Challenge of reconciliation in Ogun APC and APM

There is no end to the crisis that has hit the Ogun State All Progressives Congress (APC), which has led to the defection of members to the Allied Peoples Movement (APM). Olumide Koyejo examines the challenge of reconciliation in the ruling party.


The crisis that the All Progressives Congress (APC) has inflicted on itself in Ogun State has continued to trouble its peace in the state and nationally. To any unbiased watcher of Ogun politics in the past few months, the crisis, in the first place, was unnecessary and clearly avoidable; if the party leadership had allowed itself to be guided by the spirit of transparency, fairness and respect for people power. How the crisis was created through manipulation of the party primary by the APC national leadership has been severally told by many contributors, both by those with vested interested and those motivated by state-focused or national patriotic bent. One thing all the contributors have not disputed is the fact that, prior to the December 2018 primaries, Ogun APC was enjoying relative peace and it appeared to be the more peaceful of the two dominant parties around.

Perhaps, it is important to state that APC’s tradition is to recognize the governor of any state (where the party is in power) as the leader of the party in the state. With regard to Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun has always played this role of state party leader since 2011. It is to his credit that APC has grown to muscle out PDP to an extent that, if there is any Southwest state that could be regarded as a sure banker for APC in any election circle, Ogun would most probably claim the prize. It is also important to stress that the party had never been fragmented under him.

It therefore, becomes baffling to see the national leadership truncate the peace of the party in the state through the imposition of a candidate.

Prior to the national leadership’s imposition, Ogun APC members and stakeholders had taken a stand. They reckoned that because the Egba of Abeokuta and the Ijebu and Remo divisions had always produced the governor, the purpose of social justice and political harmony could only be seen to be served, if the Yewa people (who have never for once produced a governor since the state came into being) have the opportunity after the incumbent Amosun. All the Ogun APC key stakeholders that had worked to improve the party’s fortune subscribed to this zoning and worked diligently to achieve it peacefully. They succeeded when party members overwhelmingly voted Adekunle Akinlade at the primary before the national leadership moved in to foist an imposition.

Amosun’s efforts to engage the  national leadership to right the wrong done to the loyal APC members in Ogun who had started developing a sense of injustice and his plea that the national leadership not upset the state’s political apple cart by ditching the people of the Yewa Division were snubbed.

That was the origin of the growth of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) in Ogun.

To many politically na├»ve souls, Amosun is to be roasted for supporting the APM’s Akinlade while he himself remains in APC and seeks to go to the Senate on the party’s ticket. However, these political analysts forget that politics is a game of number arising from consensus and horse trading and that political leadership is sustained or truncated by the symbiotic relationship between the leader and the follower. Amosun has to protect the spirit of unity among Ogun APC members, especially the members of his political family who are championing the party’s battles in the state. He also has to consider the significance of demonstrating fidelity of party leadership to the masses, especially the hardworking party members who toil day and night to entrench the party in the grassroots.

With Akinlade (the authentic choice of Ogun APC members) and his supporters migrating in droves to the special purpose Allied People’s Movement, Amosun had to either support them or risk losing them. In politics, it is a no brainer that the second option should never be allowed. A political leader who fails to gauge and move in line with the mood of followers risk becoming a General without an army.

Amosun has company in Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha, who is contesting as senator under the APC, while also supporting his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, the Action Alliance governorship candidate. Yet, it is clear that the amount of political arrows being darted in the direction of the former could not but be seen as a fight that is more deep seated and more sinister.

It seems the major target of the Amosun haters is to damage his relationship with President Buhari; a relationship that has been counted against him by many of his adversaries and jealous colleagues. It is an open secret that within the APC leadership, both Amosun and el-Rufai are often described in hush tones as trying to impress PMB with their loyalty.

These people who are not comfortable with Amosun’s time honoured relationship and genuine respect for President Buhari became more incensed with him for taking Akinlade to the President in Aso Rock to give the latter first hand report of all that transpired in Ogun, leading to and causing the movement of members of the Amosun political family into APM.

Yet, it is a sign of mature and fair politics that President Buhari, as the father of all and a true democrat, chose to receive Akinlade with seeming conviviality, in a move that showed he did not seem to have any problem with the attempt by Ogun people (or people of any state in Nigeria, for that matter) to seek legitimate redress for perceived injustices.

To those who know, the  national embarrassment witnessed in the orchestrated protests by party members, which marred the presidential campaign rally in the state when  members booed and pelted the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, former Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Director General of the APC Presidential Campaign, Rotimi Amaechi, even with President Muhammadu Buhari physically present at the event, was meant to be the star in the series of activities aimed at casting Amosun in bad light before the President.

As if on cue, damaging opinion pieces and news analyses started flying in the media in the aftermath of the unfortunate incident, with attempts made by commentators to variously interpret the event to mean a rejection of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid by Ogun people as well as hang the charges of incitement and anti-party on the neck of the Ogun State governor, as a prelude to setting him up for further malevolent intent.

Amosun and his camp (in APC and APM) are the ones at the forefront of the PMB re-election project in the state – funding, mobilisation, grassroots voter education, etc.

The strengthening of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to absorb the exiting APC members in the wake of the acrimonious party primaries late last year is another masterstroke by Amosun for which the APC national leadership should have been grateful rather than vilify him, if they understood the dangers ahead.

If Amosun and the disgruntled party members who were at the receiving end of the party’s national leadership’s unpopular decision to cancel the legitimate primaries organised by the State party branch before imposing another candidate on the state were political prostitutes, by now they would have become the biggest threat to the survival of the APC shell and probably a great ally to give life back to the gasping PDP in the state. The APC should silently thank its stars that Amosun and his camp live and operate by value-driven political principles which do not make them betray any progressive cause that will benefit the state and the nation at large.

Amosun and his camp have created an APC/APM dichotomy. The reality on ground in the state today is that that dichotomy has worked to further serve the purpose of shoring up and securing the electoral fortunes of Buhari in Ogun State.

Even, if the APC national leadership disliked Amosun for the APC/APM dichotomy in Ogun State – a development which is not seen in any of the other South West States- Amosun’s fidelity to his relationship with Buhari and the fact that the intriguing development has been serving Buhari’s interests fantastically in the state, should have made any consideration of humiliating him or APM politically suicidal in Ogun State of today. As things stand, neither Amosun nor Akinlade with their groundswell of support can be said to be working directly or indirectly against the re-election project of the president. Rather and truthfully, both Amosun and Akinlade have emerged as Buhari’s strongest allies and promoters in the state.

The APC leadership cannot claim to be unaware of the blistering rate of growth of APM in Ogun State between December 2018 and now. APM has no presidential candidate and it has strategically adopted Buhari as its flag bearer. The well-coordinated APM governorship campaign train across especially the Ogun Central and West Senatorial districts has in so short a time of its existence been able to amass a shocking followership base that will manifestly vote Buhari in the presidential election. Wherever he goes to campaign, the APM governorship candidate, Kunle Akinlade, has always mobilized for Buhari towards the presidential elections.

The Amosun campaign machinery which is also strong and multi-layered has been effectively put to work in campaigning for Buhari, Amosun himself and his preferred governorship candidate, across the state. It is therefore no gainsaying that the combined campaign efforts of Akinlade’s APM and Amosun’s APC in Ogun State have so pervaded the state such that it would not be out of place to predict that Buhari would get his largest votes in the South West from Ogun State through this novel campaign strategy.

Though rounding off his tenure as governor of the state, Amosun remains a political colossus and a formidable political mobiliser who is greatly loved across the four divisions of the state namely Egba, Yewa, Ijebu and Remo.

His fairness to the civil servant through a commitment to their welfare which not even the Osoba or OGD administrations could stand up to has locked down that powerful political class for him. His revolving loan scheme for traders and market people in the state as well as the innovative Home Owners Charter coupled with massive urban infrastructure renewal of the state under his watch have made him a political hero in a class of his own across diverse socio-economic strata in the state.

And he has consistently milked huge political capital out of the multi-level support and following such that in the whole of the South West today, Ogun state perhaps remains the one where PDP is weakest, in spite of the fact that two prominent Ogun indigenes – a former president and a former governor of the state – are among its major backers and pushers nationally.

Apart from the Buhari re-election project, another major concern of Amosun and majority of Ogun State citizens is to find a governor with the right fit to continue with the project of rebuilding Ogun into a modern state. Governor Amosun has never stopped insisting that his successor must be competent, and have the capability to take Ogun State higher.

If the governor and majority of Ogun citizens and stakeholders do not believe that the candidate being imposed on the state by the APC national leadership can deliver, it is definitely within their democratic right to shop for the candidate they consider most worthy ’across party lines’. Political dexterity dictates that for APC to find a lasting peace in the state, the national leadership needs to change tactics by adopting a less belligerent attitude towards the governor and his political camp.

Definitely the series of ostensibly orchestrated media attacks against Amosun by mostly apologists of APC national leadership cannot help the cause of the party’s healing process. In Ogun State today, without Amosun and his people, APC is but an empty shell. 

Post a Comment

0 Comments