OPINION: Dapo Abiodun Did Not Win Ogun State Elections, Here is Why He Couldn’t – By Steve Oliyide
I have read several reactions and comments to my post on the Judases that made Dapo Abiodun lose the Ogun State governorship elections on the 18th of March, 2011. I discovered that some of those responding are self-serving; many people struggling to draw attention to themselves and in a way trying to be patronizing in expectation of an appointment.
One of the reactions, in a one breath tried to attack the messenger and at the same time agreed that the neglect of the party excos was largely responsible for the Governor’s failure at the polls. This appears contradictory. In actual fact, the so-called leadership of the party as well as his political appointees were some the reasons why the Governor failed. I will come to this shortly.
I am talking as an insider here, it is like analysing a drama in which I played a prominent part, notwithstanding the probability of being biased.
My boss, Otunba Gbenga Daniel joined the APC in 2021. And when it was apparent he was going to contest on the platform of that party, we decided to conduct an independent Public Opinion Poll about the status of the party especially in Ogun East Senatorial District. The Poll returned a highest public acceptance rating of a maximum 26 per cent for the incumbent Governor. Surprisingly, Ladi Adebutu of the PDP was rated higher than Dapo Abiodun of the APC in all the three Local Governments of the Remo Federal Constituency and in Odogbolu. During the Presentation, which was done in the open, (I remember I attended one of these with a Journalist friend of mine who has also served as Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel in the State), some close associates of the Governor, including Engr. Sosanwo were also invited, we sought to know how and why would the Governor be rated so poorly in his own Federal Constituency and especially in his own local government. We discovered that the Adebutu’s are major employers of labour in those areas, as well as in Odogbolu. One of the APC aspirants who attended the Presentation actually confirmed the results of the poll and acknowledged that the rating of the Governor was so poor in the area. In the words of the aspirants, “I am not saying I will win o, but I can say I will have better results than the Governor in the election in my own Local Government”.
This become so scary. Our challenge was how do we reverse this ugly trend especially because OGD was also going to run on the ticket of the same party. We held several interactive sessions with party leaders, Councillors and Stakeholders of the party, they all expressed similar fears. I remember a Local Government Chairman admitting that his own local Government is actually a fortress of the PDP and they will will need OGD’s supports to change the narratives.
This of course was the reason why OGD hit the road canvassing for votes through the Ward tours. The party leadership expressed anger that the Governor abandoned them, he never met with them. They said Communication with Prince Dapo Abiodun was usually one way; he calls you only when he needs you and not the other way round. Several times OGD would always admonish them that they are the Ambassadors of the party, if they express their disappointments too often in the public, voters will loose confidence in the party.
Through the Ward tours, OGD put life back into the party and brought back disillusioned members with his Give Aways and patronage. Yet, in most places we visited, what the people said was that “we will only vote for you, if DA thinks he needs us, he will have to come and canvass for his own votes”. They complained that Dapo Abiodun shut out on everybody after he became the Governor, in fact they said the rice he gave them in December for the Christmas and New Year holiday has expired and is not sweet. They said he doesn’t pick calls, they lamented that only the Troika of Dapo Okubadejo, Tokunbo Talabi and Governor Abiodun are “eating” Ogun State money. They complained that members of the Transport unions are more powerful than Local Government Chairmen, and sadly LG Chairmen take directives from the leadership of these unions.
As the campaign progresses, we decided to expand the scope of research, to test other Senatorial Districts, West and Central, the results were awfully scarry and worse. If a Governor is not accepted in his own catchment area, which is supposed to be his sphere of influence, how would he be accepted by other people, especially the people of Ifo Local Government, Ado-Odo/Ota who he had actually abandoned to bad roads and lack of attention. The question then is, where did Dapo Abiodun get the results from Ifo and Ota? Clearly, it is a case of votes stealing. What Dapo Abiodun denied Ogun State citizens, he was ready to part with for INEC and Security officials. The money he denied the State civil servants by way of their entitlements, he can spend a paltry amount of that to buy the conscience of the electoral umpires whom he sees as more valuable to his reelection than the popular wishes and economic rights of Ogun State citizens. He went into the election with a mantra, “Get declared as the winner first, and we will settle the rest in court”. That was the reason why his handlers were quick to resonate “Go to Court…”, the silent part of that statement which they did not intone publicly is that “…as long as I am still in charge of Ogun State treasury, only workers salaries and pensioners will not get paid”.
I was particularly interested in the results of Abeokuta North for instance. I kept monitoring from the field officers for updates. As at 10pm on Saturday 18th, PDP had won nine (9) of the 16 urban wards and ADC won two (2) in that Local Government. Then, I was told that the Collation Centre will close for the day to await the results of five (5) rural wards and continue Collation the following day. I am not a good student of mathematics, but I am lettered enough to know that some diabolical magic must have taken place to have the results of five rural wards overriding the results of eleven (11) urban wards. I also monitored results of Sagamu and Odogbolu because while preparing for OGD’s Senate election I took particular interests in Polling Units where there are more than 500 and 1,000 voters which I tagged “Plus”.
Whatever is stolen can never be yours, DA will battle the issue of legitimacy till the mandate is reclaimed from him. Ogun State has been mourning, those who are in Abeokuta can tell, Sagamu is worse off, Ijebu Ode appears cut off from civilization, Ota and Ifo ostracized and excised from Ogun State, only tapping from the little breath of fresh air and succour that the reelection of Babajide Sanwoolu can blow in their direction. DA is an affliction that should not be allowed to rise like COVID-19 again in Ogun State.
Steve Oliyide still is my name.
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