people of Ogun East, his immediate constituency.
If you blame us for relying so much on the leadership to realize our ambition then, historically I will tell you that was how it had been working to produce desirable result: the leadership of UPN negotiated the deal that made our own Odebiyi and Otegbeye to step down for Onabanjo even when it was obvious that Odebiyi’s political profile as former Minister, former leader of Western Region Parliament, former Minority Leader could not be rivaled by Onabanjo. It was the party leadership that also settled for Osoba at both the SDP and AD levels against our own Professor Olabimtan, a pioneer Commissioner in the State and an academic guru of international repute. We should also not forget the role of Aso Rock in the political game that produced OGD among the 8 Remo contestants. Have we forgotten how Ibikunle Amosun became the flagbearer of ACN, where and when did A.C.N conduct its primaries before the choice of SIA over and above Bakare, Kuyebi, Tejuoso Soyinka, Akinlade. In all these are dynamics of strong party machineries, leadership cohesion and firm decision Making Avenue before the usual open affirmation at congresses which were all lacking in 2011 episode.
Against this background is the usual blackmail whenever our own people are contesting, Obviously that is when the leadership will be on holiday and instead of them playing their roles as they would have done above, they will be quick to refer us to go and put our house in order as if it was the Unity of Ijebu that produced Onabanjo and Daniel, as if it was the unity of the Egbas that produced Osoba and Amosun against all other contestants before emerging as party candidates and eventual winner of the peoples mandates. From the hilly and grassland of the Ketu people of Imeko,Eggua,Aibo, Saala, Imala etc to the forestlands of Ilewo, Isaga, Ifonyin, Ipokia, Ilaro, Ado-Odo, Agbara etc this is a moment of truth and sober reflection as another time is here . Two issues have come on board within the dynamic of politics of Ogun governorship race: the fact that there are two main groups of political thinkers creating three political agenda as the dynamic of 2015 governorship election in the State.
First are those who want a second term for the incumbent Governor , the Leekansi group and secondly,the Amosun must go group, which have among its fold, those who want change at all cost and those who favoured change but believe in power shift to Ogun west for equity and fairness The first group, the “leekan si” group are busy working on the premise that the people of Ogun West should consider the strategic need to support the second term agenda of Mister Governor for a fulfilling 2019. They argued that Ogun west cannot make any impact contesting with a sitting Governor adding that as usual, the Ogun East people may still abandon us for Amosun second term ticket. My reaction to this school of thought was apt, concise and illustrative; Ogun West had waited too long in the rain, we have also realized when the rain began to beat us, we are quite aware why we have remained for long in the rain, we are not forgetful of those people who refused us shelter and those who offered us assistance when it matters most while we remained in the open field under the shower of the rain and thunderstorm before coming to conclusion that we cannot wait any longer to move under the canopy to dry our clothes. We need to reflect on the fact that no one had been waiting, and that “non-waiters” often get the mandate to govern the State. We should not forget how Bisi Onabanjo aspired to ensure emergence of an Egbado man to succeed him and how the military bungled that hope in 1983. The Ogun East people refused to wait beyond Osoba’s first term hence the emergence of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, while we are all living witnesses to the fact that the refusal of the Egba people to also wait saw Amosun succeeding Daniel in 2011 so why should Ogun west wait till 2019 having waited for 38 years to have its first shot at the governorship.
History had also shown that Ogun people are always reluctant to give any incumbent governor second term ticket or have we forgotten how the incumbent Governor challenged Daniel during his first term in 2007 and remained adamant till he eventually got the mandate in 2011 The second group, the change advocates are sub divided into two camps mainly those who felt “an Egba man should be used to send Egba man out of the Government house” and those who felt that the desired change should favour the choice of a Yewa person on the ground of equity and fairness. As a people, the time had come when continued silence and cold passivity will be a disservice to the generation of brilliant and promising younger generation of Yewa and Awori people. The question we should ask the change advocates is why it should be another Egba man when obviously both Ogun East and Ogun central have had two slots each and baring the fact where Ogun central out of the 38years history of Ogun State had ruled the state for 10years and Ogun East 12 years.
The unfortunate thing is that most of the political leaders in Nigeria are not operating within the ideological principle of participatory democracy. A good number of them simply believe politics is another means to livelihood and therefore power should be held by their clan of leadership to the exclusion of others. It is an undisputable fact that our inability to grab power has wasted the vast human resources needed to turn around things and bring fortunes to our Communities and our people. It is clear from the history of our State that which section of the State holds power decides everything and like the proverbial mad man, they always hoe to their directions. The law made us equal, but man does not. This is the reason why the people of Ogun west must rise up, fight very hard to change the course of history now… God, rather than man makes His chosen ones kings , and for the people of Ogun west ,God’s time is now.