Ogun 2023: How Abiodun’s support for Lagos Senator, Adeola unsettling his cabinet

 Some appointees of Governor Dapo Abiodun may not be happy with their principal over his open support for Lagos West Senator, Olamilekan Adeola, who has been making frantic efforts to cross over from Lagos to Ogun West.

The press reliably gathered that many of the appointees from Ogun West are filled with seething resentment and may be forced to jolt the Abiodun government in no distant time.

To prevent this, the governor recently asked those interested in the 2023 general elections to resign their appointments on or before January 31, 2022.

“Any activity that is capable of undermining the implementation of the Building Our Future Together Agenda of the Administration will not be tolerated,” Abiodun said, warning that nobody should be a clog in the wheel of his administration.

It could be recalled that during the 2019 governorship election, different political groups and parties had teamed up to ensure Abiodun became the governor of the Gateway State.

Less than a year after his inauguration, some of the various political interests groaned that the Iperu-born politician was giving too much recognition to the support he received from Senator Adeola, who was at the time unpleased with former Governor Ibikunle Amosun for vehemently antagonising what many called his ‘ill-advised ambition’ to become the governor of Ogun.

To Amosun, it would be an insult to the susceptibility of an average Ogun indigene that a “foreigner” would take over the affairs of the State when the State is not in dearth of competent hands.

For this reason, the Ogun Central Senator rejected Adeola on two different occasions – first in 2015, when he wanted to become the Senator of Ogun West; and in 2019, when he had begun serious mobilisation to occupy the Oke-Mosan office.

In his own way of retaliating, Adeola, who had earlier vowed to ensure Ogun West produced the first governor in 2019, reneged on his promise by pitching tents with Abiodun’s Remo agenda.

“There is an agreement that Abiodun would support Adeola, fondly known as Yayi, to become Ogun West Senator in 2023 when the governor would be going for his second term. By 2027, Abiodun would now hand over to Yayi as the governor of Ogun.

“Gov Abiodun believed it was Yayi who made him the governor of Ogun State. In fact, others are not so important to him like the Lagos man. That is why the majority of those in his cabinet are loyalists of Adeola. In fact, the governor does not have a political structure of his own and he is not ready to build one. He depends largely on the Yayi camp,” a source told our correspondent anonymously.

Different political groups within the Abiodun faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have on different occasions alluded to the governor’s alleged lopsided appointment and his “nepotistic disposition” in favour of Adeola and his followers.

When Abiodun released his list of commissioners in December 2019, Senator Tolu Odebiyi of Ogun West joined loyalists of former Governor Olusegun Osoba to kick against the nominees, accusing Abiodun of “frittering the massive goodwill of the party men and women.”

Odebiyi said the governor should be wary of being misled by a group of people “into a political cul de sac.”

He noted then that “barely six months into our four-year mandate, we appear to be helpless and stakeholders are becoming increasingly uncomfortable and unhappy,” adding that people who were central to the emergence of Abiodun’s administration had been ostracized politically.

Also, in an interview with a national daily in May 2020, the Ogun APC caretaker committee Secretary, Ayo Olubori, accused some appointees of hijacking the functions of the party, “thereby turning the Governor’s office into another party secretariat.”

Olubori did not mince words as he mentioned the Chief of Staff, Shuaib Salisu; the Special Adviser on Political Matters, Hon. Tunji Egbetokun and the Special Adviser on Government House, Hon. Babatunde Olaotan as the appointees involved in the act.

“The Chief of Staff, Shuaib Salisu, Hon Tunji Egbetokun, including Special Adviser, Government House, Babatunde Olaotan, these are the personalities responsible for this and at this point in time, we just have to tell them, they are appointees of Mr Governor.”

While saying the appointees were making “reckless and insulting incursion into party activities,” Olubori stressed that “they are over there strategising – ‘I will be the Senator, I will be the House of Reps member’. They have shared all elective positions.”

It was  learnt that the trio of Salisu, Egbetokun and Olaotan are staunch loyalists of Adeola; they have been calling the shots even when many are raising eyebrows.

Likewise, in June 2021, loyalists of Gboyega Isiaka cried out that they were being marginalised by some groups within the Abiodun’s APC faction.

Making a veiled reference to Yayi supporters, the group, under the aegis of The Believe Movement, lamented that “anybody who desires anything from the party or government must pledge loyalty to a particular camp before being considered.

The group implored Abiodun, “to show more fundamental interest in how the affairs of the party is being run.”

In all of these, Abiodun seemed unperturbed with the myriad of both expressed and unexpressed complaints coming from members of his camp against Adeola’s supporters.

When many are yet to be convinced about Adeola’s ‘sudden’ claim of being an indigene of Ogun West, Gov Abiodun, at the recent Oronna Festival in Ilaro announced and openly declared his support for the Lagos West Senator.

He described him as an industrious son of Ogun, saying he is “currently on loan to Lagos.”

The governor added further that at the appropriate time, Yayi would be recalled to Ogun State.

With this, the socio-cultural Oronna festival turned a campaign ground for Adeola as the musician raised his voice in singing the Lagosian’s praises.

“Perhaps, that was why many well-known Yewa indigenes stayed away from an event they used to attend yearly,” a source has opined.

Gov Abiodun’s statement, the press observes, has put paid to the uncertainty surrounding Yayi’s senatorial ambition in Ogun West; many Ogun residents said they have now “confirmed that the governor is ready to do anything to hand over the APC ticket to Yayi,” who some alleged hails from Ekiti.

Since he made that statement, our correspondent learnt that there have been serious bickering among some appointees of Abiodun, who many accused of trying to heat up the polity about 15 months before the elections.

“The governor’s statement at Oronna has brought about anger among some of his appointees. His support for Yayi did not go down well with some of them, especially those eyeing the Ogun West senatorial seat and those who were being sidelined in favour of Yayi and his followers. The governor noticed this. He knew there may be a distraction, if not an implosion. That’s why he asked those seeking elections in 2023 to resign. That call for resignation is not for everybody, he has some people in mind and those ones may be asked to resign if they refuse to abide by the fact that Gov Abiodun wants Yayi as Ogun West Senator in 2023,” an internal source has disclosed.

It was further gathered that some leaders of the APC from Yewa/Awori, including Abiodun’s ‘2ic’, are not pleased with his support for a man who has been a lawmaker in Lagos for almost 20 years.

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