Gov Abiodun’s Political Trajectory and Triumphs – THISDAY Newspapers

Femi Ogbonnikan

The above headline intuitively arouses curiosity about the political trajectory of Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, his travails, and triumphs. All of these are already well known to political observers in the state. So, there is no need to repeat the story.
This past week, Prince Abiodun lightened up my day when he took a mature path of honour declaring that he left his enemies to God to handle. For me, that was the end of many battles he has had to fight for electing to do what he was elected to do in the first place. Judging by his subdued mien, he doesn’t like an inch a trouble-maker. He has been so preoccupied with his primary assignment that he hardly has time for frivolities.
But his political adversaries won’t just stop their antics. Since he assumed the mantle of leadership in 2019, they have not seen anything good in the work of the administration because they have hatred flowing in their blood veins. Pathological pessimists they are. Imbued with a deep-seated animosity, they spew out hate words without restraint as if there is no tomorrow. They have constituted themselves to such a huge army of opposition that he needed to put them where they belong, which was why he handed them over to God to handle.    
But I shuddered. I shuddered because no one can fight God and win. Sometimes, you don’t have to push out your entire arsenal to fight your enemies. When you leave your battle to God, you can confidently go to bed to sleep with your two eyes closed. In life, you need enemies to give you a push to get you where you are going as mere awareness of their presence could be a propelling force to make you move. But you must not allow them to truncate your destination. Some of Abiodun’s adversaries are acting like destiny changers. They say they have the power to decide what his tomorrow will be. No one knows tomorrow. Not even the naysayers. Appreciate your present moment and leave tomorrow for the omnipotent power, the invincible God. My words of advice for those who want to play God in Abiodun’s re-election bid.               
That is just by way of digression, anyway! So, let me add very quickly that politics is not spiritual warfare. It is a power game. But in playing the game, there must be decorum, decency, and constructive engagement. For a healthy opposition, there must be constructive criticism and a genuine sense of fairness. Democracy without opposition is tyranny. Coming from our military background as a people, no one will pray for the country to slide into the abyss.
Prince Dapo Abiodun is a genuine democrat whose heart is open to objective criticism. But for the events of last week, it is hard to understand the vitriol spewed at the Governor by his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun. It smacks of irresponsible opposition. However, rather than engaging in unnecessary brickbats,  Abiodun has said he remains unperturbed by the outburst but focuses on his determination to turn the fortune of the state around through infrastructure development, social re-engineering, a conducive environment for investment and industry as well as agro-allied processing firms.
What is it that can shake a man who seeks refuge in God? Nothing! Without lifting a finger, God has put his enemies’ camp in disarray. They are now fighting each other. Oh la la, the Falcon no longer hearkens to the falconers. Erstwhile anointed candidate of Amosun, Hon. Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied People’s Movement (APM), who felt abandoned after his woeful defeat in the 2019 governorship election, has jumped the ship and berthed in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to play a second fiddle to Ladi Adebutu, the standard bearer of the party in the coming 2023 gubernatorial poll.
Following that, Amosun, who has long been browbeaten by the outcome of the last congress of the APC, is now confused, perplexed, and undecided as to which party to perch with. On one hand, he was said to have reportedly asked his supporters who defected to the PDP alongside Akinlade to return to APC.  On the other hand, he is threatening fire and brimstone to stop the re-election of Governor Abiodun, the flag bearer of the party in the 2023 coming general election.
Yet, he told his other supporters to wait for the last command. “Just wait; very soon, you will hear where we are going next. Clearly, you know my stand and my stand is my stand. I am not supporting this administration that is there now. He must be removed,” he arrogantly declared.
What a dilemma! The truth is that APC had lost both Amosun and Akinlade as genuine members a long time ago. They ceased to be loyal members of the party the day they swore to stop the election of Prince Dapo Abiodun with their kangaroo formation of APM as an opposition to the APC in the last general elections. In the final analysis, the game plan ended in a fiasco. Now, what joined them together has finally rendered them asunder.     
Come to think of it, what kind of permutation gave the Ogun Central Senator the over-bloated confidence he exhibited saying he was going to stop Abiodun’s re-election? Is it by magic wand?  In 2019 when he had all the paraphernalia of office, he tried it and failed. With all intrigues and shenanigans, Abiodun polled 241,670 votes to defeat Akinlade who scored 222153 votes.
Not done, they sought judicial intervention, and fought a prolonged legal battle from the Election Petition Tribunal to the Supreme Court, again they failed. Yes, they failed woefully.  If at that time Amosun enjoyed the full advantage of incumbency he could not guarantee the victory of his candidate, where will he now derive the power to upturn the will of the people? As far as the politics of Ogun State is concerned, he has reached the dead end of his political career. The Presidential candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom he has promised his support, should please watch his back. With a character like this, you do not need an enemy.
The joint ticket of Ladi Adebutu and Akinlade is another funny spectre. The combination has elicited mixed reactions from many political pundits. While some supporters of PDP are dwelling on the illusion of the possibility of the Osun State experience, others have dismissed the two as light feather politicians who should not be taken seriously. It is a disastrous combination, to put it mildly. They cannot go far because Ogun State has advanced beyond the level of being governed by political neophytes. The rest is in the court of public opinion.
There is no sentiment in politics. I dare say what is good is good enough for the good people of Ogun State. In words and in action, Abiodun’s loyalty, commitment, and service go directly to the people who are the sovereign in a democracy. So, as they say in the local parlance, “nothing stops a moving train”. Wailers may choose to go to the Lagoon; Prince Dapo is moving head-on to deliver the dividends of democracy.  His infrastructure master plan is very much on course.
Some of his critics have even asked in a cynical tone what he has done to deserve a second term. I challenge them to a debate; he has done what his predecessor could not do. One, former governor Gbenga Daniel initiated Ogun Cargo Airport but his successor played politics with it, changed the site of the project to Wasimi (Ogun Central), and then abandoned it. He abandoned it because he did not share the vision of his predecessor. Great men think alike. Governor Abiodun, his immediate successor, came, did the feasibility study of the laudable project, and resuscitated it. Now, it is nearing completion. Before the end of this year, mark my words, the first historic cargo plane will land in Ogun at the airport live and direct. Awesome God! Could that have been made possible without his and direction support? Absolutely no. A combination of God’s power and sincerity of purpose did it.   
Again, at the twilight of the Amosun administration, several road projects were awarded and abandoned midway. Abiodun did not lament the reckless abandonment. Rather, he took up the challenge and faced the projects. Some of these abandoned road projects include Sango-IjokoAkute-Alagbole road; Ita-oshin- Isaga- Ilaro- Owode- Ado-Odo road; the Iperu-Ilisan-Ago-Iwoye road; the Atan-Lusada-Igbesa-Agbara road; the Owode-Egba/Mowe road, among others.
Those within Abeokuta Township are Idi-aba- OGTV Road, Panseke/Onikolobo/MAPOLY Road, and Adatan/Saje/Mokola/Enugada Road which were all left uncompleted by the immediate past administration. So, also are the ones in Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, and Ota axis. Bad politics! Having lost the bid to impose his surrogate on the people, he laid the landmines for his successor knowing fully well that there were no resources to fund them.   
Today, the story is different. Some of these have been completed and delivered, while work is also ongoing on a few others that are yet to be commissioned. This is aside from the new road network dotting the entire landscape of the state. In all, not less than 80 major roads and 150 others have been constructed, reconstructed, or rehabilitated accumulating to 661.76km, and 99.125km, while 562.63km are ongoing across the three senatorial districts of the state.
In the last three and a half years, the present administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun in its quest to tackle the infrastructure deficit in the state has placed priority of his government on construction, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of roads across the three senatorial districts of the state. This is critical to the socio-economic development of the state as well as improvement in the quality of life of citizens. A good road network enables a free flow of human and material resources within and outside the state. A couple of days ago, the governor, with the consent of the State Executive Council, approved the speedy reconstitution of the abandoned Ojodu/Abiodun/Akute/Oke-Aro/Agbado/Ijoko/Sango 32km road and Mowe/Ofada road. Some of the completed projects in Ogun East include the reconstruction of 14km Ijebu-Ode/ Mojoda/ Epe Road, Oru-/Awa/Ilaporu/Ibadan road, Molipa/Fusigboye/ Ojofa street, Ijebu- Ode, Asafa-Oke/Asafa Isale/ Ayegun/ Ojofa street, Ijebu Ode, Oba Erinwole Dual Carriage way (Phase 1 and 2), Sagamu, Igan/Ishamurin/Odo Sakiti road, Ago-Iwoye, Molusi road, Ijebu-Igbo, Ejirin/Oluwalogbon/Mobalufon/Ibadan road, Ijebu-Ode, Ogbagba road, Ijebu-Ode, Ilishan/Ago-Iwoye road, Refugee Camp/Oru/Awa road, Ilaporu/Ibadan road, amongst others.
The ongoing projects in Ogun East Senatorial District, notably include construction of Gateway Agro-Cargo Airport Iperu, reconstruction of 4km Molusi College Road, 24.5km Ikenne, Ago-Iwoye Road, 3.8km Togburin/ Tigara/Agodo road, Ogun Waterside and 11km Atan/Erunwon Road, Shagamu/Ikenne road, Ilishan market road, amongst others.
Similarly, work is steadily ongoing in Ogun Central Senatorial District. Here also, the list of completed projects; 42km Abeokuta/Sagamu Interchange Road, the ongoing construction of 4km Idi-Aba/Elite-Oke-Lantoro road, construction of Gateway City Monument, reconstruction of 7.8km Obantoko Road, Fajol/American junction/Unity Estate/Gbonogun (Phase I-III), construction of 3.1km Ikoritameje/Adenrele/Olose tuntun Vespa, Ifo, reconstruction of 3km Panseke/Adigbe Road, Abeokuta, Adatan, construction of side and connecting roads between NNPC Mega station (Abiola Way) and Kuto flyovers, along Abeokuta/Shagamu (IBB Boulevard), Abeokuta, Akute/Denro/Ishasi road with a bridge and concrete lining. Other ongoing road projects include Lafenwa/Aiyetoro/Olorunda (legacy project) road, Olomore/Sanni road, Inner road/Itori Junction, Itori, Elite/Isale-Ake road (Phase 1 and 2) Abeokuta, Olusegun Osoba/Toyin Street, Agbado, Somorin/Kemta/Idi-Aba road, Abeokuta, Iberekodo/General Hospital road, Old Bank road/Orita Meje/Coker Junction, Oluwo, Abeokuta, 
Ogun Central also has the construction of 4.786km Akute/Denro/Isasi Road, Somorin/Kemta/Idi-Aba road, Abeokuta, 2.35km Journalist Estate Road, Arepo, and 2.0 km Inner road, Itori Junction-Total Road as ongoing projects.
Those already completed in Ogun West include reconstruction of Ray Power/Osi Ikola/Navy Command, Ota, as well as 4.5km Chemically Treated Road, Ejila-Igbesa road, State Hospital road, Ilaro, amongst others.
Alongside these completed projects, six other different ones are also ongoing in the zone. These include the reconstruction of 19.2km Agbara-Lusada-Atan road; construction of 13km Ilaro- Iwoye road; reconstruction of Lusada/Igbesa road (in partnership between Ogun State Government and Guangdong); construction of 2.4km Oke Ola road, Imeko; 7km Imasayi-Igan Okoto road; construction of 4.656km Akute/Denro/Ishasi road with bridge and construction of 1.3km Joju road.
Other ongoing projects include Ilaro/Owode road, Atan/Lusada/Agbara/Marogbo road, Imasai/Igan-Okoto/Aiyetoro road (Phase 1), Igan-Okoto/Aiyetoro road (Phase 2), Ado-Odo/Ikoga road, Sango/Yakoyo/Agbado/Ojodu/Abiodun (Phase 1)/Alagbole/Akute road,
Above all, talks are ongoing between Ogun and Lagos State governments on the one hand and the Federal Government on the other hand over the proposal to take procession of Federal roads bordering the two states. Apart from that, Governor Abiodun and his counterpart in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have signed a memorandum of Understanding MoU on the 31-km redline passengers rail service from Oyingbo (Lagos) to Alagbado (Ogun) as the rail begins operation in the first quarter of 2023.  
This is just one aspect of Abiodun’s record of stewardship he has to present to the electorate at the appropriate time.  
• Ogbonnikan wrote from Abeokuta, Ogun State.
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