For many politicians, 2023 is like 6 months away, because they know the earlier they start campaigns the better, knowing fully well that so many intrigues will still be played on the field.
This is no different for Ogun State, as both the incumbent governor and the opposition are gearing up for who will assume the exalted office come 2023 elections.
The Ogun State Governor, Dr Prince Dapo Abiodun needs no announcement for his 2nd term ambition, it is well written on the wall and according to political analysis in the state, just like his successor, he will always contest for second term in office and high chances are, he will win the election. One of the reasons he is having the upper hand right now is because he has most of those who matter in and outside government to win the election on his side. He has been making necessary moves to ensure he is well represented in all tbe 3 senatorial districts and he also has those whose followers are large on his team.
One highpoint of Governor Abiodun’s strategic build-up to 2023 is the Quality membership he has been able to attract to the party. Among many others, he has been able to bring former Speaker Dimeji Bankole, former Governor Gbenga Daniel and , Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, into the APC fold. Given the place of the new members, in the Ogun political calculus, there are many who hold the view that Ogun has effectively become a one-party state, and that the re-election bid of Governor Abiodun should be smooth-sailing, as he is not likely to face serious challenges in getting the APC ticket. The story is that having built a solid political base, Governor Abiodun can count on his allies to deliver the coveted prize.
Although party members claimed that the party remains one indivisible body, the outcome of October 16, 2021, State Congress signify otherwise, with the look of things the party is more divided than it was in the build-up to the 2019 general elections, based on recent happenings, including recent defection galore into the party.
There are currently at least 3 different factions in the party. Discernible is the Senator Ibikunle Amosun (SIA/PMB) group, former governor Olusegun Osoba Group and the incumbent governor’s group.
Sources within the party disclosed that these lineups have surreptitiously commenced underground fireworks and antics, in their bid to clinch the state’s number one seat. This was manifested with the parallel congress held by the Amosun faction, where factional party leaders also emerged.
Beyond the political structures, many have pointed to the governor’s strides in various sectors, including Education, Roads, Housing and Agriculture. They point to road projects like the 10-lane Epe/Ijebu expressway, the floating of Tech hubs to drive Youth Engagement in the Ogun economy, the massive enrolment in schools following the abolition of tuition, the repositioning of the state’s tertiary institutions and the massive promotion and reward of outstanding teachers with cars and houses.
Also his two-time recognition by the Nigeria Agricultural Award as Governor of The Year in Agriculture, having initiated landmark projects like the Cargo airport, giving over 10,000 farmers fertilizers, palliatives and continued support across the state; supported young farmers with over 900 hectares of land preparation in 17 locations, with some 2,500 unemployed youths and farmers engaging in cassava production; and set up strategic partnerships with international development partners and farmers in large-scale cultivation of rice and cassava in 36 locations in 11 local government areas.
Abiodun is also credited with empowering 54 pilot youths in broiler production with each making a profit of at least N150,000 per cycle for three cycles. Observers point to the linkage of 4,462 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N700m in the cassava value chain, the linkage of 1,065 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N300m in the rice value chain.
The linkage of 800 participants to inputs and credit to the tune of N360 million under the Ogun State Government/Federal Government/IFAD Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), with 394 maize farmers, 54 rice farmers and 21 poultry farmers benefitting from the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) through the CBN. The construction of14 solar-powered water schemes in select local government areas, and the establishment of a rice processing centre in Eggua, among others.
The Ogun West is one particular senatorial district, Governor Abiodun is banking on for huge votes, although the senatorial district have not produced a Governor since the creation of Ogun stage, but they have had the likes of Olurin, Gboyega Isiaka who have contested for governorship but luck was not to be on their side.
Recall that Senator Adeola Olamilekan, otherwise known as Yayi also showed interest in the Ogun State Gubernatorial race even before Governor Abiodun but each time he is close to declaring his ambition, politics comes to play. Yayi has used this opportunity in the last 6 years to get close to his people and also attending to their needs, which has earned him a lot of Followers. He is no doubt loved by all in Ogun West, and although he has not declared his ambition to contest for Ogun West senatorial district, but those who are on the know understands that the word West to West means coming from Lagos West and back to Ogun West. While Senator Amosun. and Senator Yayi don’t see eye to eye, Governor Abiodun has made sure that Senator Yayi is on his team. Recall that some of Yayi’s loyalists were one of the first set of people who got political appointments when Governor Abiodun assumed office, inside source revealed that the Governor holds Yayi in high esteem and he cherishes their relationship which will also work for him in the gubernatorial election. Yayi will campaign for Ogun West senatorial district and also deliver his senatorial district for the Governor. Come 2023, Yayi will be playing a key role in tbe gubernatorial election while also campaigning for his Ogun West senatorial ambition. With Yayi, the Governor is rest assured that Ogun West will be delivered in his favor. But Senator Tolu Odebiyi who might also be considering to return back as Senator representing Ogun West will also be dancing to Senator Amosun’s tune, as he is back with his team and it is said that he will be working hand in hand with Amosun’s choice as the next governor of Ogun State.
Recall that few months ago, former Governor Gbenga Daniel decamped from PDP to APC. One need not be told that he has ambition to run for Ogun East senatorial district, but with the unrest in PDP, he can only actualize his ambition by contesting under APC. He has always been friends with Governor Abiodun, their friendship goes way back. But they have became even closer than before lately. Governor Abiodun will also be counting on OGD to win Ogun East come 2023, OGD has been a favorite in Ogun East, uptil today his great achievements still speak for him and he sure will be banking of his goodwill from when he was Governor which will also play a key role in Governor Abiodun’s second term.
In March, former speaker Dimeji Bankole dumped PDP for APC and his decision was the talk of the town. Many people believe he joined APC to actualize his ambition of representing Ogun Central senatorial district, knowing fully well, Amosun and Dapo Abiodun don’t see eye to eye, contesting under APC will unseat Amosun or anyone contesting from Amosun’s camp. And although Dimeji Bankole has not declared or made his intentions known, but political analysts in the state have summed it up that, Government Abiodun might also be banking on Dimeji Bankole to win Ogun Central in the gubernatorial election.
Let’s not forget that Governor Abiodun has become the rallying point for APC faithfuls and fortunes in the state and has been working hard to sustain that shift. No doubt another thing that is giving the Governor leverage is his character and Omoluabi principles and also the way he has been able to manage the complex party issues that have arisen since May 29, 2019 when he came onboard.
Vice President Osibajo is also on the list of those Governor Abiodun is counting on to return back to office in 2023. Recall that during the last Ogun gubernatorial election, Gov Abiola and Vice President Osibajo’s relationship was tried but Osibajo stood by Governor Abiodun and looking at the level of their relationship as we speak, the same thing will come to play in the coming election.