2023: PDP in Quandary as Gov. Abiodun Waxes Stronger


The crisis bedeviling the Ogun State chapter of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has assumed a befuddling dimension with the conspicuous absence of the governorship candidate of the party, Oladipupo Adebutu, and his running mate, Hon Abdulkabir Akinlade, from the full list of the candidates recently cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to contest the State Assembly and Governorship elections coming up next year.

With the intriguing legal tussle that is about unraveling in the state, chances are that the party might ultimately lose the opportunity to field a governorship candidate in the coming election. We could all recall the recent past experience of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara and Rivers states governorship contest in the run-up to the 2019 general elections. What originally began as a minor family dispute after the conduct of their respective state primaries eventually snowballed into a huge crisis that led to the exclusion of the party’s candidates from participating in the election. Ogun State PDP is treading the same path of self-alienation.   

While Governor Dapo Abiodun and his Deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyede, have been confirmed as the governorship candidate of the ruling APC, the candidate of the PDP and his running mate could not make the list because of the ongoing litigation battle between Adebutu and his rival contenders, Jimi Adebisi Lawal, on one hand and Segun Showunmi, on the other hand.

The electoral umpire cited ‘court order’ as the reason for omitting Adebutu/Akinlade’s name from the final list of recognized candidates for the election. The decision followed Friday’s ruling of the Court of Appeal in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, which set aside an earlier judgement of the Federal High Court delivered in favour of Adebutu.

Now, as supporters of the two contenders are still intensely in tango over the correct implication of the judgment, a new befuddling dimension has crept into the scenario. In this case, another governorship aspirant, Showunmi, is asking the Supreme Court to decide whether or not the judgment of the Federal High Court is of any effect on his case.

Showunmi had prior to the Ogun PDP primaries dragged the Sikirulahi Ogundele-led party executive to an Ogun State High Court sitting in Abeokuta, asking it to dissolve the party officials for alleged bias but the court said the matter was a party affair which it could not rule over.

Not satisfied with the ruling, he proceeded to the Appeal Court, where two of his three prayers were granted but the appellate court agreed with the lower court that the matter was a party affair.

With this latest development, history is about to repeat itself in Ogun PDP. One major problem with politicians is their lack of capacity to know their own lack of capacity to determine current events. As they say, the human experience is an elephant in the city of the blind. People can only react according to the part they feel.

The Yoruba have a say: “Whatever faces one person is turning its back on someone else. APC has learnt its lessons in a very hard way but the PDP is about to test the waters again.  Whichever way it goes, Governor Abiodun is already in good stead to win the coming election having warmed his way into the hearts of the Ogun State people with his sterling performance in the areas of infrastructure, investment potentials, agro-allied industry, housing scheme, resuscitation of the hailing education sector, healthcare delivery, among others.

It is on the basis of this impressive performance in the last three and a half years of the administration that he (Abiodun) recently won Good Governance Award in London, promising to keep Ogun’s doors open to genuine investors.

The governor picked up the laurel at the Nigerian 62nd Independence Anniversary and Global Award Gala, held in London, the United Kingdom, on Saturday. The event was presided over by the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Amb. Sarafa Tunji Ishola and the President of National Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) in ECOWAS, Segun Awolowo, among other dignitaries.

This is even as the Governor assured that his administration would continue to collaborate with individuals and corporate bodies with genuine investment interest to drive its development plans aimed at improving the standard of living and well-being of the people.

Represented by his Special Adviser (SA) on Basic Education, Mrs. Ronke Soyombo, Governor Abiodun stated that the commitment of his administration was to open up the state for genuine investors, leveraging on public-private partnership for the betterment of the people.

 Today, due to the combined advantages of its proximity to the busiest air and seaports in the country, Ogun State remains the best atmosphere for investment in the country. As in other climes, infrastructure development is one of the major attractions for Direct Foreign Investment (FDI). It is the primary reason for the aggressive network of roads which has remained a standing signature of the performance of this government. Besides road infrastructure dotting every nook and cranny of the state, the ongoing Agro Cargo Airport which is already nearing completion is also another catalyst for transforming the state into an industrial hub and investment destination of choice.

Though development is forever a work in progress, the administration has remained unwavering in its commitment to building more road infrastructure that links the industrial hubs, adjoining states, urban and rural areas of the state. By the same token, the construction of the Agro Cargo International Airport is part of the government’s strategy for boosting agricultural, employment generation as well as Internally Generated Revenue in the state.

In the same way, the ease of doing business has in no small measure helped to promote the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state.

All this is in line with the sustainable development plan of the administration as a way of ensuring that no section or sector of the state is developed at the expense of the other. Since the administration came on board, the effort has been intensified to reposition the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the overall objective of achieving the industrial revolution through the empowerment of small businesses in the state. As the government continues to sustain its commitment to reposition the economy, it is highly hopeful that foreign and local investors will take advantage of the potential in the state to increase their investment. 

It is in recognition of his vision to transform the total infrastructure landscape of the state that Governor Abiodun has earned several other awards, including the awards of the Most Improved State on Security Infrastructure by Business Day; most Improved State on Agriculture and Economic Empowerment also by Business Day; Best State in ICT Penetration and Adoption; best State in ICT Infrastructure Development by the National Council on Communication and Digital Economy; SMEs Most Supportive Governor by Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, (ASBON) and Best Governor on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), among others.

All of these will be the tip of the iceberg compared to what Governor Abiodun has in stock for his second term agenda when eventually re-elected in 2023. As the administration forges ahead in its developmental strides amidst severely limited resources during this period of the global economic crisis, one can say without fear of equivocation that the electorate in Ogun State will reciprocate the good performance of the present government by voting massively for continuity. One good term, they say, deserves another.

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