Amosun fights for political survival in Ogun senatorial race

Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State [Photo: The Guardian Nigeria]
Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State [Photo: The Guardian Nigeria]

In spite of the anger of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the actions of the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, he will still be riding on the wings of the party to the Senate this Saturday.

But for the rupture in the Ogun APC’s bulwark, Mr Amosun’s ride to the Senate would have been easy. However, his fight is sundry and his egoistic determination to prove himself the lord of the manor may be his impending undoing.

The current political situation in Ogun is a many-pronged battle between Mr Amosun and the former governor of Lagos State and national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, on the one hand, and against the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the other.

It is a case of friends-turned-foes in an episode triggered by a governorship succession struggle, ably oiled by an unbridled quest for the control levers of the power and politics of the state.

Political history

Mr Amosun is a former senator, representing Ogun Central senatorial distinct.

He was elected senator in 2003. However, in 2007, he made an unsuccessful bid to become the governor of the state on the platform of the All Nigeria’s People’s Party (ANPP). He lost the PDP’s, Gbenga Daniel.

His second attempt on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was a success and he was re-elected in 2015 on the platform of the APC. The APC was formed by a coalition of parties including the ACN.

Mr Amosun won his two governorship elections with Mr Tinubu’s support.

Bid for Senate

His bid to return to the Senate is not strange. It is now fashionable among former governors to return to the red chamber after completing their governorship terms.

Some former governors in the Senate include Chimaroke Nnamani, Theodore Orji, Ahmed Makarfi, Bukola Saraki, Joshua Dariye, Adamu Aliero, Adamu Abdullahi, among others. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State is also in the contest for a seat in the Senate under the Zenith Labour Party.

There are however fears that Mr Amosun’s adversaries may be seeking to pull the rug from under his feet in the ensuing intrigues.

Not a few think that it is payback time for Mr Amosun, and the godfathers would not let him go free after perpetrating ‘heinous’ anti-party activities.

It was gathered that plots have thickened, even among APC leaders in the state to ensure he loses his bid to go to the Senate.

Mr Amosun, however, appears to have strong control over his arena.

His larger group of APC supporters are solidly behind him, even though they are currently backing a governorship candidate of the Allied Peoples Movement, Adekunle Akinlade.

While Mr Amosun is keeping an eye on who becomes the governor of the state after him in an election rescheduled for March 9, he has to ensure his place in the Senate is assured at the polls on Saturday.

Intra-party battle

But his fiercer battles are within the APC.

Mr Amosun and a former governor, Olusegun Osoba, are from Ogun Central senatorial district. Mr Osoba is currently leading the campaign for the election of the APC governorship candidate, Dapo Abiodun.

Mr Amosun’s splinter group is making his job difficult, but Mr Osoba has vowed to ensure victory for the APC candidate against Mr Amosun’s adopted party candidate despite the odds. He is not likely going to support the election of the governor into the Senate.

Besides the internal opposition he is grappling with, Mr Amosun has the PDP candidate to handle.

Solomon Sanyaolu, who emerged the PDP candidate after the decision of the courts authenticating the Kashmu-led faction of the party, is pulling a lot of weight.

Mr Sanyaolu is a former commissioner and had headed the Christian Welfare Board in the state. He has Mr Kashamu’s megabucks behind him and could cause an upset in Saturday’s election.

Another strong contender for the seat is the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Titi Oseni Gomez, whose rating as a former and first female speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly endears her readily to the people of the zone.

Her campaigns have been profound, and she is ready to give Mr Amosun a run for his name.

Although she was a member of the PDP until the present political dispensation when she defected to the ADC to pick the ticket to run for Senate, many believe with her billionaire husband, coupled with her political antecedents, Mr Amosun should have reasons to worry.

Mr Amosun’s campaigns had been an admixture of the love of President Muhammadu Buhari and self. While urging his supporters to vote for him on Saturday as the senator, he had also urged the people to vote for Mr Buhari as president.

He has not failed to warn the people against oppressors, who ”would come and give them money as loans and collect their PVCs”. He has also not failed to tell them that the governorship election was a ”vote for liberation”.

If Mr Amosun fails to win on Saturday, which is unexpected and unlikely, his ego would be severely deflated.

He may lose every tonic to pursue with zeal the election of Mr Akinlade as his successor.

He is already dreaming about his place at the upper chamber. It is already becoming speculated whether he will become the Senate President or not.

He will return as a ranking senator and would be qualified to vie for the position if zoned to the South-west. This calculation is already mustering a gravitational pull on the governor, making his victory a must attain.

In spite of the odds, Mr Amosun stands taller than his opponents in Saturday’s senatorial contest. If he can successfully put down the uprising against him within the APC ranks, he should earn his return to the Senate.

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