Editor's note: As 2019 general elections draw near, the battle of who will succeed the incumbent governor of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi, has intensified as both the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and opposition parties in the state engaged in battle of supremacy.
In this features, NAIJ.com regional reporter in Oyo state, Newman Babson, revealed how it may be difficult for the ruling APC to win the state in 2019 if the internal crisis rocking it is not timely checkmated.
Partisan politics in Oyo state which is christened "Pacesetter state" has apparently turned drama of the absurd where no one can predict with mathematical precision, which party will emerge with the new governor come 2019 and whether or not the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari will score the mandatory 25 percent in the state.
Similarly, aspirants to both states and National Assemblies too cannot guarantee "profit" from their investments.
Oyo state has for long been boasting of many firsts: first to have a television station in Africa, first to have a stadium, first to have a university and first to be governed by a retired police officer.
Perhaps this informed the emergence of over 12 aspirants from a single political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) nursing the ambition of succeeding Senator Abiola Ajimobi in 2019 after completing his two terms.
He was particularly lucky to have been in the saddle for two terms. His admirers observed that his tenure recorded peace and tranquility which has not been faulted as well as infrastructural development while his critics scored him very low in the workers welfare.
NAIJ.com’s investigation revealed that if care is not prudently exercised, the APC which is disintegrating on daily basis will finally collapse before the next general elections. This could be possible if the vaulting ambition of its candidates is not pocketed.
For now, 12 aspirants have indicated their interest in the governorship race. Among them are mere pretenders while serious contenders are few. Among them are Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Chief Bayo Adelabu, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, Isaac Omodewu, Barr Moronkola Thomas, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, Barr Adebayo Shittu, Adesoji Eniade, Joseph Tegbe, Olalekan Alli, Olusola Ayandele and Chief Moses Alake Adeyemo, the state deputy governor.
One of the aspirants who refused to be described as a late comer and pleaded anonymity, simply told NAIJ.com that the development is good for democracy adding, "the more we are the merrier."
He turned down a suggestion that the incumbent has a candidate among them but admitted that the number is unreasonable.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the other hand, seems cleverer in the number of those who have publicly indicated their interest. Apart from Engineer Seyi Makinde who is admired by the youths, Engr. Femi Babalola is only being touted as he has not publicly come out.
The number of aspirants in PDP would have been higher but for the unresolved conflict between Senator Rashidi Ladoja and the leadership of PDP which disagreed over the executives of PDP. Ladoja was accused of attempting to control the structure of the party in order to pave way for the emergence of his men at the primaries.
This conflict between the camps of Hon. Muraina Saubana Ajibola, Senator Hosea Agboola, Chief Sunday Ogunlade and Seyi Makinde on one hand and Senator
Ladoja, Senator Femi Lanlehin on the other hand snowballed into the exit of Ladoja group from PDP to ADC. The African Democratic Congress (ADC) welcomed them warmly.
Shortly on arrival, another problem erupted. The unity forum members who left APC in protest alleged being sidelined in ADC.
Those who were said to be favoured in ADC are Gbenga Babalola,Yunus Akintunde,Sharafadeen Alli,Olufemi Lanlehin and Aderemi Olaniyan.
Though African Democratic Party claims it exists in the state, not much has been known about juggernauts in it. Of recent, its publicity scribe, Lawal Akinde, issued a press statement scolding Governor Ajimobi for refusing to pay 23 months salaries of lecturers of college of Agriculture, Igboora. Nobody has raised his head as the party's flagbearer.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) said its guidelines are yet to be released for the party primaries. Deacon Samson Segun Olalere, the southwest party vice chairman said that APGA is more organised than doing things in a wishy washy manner like others. He promised to let NAIJ.com know at the appropriate time.
Dr. Olapade Agoro who doubles as the national chairman of National Action Council (NAC) told NAIJ.com that his party is strategizing to not only win in many states of the federation but defeat President Buhari in 2019. Agoro described as a gratuitous insult, a suggestion that most members of NAC are jesters.
A critique of 2019 general elections suggests that it is going to be a drama of the absurd. The APC which was firmly on the ground is suffering from hemorrhoid and bleeding profusely as a result of the ambition of its members. Unless an effective surgery is expeditiously carried out the party is as good as dead in the state.
A case in point is the battle for supremacy between Governor Ajimobi and the minister of communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, who recently made a public declaration that if he lost in the primaries, the APC will lose the gubernatorial poll in the state come next year.
Another interesting scenario is the consensus of Oke-Ogun people in the upper part of the state. The people there have sworn to vote for any party that fields their kinsmen having been marginalised since the creation of Oyo state. But unfortunately, the number of Ibadan indigenes among the aspirants is more contrasted with that of Oke-Ogun.
Political pundits believe that Governor Ajimobi encouraged many aspirants to come out in order to defeat Adebayo Shittu at the primaries. It is being feared in some quarters that APC will shoot itself in the leg with the scheming.
Like Big Brother in George Orwell's novel’s "1984", PDP leaders are meticulously watching the ruling party in the state. The shortcomings of APC government in the state are being compiled to be used against it during electioneering.
No wonder Governor Ajimobi is mending fences in the careless demolition of Yinka Ayefele's Fresh FM and poor workers welfare.
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Despite his shortcomings like all mortals, Ajimobi performed creditably well during his tenure. His albatross is debt owed workers and his alleged arrogance and snobbishness.
Whoever gets the APC’s ticket among the dozens of the aspirants should work indefatigably to slug it out with the candidates of other parties few of who are running the race with united parties. Most of the aspirants are also banking on financial power to induce the electorate.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that the minister of communications, Adebayo Shittu, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) will lose the governorship election in Oyo state to opposition party if it failed to pick him as the governorship candidate for the 2019 general election.
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