By Olabisi Adedamola
As the 2023 general election is only a month away, it is not necessarily news that the public space is witnessing a resurgence of vitriol against the person and office of the governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun. If the governor recently selected by Forbes Magazine as the winner of the 2022 Forbes Best of Africa Governor in Industrial Revolution has been endorsed by traditional rulers and leaders of thought from all sections of the state following his strides in the last four years, such a move necessarily has to attract responses, however banal, from those angling for his office purely for the glamour and not for the responsibilities attached. Riding on the waves of the agitation for a governor of Yewa origin but actually intent on the extraction of largesse from the sitting government, a gang of political merchants have been bombarding town with distorted histories and gobbledygook all in a bid to hoodwink the people of Ogun West to shelve their resolve to have one of their own as governor after Governor Abiodun’s richly deserved second term of office.
It is axiomatic that for the next phase of his project to come to fruition, he needs another term of office. Ogun, one must say again, cannot experiment with political discord. It is clear that with different assemblies and executive cabinet, there will be crisis and the temperature will be high. Yewaland definitely will produce a governor, but it does not need the antics of political stock traders to actualize this. The emergency historians pushing a nebulous Yewa agenda that is completely disconnected from the resolve of the people of the zone are not writing their junk for love of the land: their aim is filthy lucre, and they are being exposed even in the court of law. They work against the interests of Yewa while supposedly campaigning for Yewa. Happily, the records of proceedings in court have shown the duplicity of the so-called Yewa advocates who are APC in the morning, PDP in the afternoon and ADC at night. They are people without the slightest shred of integrity. For them, it is that time of the year in which to cash out while singing populist tunes. The pages of history are full of such mendacious, depraved individuals.
Chief of this ilk is Professor Yemi Oke, a lawyer who litters the media space with write-ups that appear to agitate for Yewaland to produce the Governor of Ogun State in 2023. Prof Oke specifically identifies Biyi Otegbeye as the best hope of Yewaland to achieve this outcome. To this end, Prof Oke filed a case on behalf of Otegbeye seeking to invalidate the nomination of Governor Abiodun as APC gubernatorial candidate. But even Prof Oke does not believe in Biyi Otegbeye. While that case was pending, Professor Oke made several overtures to Governor Abiodun, through the SSG, offering to scuttle Biyi Otegbeye’s court case, provided Gov Abiodun would extend some appreciation and “egbon-luabi” to him (his words). Prof Oke even took further unprofessional steps of sending to Governor Abiodun’s team copies of confidential legal opinions that Prof Oke had sent to his client (Otegbeye).
Prof Oke shared the confidential opinions with his Client’s opponent, to demonstrate his capacity to undermine Otegbeye’s case as well as to show that even he had advised Otegbeye against the position they took in the case. Alarmed by this unprofessional conduct, the Governor’s lawyers reported Prof Oke to the Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court, Abeokuta Division. The record of proceedings of that day are very instructive. Prof Oke admitted sending those messages to the Governor, and even the Judge held on record that “Oke has not answered or refuted” the allegation of his misconduct and double dealing. That is the same Prof Oke that is loudly singing Otegbeye’s praises today. One can only wonder if Prof Oke is still selling Otegbeye out today; and to whom.
Under Abiodun, roads are springing up at will, from Atan to Lusada and from Owode to Ilaro. The people’s governor knows that the people that live in Imeko, Afon, Ilara, Okeagbede, Moriwi, Owode, Obada, Iwoye-Ketu, Okuta, Atapele, Idofa, among others, deserve to feel government presence just like anyone else. In September last year, he inaugurated the 2.4km Oke-Ola road and brought tears of joy to many faces simply because that was the first time asphalt had touched ground in the entire council area in more than 15 years. Hear the Onimeko of Imeko, Oba Benjamin Olanite: “The road was opened up in 1952. It started from Ilaro and passed through many towns before it got to Imeko. Looking at the neglect that we have suffered, it seemed the glory had departed this area after the exit of the colonial administration. But with Dapo Abiodun, we have seen the signal that the glory is returning… Since the Late General Sani Abacha repaired the road that leads to Imeko, this is the only governor that has constructed any road in Imeko.”
It was no wonder then that 42 royal majesties in Yewaland under the auspices of Trusted Royals formally endorsed the governor’s re-election bid last year. Speaking at a ceremony held at his Palace, the Ibepa of Joga Orile in Yewa North Local Government Area, Oba Adeyemi Adekeye, said the endorsement was to appreciate the governor for executing development projects in all parts of the state. Hear the Eselu of Iselu, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi: “Our governor, the whole Obas in Yewa and Aworiland have passed a vote of confidence in your government. We are happy with what you are doing in our state. You do not develop some parts to the detriment of others.” The Obas had a wish list, including a cement factory to exploit the large deposit of limestone in the area, the establishment of the Ogun State College of Agriculture; repair of the Iwoye-Jabata road, and approval for the Imeko Comprehensive College established by the community in 2013, and they are confident that it will be actualized. And hear the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle: “We are 100 percent in support of your second term…Our governor is both a talker and a doer. The governor has lived up to our expectations in Yewaland. We have trust in him, and we believe he will never disappoint us.”
Case closed. Biyi Otegbeye, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) candidate who enjoys the backing of Prince Abiodun’s immediate past predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, must wake up and smell the coffee. He is only being seriously scammed by his ‘professors’ of history.
Adedamola is an Abeokuta based journalist and public affairs analyst