Friday, July 23, 2010

THE ISSUE OF ZONING IN OGUN STATE PDP GUBERNATORIAL PRIMARY ELECTION

In order to make a good case for zoning of the gubernatorial slot to Yewa, it is necessary to portray Yewa as a victim of political oppression which has been denied of its political rights. And that is what those whose mischief making machinery including the Ogun state owned media have been busy doing.
But the reality is far from this. Those who are familiar with the gubernatorial history of Ogun State would remember the following:
In 1978, the gubernatorial slot was not zoned to any of the divisions in Ogun State. It is pertinent to note that Ogun State consists of four divisions.
The majority clan of Ijebu which is monolithic, so to say, as they speak same dialect from Aiyepe, Odogbolu/Okun Owa axis to the north Ago-Iwoye, Ijebu Igbo spreading to the centre located at Ijebu Ode and to the east empting at Mushin/ Ijebu¬-Ife / Ijebu waterside axis. Each of these communities has a traditional ruler and proud of its heritage even though they accept the superiority of the Awujale of Ijebu Land. This vast area constitutes six Local Governments with an electoral strength of 47% of the state electorate. The Remo though speaks derivation of Ijebu but their history and ancestry are as distinct as the left eye is different from the right. They are a proud people with communities with traditional rulers, the most prominent of whom is the Akarigbo of Ijebu Remo. They claim to have migrated independent of the Ijebus from Remo quarters in Ile-Ife. The relationship between Ijebu and Remo has been brotherly with mutual respect to their cultural differences. Comparative with Ijebu and Egba, they constitute a smaller clan in Ogun State with three local governments whereas the Ijebu and Egba constitute six local governments respectively while Yewa has five local governments.
There is no gainsaying that Ijebu and Remo are short changed by the political gerrymandering that constituted the senatorial district in Ogun State and also the distribution of Local Government. While Egba with six local governments like Ijebu has its own Senatorial District, the Ogun Central, the Ijebu and Remo with nine local governments share the same senatorial district, Ogun East, whereas the Yewa, with five local governments, has its own senatorial District, Ogun West.
With this gerrymandered and unfair allocation of senatorial districts to the disadvantage of Ijebu and Remo, it is easy for the propagandists to point out that Yewa is the only Senatorial District that has not produced a Governor in Ogun State without considering the fact that Yewa and Egba are unduly favored by the allocation of senatorial districts and that if for example, five local governments in Ijebu, like Odogbolu, Ijebu North, Ijebu East, Ijebu Waterside and Ijebu North East had constituted a senatorial district, they too could claim that they had not had a largesse of the gubernatorial manna zoned to their backyard because the only Governor that has come from Ijebu in Ogun State was Chief Bisi Onabanjo from Ijebu Ode local government who was elected as Governor in 1979, thirty one years ago.
And Chief Bisi Onabanjo did not get the gubernatorial ticket zoned to his backyard. He won a stiff contest among four candidates, Chief Soji Odunjo from Egba, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye and Senator Jonathan Odebiyi from Egbado, now Yewa and the Aiyekoto himself ‘Mr. Bisi’ as admirably called by Sage Obafemi Awolowo contested the Unity Party primary election from Ijebu. Chief Bisi Onabanjo had the 20 Ijebu delegate votes, Chief Soji Odunjo, the son of the Alawiye fame secured 20 Egba delegate votes and the two Egbado candidates divided their 10 delegate votes from Egbado with one candidate scoring 4 and the other scoring 6 votes living Onabanjo and Odunjo to slog it out on the second ballot at which the Egbado graciously backed the Ijebu candidate making Chief Bisi Onabanjo, the UPN candidate. Since then, the Ijebu has carried the albatross of trying to repay the Yewa their good gesture.
And it is not as if the Ijebu has not been trying. During the SDP time, the Ijebu called on the Yewa to streamline their home front to come out with a common candidate so that the Ijebu could support them to snatch the ticket, but they refused to yield to the pressure of their people to unite. The result was that the Egba came out with one candidate, the Akinrogun of Egba, Chief Segun Osoba who politically worsened the Egbado candidates including Professor Olabimtan and the veteran trade unionist, Senior Comrade of Nigeria, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye and there we were, Osoba an Egba man was elected governor under the platform of the SDP. The same scenario repeated itself in 1999 and Chief Osoba snatched the AD ticket to become a second term governor. If he was not stopped by the PDP in 2003, Chief Osoba, an Egba man, would have been governor the third time. So, up to date, the Egba man has occupied the Okemosan gubernatorial office for six years whereas the only Ijebu occupant was Chief Bisi Onabanjo who was elected in 1979 completing a four year term but denied to rule on his election for the second term as the military struck in December 1983.
An attempt by an Ijebu man to stage a comeback through the PDP in 1999 with Dr. Jubril Matins Kuye carrying the then unattractive flag of the PDP in the face of the self serving, deceitful AD failed because of the political mischief that characterized the AD propaganda and false posture. Thank God, the tree of Dr. Jubril Matins Kuye thought to have been trimmed then has grown into a mighty Araba tree, as he has since then been uplifted to be a second term Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In 2003, Chief Gbenga Daniel, from Remo had to fight with Mr. Dele Arojo, a candidate from Yewa who was later murdered to get the then promising PDP ticket, as a turn of events had opened the eyes of the Yoruba to the truth. He defeated the seemingly invincible incumbent governor, Chief Segun Osoba from Egba.
In 2007, a Yewa candidate, Mr. Lekan Ojo, former chairman of the PDP in Ogun State struggled with the incumbent Governor Gbenga Daniel in the PDP primary and failed. Then, the Ijebu adopted a ‘siddon look’ watching as Gbenga Daniel from Remo and Alhaja Salmon Badru from Yewa ,two smaller ethnic groups from Ogun State occupied the gubernatorial seat for almost eight years now; such liberalism and privilege could only happen in a politically sophisticated and intellectually endowed state as Ogun.
In our type of political setting, the executive presidential democracy of American type, the constitution recognizes total unity of the executive chair. The Governor and the Deputy are to be complimentary. Therefore, a deputy governor is a governor, often referred to as Excellency, a nomenclature he or she only shares with the governor in the State. He or she would be governor the moment the incumbent vacates his/her position during the tenure either by commission or omission, by deliberation or by accident. The experience of our President Jonathan Goodluck is a vivid example of the oneness of the position of the Principal and the lieutenant Executive in the presidential system. It is therefore dishonest for anyone to portray Yewa whose daughter has occupied the deputy governorship of Ogun State with her governor for almost eight years as a victim of political oppression or denial; no way.
The provision for federal or state character in appointment is not about zoning a particular post to a particular place but an assurance and guarantee that important and powerful political posts be distributed among various sections of the federation or of the state. In respect to Ogun State ,that principle is always adhered to since posts like that of the Governor, his/her Deputy, Secretary to the government of the state and Chairman of the party have been distributed to different sections of the state to ensure balance in character.
Late Dipo Dina, an Ijebu illustrious son contested the gubernatorial election under the platform of the AC in 2007 after which he was gunned down by a yet to be identified assassin in 2009.
Chief Ibikunle Amosu of Egba contested governorship under the platform of the ANPP in 2007.
The point we are raising is that if all these people were free to contest, why anyone should be denied his right to contest for governorship simply because he is an Ijebu PDP. All we are asking for is the right to participate in the electoral process as guaranteed by the constitution. Let the people of Ogun State, in the primary and general elections be the judge of who is going to be their next governor. There is no need for a protectionist clause of zoning of an elective post. That would not produce a good and democratic governor; that would only produce a mediocre as a result of political manipulation and gerrymandering that would disfranchise the people.
If the premiership of the Western Region were to be zoned in the 1950s, nobody would have thought of zoning it to Ikenne, Awolowo’s birth place in the face of larger cities like Ibadan, Ogbomoso, Shagamu, Abeokuta, Ile-Ife and Ijebu Ode to mention a few. The result would have been the denial of all the good things we now credit to the Sage Awo. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was allowed to prove his worth and his leadership qualities endeared him to the political operatives who crowned him as the leader and premier. That is what we think Asiwaju Awosedo is all about. If someone from Remo, Egba, Yewa or Ijebu would be Governor, let it be the judgment of the generality of the people or their democratically elected delegates chosen for that purpose. Who says that the Ogun State residents are not capable of deciding who or from where their Governor would come from?
Those who now say that a Remo man, Governor Gbenga Daniel, is an Ijebu and therefore cannot be succeeded by another Ijebu owe the Remo an apology. Such statement shows their ignorance of the history of Remo and its people and should not be taken seriously but be dismissed as the mischief of political manipulators. The Ijebus acknowledge and respect the spirit of brotherhood existing between the Ijebu and Remo but at the same time acknowledge the sanctity of the dignity of identity of Remo as a people. In fact as we know that Rev. Olajide Awosedo has always maintained all the people in Ogun State have the same root and the division is simply as a result of different historical experience of migration. We hope politicians would stop using this accidental happenstance of history to divide the people.
It is also very amazing that those who are saying or mouthing zoning are dishonest in their posture that they concede the right to contest the next gubernatorial election to Yewa while at the same time they are parading candidates from Egba. The Yewa people can see through such deceit because they have seen such film before and the result as stated earlier has been won by Egba candidate in Chief Segun Osoba.
Those who think that they can always deceive the Yewa by encouraging multiple Yewa candidates against fewer Egba candidates as they fence the Ijebu should look for different strategy this time because the people of Yewa could now see through their mirror of deceit.
Those who now pretend not to know that there are four divisions on Ogun State and now want to use Senatorial District as a basis for their zoning formula should be made to realize that if such basis were to be used in 2003, Remo division would not have been entitled to the governorship because Remo is in the same district, Ogun East Senatorial district, where Chief Bisi Onabanjo who was elected governor in 1979 came from.
According to the same school of thought, Central Senatorial District, the Egba, should not sit by and allow the governorship, the governor and the deputy, to be monopolized for the next eight years by the West and East Senatorial District as they do now. Such fallacy stands debunked in the case of Ogun State because it is more logically truthful that the governorship for almost eight years now is being dominated by the brethren to Ijebu, the Remo and the brethren to Egba, the Egbado, now Yewa. And that speaks volume.
If therefore the Egba in the Ogun Central should not be made to stand by, the Ijebu in the East Central should not stand by without taking a shot at the governorship, shikena.
Anyway, why is the propaganda of Yewa candidate limited to PDP as if Ogun State is a one party State? Even though the PDP is very strong in Ogun, no shaking, the people of Ogun are so sophisticated that they cannot be taken for a ride or taken for granted. The AD learned that lesson the hard way in 2003 election. The people of Ogun State should not be given a fait accompli, an hop son’s choice. Other parties like AC are hovering in the wings and are watching events in the PDP. They are more concerned about who could win for them rather than from which zone. That is politics for you. We can see the AC/APP or Mega party pickig their candidate from Egba.
In a lighter mood, if zoning is about fairness as they claim, nobody seems to be thinking on when the state capital would be zoned to Ijebu or Yewa or Remo; because no matter where the governor comes from, the state capital always takes the lion share of the cake.
We do not expect the Olajide Awosedo Campaign Organization to be diverted from what our observers in Nigeria have described as its issue orientated campaigns to degenerate in to clannish debate hence we members of the Movement for Progressive Change in Nigeria based in the US that have taken it upon ourselves to monitor the Nigerian polity and clear its green areas, find it necessary for us to make this statement on Ogun State. Our last words on it would be in two questions; where were these propagandists when Aare Jubril Matins Kuye, a proud and prominent Ijebu man made a serious bid for governorship with a dented PDP ticket in 1999? If not for the AD mischief, he would have won. Has any Ijebu man been elected Governor in Ogun State since then?
To us, Asiwaju Olajide Awosedo is only exercising his constitutional right to contest and we can not see him being denied this right simply because he is an Ijebu man. He must be looking beyond the ethnic prone zoning to make his case for governor and challenging other candidates to do the same, to come out and tell Ogun state residents what they will benefit if elected.
Ogun State is fortunate to have an internationally respected leader in President Olusegun Obasanjo who will use his good position as a father to all to make settlement to unite the party after democratic primaries for nomination. May God continue to spare his life in good health for more years of dedicated services to our nation and humanity.

According to him and we agree that, people tend to want their own clannish man to be governor so as to use the proverbial hose to favor his ethnic group. Awosedo, we notice, believes that, that should not be the case. He believes a Governor elected by the people must be fair and just to all. Like Sage Obafemi Awolowo before him, he intends to have program that will be of benefit to everybody, no matter where you come from. His rain we understand will wet the app├ętit of every body in Ogun and his sun will shine over all.
He looks back with nostalgia and found out that he attended a quality free education system that prepared him for today and plans to refurbish the educational system to prepare the children for tomorrow. He looks at unemployment role and sees university graduates roaming the street and plans to provide employments for them.
He feels we can develop our agro- allied industry, helping farmers to develop mechanized farming in order to propel industrial revolution.
He sees our dilapidated roads and wants to fix them. He laments at the state of our health delivery service and plans to fix it so as to make people healthy and productive.
He sees the plight of teachers and agricultural workers and feels it is important to give them rewards right now to make them fit into the normal civil service structure with its privileges.
He is touched by the poverty he sees in his surrounding daily despite the blessing of God bestowed on him and wants to make a change in the lives of the people.
Awosedo sees the talent of mechanics being wasted at the roadside and feels he should build for them functional workshops to make them more productive. He sees the plight of the struggling musicians and artists and feels he should encourage them to reach the world at large through building musical and cultural villages that would be tourist attraction for the world. He sees frown faces and believes he should put smiles on them.
He sees farmers’ product helplessly destroyed before them and believes he can help them in preservation.
Awosedo enjoys frequent supply of electricity as his is supplemented by the privileged generating plants and feels the government should come to the rescue of the people to supply uninterrupted electricity supply for personal and industrial use.
Awosedo sees the ups, downs and ups again of life that he believes that he is only touched by the grace of God and feels he should be in government to help the underprivileged chart the course against poverty.
Awosedo has had a vision of building and then successfully built an historic edifice in opening Lekki from jungle to a mega city and plans turning Ogun into a cynosure of all eyes for all to see and enjoy. He sees the houseless and wants to provide them homes. He sees the clothless and wants to provide them cloths. He sees the hungry and wants to provide them the means of feeding. He is doing his best in this regards as an individual philanthropist but believes having the rein of government would do it better.
That, we understand is the focus of his campaign and we are determined to support him to make it remain so. We have helped in gathering a formidable team of dedicated patriots, students, scholars, professionals from Yewa, Egba, Remo and Ijebu to daily burn the night candle in the tradition of the Sage Awo to help his campaign organization look into the problems of Ogun State and find solutions to them.
We are aware that he is ready to tap the vast human and natural resources to make Ogun State maintain a pace setting status the fore bearers of the state want of it.
We have been watching how Asiwaju Olajide Awosedo is combing all the four corners of Ogun State and how the masses are not concerned about where the Governor comes from. We want all patriots who want deliverance of the masses from their visible abject poverty to join Rev. Olajide Awosedo in his historic mission to restructure Ogun State and transform it to modernity. The masses are crying loud and their message in response to past frustrations and of recent governmental disappointment from Yewa¸ Egba, Remo and Ijebu in their determination to liberate themselves has been clear enough. O yes, we can ‘A pe a ko sin oro olori mo’, Omo Ogun, Imole re de.

President: Dr. Tunji Almoroof - 0091-3475202194

Gen Secretary: Comrade Sina Akanni –0091-83221959

Movement for Progressive Change in Nigeria based in America. www.Thenewnigerians.blogspot.com (Mr.akanni@sbcglobal.net)