Nigeria: Battle for South-West – Will Makinde, Abiodun Beat Gathering Opposition?

Abiodun, Amosun renew tussle in Ogun

SATURDAY’S governorship election in Oyo and Ogun states will not be a tea party for Governors Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Dapo Abiodun of Ogun.

The outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, in which the All Progressive Congress, APC, won the seats in Oyo State is a source concern in the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP in the state.

As it is, all eyes are on the two leading political parties- PDP and APC, as the results of the last elections have emboldened the APC in Oyo State and appears to have weakened the ruling party.

Consequently, the PDP has returned to the drawing board to retrategise. There are moves to woo groups loyal to the APC Presidential Candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Makinde’s romance with the G5 governor’s and the defeat of PDP’s Presidential and National Assembly candidates have heightened apprehension that the PDP may lose the governorship poll.

The G5 governors’ romance with the ruling APC and Labour Party’s candidates, who are from the southern parts of the country, however, came at a cost, as some candidates fielded by the governors in their respective states for the senatorial and House of Representatives seats lost their bids.

The PDP, in Oyo state, lost its three senatorial seats and eight House of Representatives seats out of 14 seats to the APC and won four. Two House of Representatives seats are still under contention.

Three-horse race

The three major political parties and their candidate namely Seyi Makinde (PDP), Teslim Folarin (APC) and Bayo Adelabu of Accord, A, are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they emerge victorious at the governorship election slated for Saturday March 18, 2023.

In spite of the results of the Presidential and National Assembly poll in Oyo State, Makinde still remains confident of carrying the day going by his people centered programmes aimed at improving the wellbeing of the people..

The oyo PDP has stepped up its campaign through radio adverts, jingles and social media platforms to sensitize the populace on its achievements and to reelect the party’s candidates at the polls.

Unwritten agreement

Political analysts believed that there was an unwritten agreement between Makinde and Tinubu for Makinde to work for the President-Elect in the state. Since Makinde delivered, will Tinubu honour the gentleman’s agreement and work for Makinde? How that will work out this Saturday remains unknown.

Folarin upbeat

Basking in the euphoria of the Presidential election victory, the APC Governorship Candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin, is optimistic that the votes will go the same way as that of the February 25 election and Makinde would become history in Oyo State.

Also, the candidate of the Accord party, Bayo Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is hopeful of emerging victorious.

His quest to run on the platform of the APC was truncated by Senator Folarin during the primary election in the state. He decamped to the Accord in order to realise his ambition to become Oyo State governor.

Political pundits are of the view that except there is a coalition between the APC and Accord, it might be difficult to oust the ruling PDP whose candidate is enjoying the support of LP and some other parties in the state.

Will endorsements save Abiodun?

In Ogun, political parties and their candidates for the governorship and state assembly polls are putting last minute touches to their campaigns, with door-to-door campaign strategies and other means of wooing voters to their side.

The battle for the soul of Ogun State remains that of two major contenders — the incumbent Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC, and PDP’s Ladi Adebutu.

Currently, Governor Abiodun and his APC candidates appear as the party and flagbearers to beat on March 18.

Abiodun, who is seeking re-election and the APC appear firmly rooted in the State and are poised to repeat the 2019 feat and the chances have been brightened the more with the 100 percent success recorded in the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The APC swept all the three senatorial seats and nine House of Representatives seats across the state.

This feat is a morale booster for APC.

Kolawole Lawal, the APM candidate for Ipokia/Yewa South Federal Constituency, and a House of Representatives aspirant in Abeokuta South, Akeem Amosun, have endorsed Abiodun for second term.

Abiodun is looking forward to harvesting bulk votes from the Ijebu extraction of Ogun East Senatorial district that has six local governments while the Remo zone comprising three local governments will be a battle ground between him and his kinsman, Ladi Adebutu of the PDP.

Although pundits favour Abiodun to win, the state’s slippery large army of civil servants, workers in the state’s education sector, local government staffers, the aggrieved retirees as well as the disengaged political office holders who have not been paid their severance package since 2015/ 2019, may be the undoing of Abiodun on March 18, if their anger and grievances against his style of governance were not addressed before the poll.

Some observers see ambition of Adebutu at a time his kinsman is the incumbent governor as an attempt to disrupt the prevailing political calibration in the Gateway State.

The question agitating the minds of the people is whether he will govern for only one term, if he wins?

Series of endorsements

Both candidates have been enjoying a series of endorsements from different parties. While 12 political parties under the aegis of Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, endorsed Abiodun, another nine political parties threw their weight behind Adebutu.

A group of PDP members loyal to late Senator Buruji Kashamu from all the 20 local government areas of the state have equally endorsed Abiodun for a second term in office.

While Abiodun is having the upper hand in the series of endorsements, the question is, what are his chances in the coming election?

Abiodun’s spat with Amosun

A big factor that may work against Abiodun is the frosty relationship between him and the former governor, Ibikunle Amosun. The former governor has pitched his tent with Biyi Otegbeye, the governorship candidate of the African democratic Congress, ADC.

Otegbeye is a lawyer and an insurance guru. He moved to ADC when lost out in the APC governorship primary.

He contested for the senatorial seat of Ogun West but could not push it through. He is running on the wing of popular sentiment that Ogun West has not produced a governor yet and that equity, justice and fairness demand that the rest of the state support him to actualize the aspiration.

Acting independently, he does not have the political stamina to face either Adebutu of the PDP or the incumbent Abiodun.

His critics perceived his ambition as Amosun’s proxy war agains Abiodun.


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