Buhari’s victory will boost Ogun gov’s chances

Ibikunke Amosun

Special Assistant on Media to Ogun State governor, Soyombo Opeyemi, asserts that All Progressives Congress, APC, candidate in the presidential election, General Muhammadu Buhari’s victory is a boost to the aspiration of Ogun State governor and APC gubernatorial candidate, Ibikunle Amosun. OLAJIDE OMOJOLOMOJU brings excerpts:

Considering the strength of the opposition in Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun must feel highly relieved by the victory of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the presidential poll.

Everybody feels relieved. Nigeria feels relieved. The battle is over. The campaign of hate, the obscene adverts against General Muhammadu Buhari, etc. are now over. It’s time to begin to prepare even harder for the challenges of reclaiming Nigeria.

Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, is relieved just like anyone else. But much more than that, you and I know that Amosun gave his all for the election of General Buhari. Therefore, it is natural for him to feel elated as well. However, since your question relates to the opposition, you should know that Amosun is the candidate to beat in the gubernatorial poll. So if anyone or party was or is ever under pressure, it must be the opposition candidates or parties.

They are the ones who need to prove they can be trusted with power. In less than four years, Amosun has accomplished more than what the previous government achieved in eight years. And these are visible.

So while a student that usually tops the class must continue to work hard, which is what Amosun has been doing, it is those lagging behind that must double or even tripple their efforts. Unfortunately, the opposition in Ogun is not even doing one-tenth of what the governor is doing in terms of reaching out to the electorate. Just as I predicted Buhari’s victory in the widely published article, “Jonathan, Yar’Adua and Buhari,” ahead of the presidential election, Amosun is also a few days away from being reelected.

Initially, the split in Ogun APC meant that its votes would also be split between it and Social Democratic Party, SDP. But with Buhari’s victory, is there a possible bandwagon effect that will give Amosun victory on April 11?

Your question beats my imagination, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the results of the National Assembly poll of March 28. Some people have this erroneous impression that votes are won on the pages of newspapers. Or that the more you denigrate the person of the governor, the more the number of votes you garner. It doesn’t happen that way. I don’t know if you read the study of one pro-democracy advocacy group, the CGG. It says: “The formation of SDP rather than dim the chances of APC in 2015 has resulted in sympathies for the party as the incumbent governor, Amosun, is seen by the electorate as the underdog and victim of political machinations.”

And I am not surprised by this kind of report because it is the administration of Amosun that restored peace and tranquility which eluded the state before 2011, introduced free education with supply of textbooks to every home, provided limited free health services, constructed good roads, built flyovers all over, created employment for thousands of youths, restored payment of workers’ salary as and when due, among other promasses policies. All these have endeared the APC government to the electorate and spurred further support and sympathies for the governor across the length and breadth of the state.

This is why Amosun believes in talking less and not joining issues with anyone. Such energy is better directed towards sensitising the electorate; and this is what the governor has been doing. Till date, Amosun, despite the advantage of incumbency, is the only candidate that has toured the entire 236 wards in the state. He is the only candidate that has visited virtually all the markets in the entire state. And you know how strenuous such an exercise can be. He is the only one that has met virtually all the groups and associations in this state. So Amosun would have won convincingly if the contest were to come before the presidential poll. What the victory of Buhari will do is to widen the margin of victory of the governor, because some undecided voters may now vote APC while some opposition supporters may have a change of mind.

The governorship poll in Ogun is essentially among three leading parties, SDP, PDP and APC; is your party prepared for any last-minute alliance of opposition parties either before the election or in the case of a run-off?

Every survey, every opinion poll has given APC a landslide, so the idea of a run-off does not even exist. How can you have a run-off ? It’s not possible. Even in 2011, the total votes of the opposition were a far cry from what Amosun got. But let’s assume without conceding the possibility of a run-off. Any alliance between the SDP and PDP will only spur resentment and protest sentiments in favour of the APC and result in humiliating defeat for the duo. You know our people remember the scale of mismanagement of public funds and insecurity foisted on the state by the PDP as if they happened yesterday. And when the SDP party slogan says, “Let’s cook together and eat together,” our people recoil and ask, “What are they cooking together and what are they eating together?” You see why it is better for each of them to fight separately and lose gallantly, if the margin of defeat could in any way be considered respectable. Coalition or no coalition, APC is on course.

You may also recall that Amosun mauled this same PDP candidate in 2011 by polling three times his votes and the total votes of the candidates then were not up to Amosun’s. What do you expect now that the people have themselves seen the wonders that Amosun performed with such scarce resources in less than four years? Our people are very rationale. No one will want to change a winning team or do trial and error at a time when you need to sustain the current momentum of development. Ogun SDP and PDP can try their luck in 2019. The 2015 poll is evidently beyond them or any emergency coalition of strange bedfellows.

Is it true that the Amosun government plans to downsize the workforce if re-elected?

That is the propaganda of the opposition. It is unfortunate that some people can sit in their rooms and post this kind of rubbish on the internet. I pity them. They fabricated this shameless lie in order to deceive the public. Remember that investors ran away from this state before 2011 because of insecurity. But when Amosun came on board, he said he would employ a two-pronged approach to contain the menace.

Equip the law enforcement officers with state-of-the art facilities and provide employment for citizens. How can such a government then contemplate retrenchment? Does it make any sense to anyone? Considering direct and indirect employment, this government has generated over 500,000 jobs in less than four years. As I speak to you, close to 60 major industries berthed in Ogun under the current administration.

And these are not small establishments but companies that employed thousands of indigenes. Indeed, more and more thousands of workers will be employed directly and indirectly as soon as the state gets back on an even keel financially. Ogun workers are highly enlightened and are not taken in by the electioneering posturing of the same people that brought the state to its knees some years ago.

What should Nigerians expect from an APC-controlled Federal Government?

Simple. Change; positive change. Fulfillment of the electioneering promises. But we all know the economy of Nigeria is currently prostrate. Certainly, it will take some time to get our country back on its feet. However, we must keep hope alive.

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