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Dapo Abiodun: The man who tamed the odds……How he would be sworn in on his birthday

Dapo Abiodun: The man who tamed the odds……How he would be sworn in on his birthday
March 12
20:34 2019
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By Lanre Alfred

When the fabled north-star disappears from the Mediterranean skyline, even the most hard-nosed sailor loses his wits midstream. Through the whale of storms and undercurrents coursing through the gulf, to the dangerous calm of the seething sea, the ship master and his crew shiver from astern to stern, sometimes cursing, and often times submitting to the gulf’s capricious wiles.

Prince Adedapo Abiodun, the Ogun State Governor-elect, however, differs from the imperilled sailor stereotype; having ridden out storms on the nation’s business and political coasts, he has developed a knack for taming tumult and riding out rude currents.

The handsome billionaire businessman has managed to stay on course despite the storms and tumults that threatened his fortune and odyssey through the Nigerian political sector’s turbulent coasts.  Even when some politicians and the ‘Demi-gods’ in Ogun State, sniggered at his audacious political ambition Dapo never wavered. Now, while naysayers are still asking themselves how it happened, he has blustered his way into the Government House.

Yes, on May 29, 2019, Prince  Abiodun, billionaire businessman turned politician would be sworn in as the Governor of Ogun State. The same day, he would turn 59. Indeed, there can be no greater and more befitting birthday gift than his inauguration as the sixth democratically elected governor of the Gateway State.

It would also be a fitting denouement to a long political journey which began about three decades ago. As a young businessman, DA, as he is fondly called, was elected a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the platform of the defunct United Nigeria Congress Party (UNCP) in 1993. He was just 33years old. However, the military incursion of that year led by the despotic General Sani Abacha truncated that democratic process. The Iperu Remo Prince never gave up.

While succeeding in business, he never abdicated politics. Circa 1998, he joined other like minds to start the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State. In 2002, he lost the governorship primary of the PDP to his bosom friend, Otunba Gbenga Daniel who went on to govern for two terms. Prince Abiodun bade his time.

During the 2015 general elections, he contested the Ogun East senatorial seat but lost narrowly. However, his activities and support for the party were not lost on the presidency which subsequently appointed him Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission. In 2017, Prince Abiodun suffered a personal tragedy. It was a devastating loss potent enough to rob one of the cognitive abilities.

It took a while but the lovable prince soon bounced back and he set his sight on becoming the next governor after the expiration of the second term of another bosom friend and beneficiary of his generousity, Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Governor Amosun and Prince had been friends for decades.  However, Amosun was not inclined to repay the favour by supporting his friend’s ambition. By then, he had steadily evolved into the de facto leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogun State.

He determined the political fate of everybody regardless of their pedigree. Leaders like former governor Olusegun Osoba were virtually forced out of the party to enable him to have his way. Amosun would shock the people of Ogun State and indeed, discerning Nigerians, when news emerged that he had unilaterally drawn up a list of candidates for the party in the general election and subsequently announced  Akinlade, a member of the House of Representatives, as his anointed for the governorship ticket.

When the governorship primary held in October 2018, Amosun’s candidate was roundly beaten by Abiodun who polled 102,305 votes. Akinlade came a distant fourth with 23, 443 votes. Predictably, Amosun rubbished the primary, saying it did not reflect the wish of the party. Thereafter, he tried every trick in the book in order to substitute Abiodun’s name for that of his candidate and even took two prominent traditional rulers, the Olu of Ilaro and the Alake of Egbaland, to the president to intervene, all to no avail.

Reports say the president pointedly told him he could not upturn the decision of the party’s National Working Committee which conducted the primary and presented Abiodun as the authentic winner. It was on the heels of this that Akinlade and other loyalists of the governor decamped to the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) to pursue their ambition. But that was only the beginning of many battles that would be thrown the way of Abiodun.

At the presidential rally held in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Amosun bared his fangs. He spat in the air and received it in measured cadence. In the presence of the president, the vice president, party leaders and colleague-governors, Governor Amosun was openly hostile to Abiodun. He even ordered his campaign materials already mounted at the stadium to be discarded. The chaotic situation led to members of the APM to hurl objects at the president as he made to present Abiodun as the party’s candidate leading to the abrupt end of the rally.

On Monday, March 11, two days after the governorship election, the INEC declared Abiodun winner after polling 241,670 votes. Jubilation broke out across the state as indigenes and party faithful contend that Abiodun’s coming would be the dawn of a new era in the state. The governor-elect had predicated his ambition on what he termed ‘masses-centric’ governance, saying, “I will raise the bar in Ogun State. I don’t have any doubt about it.

“I am submitting myself. I don’t have the doubt that I will bring my experience and bring down the government to the people. I will focus on projects that have a direct impact on the masses. I will de-emphasize projects that are just for visibility purpose and concentrate more on those that are capable of adding values to the lives of the people of Ogun.”

The governor-elect added, “I know of no impossibilities in a world where the people are ready to thrive. Our dear state is blessed with both the human capital and intellectual capacities to equate and exceed other successful states in Nigeria. I strongly believe that strategic positioning and close proximity to Lagos can also be maximised to our greatest advantage where we can easily generate as much internal revenue as Lagos State if the opportunities are properly harnessed.”

Curiously, however, Dapo’s genius is exhilarating. It has seen him through the odds of entrepreneurship, until he attained mastery of complexity and creative command of simplicity. He exudes the common core of entrepreneurial depth, tact, and other personal and social abilities which has proven to be the key ingredients of his brilliance and emotional intelligence.
Yes, as you read, Ogun State is at the threshold of what could be its sweetest epoch of statesmanship and politics. Following Abiodun’s emergence as the governor-elect, the nooks, crannies and political circuits of the state are ecstatic with joy.
There is no gainsaying Abiodun is the sweetest thing that ever happened to the state in recent times. 
Foremost international magnates, Royal fathers, billionaires, politicians and the good and law-abiding citizens of Ogun State, have congratulated him. Pundits ascribe this to Dapo’s brilliance, humility and earnestness in dealings with the electorate, associates and rivals on the political turf. 

 

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