As Ogun State Governor Prince Dapo Abiodun launched his re-election campaign before an unprecedented crowd in the Imeko-Afon local government area of the state last week, pledging to not let up on his development progress , observers of Ogun’s politics could not help but marvel. Accompanied on the campaign tour by the heads of the Congress of All Progressives (APC) headed by a former state governor, chief Olusegun Osoba, the governor and the campaign train passed through the communities of Afon, Ilara and Imeko, received by a gigantic crowd ready to make his second term dream come true. The atmosphere was carnival-like with song and dance, and partygoers went home with various empowerment tools and household items after the raffles.
Speaking at the occasion, Governor Abiodun vowed to continue to follow through on his election promises to the letter, even as he sought encouragement through votes. Addressing the challenges of bad roads within the local government area, he assured people that his administration is willing to rebuild the Abeokuta-Afon highway and others, even as he had already built many roads in Yewaland. He said: “I will start the reconstruction before the end of the elections to boost the socio-economic development of this area. We rebuilt Oke-Ola Road here within the stipulated period. We have been doing our projects without making noise and we will not stop doing things that make our people happy. We have built at least one highway per local government since we took power. The last time we witnessed something like this was during Chief Olusegun Osoba’s administration. We will not stop doing more for the people of the state. I urge you to collect your Permanent Voter Card (PVC) in order to participate in the elections. The deadline for collection is January 15. Encourage each other to actively participate in the electoral process for continuity”.
Osoba, for his part, enthused that his trip to Imeko-Afon was a homecoming, recalling that it was his administration that provided electricity in the region. “I am happy to be here again because I brought electricity to the entire region during my tenure. This is coming home for me. I told Governor Abiodun to emulate me and he is doing so. I am convinced that he is capable, so let’s vote for him and all the APC candidates”.
Governor Abiodun started his re-election campaign on such a glorious note and in Yewaland it was no accident. He has, over the last three and a half years, made a world of difference in the lives of the Ogun constituency, and the excitement could not have been less contagious. Furthermore, Yewaland has always held a special place in the heart of Governor Abiodun as a key to the industrial and commercial climate that the Governor has sought to foster in the state. However, listening to Governor Abiodun and other political party candidates campaigning in an atmosphere of peace and quiet, one cannot help but wonder if this is not all a dream. Things have not always been so peaceful and optimistic; There was a time when politics was a risky vocation commanded by the warlords of the state, and a quick recollection of Prince Abiodun’s campaign four years ago will show that power belongs to God. Four years ago, Abiodun’s interest in ruling his home state was met with stiff opposition from the powers that be. His posters in The Gateway State were torn to shreds, his billboards were torn down, and his supporters, branded in their yellow shirts, brutally beaten and mutilated.
Things were so bad that when President Muhammadu Buhari visited the state on a campaign tour, the event was disrupted and stones were thrown at him. The president and his entourage were embarrassed and left the podium at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abeokuta, in palpable bewilderment. It was a display of shame that will not soon be forgotten. Today, the same Dapo Abiodun who was harassed to no end is moving to all parts of the state unmolested, controlling the office paraphernalia in the state. He is running his campaign without any hassle, unlike what happened during the last campaign season. As will have become clear by now, one of the hallmarks of his administration is not to exact revenge but to use everything at his disposal to stabilize the body politic of Ogun State.
Before his appearance on the scene, Ogun was one of the political hotbeds in Nigeria. Election seasons were marked by violence, attacks and, worse still, even assassinations. State-sponsored political thugs reigned supreme, unleashing violence against the opposition and destroying everything in sight. Fortunately, all these things have become a thing of the past. Governor Abiodun has been able to bring a new dimension to Ogun politics. He has tried to show that the election can be won without killing or maiming, destroying opponents’ billboards and ensuring that other voices are not heard. The opposition parties are running their campaigns without any hassle. And, unsurprisingly, the peaceful atmosphere has brought a lot of development, from quality highways to airports. From the revamped Olokola Free Trade Zone to the Agro-Allied Airport and the many industries springing up across the state, it has been a crop of projects over the past three and a half years.
As Governor Abiodun moves, he tells the people what he has been able to accomplish in his first term as a promise keeper. His projects in senatorial districts and his investment campaign have earned him recognition from local and international organizations, and from the Federal Government, which recently honored him for his advances in infrastructure and has praised his ICT campaign to other governors around the world. country. The lesson, really, is that he has weathered all the challenges that came his way with equanimity and squarely focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to the Ogun population. His predecessor rallied across the state, hurling invective at him, but he refused to be dragged into the arena, pointing out that he was chosen to improve the fortunes of Ogun State, not to fight a war. He did not declare his ancestor persona non grata to him, and surely our people should learn from this. For him, it is only God who gives power and does not add sadness to it, and power must be used responsibly as a tool to make people happy, including detractors. All peace lovers will appreciate the tranquility in Ogun State.
Branco contributes this piece through [email protected]