Otoge Struggle: Beyond Akogun Heroism - NATIONAL TRUMPET


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Otoge Struggle: Beyond Akogun Heroism

The name Iyiola Oyedepo Akogun in Kwara political circle is well known for opposition heroism. He was no doubt a major player in the efforts to fall the Jericho wall of self-serving governments formed by Saraki's dynasty. 

Not minding that he had once wined and dined with the Saraki family, he deserves a place in the history of how the family eventually lost the grip of the Kwara State treasury. However, that didn't confer on him the sole-ownership of the struggle dubbed "Otoge", that battle and its victory were very much beyond him and his heroism.

For all the egoistic utterances coming from him since he lost favor with Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, one could assume that Akogun is ensnared in self-delusion and suffering from megalomaniac induced ailments. The reason being that the self-acclaimed Otoge hero has been overestimating the extent of his political weight by personalizing Otoge's struggle and appropriating its success to himself.

The cause to oust Saraki's dynasty predated the advent of democracy, in which people invested their resources, time, and energy to bring into actualization.

Saraki's grip on the state was contested in 2003, 2007, and most importantly, in 2011 where Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN) of ACN slugged it out in a keenly contested election with Saraki's anointed candidate, Abdulfatahi Ahmed who later ruled for two consecutive terms. That election indeed presaged the demise of the dynasty, when, was not stated.

Kwarans could have secured victory against the dynasty in 2015, if not for the selfish interests of Akogun and his cohorts whose selfishness and egoism earned the party a colossal loss that no seat contested for by the party was won.

Some party members that were aggrieved by the loss, sniffed at Akogun's inept leadership and decided to polarize the party which culminated in the formation of Fagbemi's camp, whereby putting the party in leadership tussle as the duo of Fagbemi and Akogun laid claim to the leadership of the party.

After the 2015 election, Akogun led camp started a radio program funded by some bigwigs of the party such as the proprietor of Sobi FM, Lukman Mustapha (LOM) Engr. Nurudeen Adeyemi Balogun (ENACT) et al. As they were doing this, the party was bedeviled with a leadership crisis that lingered on until they defected to APC in 2018. It was in this fragmented form that PDP members defected to APC, a party already factionalized into three groups.

The conjecture that four tendencies formed APC by Akogun bears no scintilla of truth.

The then APC was characterized by three factions; one was led by Saraki, another was spearheaded by Lai Mohammed and the other christened itself progressive.

The Group led by Lai Mohammed stoically accepted Saraki's grip on the party but the progressive faction spearheaded by the likes of Hon. Mashood Mustapha, Hon. Abdul-Raheem Adedoyin, Hon. Gani Saka Cook Olododo, Otunba Ghamzy, Kayode Oyin Zubair, et al. stood opposed to Saraki. They polarized the party from ward to state level and went on to hold a parallel convention in the state and slugged it out with Saraki's faction at the National convention of the party.

When Saraki eventually jumped ship to PDP, the group led by Lai Mohammed aligned with the progressive camp to collectively manage the affairs of the party. 

In the heat of all this politicking, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki who was in a family battle with his brother stayed aloof. She neither pitched tent openly with APC nor PDP but was only supporting Buhari's candidacy in the hope that she would be considered for an appointment when Buhari was re-elected.

The tendencies that gave birth to Otoge were the Lai Mohammed's group, Progressive faction championed by MM, Akogun's Group, and Fagbemi's faction from PDP that comprised the Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak who later became the incumbent governor, Barrister Kunle Suleiman, Alhaji Mustapha Ishowo, and host of others.

If Akogun would now talk of tendencies that birthed Otoge. Why would he then leave out the people that nurtured and salvaged the party at the moment of crisis, the people like Hon? Mashood Mustapha, Hon. Kayode Oyin Zubair,  Hon. Abdul-Raheem Adedoyin and others? 

Akogun and his co-sojourners need to know that the objective of Otoge was not only to annihilate Saraki's dynasty but to completely interred godfatherism. Sadly, Akogun's deportment since the inception of this government accentuates his proclivity for godfatherism which leaves one with no shadow of a doubt that his contribution to the Otoge struggle was not for the liberation of the masses but personal development and aggrandizements.

If the Governor panders to the whims of self-centered individuals masquerading as liberators and fails to fulfill his promise to deliver good governance to people, they will dissociate themselves and attribute the failure solely to him. It then becomes imperative for the Governor to buck the pressure to capitulate to the importunate demands of acquisitive politicians.

If Akogun claims the Governor doesn't confer with him on the matters of governance that does not preclude the fact that he doesn't consult with other stakeholders.

Akogun needs to retrace his steps to redeem his image and salvage his reputation.

Engr. Baba Muha'zu writes from Kaima

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