President Muhammadu Buhari saved the day for his ruling All Progressives party (APC) when his quick declaration to Ogun voters to vote anyone they preferred in other elections as a matter of their rights.
It was an ugly day for the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, who has been at loggerheads with Governor Ibikunle Amosun over the party’s gubernatorial candidate. Oshiomhole’s mention of APC candidate was his undoing with the crowd. Amosun is rooting for Allied Peoples Movement (APM) candidate, Adekunle Akinlade, who he pushed to be APC candidate but lost th the Abuja preferred candidate, Abiodun.
Oshiomhole was booed and stoned at the rally and security men had to shield him before Amosun returned to the podium to plead for respect President who was there.
Buhari took a differing position from that of his deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, to save the embarrassment of the day.
To the delight of those at the crowd, he told them to vote whoever they desired.
“It is your right. I have no problems with that,” Buhari added. The President took the same position in Imo State, where, like Ogun, Rochas Okorocha has his preferred candidate foe gubernatorial elections.
At the Ogun rally, there were more of A PM banners than for APC gubernatorial ticket holder.
Osinbajo was brought in to douse the Oshiomhole debacle. The professor of law and son of the soil, who spoke in Yoruba, enjoyed the cheers of the crowd, but was slightly embarrassed when boos were being raised as soon as he said APC candidates to be voted down the line. He quickly beat a tactical retreat.
Buhari’s position that Ogun voters could vote across party lines was almost marred when he raised the hand of APC’s Dapo Abiodun. There were loud boos amid subdued cheers.
Organisers hurriedly called for the National anthem to close the event that was winding down.
Earlier, Amosun had extolled the integrity virtues of Buhari, listing his achievements, including the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the railway line along the same corridor. He applauded the line passing through Abeokuta, a feat that he said he saw last 30 years ago.
Curiously, Amosun said Ogun State will be fully an APC State on March 3, a day after the governorship election, an obvious reference to suggestions that Akinlade will revert to the APC if he wins the governorship election..
“When it’s March 2nd, we know what we’re going to do. The other one, on March 2nd, we will resolve it. This one is for President Muhammadu Buhari. Please I beg you in the name of God, please don’t be angry,” Amosun said.
In a Yoruba proverb, Amosun said the dog barks thinking they are afraid of him rather than its owner, an apparent reference to APC leaders flexing their muscles.