Inside Battle For Abeokuta South Federal Constituency

As the battle for the general elections in Ogun State gathers momentum, Daily Trust examines the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates of the major political parties contesting in Abeokuta South Federal Constituency.

Location, strong political history, voting population and many more are the attributes that make Abeokuta South Federal Constituency stand out as one of the strategic constituencies in Ogun State. It’s a constituency with one local government area and third in the voting population in the ‘Gateway State’.

Thus, political parties usually battle for control of the area, most especially during the governorship polls, to boost their chances of winning.

The constituency was represented by Dimeji Bankole, the former speaker of the House of Representatives between 2003 and 2011. Bankole lost re-election as the sitting Speaker in 2011.

Lanre Edun, who currently represents the constituency in the 9th National Assembly, will also not be returning to the Green Chamber having lost the ticket of his party, the All Progressives Congress.

The major candidates for the seat are Moruf Afuape, aka Afoo, of the APC; Toyin Amuzu, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Mikky Kazim of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM).

Reprieve came the way of Tolulope Philips, who clinched the Labour Party’s ticket for the legislative seat, following a Federal High Court judgement that ordered INEC to list his name and others who won the LP tickets in the state.

Moruf Afuape

He is the immediate past commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and one of Governor Dapo Abiodun’s men. He was also the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development in the administration of Ibikunle Amosun.

Afoo, as he is popularly called by his supporters, was also the Special Adviser (Political) to Bankole when he was Reps Speaker.

The lecturer-turned-politician is taking the shot at the House of Representatives seat for the third time. On the last two attempts, he did not get the party’s ticket.

Afuape is a mobiliser who has used political positions he had held at different times to attract and keep a strong grassroots appeal in Ogun politics, most especially in his local government.

As commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, he used the office to galvanize the support of traditional rulers and chiefs in Egbaland and other parts of the state

Also, being the candidate of the ruling party puts him at an advantage in the coming election. This makes him a formidable candidate in the poll.

However, Afuape has other forces to contend with including Amosun’s political strength in Ogun Central.

Amosun has not hidden his disdain for Abiodun’s government and political faction within the APC to which they all belong. Amosun and his supporters would likely vote against Afuape due to political differences.

The crisis within Abiodun’s faction of APC in Abeokuta South LGA may also scuttle his chances at the polls. Findings by our correspondent revealed that some APC leaders in the council who were schemed out in the state’s appointments and the last LG polls are not pleased with Afuape’s ambition.

He was accused of collecting bribes to favour a chairmanship aspirant in the election, an allegation he however denied.

As commissioner, he was accused of allegedly favouring some aspirants to obaship stool. Those who lost out in the obaship contest may also work against him in the district. About 75 promoted coronet obas were demoted under his watch as commissioner.

Kazzim Mukaila Olayiwola (Mikky Kazim)

He represented Abeokuta North/Odeda/Obafemi-Owode Federal Constituency between 2015 and 2019 on the platform of APC. Kazim decamped to the APM in the build-up to the 2019 elections to seek reelection but lost to Olumide Osoba, son of a former governor, Olusegun Osoba.

Interestingly, the former Rep has switched to Abeokuta South Federal Constituency, which he claimed to be his maternal side of the Abeokuta metropolis. If elected in 2023, he will now represent Abeokuta South.

Kazim is a grassroots politician who commands huge influence among the youth and women. He is a strong member of the Amosun political family. He enjoys the former governor’s backing despite the political party differences.

He recently commissioned some projects in Abeokuta South LGA as he prepares for the campaign for the next election.

Some of the projects were said to have been facilitated when he was in the House of Representatives between 2015 and 2019.

However, Kazim’s switching of the political base from one constituency to the other is seen as desperation by opponents and this may affect his chance at the poll.

The political platform may also not favour him. When APM was more popular in 2019, Kazim did not win reelection, what more of 2023 that the party’s name is barely heard on the streets of Ogun?

Besides, though Amosun may direct his supporters to vote for him during the election, the level of political education among major voters in the constituency is low and may be in his favour.

Toyin Amuzu

He is a new entrant into the House of Representatives race. But Amuzu lost the PDP House of Assembly primaries in 2018. TA, as known by his admirers, before his entrance into politics, was an entrepreneur, a realtor, and an estate developer.

He is the founder of Toyin Amuzu (TA) Foundation through which he carries out some support projects for the residents of Abeokuta.

The foundation has given out food items to the elderly, empowered youths and carried out some projects on water provision for residents

Through these projects, he is warming himself into the hearts of the electorate in the constituency.

However, the endless crises rocking the PDP may affect his chances at the poll. Different litigations are on against the primaries of PDP candidates in the state and this has slowed down the campaigns of the party.

Also, the last time a PDP member occupied the seat was during Bankole’s era as the popularity and acceptance of the main opposition party has dwindled in the state.

Some of his opponents have equally alleged that he is not an indigene of the state, saying ‘no one bears Amuzu in Egbaland.” This, they say, makes him ineligible for the post he is vying for.

He, however, said his mother hails from Egbaland and that makes him eligible to contest.

“It’s a weak campaign issue. If anyone feels that is what they want to use to campaign against him, it is very weak. I am not bothered about that anyway,” he said.

Tolulope Phillips

Popularly known as TP, Phillips holds the ticket of LP for the constituency.

Last week, a Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise all the parliamentary candidates of Labour Party in the state.

INEC had omitted the names of the party’s candidates in its final list of those eligible to contest the 2023 elections.

Following the omission, the party dragged INEC to court, arguing that its conduct of primary elections did not violate the Electoral Act.

The party insisted that it conducted its primary elections and submitted the names of its candidates within 90 days as provided by the Electoral Act.

The party prayed the court for an order to compel INEC to accept, recognise and publish the names of candidates submitted by it.

Justice Akintayo Aluko, last Thursday, ordered the electoral body to accept and immediately publish the names of the three senatorial, nine House of Representatives and 26 House of Assembly candidates of the party on its website.

With the judgement, Phillips will be on the ballot for the election which holds in February next year.

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