Ogun 2023: O Lule ti ....Watching Keenly From The Ring Side - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, August 7, 2022

Ogun 2023: O Lule ti ....Watching Keenly From The Ring Side

By Baaroyin Kayode Odunaro

I have been around Ogun State Government and its successive administrations since May 1997 as a participant in government and as a ringside observer/ beneficiary of governance till this moment. I know all the 'CEOs' of the state on a "one -on- one" basis except the incumbent, Prince Dapo Abiodun. All administrations have its challenges from my experience and any evaluation of successive administrations from an objective and intellectual prism devoid of political interest and politicization must take into cognisance the peculiar circumstances of the administrations as well as inherited challenges and liabilities. 

Living outside the state at the moment, I had watched the current administration from the outside relying on reports and social media publicity provided by one of my younger brothers in the profession and political associate, Sf Emmanuel Ojo who is imbedded in the administration as to be the eyes of any outsider looking for concrete milestones of the Dapo Abiodun Administration. I am also a regular visitor to the state capital, Abeokuta, Ilaro and other communities that official functions while working in the state had taken me to. A month back after some heavy downpour lasting days as I was told many roads including newly constructed one as well as not too new ones by the previous administration of senator Ibikunke Amosun had suddenly developed random potholes in many places that I plied and being just on a visit, my car was galloping through many of these deep craters particularly in my nightly drive around the state capital. As usual, I soon left town and the state for my abode in the Federal Capital Territory.

Two weeks later I am back in my usual regular drop by visits and good and surprisingly enough most of the noticed potholes has been fixed and I enjoy drives around Abeokuta on my usual routes with the bumpy experience of the last visit. In the news too was various stories of the governor's interventions and pronouncements on the deplorable state of some critical road infrastructure in the state. Sf. Ojo also kept up the tempo of regaling various social media outlets with photographic evidence of the impact the government was making on roads, housing, education, health and other areas that government activities can be captured in some evidential form. Some of these were reactive of citizen's request like the one from another younger colleague, Dayo Rufai on education and roads leading to his ascription of a "listening governor" to Prince Abiodun . Others were part of an ongoing programmes completed or nearing completion. One of such was the ongoing housing project in Ilaro to which this writer and his brother had subscribed awaiting allocations.

However, we are in the period of electoral campaigns and when I interfaced with associates that are ordinarily resident in town, most of them expressed fears for the chances of the governor winning a second term. I am to understand that the fears heightened with the outcome of the recent Osun State governorship election that somehow threw up the comical dancing governor elect, Senator Ademola Adeleke. The whole scenario is captured in the term "O Lule" as popularized by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu when he visited Ogun State in the run up to APC Presidential primaries. The talk in town was like Prince Abiodun is likely or must 'lule' depending on who you talk to. Of course, there were those who opined that the governor's second term is assured. I was curious to interrogate further and discovered that the "O lule" for governor apostles were mostly civil servants and politicians of all hues with some queer sense of entitlement for patronage, leadership or those who lost out of electoral contest in the run up to the selection of candidates for various elective positions in 2023. When I pointed out that the Osun case of 2022 is different from Ogun  2023 in several respects with Ogun State governor having some formidable allies like former governors Chief Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Solomon Adeola aka Yayi, all formidable and tested political warhorse and leaders in their own rights, those mouthing "O Lule' lapse into some personal animosities and disaffection with the personality and style of the governor in the las three years of his administration. They point to his lack of populist posture that has nothing to do with his so far very credible performance under the current situation of global and national economic downturn originating in COVID-19 era disruptions, the effects of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and insecurity. In truth and from my experience ordinary voters electoral decision are often divorced from certified performance of any elected officer. This much was documented in my autographical book "Colours of Perception" with voter pandering to perception coloured by some powerful aggrieved persons with a personal axe to grind with the incumbent. And in the recent history of Ogun State, that has always been the case for governors gunning for a second term. It is always a struggle, and all depends on how the incumbent navigates bruise egos and animosities.  The opposition at this point also factored into the calculations of the eventual outcome for an incumbent in Ogun State. To counter the perceived non populism of an incumbent the opposition must be highly populist. This was one of the things that played out in Osun state with Senator Adeleke dancing to the cymbal of a Davido. We certainly don't have such a 'peoples' opposition force in Ogun State against the incumbent and the "O Lule" apostles knows that the opposition figure towards 2023 leaves much to be desired in terms of genuine populism which is a major currency in any attempt to unseat an acknowledged performer.

So, as it is, it is still a far cry from ruling Prince Abiodun as a one term governor under any "O Lule" fantasy in Ogun State. Already, the incumbent is variously and overtly doing the needful of touching base with the people in various ways and with elections still about 6 months away, he may end up as "O lana"(Blazing) governor instead of "O Lule" governor.  In the days ahead towards the full blown campaign, with Asiwaju Tinubu as APC presidential candidate from South West geo-political zone, an OGD and a Yayi in the field of play, a national leader in the status of Chief Osoba, former deputy governors Prince Segun Adesegun, Alhaja Salmot Badru and Alhaji Sefiu Gbenga Kaka and their supporters chipping in their vast experience and structure for the incumbent, Prince Abiodun may just pull out his chestnuts out of fire to complete his constitutionally prescribe two terms till 2027, just like his predecessors. Senator Amosun and Otunba Daniel......

We watch and play the game in the months ahead.

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