By Kunle Olayeni
There appears to be a major crack in the political camp of Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, as political campaigns for the 2019 elections intensify in the state. The development followed the refusal of some prominent associates and aides from the governor’s camp in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to buy his “directive” to defect to the Allied People’s Movement (APM) towards contesting the general elections. New Telegraph gathered that contrary to public posturing, all is not well among Amosun’s supporters as they are sharply divided over the prospects of a new party in advancing their collective interests.
While some loyalists believe that the APM would help actualise the succession plan of the governor, others are skeptical and believe the platform would eventually be a stillbirth. Signs that the defection option had run into troubled waters emerged when the governor’s Chief of Staff, Chief Tolu Odebiyi, reportedly defied the order to move to another party in protest against the decision of the APC national leadership to disregard the candidacy of Amosun’s anointed successor, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade. Akinlade lost the APC gubernatorial ticket to Prince Dapo Abiodun, who is backed by loyalists of a former governor of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Our correspondent learnt that Odebiyi, who has vowed to stay in the APC to contest for Ogun West senatorial ticket, pitched his tent with the Osoba group before tendering his resignation letter last Friday.
Apart from the former Chief of Staff, the party’s senatorial candidate for Ogun East, Senator Lekan Mustapha, has also reportedly told the governor in clear terms that he would not leave the ruling party because doing so would be counter-productive. Sensing that the governor would not have his way as regards the governorship, some of his associates have started to realign with Abiodun’s camp in order not to completely lose out in the emerging power game. A highly placed source within the party told New Telegraph that some notable aides have recently resigned their appointments in government to join the APC campaign train rather than staying put with the governor.
The source cited the example of Hon. Afolabi Afuape, who resigned as Commissioner for Youth and Sports on Friday, to team up with Abiodun and pick up the APC ticket for House of Assembly election. Besides Afuape, eight other aides of the governor resigned their appointments on Friday to contest for legislative positions at either the state or federal level in 2019.
More aides, who have secretly pledged allegiance to work for the success of APC candidates in the polls, are expected to resign soon, another source hinted yesterday. Indications that the governor’s camp is fast losing grounds emerged on Monday when party chieftains who were hitherto in Amosun’s group physically attended the formal unveiling of the APC deputy governorship candidate, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, at the residence of Osoba in Abeokuta.
They included Odebiyi; the Senator representing Ogun West, Gbolahan Dada; the candidate for Egbado South/Ipokia Federal Constituency, Biyi Otegbeye; immediate past Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, and Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, among others.
However, there is apprehension among the governor’s supporters over subterranean moves to dissolve the Chief Derin Adebiyi-led state executive of APC on the pretext of anti-party activities. Adebiyi, who emerged as state chairman of the party in May, is one of Amosun’s henchmen and the forces against the governor believe he and other executive members may sabotage the party’s campaign if not checked.
A former House of Representatives member, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told New Telegraph that the APC national leadership had concluded arrangement to sack the state executive. According to the former lawmaker, many party members are not comfortable with the pro-Amosun executive for several reasons. He expressed reservation over how Adebiyi attended the hosting of defectors on Monday by the governor, describing it as the “height of anti-party.”
“All their anti-party activities are being taken note of. They have moved to APM and kept on putting pressure on genuine APC members to decamp along with them.
We know some of them only stayed back in APC to play a spoiler role, but we will not allow them to derail our party from victory,” he said. But speaking with our correspondent in a telephone interview, the Director-General of Dapo Abiodun Campaign Organization, Prince Segun Adesegun, said they were not really keen about pushing for the dissolution of the state executive loyal to Amosun.
“Those performing their job very well have no cause to fear. But if you are not in APC and you claim to be APC, definitely questions will be asked. But at our end, we are not concerned about all these little things that some people may be thinking about. We are only concerned about selling the party better to the people,” he said.
Adesegun, who was deputy governor during Amosun’s first term, declared that the breakaway of some APC members to APM would not negatively affect the fortune of the ruling party at the polls. He said: “It (APM) does not portend anything. At our own end, we have done what we should do. For example, those who are our friends and our colleagues within the party, we have discussed. Anybody who feels bad about an issue, our duty is to pacify and explain.
You see, we cannot all have the same position, but the party is supreme and whatever the majority says is the issue. We cannot afford to be carrying along as if we are ego-driven. There is no ego in a party situation. All over the world, the minority will have their say; the majority will have their way. But irrespective of that, we still have a duty as good party men to talk to each other. This we have done and will still continue to do as the case develops.
“From ages, people have been coming and going in a party. So, we are going to take it that those who left, we wish them all the best; those who are with us, we thank them. But many more are still coming to the party.
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