2019: 34 governorship aspirants warm up in Oyo
Even though, the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is yet to blow whistle to kick start campaign for the 2019 general election, politicians are already forming alliances to show the ruling party the way out of Agodi Government House.
This is not the first time that opposition parties in the state would come together against the incumbent. It happened during the tenure of late Lamidi Adesina when Senator Rashidi Ladoja was voted as governor to thwart the second term dreams of late Adesina. But, in 2015, selfish interest could not make them to form a formidable force against Senator Abiola Ajimobi as Ladoja, Adebayo Alao Akala, Seyi Makinde went their different ways when they could not reach a consensus on who was to be presented as the governorship candidate.
Equally, the same game is on against the 2019 election. Seyi Makinde, the governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in Oyo State, has confirmed this. He said, ”For me, that is the route to go now as 2019 approaches and we are talking seriously in that direction. Why are we in politics? We are seeking opportunities to serve the people. Should we have differences, let us sit down together and resolve them and move to the real business of service to the people.”
“In 2015, APC knew that the only way it could retain power was to factionalise the opposition. So, all the efforts we made at that time, you would see their hand in the coalition we were trying to build then.
“The analysis we did then was that for us to win, the frontline gladiators, that is, Senator Ladoja and Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala must come together. I said if they came together, I would drop my ambition and support the arrangement in the interest of the people. But we could not pull it off. But now, we have learnt from the 2015 mistakes.
“We did not do certain things then and we failed ourselves and we also failed the people of the state because I don’t think our people deserve the misery they are getting right now from the current government. Towards 2019 and with the benefit of the lessons learnt in 2015, we are more reasonable now. I am not as militant as I was in 2015. We should be able to give the people of the state the kind of leadership that they deserve in 2019.”
The engineer, who described the reform of the Olubadan stool by state government as a needless distraction, said there were critical issues of hunger and poverty as well as decaying infrastructure that needs government attention and not a succession system that was already rancour-free and consequently need no reformation.
Besides, Oke Ogun indigenes who are yet to produce governor in the state are not ready to take no for an answer this time around. They may have been gingered by the comment of Governor Ajimobi who said it would not be out of place for the zone to produce the next governor of the state. Led by the former physician to ex-president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon,, they said, “Oke-Ogun as a distinct segment of Oyo State is hereby announcing formally that for the governorship of Oyo State, it is our turn, come 2019. “We believe as the people of Oke Ogun that the time has come to ask for and to get this coveted position of the executive governor of our dear state. There are reasons to justify this clamour for the gubernatorial power shift to Oke-Ogun.”
Dr. Rauf Olaniyan added that if the state would be fair to the axis on power distribution in 2019, Oke-Ogun, which has 10 local governments should provide the next governor for the state. He noted that Ibadan, which is the state capital, with 11 local governments, has produced governors many times and Ogbomoso with five local governments, has produced governor for the state once.
He said further: “We are a people located strategically in 10 out of the 33 Local Government Areas of the state. However, because of the physical distance from the capitals of the state and the Federal Government, we have been practically forgotten and neglected. The roads linking us to the state capital are all very bad and have remained so forever. I dare say, we don’t have a single federal institution except for the Nigeria Police and a few other uniformed law enforcement agencies whose presence is to collect taxes and other revenues without compensation in the form of derivation as other sections of the country that are earning resources for government through oil and gas.
“This is despite the equally huge returns from Customs, duties and taxes daily accruing from Oke-Ogun that harbours extensive stretch of the nation’s international borders. We are also lacking in federal schools, hospitals or establishments. The absence of government presence has come with great deprivation for us as a people, though we are the food basket of the state. It is therefore fair and equitable for us to be given the chance to produce the next chief executive of Oyo State.”
But, already there are some indigenes of Ibadan who have signified their intention to vie for the number one position. On the list are Engr. Seyi Makinde, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), Mr Adebayo Shittu, the Minsiter of Communication, Dr. Kola Balogun, a former commissioner in the administration of Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Mr. Olufemi Lanlehin, a one time senator and a host of others. Other aspirants who are likely to contest are Prof. Soji Adejumo, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja, Senator Rashidi Ladoja and others. In fact, Governor Ajimobi said about two months ago that there were 34 governorship aspirants.
Like in the past elections, the issue of indigeneship has always been a key factor. It had led to collapse of previous coalition that was formed and Ibadan has enjoyed the monopoly for a long period because of their numerical superiority. Political observers are waiting to see how the game will be played this time around. But, there are some things that would spring surprises. It is being widely rumoured that Senator Rashidi Ladoja who came second in the 2015 election is still very much interested in contesting the election. As for now, there has been no concrete evidence to say that he would contest. But, a source said he will certainly contest the election.
If he does so, it means he will be contesting at age 74. While his popularity has not waned, many people are of the view that he should, by now, be a ‘godfather’ who should have a candidate for the position. The clock is ticking and very soon, all the secret games and clandestine moves will be made public. As usual, some aspirants are already paying visits to relevant people that could make them actualise their dreams. Now, that Alhaji Azeez Arisekola is no more, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi and the incumbent governor are forces to reckon with.
This piece was powered by Ola Ajayi from Ibadan