By Akinwale Kasali
With few days to the 2019 governorship election in Ogun State, politicking, alignment and re-alignment of political bigwigs is at its peak.
Canvassing and soliciting of votes from the electorates in the state is also on the high as politicians are jostling for the electorates, promising them (electorates) juicy packages in other to have their votes.
No doubt, the battle for the Oke Mosan seat will be fierce among the leading contenders which include; Allied Peoples’ Movement, APM, candidate, Abdulkabir Akinlade, All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate, Dapo Abiodun, African Democratic Congress, ADC, candidate, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Kashamu Buruji.
The governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who recently won the Senatorial seat, representing Abeokuta Central Senatorial District, under the All Progressives Congress, has not hide his intention to make APM’s candidate, Akinlade succeed him as the next governor of the state, which recently saw him been suspended by the APC National Working Committee, accusing of Anti-Party activities.
During last week’s rally in Abeokuta, organised by APM. Amosun was seen hoisting the flag of the party in support of his stooge, Akinlade, to the disappointment of APC’s members, who faulted the party for allowing Amosun be its candidate in the February 23rd, elections.
Dapo Abiodun on the hand is not leaving any stone unturned, as he remained confident that Amosun will fall alongside his stooge, Akinlade.
Abiodun has the presidency’s backing, which gives him an edge over other contestants for the Saturday gubernatorial poll. His rally has seen mammoth crowd rallying him around him, promising to cast their votes for him.
Senator Kashamu Buruji, the PDP candidate could be said to be one of the moneybags, who is ready to dole out cash to electorates for the election to go his way, by buying the electorates to cast their votes for him.
Buruji has promised to dole out cash to see that he becomes the next governor of the state. The magazine also learnt that APC are also flying a kite by reaching an agreement with Buruji to forfeit his governorship ambition for the APC to win the election, however becoming a spoiler for Amosun’s candidate.
This the magazine learnt will make the presidency give Buruji a clean bill of health on his extradition battle, which he has been facing for some years.
Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, aka, GNI, has he fondly called by his admirers, his coming inot this contest for the third time.
Having lost on two previous occasion to Amosun, GNI believes this is the best time to get his mandate by taking another shot to become the number one citizen of the state.
GNI is popular in the state, and have an edge over the rookies that are contesting alongside him, but the party he is using to actualise his ambition his a huge problem, political analyst insist.
GNI had previously worked with former governor Gbenga Daniel, which shows that he is not a novice when it comes to governance.
He will certainly give other contestants a good run for their money.
It is however going be a fierce battle among the four top contestants, as all hands are on the pump to know the outcome of the polls come Saturday.
The profile of the contenders are as follow:
Gboyega Nasir Isiaka
Gboyega Nasir Isiaka is from Imeko in Imeko Afon local government area of the state. He is a two-time gubernatorial candidate, both on Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) in 2011 and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2015. GNI, as he is fondly called, is a 1986 first class graduate in Accounting from University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). The 55-year-old politician served in the administration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the immediate past governor of the state, between 2003 and 2011, and was Group Managing Director (GMD), Gateway Holdings Plc, an investment portfolio of Ogun State.
Prince Dapo Abiodun
Prince Dapo Abiodun is an indigene of Ikenne in Ikenne local government area of the state. He is considered by aggrieved APC members as an imposition or a candidate, who emerged surreptitiously through the conspiracy of some powerful forces within the party against a rather popular choice. So, now, he has been foisted on the party whereas, to some, he does not have the clout to create any upset whatsoever, even in his Ogun East senatorial district.
Talking about strong political figures in that area, anyone conversant with the Ogun East political terrain would first mention Buruji Kashamu, the Adebutu Kessington family and of course, the Daniel factor. Of these power blocks, Abiodun is APC’s weakest links. Even if the ticket was withdrawn from Kashamu as some PDP members are currently rooting, contending with Mr. Ladi Adebutu, scion of the Adebutus in the East is still a tall order for Abiodun, given the investment of the Adebutus in that part of the state.
However, Abiodun has some very strong forces behind him like former governor Olusegun Osoba, former Lagos State governor and National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshimhole and a billionaire businessman from the north, believed to be funding him.
Senator Kashamu Buruji
Senator Buruji Kashamu is contesting the governorship seat on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He is an institution on his own in Ogun State political firmament. He has grown to become a menacing political force that must be factored into considerations, when discussing Ogun State politics.
Kashamu is contesting the ticket with Hon. Ladi Adebutu on the platform of the same party. Kashamu in relying on series of court judgements which recognize his faction till 2020 as the authentic PDP in Ogun State, but the faction does not enjoy the support of the national leadership of the party. The two factions are still in court ‘dragging’ the party ticket among themselves.
Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinalde
Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade is the governorship candidate of the Allied People’s Movement (APM) and the anointed candidate of the outgoing governor of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The governor is not hiding his preference for him. To his advantage is the fact that he is from Ogun West, the part of the state currently clamouring for governorship. He is a sitting House of Representatives member and so, he is likely to get widespread support among his people, who are considering him as being persecuted without justification. And with the backing of Governor Amosun, Ogun Central is equally sure and on lockdown for him.
In other words, the battleground for him will be the East. So, expectedly, he would simply join other candidates to slug it out in the east. The calculation in his camp is that he would hold his West for himself while Governor Amosun will hold Central for him, so whatever he gets in the East, perhaps through alliances with the like of Adebutu, would only come as an addition for him.
So, in theoretical calculations, Akinlade stands a pretty good chance to clinch victory in the Ogun 2019 poll. Nothing however lends credence to than his kick-off rally last in December with an unprecedented crowd that shook the whole town. He is currently the man to beat and certainly the issue in the election.