Ogun LP knocks APC over defection, urban renewal

The Labour Party says the defection of some members of the All Progressives Congress brightens its chances in the 2015 election, but the latter says otherwise, Fisayo Falodi writes

Just last Sunday at the popular Akarigbo palace playing ground in Sagamu, over 1,000 members of the All Progressives Congress defected to the Labour Party. It was during the party’s public meeting.

The defectors were publicly welcomed into the LP by its state chairman, Mr. Niyi Osoba, alongside the party’s three governorship aspirants, Gboyega Isiaka, Sarafa Ishola and Sina Kawonise.

Former Governor Gbenga Daniel, who addressed the gathering, expressed hope that LP would defeat the APC in 2015, asking members to “team up to chase out the current administration.”

The development followed last year’s defection of some notable politicians, especially members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria to the LP in the state.

Seven members of the state House of Assembly and two other lawmakers representing the state in the House of Representatives defected to the LP in 2013.

The Ogun Assembly members, including the former Deputy Speaker, Remmy Hassan of Odogbolu State Constituency; Samson Onademuren, Ijebu North-East; and Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo , Ifo II, all members of the defunct ACN stormed the inauguration of the membership registration committees of the LP in the state. Also at the inauguration of the LP membership registration committees was another lawmaker, Hon. Abiodun Akovoyon, who represents Ipokia Constituency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Before the lawmakers defected to the LP, they had initially shunned the inauguration of the APC in Abeokuta slated for the previous week.

The LP, which has been fully inaugurated to contest for various elective offices, including governorship election in 2015 in Ogun State, said the defection of APC members had deepened its optimism that it could unseat the administration of Governor Ibikunle Amosun in 2015.

The LP, therefore, carpets Amosun’s administration over its urban renewal and infrastructure development agenda.

It accused Amosun of deceit and particularly faulted claim by the governor that his administration had attracted $7.3bn investment into the state since he assumed office.

The party asked Amosun to stop embarrassing the people of the state with such frivolous claim.

A statement by its state Publicity Secretary, Deji Kalejaiye, said, “We need to state, without any fear of contradiction, that there cannot be anything farther from the truth in this statement. It is an embarrassment to the good people of Ogun State that its chief executive officer will be caught in the web of lies and deception which has now assumed a second nature to the state governor and his retinue of cabinet members.”

One of the governorship aspirants on the LP platform, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, said a large number of people joined LP daily to rescue Ogun from “bad government.”

Speaking during the inauguration of the party’s secretariat in May, 2014, former Governor Daniel had accused Amosun’s administration of subjecting the people to hardship with his urban renewal agenda.

He said residents of Siun were rehabilitated by his administration before demolition started in readiness for the construction of the Abeokuta-Siun Road in 2006. He alleged that the project, which cost N1.9bn then, had now been re-awarded by Amosun under the guise of expansion to the tune of a whopping N60bn.

He also claimed that the Ilishan-Ago Iwoye Road, which needed N300m to complete after all the three bridges over it had been constructed by his administration, had also been re-awarded by Amosun for N11bn.

He said, “During my eight-year tenure, we constructed a lot of roads. I constructed six lanes on Lalubu Road; we constructed drainage, walkways right and left and we inaugurated them in 2008. As I am speaking to you, there is no pothole on that road and it cost N100m per kilometer. But this road from Ibara Roundabout to Onikolobo being built by this government gulped N800m per kilometer. Even, some members of the state House of Assembly said government had increased the cost to N1.3bn per kilometre.

“The first road my administration constructed when I assumed office in 2003 was the dualisation of Sagamu-Abeokuta Road, which is 40 kilometres. Those people whose houses were affected got other more befitting houses with street lights and we spent a total of N1.9bn. We constructed bridges. I heard that this government wants to expand the road and has awarded it to a contractor for N60bn.”

The National Chairman, LP, Chief Dan Nwayanwu and Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, who attended the inauguration of the party’s secretariat, gave an assurance that LP would give APC a tough fight in the 2015 elections.

Mimiko, who described Amosun’s urban renewal programme as elitist, said, “It is good to renew our cities, but at the same time you must renew the pockets of the masses. You cannot destroy the means of livelihood of the people because you want to renew your city, which is elitist.”

An LP chieftain, Otunba Olumide Osunshina, in an interview with naijagossipers.com, said, “Human management is different from trying to achieve physical development and infrastructure. The governor has not shown enough capacity in managing the fallout of development. He has not shown enough capacity to understand the plight of the people he is governing.

“Everywhere in the world, they do urban renewal, but urban renewal is done with a human face because you are governing people. You are not building these roads for yourself. You are building them for the people. They must be happy with the roads, if they are not happy with them, then the roads are useless. Urban renewal can take 10 years; it can take 20 years, it can take 30 years. It is done gradually to the benefit of the people because they are the beneficiaries. What the state government is doing is not urban renewal, but urban punishment.”

But Amosun, through his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Yusuph Olaniyonu, had said, “Daniel deserves sympathy. He needed to justify why he did not reconstruct and expand the roads in the state, including the Onikolobo Road on which the secretariat of his faction of LP is now located.

“The allegation of indebting the state is not only an old one but is unfounded. The Assembly investigated it and found out it is baseless. In any case, the executive cannot take any loan without recourse to the House.”

Also spokesperson for APC in the state, Mr. Sola Lawal, said in a text message to naijagossipers.com that Daniel would be disgraced during the poll.

He said, “When Gbenga Daniel was in government on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, he could not defeat an opposition and now defunct ACN. How can he now claim a pyrrhic capacity to defeat APC?

“As a slumberous political villain, he is entitled to his dream as he perches on the fringes of a final electoral annihilation.”

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