By NBF News

Is Dimeji Bankole a destabilizing influence in Ogun State?

Dimeji Bankole was a product of the political machinery of Governor Gbenga Daniel. He almost did not get a return ticket to the House of Representatives but for the grace of the Governor.

When Patricia Etteh was to be removed, he also got tremendous support from the governor. He was not even among the leading candidates then. Dimeji was not in the reckoning but OGD set up the machinery to get him the seat and he got it.

But we have always thought OGD and Obasanjo were not in support of Dimeji's emergence.

OGD was in support of his emergence. Obasanjo of course did not support him because he did not support the removal of Etteh. Etteh was the creation of OBJ but OGD read the mood of the house correctly and discovered that there was no way Etteh could survive the forces lined up against her. He tried to help but when he realized there was noting that could save Etteh, he decided to support Dimeji and he got the seat. Dimeji too showed it when he came to Abeokuta here and prostrated for OGD to thank him for assisting him.

The problem is that Abuja often gets to the heads of these people. They will get to Abuja and they will be talking of order of protocol. President is number one, vice President is number two, Senate President number three, Speaker is number four, it gets into their heads. They suddenly think they are now somebody.

In all the cases where these things happen, the Abuja politicians lose out. The first was Ghali Umar Na'Abba; he lost his return ticket to the House. Bello Masari had everything going for him until he attempted to contest the governorship of Katsina State against the wish of the then governor, Umaru Yar'Adua. He didn't make it to the governorship. Pius Anyim too had problem with Sam Egwu, his governor, he did not go back to the senate and since that time, he went into political oblivion.

Ken Nnamani also had problem with Chimaroke Nnamani his governor, he did not even bother to contest for the return ticket. If you look at the pattern, you will see that there is nowhere you have that kind of tango between those in Abuja and governors elected in their home states, and they survived it.

You will see what will happen to Ahmed Yerima in Zamfara. It is a pattern that always repeats itself. How many appointments can the speaker make? The power of patronage in the hands of the governor is enormous and all those he has appointed will go to the field to work for him simply because their own survival too depends on the survival of the governor.

Is Dimeji really a destabilizing influence in Ogun?

Yes. He is behind the setting up of the parallel Exco.

Is he behind it?
He is among the dramatis personae that are propping up the parallel Exco. But they are just irritants, they are not on the ground in the state. Dimeji represents just one out of the nine federal constituencies in the state. Dimeji, by his own admission, has not come to Abeokuta for the last 15 months. It is the governor that settles the problems of the people on the ground, not the Abuja politicians. At the PDP southwest, these people making noise were not there. It was just noise to seek recognition and the recognition is not being granted them.

What is Obasanjo's influence in Ogun politics?
Obasanjo is a statesman, no doubt; he plays at the national level, particularly with the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan as President. He is widely seen as the godfather to Jonathan. Beyond that, he has no influence that can be called influence in Ogun here, politically speaking.

In 1999 and 2003 elections, the man did not win election in his ward here in Abeokuta, it was because of the sentiments of 'we want our son back' that won him some votes in 2003.Now that he has stepped down, his influence has diminished, people defer to him as former president but beyond that, if he fields a person in his own local government in Abeokuta North, he can't win, and he knows it.

Dimeji is against Governor Daniel and Iyabo Obasanjo too is against the governor, will they secure a return ticket to the National Assembly?

Iyabo being against the governor beats my imagination. She was nobody before the governor made her a commissioner. She has nothing on her CV but the fact that she is the daughter of a former president. She got the senate ticket at the behest of Governor Daniel. There is this proverb that a stream that forgets its source will dry up. Iyabo is finished politically because the very basis of her sustenance is what she has been attacking all this while.

Does this also apply to Dimeji?
If Dimeji wants to go back to that House, he should find someone who will help him appeal to the governor so that the governor will beg the people he had wronged. It is not as if the governor is against Dimeji as a person but because he is not using his position to benefit the state.

The governor has shown his preference for a power shift to Yewa-Awori in 2011, what is the rationale for that stance?

It is not the governor who said so, anyone that has the mind for equity and fairness will say the thing should go to Ogun West because of all the four divisions in the state; it is only that area that has not produced a governor. When Ogun was created in 1976 and we came to civilian regime in 1979, the first person to rule was Olabisi Onabanjo from Ijebu division. After him Osoba from Ogun Central came in and did two terms. The next time went to Remo with the sitting governor. The only area that has not produced governor is the Yewa area.

People are opposing it because it is natural that people will oppose things that are good, things that are of good report. If the whole world likes equity, we won't be having problem, it is because we trample on equity that we have problems. Otunba Gbenga Daniel loves equity and justice, and that is why he expressed that preference.

He is not however forcing it on the party, it is the people that will decide. No one is against it in Ijebu, they know they had their fill with Onabanjo, the pocket of opposition is from Egba and they are few because the vast majority likes the idea of equity.