Ogun LGA Election And APC’s Mockery Of Screening, Party Primaries By Sakibu Sowole—-Democracy, and indeed internal party democracy within the Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently on trial. And, unless well-meaning leaders of the party at the state and national levels intervene quickly, the governing APC in the Gateway State risks possible implosion.
This is because the recent screening/party primaries for aspirants for the councillorship and chairmanship positions across the 20 local government areas of the state, ahead of the Saturday, 24th July, 2021 local government election, was everything but perfect.
In a manner of speaking, while the screening of aspirants was fair in some local government areas, scam is the word to describe the exercise in some LGAs. The exercise was flawed because the process was hijacked and manipulated by a cabal in the Ogun APC, who contrary to their open confession as democrats, rather stood democracy on its head.
In many wards, the exercise was a project of the godfathers. Devoid of transparency, favouritism and sell-out were the order of the day, with cash playing a major factor as to who ‘passed’ the screening/primaries conducted by biased screening committee members.
Pockets of violence and thuggery in some locations also marred the exercise, thus making the screening outcome not in conformity with our electoral laws.
For example, in Abeokuta North Local Government, the screening committee working in line with the instruction of the state APC hierarchy and Governor Dapo Abiodun to arrive at consensus by streamlining the aspirants to three out of the eight aspirants for the chairmanship position, was obviously compromised.
There were allegations that a particular aspirant lodged member of the committee in a popular hotel, while the inability of the committee to agree on a consensus compelled it to shortlist three names and forwarded same to the party state headquarters and the governor.
Out of the nine members of the screening committee chaired by Barrister Abeeb, who is also the Legal Adviser to APC in Ogun State, a member of the committee, Chief Fatai Bodunrin, reportedly recused himself from the exercise.
Other members of the committee are the state Commissioner for Rural Development, Hon. Taiwo Oludotun; Consultant on Media to the Governor, Mr. Ifekayode Akinbode; Chairman of APC, Abeokuta North LG, Hon. Akeem Shobayo; APC party leader in Oke Ogun, Chief Timothy Akindele; Hon. Munir Okedara and two women.
Tongues have been wagging as to why Chief Bodunrin reportedly excused himself from the screening exercise. Could it be that he had prior knowledge of the desperation to compromise the exercise, and he chose to stay out of the whole mess?
Also, if the three parameters adopted by the committee namely: assessment of each aspirants, voice vote by aspirants (if not me, who else?) and setting up of six-man sub team to nominate the preferred three aspirants were true, equity demands that the result ought to have been made public.
What happened in Abeokuta North LGA could not be adjudged to be a free and fair process, as the hurried ‘consensus shortlist’ forwarded to Governor Abiodun and the state APC secretariat implied.
The big question to ask is, ‘is APC in Ogun State democratic and really progressive?’ The answer is, No.
To every right-thinking person who has a sense of history, APC is undoubtedly walking the familiar self-destruct path in Ogun State. Those that accused the immediate former Governor Ibikunle Amosun of favouritism are doing exactly the thing they accused the ex-governor of.
To worsen matter, some questions begging for answers are yet to be addressed, sadly. What are elder statesmen like Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel doing to halt the regime of undemocratic activities going on in Ogun State chapter of APC? Are they feigning ignorance of the barrage of discontent in the party as a result of the activities of cabal in the party?
Will they continue to turn blind eye to the superpower posture of Rt. Hon. Tunji Egbetokun, who is becoming the almighty decider of everything in Ogun State APC? Is the silence by party elders confirming the wide-held perception that he is untouchable as he claims?
What is Governor Dapo Abiodun as the party leader doing to arrest this ugly situation? Will it be so right to conclude that the governor is on the path to the abyss for him not to remember that this same Egbetokun messed up former Governor Daniel. He was also the major factor in the unceremonious exit of Senator Amosun from APC. How informed is Abiodun if this man does not have something up his sleeve ahead of his (Abiodun) second term bid in 2023?
A quick reminder to Governor Abiodun: former President Olusegun Obasanjo in order to survive power intrigue, prostrated to his vice, Atiku Abubakar to win his second term ticket because Atiku had control of the governors elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and key political power brokers within the party.
It is, therefore, incumbent on well-meaning leaders and founders of APC to wade into the activities of anti-democratic forces in Ogun APC, otherwise the cabal in the party might cause the party’s implosion so soon.
Sowole writes from Abeokuta.