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As preparations for the Local Government Elections in Ogun State which has been slated to hold on Saturday 24th July, 2021 draw near, the ruling party in the state, the All Progressives Congress is getting prepared for finai nomination of candidates as stipulated in the party guidelines, towards complying with the Electoral Guidelines so enshrined by the Ogun State Election Umpire, the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission – OGSIEC, in the State Local Government Electoral Guidelines.

Earlier between 4th and 22nd May, 2021, and following the inauguration of the Ogun State Independent Electoral Commission – OGSIEC on 19th March, 2021 headed by Mr Babatunde Osibodu as Chairman, Election Guidelines were released by OGSIEC for electoral participation by the registered political parties in the state. Expectedly, the All Progressives Congress- APC being the ruling party in the state had swung into actions over nomination of candidates for the elective Chairmanship and Councillorship positions in the twenty Local Government Councils in the state. The party had since resolved on the adoption of APC primary election modality to produce candidates on it’s platform for the Local Government Council Elections. However, the adopted APC primary election modality had been breeding tension in some of the Local Government areas beyond what might have been envisaged by the party chieftains as well as party faithful in the state.

In Abeokuta South Local Government Council for instance, the story has been quite typical of it’s political status as the ‘Premier’ Local Government not only in the state according to history, but also in the country where political direction of the state affairs often manifest ahead in practice. Of course the APC party chieftains in the Local Government area had been putting heads together towards mending fences, in order to avoid playing into the waiting hands of the Peoples Democratic Party – PDP which had remained the staunch rival political party in the state as a whole. Yet, the tension had been that of political variance ranging from suitability of candidates before the people and imposition of candidates by the power brokers known among the political chieftains within the Local Government chapter of the party to be rooting selfishly against the democratic norms.

Hon Ayodeji Shomide
Hon.Adedayo Akintoye

In a chat with Hon Adedayo Akintoye, a Chairmanship aspirant standing, affirmed the staunch grassroots potency of the Chairmanship Aspirants Forum at harnessing the political sagacity of the Local Government area towards the forthcoming elections. He sited the consensus adoption of the sitting Caretaker Chairman of the Local Government Council, Mr Ayodeji Shomide which was based on his wonderful performance despite the ad-hoc nature of his office. He stressed that ‘ with respect to all factors of suitability for nomination as Chairmanship candidate to contest and win the forthcoming Local Government elections for the party, loaded with requisite potential of his electoral value to spread spill-over effects on the Councillorship seats, Mr Ayodeji Shomide remains a candidate to beat. Think about the candidates of other political parties, Mr Ayodeji Shomide stands out as a winning progressive candidate who is able to square it up victoriously for the elective Chairmanship position without political rancour’

Hon Adedayo Akintoye also maintained that the choice of Mr Ayodeji Shomide from the blow of whistle by the party leaders within the Local Government chapter of the party has, upon his subsequent appointment as the Caretaker Chairman by the state administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR paid off in no small measure. Hon Akintoye would even want to be quoted that ‘so far, Mr Ayodeji Shomide has nurtured a workable stewardship profile that is worthy of continuity, especially in the good interest of the party in particular, and the overall interests of the ‘Premier’ people of the Local Government area in general’

However, a Woman Leader of the party in Ward 2 of the Local Government area has at different fora argued against the opinion. According to her, the fact that Mr Ayodeji Shomide had been given the opportunity to serve as the Caretaker Chairman of the Local Government Council for this while should be considered sufficient for him, in order to give other interested members of the party the opportunity to serve in same capacity particularly vide Local Government Council elections. But a Youth Leader of the party in Ward 7 of the Local Government area, Comrade Fatai Ijayegbemi, has
disagreed with Mrs Gbadebo on this ground, referring specifically to the spree of performance of the Caretaker Chairman, Mr Ayodeji Shomide as ‘ unbeatable’. He maintained that ‘we all know what it takes to serve creditably well as Caretaker Chairman especially in Abeokuta South Local Government Council upon the rudiments of it’s ‘Premier’ status, and with such limited powers and resources. So if Mr Ayodeji Shomide, AY Sho as we fondly call him could have performed so creditably, one can only imagine what would be his stewardship record if given the opportunity to serve as elected Chairman of our ‘ ‘Premier’ Local Government. Comrade Ijayegbemi reaffirmed the ‘Premier’ status of Abeokuta South Local Government to charge for excellent performance, reiterating that ‘ without being immodest, Abeokuta South Local Government Councillorship seats are not for any Jick and Harry, not to talk of the Chairmanship seat’. He therefore warned vehemently that ‘Abeokuta South Local Government Chairmanship cum Councillorship seats are not for sale’.

Meanwhile, allegations are rife especially across different political circles within the Local Government area that an aspirant of the party for the Chairmanship seat’ who is described as a ‘unguided civil servant’ in town, and classified as being ready to dispose off any property available to him to get whatever he wants anytime without looking back, even while not minding whose ox is gored, has been alleged to be buying his ways quite desperately into the corridors of those known power brokers within the Local Government chapter of the party. The unguided civil servant. whose name was given as Hon Omolaja Majekodunmi has been said to be in the good book of the power brokers, by whom he is being pushed on board for the nomination ticket. He was said to be riding on the shoulders of a member of the State Cabinet of Governor Dapo Abiodun MFR, and a former Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, both of whom hail from Abeokuta South Local Government area, but had been ranking exclusively as the ring leaders within the bloc of the power brokers in the circumstance.

As at this last moment, it has been alleged that towards protecting the interest of Hon Omolaja Majekodunmi, the Cabinet member who is a serving State Commissioner under the present administration ‘has been ‘doing the job frontline’, while the former Speaker has been effecting necessary back-ups among the Women Wings since she is a female political chieftain within the Local Government chapter of the party.

Our source who claimed to be leading the voice of the majority APC party faithful cutting across age and sex across the Local Government area, has warned that any attempt to
impose candidates particularly the power brokers candidates on the party at the forthcoming Local Government Council elections in our Local Government area shall be firmly resisted. The source has also lent the voice of it’s claimed majority blocs in the party to call on Governor Dapo Abiodun MFR to thrive on time against the unhealthy intervention of his Cabinet member in the forthcoming Local Government Council elections, and to return the former Speaker who His Excellency has been funding without bias to her shell, and that she should stop disrupting the political narratives of the ‘Premier” Abeokuta South Local Government. The source has therefore resorted in strong terms that ‘ since we cannot afford proxy management of our Local Government Council in the hands of any State Commissioner or former Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly for whatever reasons, and that we are not prepared to compromise the shining ‘Premier’ status of our Local Government, we humbly call on His Excellency Governor Dapo Abiodun MFR whom we trust so dearly to heave for us a sigh of relief by intervening very promptly in this tension prone development.

Notwithstanding this tension prone development anyway, leaders of the party in the affected ward seem to be heaving a sigh of relief on the party faithful ahead of any such hyper intensive intervention by His Excellency Governor Dapo Abiodun MFR before it is too late. Hence Mr Olawale Olaogun, a leader of the party in Ward 13 where the Caretaker Chairman Mr Ayodeji Shomide hails from has appealed to the people of Abeokuta South Local Government area to remain premier, assuring them that ‘where our son is nominated as APC Chairmanship candidate and is subsequently elected as Chairman of our ‘Premier’ Local Government Council, we would not disappoint you’. Also Chief Kehinde Sofenwa, the Bantun of Egbaland and member of the Council of Chiefs of The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo CFR, has vowed that ‘because we know Mr Ayodeji Shomide as a tested and trusted hand, we can always vouch for him. We would therefore be there for him always and ensure that his administration remains effectively glued to the democratic tenets behind electoral mandate of the people at all times’ This is much as Alhaja Modinat Oyetola, the Osi Iyaloja of Kampala Traders Association, Itoku Abeokuta, has given kudos to Mr Ayodeji Shomide as a good performer whose Caretaker administration deserves healthy transformation to elective dispensation. Similarly, Prince Adedamola, the Zonal Community Development Association Chairman had remarked that the people of Abeokuta South Local Government area are only waiting for the emergency of Mr Ayodeji Shomide as Executive Chairman of the Local Government to compliment his humane stuff as a round peg in a round hole. While Chief Monsuru Balogun, another political leader in Ward 13 to which Hon Omolaja Majekodunmi also belongs has expressed charming confidence of his people in Mr Ayodeji Shomide, describing him as a worthy son of Egbaland who is loved by all and cherished by many, especially both within and beyond the political parlance of Abeokuta South Local Government area. Chief Monsuru Balogun a.k.a. Afuye prayed very warmly for the successful emergence of Mr Ayodeji Shomide as APC Chairmanship candidate for the forthcoming Local Government Council elections, and subsequent victory at the polls and become the Executive Chairman of Abeokuta South Local Government Council come 24th July, 2021, ‘towards paving our ways into the green pasture of the humane administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun MFR, all for the benefits of our people and for the sake of democracy particularly at our grassroots level’.

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