That he is now the sitting governor of the Gateway State, Ogun, did not come to many as a surprise because he has been at it for many years, but providence and ill-timing never gave him the opportunity back then.
Bespectacled and businessman par excellence, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State now shines like a million stars at the helm of affairs of the state, leaving no one in doubt that he has come to serve and nothing else. Since May 29, 2019, coincidentally his birthday, when he was sworn-in, he has hit the ground running, putting the state in its pride of place that it really belongs.
Even when politicking had reached fever pitch with hate and propaganda flying, Dapo Abiodun has never returned fire for fire or wavered in his adoption of soft power, that sheer ability not to use force or coercion for political gain when you can shape the dissidents or opposition’s long-term attitudes and preferences by tact and diplomacy, and this is really working perfectly for him. It is a road hardly traveled by politicians, especially those who have attained a political peak such as Governor Dapo Abiodun has.
Even when he was constantly and deliberately provoked in the run-up to the March 2019 governorship election, he kept his cool and was always enjoining his supporters to dwell on issues, not on personality attack. This did not only endear him to many who saw this as a novel approach to politics; it also disarmed some who were spoiling for war with him. In fact, there were reports that some aspirants shelved their ambition as a result of Abiodun’s excellent soft power.
Those who had carried on very far with their governorship ambition, but later saw in Abiodun a man who symbolizes greatness and carries the aspiration of the generality of the Ogun electorate, entered a pact with him to deliver the votes on election day. It is also on record that former governor of the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, a major opposition figure, jettisoned his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to ensure that Abiodun won the election.
He was reported to have told some people in confidence that he would rather synergize with Dapo Abiodun, whom he described as a man of uncommon honour, and do away with the likelihood of being appointed a Minister by Atiku Abubakar if he had won the presidential election.
Such is the awe-inspiring belief people have in the Ijebu-born Abiodun. Interestingly, another political gladiator in the state, Senator Buruji Kashamu, who flew PDP’s governorship flag, was overwhelmingly jubilant when the election swung in Abiodun’s favour. The same for was Hon. Ladi Adebutu, who was at the receiving end of the high-wire intrigues in PDP.
He also embraced and promised to support Abiodun. Recently, the gubernatorial candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the election, Chief Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, (GNI,) led his political movement to pay a courtesy call on Governor Abiodun to show solidarity for his administration, saying he has confidence that his administration is taking the state to a higher pedestal. The ADC chieftain noted that there were positive things happening between the Believe Movement and the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), adding that it was not for him to say exactly what, because his movement needed to report back to the people that sent them.
A coalition of 80 political parties in Ogun State also has passed a vote of confidence on the administration of Governor Abiodun because he had remained passionate about matters that bring development to the state. Speaking when he led members of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), to Government House, the chairman, Comrade Abayomi Arabambi, lauded the state government and the governor for identifying policies of the past government that brought failure and discomfort to the state and putting in place effective machinery to correct them.
While expressing confidence on the ability of the governor to steer the ship of the state, Arabambi said, “You have consistently and strongly justified your rating as a big name in the business of managing men and resources. In a short space of time, you have remained committed to all matters of development in the state. It is now clear that the destiny of our great state is in the hands of a capable, prudent and competent manager of resources. Your government shall not just make a difference, but shall be different,” he said.
Also speaking on the magnetic aura of Governor Dapo Abiodun, a foremost politician and chieftain of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dr. Gbolade Osinowo noted that the governor has already written his name in gold by deliberately promoting inclusive governance that embraces all political divide. “You are making a difference by deliberately promoting inclusive governance. You are not a lone ranger who claims to know it all. Your actions show that you want to tap from the experiences of the people, irrespective of their political leaning, to run your government and we, at the IPAC are able, ready and willing to contribute our quota to move Ogun State forward,” he promised.
Responding, Governor Abiodun noted that it was imperative for all hands to be on deck if the state was to make any meaningful progress as no one is a repository of knowledge. Governor Abiodun has expressed his delight with the openness of the opposition to his hand of fellowship. “Our doors are open to persons who previously opposed our people-oriented governance approach and now wish to join hands with us by contributing their share in creating a better future for the Gateway State. We also applaud the sincerity and purposefulness of all the other 80 parties that have, even before now, responded positively to our hands of fellowship. Like true sportsmen and women, they have continued to identify with our Government and recently passed their vote of confidence in us. We will continue to keep open the window of fellowship to all political actors and indeed all interest groups,” Abiodun assured.