Since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, Ogun State has always re-elected the incumbent, the only exception being Olusegun Osoba, who was only governor for four years (1999 to 2003).
On Friday, Ibrahim Atanda (not real name), a motorcycle rider, took me from Panseke, a popular location in Abeokuta, to Roundabout, another axis within the capital city, known to be populated by rural-urban migrants.
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While on the journey, Atanda elected to voice his opinion about the governorship election.
“Egbon (brother), tomorrow is going to be a tough day,” he said to me in Yoruba.
“What made you say this?” I asked him. “Are some people planning to disrupt the process?”
At this point, Atanda suddenly became hesitant. He made the motorcycle move slowly and turned his head slightly, just to confirm I was not an undercover police officer.
“Rara o! (no)” Atanda said, and for a few minutes, silence accompanied the journey until his impulse betrayed him again.
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“Well, all I know is that Dapo can never be lucky like Gbenga Daniel and Amosun,” he said.
“How?” I asked him.
“Dapo (Abiodun) cannot do a second term with his poor administration so far.”
He went on to ask if I was the incumbent governor’s supporter, but I told him no.
Atanda went on to give a chronological analysis of how people in the state had voted since 1999.
“Apart from Osoba, who only spent four years in office because of his nonchalant attitude towards us, all other governors have spent eight years in office,” he said.
“Gbenga Daniel and Ibikunle Amosun spent eight years each because they knew how to make voters feel important.”
Atanda then went ahead to drop his bombshell verdict on the incumbent’s quest for reelection.
“Now, please, don’t see my opinion as just another talk from an okada man. I reside in Abeokuta and I see and hear things, especially from passengers,” Atanda said.
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“People have not been impressed with Dapo Abiodun because he has not been a performing governor. His track record since assuming office has been poor, and he has not really done anything significant to help indigenes residing in the state.
“The election outcome in this state might shock the world when it turns out that the incumbent governor is not re-elected.
“He may end up becoming another Osoba because he has not really done much to be Ogun indigenes’ favourite.”
Contrary to Atanda’s opinion, Abiodun believes he has done enough to deserve reelection.
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He would, however, have to contend with strong contenders like Ladi Adebutu, the governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Biyi Otegbeye, the candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Otegbeye happens to be Ibikunle Amosun’s favourite, as he (Amosun) has openly campaigned for him several times, despite being a member of Abiodun’s party.
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