The emergence of Abiodun as the standard bearer of the party for the 2019 general election against Governor Ibikunle Amosu’s candidate is a game changer.
The controversy trailing direct governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ogun State may have finally run its complete circle, as the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party on Wednesday declared Dapo Abiodun as winner of the election.
The emergence of Abiodun as the standard bearer of the party for the 2019 general election against Governor Ibikunle Amosu’s anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, is now seen by many political analysts as a game changer. Before his hard fought victory, the multi-billionaire Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Heyden Oil and Gas Limited was more or less like a black horse in the race. But in a twist of fate, he (Abiodun) beat all other contenders with a landslide.
The chairman of the eight-man NWC, Muhammad Indabawa, announcing the results of the election held across 236 wards and 20 local government areas of the state, said Abiodun polled a total of 102,305 votes to defeat his closest rival, Jimi Lawal, who scored 51,153 votes. Other aspirants were Abimbola Ashiru who scored 29,764 votes, Senator Gbenga Kaka (17,771 votes), Abayomi Hunye (9,110 votes) and Adekunle Akinlade (23, 443 votes).
Indabawa stressed that the declaration of Prince Dapo Abiodun as winner of the primary and governorship candidate of APC in Ogun State for 2019 governorship election, was “subject to ratification by the National Working Committee” of the party.
The clarification became imperative in view of the fact that a committee set up by the Ogun State APC had conducted a parallel primary and subsequently declared Adekunle Akinlade winner and gubernatorial candidate.
In his riposte, the state Chairman, Chief Derin Adebiyi, insisted that the purported primary took place in all the 236 wards and 20 LGAs, adding that Akinlade, a member of the House of Representatives (Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency) scored 190,987 votes to emerge the flag bearer of the party. While announcing the result, Adebiyi declared that the NWC had been heavily compromised, hence his decision to announce the winner.
Indabawa, in his quick reaction, denied knowledge of any parallel election in the state, saying, “I was not aware of such a primary.” He maintained that the committee he led was the “authentic body constituted by the NWC” of the party to conduct and supervise the governorship primary in the state in line with the party’s guidelines and constitution.
As in other states, the power contest was a straight fight between Senator Ibikunle, who wanted his “anointed” son, Hon Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, to succeed him and the Iperu-Remo Prince and an oil magnate, Dapo Abiodun.
While the intrigues lasted, Governor Ibikunle had even vowed not to “surrender” the governorship baton to those he described as “desirous of reaping from where they did not sow,” urging his supporters to keep their “gun powder dry” for the political battle ahead.
Boasting of the immense support of his party men, he predicted a woeful defeat of other contenders other than his favoured candidate. His words: “We have the government; we have the party; and we have the people. They have been trying all the tricks in the book; they will have trouble having 10 or five per cent of the people. If they do it one million times, the result will be the same.
“The disgrace they got last time (2015) will be more this time.
“Keep your gunpowder dry, we will mobilise you with the necessary logistics when the time comes. If they are doing “kuru-kere” moves, tell them that they will be disgraced.”
It is operation deliver your ward. Go out and mobilise yourself. We outnumber them. Where they have people, please, allow them,” Amosun declared.
The battle has been fought and won by Prince Abiodun. As they say, the rest is history! Many people are now optimistic that the oil magnate would bring his wealth of experience as a successful entrepreneur to bear on governance of the state. There is no gainsaying that Abiodun, who had been elected a senator on the platform of the defunct UNCP at a prime age of 33 in 1993, is well prepared for the task ahead, having recorded a resounding success in public and private business endeavours.
Other than that, he had also served as a member of various presidential committees and organisations, including the Presidential Think-Tank in 2001. He was a former chairman, Oil and Gas Committee, Ogun State Depot and Petroleum Product Marketers Association of Nigeria (DAPPMAN) 2012 and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in 2018.
He promised to make investment in human capital the centrepiece of his agenda for Ogun State in the coming dispensation, if elected as the governor in 2019. His words: “Towering magnificent structures are good, roads are beautiful to behold but build the individual and each one can grow to build you the best infrastructure the world has ever seen.
“I know of no impossibilities in a world where the people are ready to thrive. I strongly believe that strategic positioning and close proximity to Lagos can also be maximised to our greatest advantage where we can easily generate as much internal revenue as Lagos State, if the opportunities are properly harnessed.”
The coast is now clear for Abiodun to fight his way into Ogun State Government House in 2019, as the National Chairman of the APC, Adam Oshiomhole, has vowed not to accept anything short of the guidelines provided for the conduct of primaries by the NWC in line with the party’s constitution.