By Nwangwu Uba
For months , there have been a bitter quarrel between Adams Oshiomhole , a former governor of Edo state and national Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC and Ibikunle Amosun, governor of Ogun state, over who should be the governorship Candidate of the state in the March 2, 2019, governorship election.
Amosun, has wanted Oshiomhole to play along with him by endorsing his alleged godson, Adekunle Akinlade, who later became the governorship Candidate of Allied People’s Movement but lost out. This because the Oshiomhole led National Executive Committee, NEC, of the party, settled for Dapo Abiodun, an oil magnate, nominated by Segun Osoba, a former governor of the state Camp , which was said to be in control of the party Caretaker Committee in the state, weeks after the primaries.
The governor did not find the action of National funny as he was said to have taken up the matter with President Muhammadu Buhari but was told to go and resolve the matter with him. It was a matter of time for the crisis to burst out. The opportunity came on Monday, February 11, 2016, during the Presidential rally scheduled in the state by APC Presidential Campaign Council under the Chairmanship of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu , former governor of Lagos state.
The source learnt that when the date of the rally was Communicated to the party and the state government, the two political gladiators in the governorship tussle, Amosun and Osoba, started making different arrangement to receive Buhari and his entourage.
An aggrieved Amosun and Buhari political ally in the defunct, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, was said to have acted quickly to beat Osoba’s Camp to it by reaching out to many important personalities and Organisations across the state to troop out enmase to the late MKO Abiola International Stadium, Abeokuta, to welcome APC Campaign team to beat Osoba’s Camp to it.
The action was coming on the heels of a Statement issued by Tunde Oladunjoye, the Publicity Secretary of the APC Caretaker Committee in the state, announcing the visit of Buhari to the state in continuation of his Presidential Campaign rally against the February 16, 2019 , Presidential election. The Committee had scheduled the rally to hold at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta but were beaten to it by Amosun supporters and henchmen in the party.
The Osoba controlled caretaker Committee in state were optimistic that would settle the quarrel , once and for all, the governorship Candidate of the party in the state with Buhari , the APC, Presidential Candidate , handing over the flag of the party to Abiodun, the gubernatorial Candidate.
Tinubu, the party Presidential Campaign Chairman, may have suspected that there would be trouble that he was initially hesitant to accompany Buhari to the rally but was prevailed upon to join in the rally to avoid giving room to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to have something to gossip about the party.
his fear may have been confirmed when Oshiomhole , the hated national Chirman of the party by Amosun, the state governor and his supporters was invited to the podium where Buhari and other APC , leaders were seated. It was an opportunity for Amosun supporters to vent their anger on him by throwing pellets at him as the party Chieftains scamper for safety. The Katsina state born Nigerian President was said to have escaped being hit by stones that were coming from different directions. The event was said to have been paused for some minutes to allow temper to cool but Tinubu, the godfather of southwest politics who was angered by the unrully behaviour of Amosun’s supporters was said to left the podium while Buhari was making his remarks.
The violence that erupted at the APC , Presidential Campaign rally, may have forced Yusuf Magaji, Director General , Department of State Service, DSS, to issue a terse warning that it would go after the hoodlums and sponsors as well as other stakeholders involved in the hate speech that ignited the problem.
At the instance of Magaji, the DSS Boss, Peter Afunanya, the Public Relations officer of the agency said hate speeches are counter- productive to having peaceful and orderly 2019 general elections. He assured Nigerians that the ugly of this Monday in Abeokuta, would never repeat itself again, insisting that the ”DSS is committed to the provision of adequate security throughout the period of the elections”.
Appealing to Nigerians to ”steer clear of acts capable of undermining national security and stability”, he urged all Nigerians who are of the voting age to ”responsibly exercise their civic duties without fear , as security measures have been put in place for the safety of life and property
The situation was different in Ilorin, Kwara state, the home state of , Bukola Saraki, the Senate , President, as they came out enmase to welcome him. Given what happened, the Value learnt that there was tight security within llorin and its environs. It was gathered from the time the Presidential jet touched down at Ilorin Airport , the DSS , operatives , took over the town, and were ready to crush trouble makers. Mobile police who detailed to be at the venue were also said to be on the alert to ensure total peace throughout the Campaign.
Many had expected the people of the state to turn their back on the President , going by the poor treatment meted to the godfather of the state politics, Saraki, but the people still turned out in their thousands to welcome Buhari and his entourage to the state. If figures is anything to go by, Buhari, would beat, Abubakar, the PDP, the Presidential Candidate clearly in the state. For now, the only state, Buhari, may have to worry about is Ogun state, the home of Olusegun Obasanjo, a former President, and self acclaimed father of modern Nigeria politics.
Not many surprise over what happened in the state. Since 1966, Abeokuta has been a hot of Nigerian politics. It is not surprising why the DSS officials are threading softly with the violence that erupted during the APC presidential rally to avoid aggravating tempers.