….Amosun set to emerge new Southwest leader
By Ayo Fadimu
There is growing fear among the political followers of former Lagos state governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as news filtered that the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in Ondo governorship election, Barr Rotimi Akeredolu has been declared winner of the election without the support of Tinubu but presidency and core loyalists of the president. Just as Nigerian NewsDirect learnt that Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun is being tipped to replace Tinubu as leader of the party in the Southwest.
In the election, Akeredolu was declared winner by the Chief Returning Officer of the election, Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali, the Vice Chancellor University of Ilorin with the highest votes of 244,842 to defeat the PDP candidate Mr Eyitayo Jegede who scored 150,380 votes while Chief Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy AD scored 126,889 votes.
Tinubu and his erstwhile political son fell apart in the event that led to the highly contested primary election but with the support of Kaduna state governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and other anti-Tinubu forces in the southwest, Akeredolu emerged APC’s candidate against Tinubu’s anointed candidate, Segun Abraham. Tinubu was later alleged to have shifted his support for Oke who defected to the Alliance for Democracy, AD after his petition to the National secretariat of the party over the conduct of the primary election was jettisoned.
However, the victory of Akeredolu in Ondo is seen as demystification of Tinubu in Southwest politics. Several of his followers who have been pencilled down for several political posts are now developing fear of what 2019 will have in stock for them as Tinubu may not hold enormous power he held in 2015 especially in the southwest when the next set of elections hold.
“Ondo has shown that the party does not need the support of Tinubu to win in Southwest again, he has been rejected as leader” said a source in APC who craved anonymity.
But the governorship candidate of Labour Party in 2015 elections in Ogun state, Mr Sina Kawonise, said the victory of Akeredolu is a blessing in disguise for Southwest as the geo-political zone will be liberated from one man dominance of its political landscape.
“We should not have pseudo-monarchial rule during democracy, we don’t need strong men in Nigerian politics but strong institutions like President Barack Obama said during his first visit to Africa”, Kawonise, who was a former commissioner of information in Ogun State said.
He also predicted that the outcome of the election would surely affect the permutations of 2019 elections especially the Bola Tinubu’s political dynasty.
However, a close associate of Tinubu, and ally of a Lagos Senator believed to be eyeing Ogun governorship seat in 2019, Senator Solomon Adeola popularly called Yayi believed that Akeredolu’s victory will not affect Tinubu’s political machinery which he described as formidable.
A former House of Representatives member from Ogun state who pleaded not to be named said it’s unfortunate that Yorubas allowed Hausa-Fulani hegemony with the support of some over-ambitious Yoruba politicians to override them again just as they did to Afonja some years ago and Yorubas lost the Ilorin throne to the Fulani for life.
Another supporter of Tinubu in response to Nigerian NewsDirect sent a piece written by one Richard Akinnola Part of the write up read. “In the present day Nigeria, no Nigerian politician is as popular as Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT). For every conceivable political plot, BAT’s name must be mentioned, to the extent that those who are
unwittingly marketing the Tinubu brand are his traducers who are supposedly ardent supporters of PMB. They attribute every political plot, supposedly to undermine the president, to BAT. Interestingly, these people who make these conjectures based on hear say, don’t even know the ways of politicians. The latest in the Tinubu bashing or his supposed loss of political relevance in the South West, is the outcome of the Ondo election. But it would be news to them if l tell them an average voter in that election had nothing to do with Tinubu but on different dynamics. Of what use is a Tinubu or no Tinubu to an average market woman voter in Ijare or Oboto or Bolorunduro or Owena?” he asked
“How many people followed the war of words between Oyinlola and Aregbesola/Tinubu on Osun state and Segun Oni v.Fayemi/Tinubu. Are they not all in the same party today? The same Tinubu who insisted that Fayemi must be returned as candidate of ACN in Ekiti to the anger of Opeyemi Bamidele, who then defected to the Labour party to contest but now back to Tinubu and APC. You don’t know the ways of politicians. Those who are writing Tinubu off surely don’t know him. If Buhari was written off after three consecutive attempts at the presidency before he finally made it at the fourth attempt with the help of Tinubu, it would amount to political naivete to whimsically write off Tinubu because of your erroneous reading of the Ondo election. Whether he stays with Buhari or not is his personal decision, as you and l were not there when he started forming alliance with Buhari” Akinnola said
In the meantime, Amosun has been tipped to lead the party in the zone due to his loyalty to the president and the role he played in the emergence of Akeredolu as the governor-elect of Ondo State.
“As at today, Amosun is the most trusted high ranking politician in the southwest, his friendship with the President predates APC and his loyalty to the president is not in doubt” a source told Nigerian NewsDirect.
“When asked if Amosun has the same clout as Tinubu, the source replied , “All those will be sorted out in due course, Tinubu grew to be who he is after being Lagos State governor, in politics, nothing is impossible” he said