Prince Dapo Abiodun, the incoming governor of Ogun State, is on a roll. His antecedent as a successful businessman confers on him the fecundity to rule a diverse state like Gateway State. In this report, WALE ELEGBEDE mirrors the qualities that make the Iperu-Remo born politician tick
His ascension to the throne wasn’t a tea party; he brought all he had to the table, including cordial friendship of many years, which hit the rock in the process of electioneering. But like it’s said, the end justifies the means, Prince Dapo Abiodun will on Wednesday, May 29, be sworn-in as the governor of one of the most vibrant states in the country, Ogun State.
Interestingly, he is taking over the saddle of leadership of the Gateway State from his friend of many years, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, but like water and oil, the duo went their separate ways over the governorship ambition of Abiodun and it had to go down to the wires with the electorate settling the political superiority between them.
Amosun, who is a leader of the APC in the state, rejected Abiodun after his (Abiodun)’s emergence as the party’s flag bearer from the governorship primaries conducted by representatives of the APC’s National Working Committee (NWC).
Subsequently, the governor declared support for his anointed candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, who later contested the poll on the platform of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) but lost the election to Abiodun and APC.
Speaking just before the March 9 governorship election on the crux of the wedge between him and his friend of over 20 years, Abiodun, who was the Ogun East senatorial candidate of the APC in the 2015 elections, said his ex-alter ego, fought him because he made known his governorship aspiration to him.
He told an audience of party leaders and members that his friend failed to appreciate all he did for him both on and off the political turf.
His words: “Recently, he begged me that I should come and take the senatorial ticket. I said, but he knows I have governorship ambition. I then asked who he had in mind to succeed him. Amosun said he was still thinking, but that he wants to bring someone from the CBN.
“I asked why he would do that. You want to bring someone who doesn’t even know party people to lead them? He is fighting me now because I want to be governor.”
Expectedly, the media, and perhaps the public, wanted more from the oil mogul, but he wasn’t ready to make a public show of his disagreement with his friend, if anything, the refined and Omoluabi trait in him took the stage, even in the face of all apparent provocation. He didn’t go to the gutters with them rather he kept a date with his Maker and the people.
He said about Amosun after he was declared winner of the governorship election: “I never uttered any negative words against Amosun or exhibited any form of anger towards him throughout the period of the campaigns. My desire and priority are to serve the people of Ogun sacrificially and this is what is uppermost in my heart.
“That desire is beyond any personality and I have learnt through the experience of the campaign period that if a man is humble, keeps hope alive and resilient in the face of opposition and discouragement, he will eventually be victorious.
Though the race was tough, the challenge was tasking, the odds were enormous and the obstacles were many.” Since his declaration as Governorelect, Abiodun has demonstrated his large heart to as many who want to identify with him to collectively grow the Gateway State. Not minding party lines, the accomplished businessman, recently announced several strategic committees to usher in his coming on board as governor. For political analysts, Abiodun’s first appointment was a clear departure from the norm as he dutifully engaged members of the opposition parties and interests in his programmes, even those who contested agaisnt him in the elections barely two months ago. For them, it’s an unusual approach that has doused all post-election tension.
The first outing, for them, leaves no one in doubt about the perception of Abiodun to governance, and they averred that it might not be hasty to categorize him as an apostle of inclusive governance. Notably among these politicians who have been called to serve the state in one capacity or the other are former Deputy Governor, Salimot Badru; governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the last gubernatorial poll, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka; deputy governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Reuben Abati and Social Democratic Party (SDP) gubernatorial candidate, Prince Rotimi Paseda.
They are among members of the Economic Transition Committee (ETC). Similarly, Abiodun has cut the image of a leader whose vision drives his ambition. The eggheads he drafted into the economic team leave no one in doubt of the commitment of his incoming administration to take Ogun State to a greater height, by exploiting its economic potentials. The committee is chaired by Tunde Lemo, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while Dapo Okubadejo serves as its Secretary. Other members of the Committee are Sena-tor Gbenga Kaka, Foluso Phillips, Prof. Konyin Ajayi (SAN), Kunle Elebute, Mutiu Sunmonu, Olajide Odewale, Chief Kayode Sofola (SAN), and Prof. Sidi Osho. Also listed as members are Prof. Semiu Musa Olomu, Engr. Bayo Adeola, Mr. Tola Mobolurin, Mr. Lekan Asuni, Dr. Tunji Oredipe, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, Arc. Dunni Opayemi, Mr. Bola Ogunsola and Chief Bode Mustapha. For residents of the state, it is believed that his outline of inclusive politics will go a long way in healing the wounds of the perceived divisive and sectional politics of the outgoing administration. Similarly, the incoming governor also has Work Groups, each of which focuses on its assigned thematic area such as Education, Youth and Sports, Health and Social Services, Government Processes, Agriculture and Food Security, Transformational Initiatives, to ensure an effective and efficient discharge of assignment. Abiodun, a blue blood from Iperu-Remo, showed why he is a true of the son of the soil when, after the elections, he met with notable traditional rulers – the Awujale and paramount ruler of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adetona; Olu of Ilaro and paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle; Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo and Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Adewale Ajayi) to show appreciation for their prayers and support during the elections. Indeed, Ogun State is in for a good season as Abiodun does not appear to be anybody’s lackey, but a governor the people of the state can identify and call upon whenever the need arises. With May 29 just few days away, a new dawn beckons in the Gateway State, and residents of the state are waiting with bated breath on the composition of Abiodun’s cabinet which they believe should help him navigate the labyrinth of crushing liabilities that the incumbent is handing over to him. Born on May 29, 1960, Abiodun studied Accounting at Kennesaw State University, Atlanta Georgia, United States. He also holds an Honourary Doctorate Degree in Finance from Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State and another in Business Administration from Adeleke University, Ede, Osun State. Prior to his election as governor, Abiodun was the board Chairman of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). He is the Managing Director of Heyden Petroleum, indigenous, independent oil trading company and the founder of First Power Limited.