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In Ogun, no easy ride for Buhari, Atiku

Atiku and Buhari.

This is the home of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo who, in 2015, worked so much for then candidate Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Things have fallen apart this time around and the ‘Ota landlord’ is not only fighting to deny Buhari Ogun State but has taken the crusade to other parts of Nigeria and the world at large.

In 2015, Buhari won the presidential election in Ogun State by a margin of 100,000 votes against ex-President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had clearly parted ways with Obasanjo.

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According to the results announced by INEC, Buhari as APC candidate polled 308,290 out of 559,613 votes cast, defeating Jonathan who had 207,950 votes.

Four years down the lane, Buhari is courting Ogun people’s votes for his re-election, but this time around, he would be battling former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who flies the PDP ticket. It is no longer news that Atiku has the backing of Obasanjo. Going by the figures from the electoral body, the number of voters registered has increased from 1,829, 634 to 2,386,101 eligible voters, between 2015 and now.

Daily Trust findings revealed that unlike the 2015 Buhari’s victory in Ogun may not be an easy ride, due to several factors.

President Buhari’s party – APC is polarised in the Gateway State. Nevertheless, the factions led by Governor Ibikunle Amosun and a former governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, as well as the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) which was a fallout of the implosion in the ruling party have a common goal – to re-elect Buhari.

Though the APC national headquarters led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has earmarked Amosun for sanction over the last disingenuous performance during the Buhari’s presidential rally in the state, it is not yet clear what positive or negative impact this development would have on the ruling party.

But one thing is clear, even if all the factions support the reelection of Buhari, they would all be voting their respective candidates in other elections. Interestingly, apart from some projects carried out by the APC government, Buhari’s decision to immortalise the late Chief MKO Abiola, an indigene of Ogun, by declaring June 12 as the nation’s Democracy Day, was a masterstroke which could sway votes in his favour.

According to analysts, hundreds of beneficiaries of the Tradermoni scheme as well as N-Power employment scheme in the state, across party lines, may decide to vote the president for obvious reasons. Several artisan groups and Arewa community in the state are also backing the president’s ambition; this, no doubt, would boost the chances of Buhari at the poll.

However, it is believed that the goodwill Buhari enjoyed in 2015 has dwindled due to his perceived “weakness and under-performance,” a development which has made some of his supporters in the last election ditch him to seek for “an alternative in the coming election.”

Buhari’s presidential rally in Abeokuta on Monday ended in fiasco following violence that erupted at the campaign ground. The president categorically told the electorate to “choose whoever you like across the parties.”

On his part, Atiku whose campaign train has not visited Ogun, equally has a chance of winning the state.

Though also in crisis, the factions of the PDP led by Ladi Adebutu and Buruji Kashamu have openly identified with him. Former governor Otunba Gbenga Danie, who is the Deputy Chairman, PDP Presidential Campaign Council (South) has been selling Atiku’s candidacy in the Gateway State.

For Daniel, who is Amosun’s predecessor, Buhari’s election in 2015 was a mistake, hence, voters are ready “to correct the mistake they made in 2015.”

“I think without any doubt that this election is won. I have been all round the country and I have no doubt about it that PDP has won this election,” he said. Similarly, Obasanjo is expected to wield his political influence in his home state which would undoubtedly give Atiku additional votes.

To boost Atiku’s chances, the African Democratic Congress (ADC), one of the formidable parties in the state has adopted his candidacy.    Besides, the pan-Yoruba Socio-Political group, Afenifere’s endorsement of Atiku, owing to his (Atiku) restructuring gospel may equally yield some results at the poll.

But Amosun seems to be indifferent regarding Afenifere’s nod for Atiku.

“Some people said they are Afenifere – they have never defeated us since they started politics. I assure you (Buhari) we will use our PVCs to let them know that we are the real Afenifere,” he said.

“Who is Afenifere?” Amosun asked. “Is it those ones that make life better or those who came to loot? Never mind the opinion poll going around. We will show them the real opinion poll on Saturday,” Amosun said at the APC presidential rally in Abeokuta.

He added “All of us in Ogun State are for Buhari. We are supporting President Muhammadu Buhari because of his performance.

“President Muhammadu Buhari was just in the saddle for just four years; look at what he has done for the nation and Ogun State. He is somebody who we can hold to his promise,” he said.

And above all, the Senator Bola Tinubu factor cannot be wished away. Analysts believe that the former Lagos State governor would do all that it takes to deliver the South West for Buhari and APC ahead of the 2023 political scheming.

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