Who is afraid of Dapo Abiodun? - POP News

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Sunday, May 1, 2022

Who is afraid of Dapo Abiodun?

 Who is afraid of Dapo Abiodun?



As the 2023 General Elections are approaching, unlike in a saner clime where politicking ought to be issue-based, political gladiators, seeking elective offices have resorted to various forms of antics to get back at each other in order to present themselves as credible to the electorates.

Notwithstanding, decorum and finesse are no longer the watchword. A couple of weeks ago, traducers: e-rats through their paymasters, have taken over the media space, with fictitious and concocted lies against the incumbent Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun. Suffice to say, the architects and masterminds of these mudslingings (on the prowl) are stopping at nothing, crying hoarse on top of their voices in order to befuddle the horizons of the good people of the state.

To discernable minds and political pundits, it is the handiwork of the spoilers that are at play.

Who is afraid of Governor Dapo Abiodun?

Why are they afraid? And what are they afraid of? This is a three-in-one question bothering the minds of the good people of Ogun State who have been confounded by the frivolous allegations contained in a petition seeking for disqualification of the governor from contesting for his second term.

To put it in a right context, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Ayodele Oludiran, had petitioned the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Adamu, questioning the eligibility of the governor to contest for a second term on account of criminal offences he allegedly committed in the United States of America in the 1986.

In his preamble to the petition which contained a long list of other offences under sundry accusations, Oludiran claimed that he felt concerned as-an indigene of Ogun State and a member of the APC- by a petition, an amorphous group which identified itself as “Advocacy for the Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative” had earlier submitted to the Chairman of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, Mai mala Buni, on the same subject matter. Based the grounds of the allegations contained in the petition, he said, Abiodun’s candidature would portend danger for the APC in the coming governorship election. According to him, “a prominent former member the party, APC, who has decamped to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to procure a gubernatorial nomination form, has boasted to everyone that he has more compelling and damning documentary evidence, such as indent card and mugshot of HE Prince Adedapo Oluseun Abiodun in his possession.”

His words: “It became imperative for me-as a loyal member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a concerned indigene of Ogun State-to sift these allegations (and other ones I shall enumerate hereunder) with a fine-tooth comb and then bring them to your attention. The overarching aim of my intention is to avert the possible danger(s) the HE Prince Adedapo Oluseun Abiodun’s gubernatorial re-election bid in 2023 might portend for our party,” he said.

Balderdash! As Yoruba, who does not know that when a wailer is seen crying more than the bereaved, then something fundamental is amiss. This, in biblical reference, is “hands of Saul, voice of Jacob.” Coming at this time, every discerning member of the public knows that these kinds of spurious and unfounded allegations can only come from promoters of adversarial politics. Everyone knows that the petitioner was merely acting a script written by the bad losers who had suffered a disgraceful outing in the 2019 governorship election despite all their shenanigans, but are out for another contest. Having been thoroughly defeated and browbeaten in the last election, they are now afraid that Abiodun will beat them silly again in the coming primary.  As far as they are concerned, this is a last-ditch battle to save their future political career, and so, they are prepared for a dog fight.

They are in panic mode and also paranoid, nursing a secret fear that they will be disgraced again. They can foresee a landslide victory lying ahead of the governor at the primary and general election bearing in mind his impressive performance in office. As such, they have resorted to accusations and counter accusations of criminal dealings which have no substantial evidence.

Among other things, they alleged inconsistencies in his “working experience with dates in his form CF001 of 2015, discrepancies data contained in INEC forms CF001 of 2015 and 2019 as well as allegation of arrest and detention by the United State of America for criminal offence.

In one of the grounds listed for disqualification, the petitioner being sponsored by enemies of the state claimed that Abiodun attended different primary schools and finished at the same time, adding that opposition party could cash in on it to challenge the APC’s victory in Court.

They are merely suffering from what can be rightly described as political amnesia. One, from the point of view of legal experts, these contradictions cannot be a ground for disqualification of the governor in the coming 2023 gubernatorial election. Secondly, all the allegations of false statements and discrepancies are said to have been discountenance and held to be statue-barred by the court/tribunal.

From available information now in public domain, all these are already subject matters of litigations and election petitions from the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to the Ogun State governorship election tribunal to the Court of Appeal and to the Supreme Court.

Unknown to many, the tribunal and courts had found that the allegations of falsehood or forgery leveled against Governor Abiodun in his forms CF001 for 2015 and 2019 were statue-barred. In the case filed by the governorship candidate of the Allied People Movement, Hon Abdulkabir Adekunle Akinlade, to challenge the victory of Prince Abiodun in 2019 election, the courts unanimously held that there was no discrepancy for false statements in the forms Cf001 for 2015 and 2019 and dismissed the case.

Beyond that, there is also another argument that the allegation is statue-barred because allegation can only form the basis of a cause of action in court 14 days from the day the petitioner deposed to these forms. And to that extent, a suit seeking to declare the content of these forms false ought to have been filed within 14 day from the day he deposed to these forms.

It has also been said that the facts bordering on allegations of arrest and detention leveled against the governor do not in any way constitute a ground for his eligibility to run for the governorship in the 2023 governorship election. In order words, the allegation does not relate to a constitutional requirement of eligibility. And since APC is not a court of law, it cannot disqualify the governor from seeking for his second term.

So, what’s the fuss about? The truth is that those who understand the trend of politicking in Ogun State since 2019 general elections already know that these allegations are machinations of political jobbers sponsored by desperate opposition elements to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in Ogun State.

A renowned Human rights and Constitutional lawyer, who is also a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kayode Oladele, lends credence to this as he condemned the petition dismissing it as lacking in content and form.

According to Oladele, the Petition which was submitted to the National Chairman of the Party on the ground that the party might lose the governorship seat in Ogun due to Prince Abiodun’s criminal history and its concealment from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) despite swearing an oath is frivolous, legally deficient and has no basis in law.

“An arrest and filing of criminal charges against an individual, no matter how egregious without conviction, is not within the contemplation of Section 182 (1) (e) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “Every lawyer knows that an arrest or trial without conviction is not a conviction. The terms are not interchangeable. Anyone can be wrongfully arrested or falsely accused”, he said.

He further explains that conviction has to be for felony to constitute a ground for disqualification under Section 182 ( 1)(e) of the Nigerian Constitution dealing with disqualification to contest for Governor.

“Disqualification to contest for governor can only occur under Section 182 (1) (e) of the Nigerian constitution if the felony conviction occurred within ten years prior to the election. This means the felony conviction must have occurred within ten years preceding the election.

This submission, he said, was without prejudice to the right of the INEC to know felony convictions of all candidates seeking for elections. His words: “The right to know felony convictions by INEC is paramount  and constitutionally required as part of the electoral process in order to ensure that people who aspire to  occupy public offices do not possess questionable characters bothering on moral turpitude and also as a prerequisite for ensuring good government.

“However, the Constitutional provisions is not without exception.

As one of the state actors who have seen it all, Oladele noted with dismay that a vast majority of election petitions in Nigeria are very frivolous and vexatious in nature.

“One of the ultimate aims of such meritless petitions is to attract media attention and perhaps, put an opponent in bad light, and damage his or her reputation and electability,” he said.

In a similar reaction, another legal practitioner who is based in Abeokuta, Barrister Kayode Akinsola, described those writing frivolous and unfounded petitions against the Governor as busy bodies and enemies of Ogun State, stressing that the aim of the petitioner was to distract the governor from actualising his developmental agenda for the state.

In spite of all distractions, Governor Abiodun has not let his guard down. Urbane and mild-mannered in his approach to issues, he strongly believes that the best victory is the one won without a single shot. While remaining focused in his commitment to giving the good people of Ogun State a state of good governance they deserve, he keeps his door open to any repentant political distractor who is ready to join hands with the state government to achieve its goals.

This past week, news filtered in that former Governor Ibikunle Amosun had completed all arrangements to declare his intention to run for the office of the President in the coming general elections. This is a smoke screen for fresh political intrigue that is about unraveling in the state. In his smart calculation of events, he knows that he can no longer face the electorate for another senatorial election. So, the way to save his face is to take a plunge into national politics, while masterminding disaffection within the ruling APC in the state. His plot is bound to hit the rock because Ogun State people are enlightened enough to decipher his body language and all the underground scheming aimed at seizing the control of power structure from the incumbent Governor Abiodun. Having lost all the bids to wrest power, and supplant the governor with his protégé, he still wants to make good his words to make the state ungovernable. He wants to test his grit again by proxy. He is using the petitioner as a pawn in the game of political chess. Unfortunately for him and his other desperadoes, the breeze has blown open the romp of the hen. There is no more hiding place for the agents of destabilisation. It is a fundamental error of judgment for him not to have read correctly where the wind of change is blowing. Yes, election comes once in four years, but electorates are increasingly getting wiser. No one can hoodwink them against to vote against their conscience.  They have seen the good work Governor Abiodun is doing and therefore, they will not want to leave continuity for uncertainly. That is the final verdict of the people, who are the sovereign in a democracy. Any other thing is a counterfeit.












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