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Amosun’s ill-conceived factional congress and folly of timing

Amosun’s ill-conceived factional congress and folly of timing
October 18
09:36 2021

BY BOLA AFOLABI

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Despite the well-announced resolve of the Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that only the elections held inside the main bowl of the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta on October 16 will be regarded as valid State Congress in Ogun State, it came as a shock that the immediate past governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, still disregarded the party’s directive and proceeded to stage a factional congress elsewhere in the city.

However, it did not come as a surprise to those who have followed the political situation in Ogun State prior to the gubernatorial election of 2019, and in the immediate aftermath of the desperate turn that Amosun took after his eight-year tenure ushered in the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun.

That Amosun did not hide his animosity for his successor in office is well known to all. But his desperate quest to diminish the achievements of his successor is beyond understanding, especially as it would be expected that he wished to see the state he governed for two terms flourish rather than bringing it down.

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Little wonder, he went ahead to elect a parallel congress to the one officially recognised by the national headquarters of the APC, a clear anti-party action by the serving senator. It was not so much for the apparent sponsored shooting that greeted the illegal congress, which aimed to discredit the Dapo Abiodun administration, but it was also everything about trying to consecrate illegality in vain.

Amosu’s character evokes curiosity. He remained in APC to actualise his senatorial ambition. Yet, he sponsored a candidate from another party for the gubernatorial seat in 2019.

Meanwhile, at the officially recognised Congress where Governor Dapo Abiodun addressed the mammoth crowd of party faithful, all went well and the course that the party would take in the years ahead was clearly defined. Speaker after speaker eulogised the height that Governor Abiodun has attained so far, while also acknowledging the challenges that the Governor bore to reposition the state in the past 17 months. Of particular mention is the Edo State APC stalwart and former House of Representatives member, Hon. Patrick Obahiagbon, who described Amosun’s parallel congress as “a congregation of comedians”. The respected politician also congratulated Governor Abiodun for his inimitable feats, while urging the party supporters as well as Ogun State indigenes and residents to continue to support the enterprising Governor in the years ahead with a view to ensuring that the dividends of democracy are enjoyed by all.

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It is a profound irony that Amosun, who left Ogun State almost in complete shambles at the end of his tenure in May 2019 would still seek to retake the state currently being rebuilt by his successor, while all efforts to make him see reason and join in the rebuilding process have fallen on dear ears.

A former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a one-time deputy to Amosun, Prince Segun Adesegun, and other strong party faithful supported the party Congress that produced Chief Yemi Sanusi as Chairman, alongside other executives that would run the party’s affairs for the next four years. There is hardly any validation of the exercise better than the involvement of Daniel.

For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Abiodun had inherited a virtually destroyed civil service from Amosu, in addition to terribly bad infrastructure that left many road projects abandoned and the existing roads unserviceable. The debt profile inherited was also of a gargantuan proportion capable of destabilising any administration, no matter how well-meaning. But Governor Abiodun shook off the challenges and took them on with a purposeful leadership that has returned the state to its old enviable status. Perhaps, Amosun had not foreseen all this turnaround happening so soon and suddenly saw his relevance ebbing so fast. Why he has since resorted to barefaced brigandage and indiscipline to regain his lost relevance, only him can explain. But one thing is certain: Ogun State is fully resolved to move on to glory without him and he can either join in or continue to cruise towards total irrelevance.

It is high time, therefore, that the hierarchy of the APC in Abuja is advised in the strongest terms to rein in on Amosu so that he is stopped without further delay from becoming a law unto himself, a development that could jeopardise the party’s overall interest in the long run. The story of how Amosun’s faction of the APC in Ogun State caused embarrassment for President Muhammadu Buhari during the latter’s campaign in Abeokuta in 2019 is still very fresh in the minds of the good people of the state. Surely, the party can avoid further embarrassment from Amosun. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine.

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Bola Afolabi writes from Abeokuta

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