An All Progressives Congress (APC) Chieftain, Engr Adeola Sosanwo, an oil and gas merchant narrowly lost his Ogun East Senatorial bid in 2019 on the platform of PDP to the incumbent, Sen Lekan Mustapha of the ruling party, APC. Engr. Sosanwo, a very formidable politician with passion for selfless service, was however forced to leave PDP due to its intractable crisis and had since teamed up with his kinsman and governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun in the task of building a more prosperous Ogun State.
In this interview by Bankole Taiwo, Engr Sosanwo who also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary of Ogun State Security Trust Fund speaks on the return of Gov Abiodun for another term among other underpinning issues which characterised the last governorship election in the state. Excerpts.
What is your assessment of the just concluded presidential and governorship elections in the state?
We thank God that both have come and gone, we thank God for the peace and the residents of the state who deemed it right to vote for our party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to also reward our hardworking governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun with another term in office. I must however say that there was lot of disparity in the votes our party got during the presidential and that of the governorship. In the presidential election, everyone wants a Yoruba man, that is, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be the president and so everyone worked hard to achieve this but during the governorship election, things were a lot different. This is largely due to the fact that many of our loyalists, those we consider as leader betrayed our trust and confidence reposed in them especially from Ogun East. It was just like the people who voted for us during the presidential election have disappeared into the thin air. But as tough as it is, the Almighty God who enthrones still gave us the victory, the victory of His Excellency is really an act of God and that could not also be detached from the fact that the governor had served meritoriously in the last four years. He has given his best and even surpassed expectations in all areas name it; road construction, education, healthcare, housing, agriculture etc.
Are you not surprised that things turned out the way it did in Ogun East, the political base of the Governor, did you anticipate anything like that?
Yes, I won’t deceive you, from the intelligence we gathered before the election, some of us are quite aware that there were some ganging up against the second term victory of the Governor for reasons best known to them. There were some groups here and there, unnecessary bickerings too, we have people nursing the wounds of not being given tickets for House of Representatives, House of Assembly and all that. There was really an intelligence report that people were planning not to vote for the Governor’s second term. So as an experienced politician, I called some people and said, we should not bother the Governor with this because he has a lot to attend to already, we should not add to the burden. So, I called people like Hon. Farouk who is SSA to the governor on Environment, Hon. Biyi SA to the Governor on Security, Gen Ashafa (rtd) from Imeko, Otunba Okunola from Sagamu among others. We all sat down did some brainstorming and we all went out using our resources to counter this palace coup. We thank God things went the way we want. What we did was to intensify support for the governor in the two Senatorial Districts of Ogun Central and West believing that our good showing there will reduce considerably whatever shortfall we might experience in Ogun East and that exactly was what happened. Again, I want to tell you that what happened to the Governor happened to me too in 2019 when I contested under PDP to represent Ogun East. I sincerely pray that our people in Ijebu and Remo land will stop selling their best for pittance. The Governor did very well, in terms of good projects, the Agro-Cargo Airport is about 70 per cent completed, the Ilisan/Ago Iwoye road has been done, Ijebu Ode/Epe road is there, what about other access roads across the nine local governments? The good job of the Governor is seen also in education, healthcare among others. But in a situation where people are asking is it road that we shall eat, when people care less about the socio-economic development that they can see around them but will rather shift focus on something else, it is a pity human beings are so unpredictable and behave so irrational sometimes. This is however not to say that we still don’t have plenty of people who are die-hard supporters of Mr Governor. These are the people who gave the votes to the governor. Some of them never thought any plane could land in the state but they saw this happening under Gov. Abiodun and were so convinced that really, the governor deserves another term.
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What do you think the second term of Gov. Dapo Abiodun holds for the people of the state?
Gov. Abiodun is an extremely focused man, he knows what he wants and he goes for it. He is very passionate about the development of the state and that is what he will continue to do. He is already preparing to commission yet another road project in the state capital. I am sure the Governor will double up efforts to finish the Agro-Cargo Airport which has the capacity to provide over 20,000 job opportunities. There will be more roads to be initiated and completed, the Governor has equally talked about ensuring that the Dried Ports at Kajola along Abeokuta-Sango expressway becomes a reality. This will help to decongest Lagos Port and of course further open up the state for business. I am telling you that the governor’s second term will be quite memorable and for the good of the state. I am also sure that some of the workers’ concerns as well as that of the pensioners would be sorted out. This is a Governor who places so much premium on the welfare of the workers, he has been ensuring that they get their promotion as and when due, they should be rest assured that the governor will attend to all their worries in due cause.
But the PDP governorship candidate, Hon Ladipupo Adebutu has insisted that the election was rigged vowing to retrieve the alleged stolen mandate at the tribunal, how do you react to this?
I want to first of all sympathise with my brother, Hon. Ladipupo Adebutu for the loss suffered in the election, having also lost an election in the time past, I truly know how it feels to narrowly lose an election. Having said that, I want to say that there’s nothing like stolen mandate as far as the Ogun State governorship election is concerned. This is the first time I am seeing a sitting governor losing from home when he could have done everything to win, the opposition party also has about 11 out of 26 members of the House of Assembly and yet someone will be claiming stolen mandate, that is not the truth. The margin might be very slim but the governor won very squarely and fair, so enough of misinforming the populace. There will always be another time.
What lessons will you say your party has learnt in the last election?
Many people have thought that the Governor despite his fabulous performance in office wouldn’t be returned for another term and that was why we had so much of betrayals and backstabbing but God said, no, this my son in whom I am well pleased will continue his good works for another four years and so be it. Having said that, we have also been able to find out that there is a lot of disconnect among our so called leaders and followers. The leaders just want to eat alone and not care for the followers but it’s these followers that they will call upon to go and vote, this area must be addressed so that it won’t be a case of some set of people living off the sweat of others. Whatever is due to these people at the grassroots should be given to them unfortunately, these leaders will rather prefer to distribute these things among their families, this should be discouraged. It causes so much disaffection and disunity in the party.
Your take on the call for interim government?
That’s a condemnable call from some enemies of the country. It is the design of the sore losers in the last presidential election, it is really unfortunate. There is no reason for such plan because the election had been conducted, a winner has emerged, together with his running mate, he had been issued certificate of return, he is only waiting to be sworn in on May 29 by the special grace of God. Our President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not a novice in political administration, he had done so well as the Governor of Lagos State and the foundation which he laid has continue to take the state to greater height. Those who lost in the election should rather approach the court to pursue whatever they felt wasn’t right not to be laying ambush for a mandate that was freely given. Some are even calling for the military to take over, those set of people are the enemies of this nation. I sincerely hope that the security agencies will remain alerted and waste no time to arrest those that want to derail this democracy. And for those fanning embers of ethnicity, they are only wasting their time. God has destined us to be together and that has come stay.
It won’t be proper not to ask what your office has also been doing to strengthen the security architecture of the state…
Yes, we have ensured good partnership with investors and other stakeholders, security agencies and business owners all in a bit to ensure that we all collaborate to have watertight security in the state. The Governor is not leaving anything to chances, he sees security as a must for businesses to thrive and the people to experience prosperity. This is why one of his first major assignment in the state is to get patrol vehicles with modern day communication gadgets, motorcycles, bulletproof and so much more for the security agencies in the state. There was a time he brought helicopter to help smoke out some criminals disturbing the peace of the state. He has joined his brothers in the Southwest to create Amotekun. The vigilantes, So-Safe Corps are all getting support from the government. So, in this second term, the Governor will build on this, no criminal will be allowed to disturb the peace of the state. As for the recent unfortunate incident in Sagamu, series of meetings are already ongoing to ensure that the banks are back to business. The Governor is not joking about this anyway, and within the next two months, the banks in Sagamu will resume operations. So, our eyes are on the ball, the residents of the state should get set for another four years of purposeful governance.