The two elephants in Ogun State: Bolawole as a tool in proxy war against Tinubu

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Bidemi Alabi

Timid people, whose moral burden prevents them to openly attack a process or an individual, usually do so by proxy. The “tools” employed by individuals usually vary but no matter how covert such “operation” is, their agents most times give out themselves. The veiled attack on the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s candidacy by Mr. Bola Bolawole in his latest article which was made to look like an onslaught on Senator Ibikunle Amosun is the true definition of a hatchet job. In his write up which was published by the Tribune Newspaper on August 14th and  titled; “Ogun State: when two elephants fight”, Bolawole made a  deliberate attempt to fool his readers. 
He had regaled us on how Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State,  “stooped to conquer and outwitted his predecessor”, Senator Ibikunle Amosun to secure the ticket of All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2018 against  Adekunle Akinlade, the preferred candidate of Amosun. What Bolawole refused to let his readers know was that the APC in Ogun State had zoned the governorship ticket to Ogun West Senatorial District earlier in 2018. This is because Ogun West senatorial District which consists of Yewa and Awori people has not produced the Governor since the creation of the State in 1976. 

By supporting an Ogun West man, Amosun was working towards the actualisation of this zoning arrangement which was to ensure equity, fairness and justice, a principle that ensured Tinubu emerged the presidential candidate of APC. If Abiodun was from Ogun West, Amosun would have supported him but he is from Ogun East, the District former Governor Gbenga Daniel hails from. The only ” crime” committed by Amosun was his support for Ogun West to produce a Governor through another party against Abiodun. 
On the one hand, Bolawole wrote that “Abiodun outwitted Amosun to get the APC gubernatorial ticket” and on the other hand he also admitted that Tinubu secured the ticket for him. How do you appropriate and reprobate at the same time?  
His mission was finally laid bare when he wrote that Tinubu could not have secured the ticket for Abiodun without the strong support of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.  

 Bolawole wrote “Another school of thought, however, countered that Tinubu could not single-handedly claim the credit for Abiodun’s emergence but that it was the combination of Tinubu and Osinbajo that worked the magic that left Amosun and his candidate flustered, despite Amosun’s touted closeness to Buhari and the Presidential Villa.”
This position exposes whose interest Bolawole was out to protect and why he desperately needed a scapegoat . Hence his orchestrated attempt to water down the treacherous misadventure and betrayal that characterised the Presidential primaries of All Progressive Congress (APC). 

To Governor Dapo Abiodun, it was Osinbajo that helped him overturn the zoning arrangement of  Ogun APC and secured the ticket for him and Tinubu didn’t do anything. That was why he did everything humanly possible against the emergence of Asiwaju as the Presidential candidate of APC. In fact he threatened the delegates from Ogun State against voting for Tinubu at the APC Presidential primaries.  He spent the resources of Ogun State campaigning for Osinbajo who eventually lost to his former boss. He forgot that God used Tinubu for the emergence of Osinbajo as the Vice Presidential candidate to Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) in 2015. Having appointed Osinbajo as his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in Lagos State between 1999 and 2007, former Governor Tinubu should be commended as a good manager of men for recommending Osinbajo for his current job.

Having gone round most of the states to visit other delegates, Tinubu who was ready to meet Ogun delegates was reportedly frustrated by an evasive Governor Abiodun. He was reported to have kept postponing Tinubu’s meeting with Ogun delegates. When it became clear Abiodun was shielding him from meeting the delegates, Tinubu decided to visit Ogun State with or without Abiodun’s support. The Governor had to make himself available when Tinubu’s visit became inevitable. This led to a situation at the Presidential Lodge, the venue of the meeting.

This was gleefully captioned by Bolawole in his article when he referred to Tinubu’s action as a product of frustration and desperation.  
“So, many had expected Abiodun to gingerly walk a tightrope when both Tinubu and Osinbajo went for broke in the race for the APC presidential flag. As it turned out, it would appear to some that Abiodun tilted more to the side of Osinbajo, prompting an enraged Tinubu to make his now famous Abeokuta declarations, which Nigerian will not forget in a hurry. It was a three-pronged inter-continental ballistic missile: The first was directed at Gov. Abiodun whom Tinubu referred to condescendingly in Yoruba as “eleyi”, meaning, “This one”. A bemused Abiodun took it in his stride! He must have correctly read the situation as a combination of frustration and desperation and not a deliberate attempt to insult or deride him.”

Despite this and in spite of all efforts made by genuine lovers of democracy based on fairness, equity and justice like the Northern Governors forum of APC who insisted power should shift to the South and people like Amosun who stepped down so that Tinubu could emerge, Abiodun still went ahead to play a divisive role with his friend Osinbajo. 

Revisionists like Bolawole with “briefs” would not see anything wrong in what Abiodun and his allies did. Instead, he was quick to belittle the courage and patriotism displayed by people like Amosun suggesting that their stepping down was not genuine. 
Bolawole wrote “Amosun also waited until the dying minutes before announcing his stepping down for Tinubu at Eagle Square. As events are turning out, tongues are wagging concerning how genuine some stepping downs were!”

As if he knew skeptics  like Bolawole would question his commitment and sense of patriotism, Amosun while addressing a mammoth crowd that welcomed him back to Abeokuta at Ake Palace ground on 16th June after the Presidential Primaries of APC gave reasons for his action. 

” I want to be President of Nigeria no doubt, but my wanting to be President is just 20%, and that  80% of it is that I want the Presidency to come to the  South West. Lo and behold, Almighty God has answered that prayer and ultimately, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu  who is our flag bearer will be the President of this great Nation, Nigeria”.

Amosun believes like we demanded and got power shift to the South in APC,  we must also practise what we preach in the State and that’s why he has not changed his position on power shift to Ogun West. It is people like Bolawole and his pay masters that should support power shift in Ogun State. 

Alabi, a public affairs analyst wrote from Ilaro, Ogun State.

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