With the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and others still battling hard to find their feet, a number of aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC have started rolling up their sleeves for the task ahead notwithstanding the recent division occasioned by the fallout of the broom party congresses.
As the game gets underway in Oyo APC, everybody is talking tough. It is common these days to meet an aspirant today, you will be carried away with mouth-watering promises he has in store for the electorate. A number of them also drop names of their ‘godfathers and gatekeepers’ backing their aspiration with reckless abandon. Politicians are indeed incurable optimists. Money, influence, perception and other political factors and considerations would shape the outcome of APC governorship primary no doubt. Below are the names of possible flag bearer of the party.
Adebayo Alao-Akala: Experience, popularity…
Famously described as the ‘Oyato Governor’, meaning the Governor with a difference in terms of populist agenda and mass distribution of wealth, Alao-Akala enjoys a cult-like followership especially in Ogbomoso, his country home. The retired police officer has ruled the state twice; first during the 11months interregnum when his former boss, Governor Rashidi Ladoja was illegally impeached as Governor; and secondly as elected Governor between 2007-2011 under PDP. His strength lies in his welfare programs for the people of the state and experience as a thoroughbred politician. He is a household name and very close associate of the current Governor Ajimobi and APC National leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu. But many people consider him a joker.
Remi Olaniyan: ‘I am the anointed’
An ex-technocrat and former General Manager of Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSTROMA), Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan, an Engineer has been explaining to whoever cares to listen how the next governor of the state will emerge from the Oke Ogun section of the state. In a recent interview, he said he is the divinely ordained successor to Ajimobi, just as he described other aspirants as ‘Oyewumi’ which literally means “mere aspirants and lovers of the position’’. His strength remains his humility, place of birth as an Oke Ogun indigene and civil service experience which took him to every nook and cranny of the state, interfacing with people for government’s projects. Apart from all these, he is a notable philanthropist with milk of human kindness.
Niyi Akintola, SAN: Cerebral, Connected…
A legal luminary is an Ibadan-born politician with wide networks of friends across political divides. He once boasted that a number of gatekeepers including first class traditional rulers in the state owed him ‘IOU’ over the past few years and would be ready to support his aspiration. Akintola, a highly cerebral personality is substantially close to both Ajimobi and Tinubu. He has a foundation that gives yearly scholarship to the indigent students. His strength lies in Ibadan voting strength and legal support to the high and low in the society over the years. He is considered to be a hard liner though very close to late cicero of Esa Oke during his life time Chief Bola Ige
Bayo Adelabu: Pedigree, Exposure, Intellectual prowess:
The most famous out of all the aspirants jolting for government house Agodi is former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Adebayo Adelabu. Adelabu is seen as a very serious and formidable aspirant out of all APC contestants
He possesses the intellectual prowess to turn things around for the better. Many still wonder why he would be resigning as a top government official for the murky waters of Oyo politics especially that he still has the grace of serving another term from 2019 in the apex bank. But Adelabu appears ready to tackle other established politicians for the coveted position. His strength lies in his youthful and useful age; intellectually sound mind, war chest and above all, family pedigree as the grandson of a renowned first republic nationalist, Hon. Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi, the stormy petrel of Western Nigeria politics. He is one of the biggest tax payers to the state government. He runs a foundation (Bayo Adelabu Foundation) which gives care to the needy. And his name rings bell across the land because of a number of investments he established to engender rapid economic growth of the state. He will also be leveraging on the billions of naira CBN intervention projects he attracted to the state’s tertiary education.
Adelabu is considered to be first class individual both in academics and character since he was born to the famous family of the popular adegoke Adelabu penkelemesi fame. Bayo has empowered several individuals across the state and even beyond with his hard-earned money, and his zeal to serve his people his second to none.
Though many political watchers see him as being close to governor Ajimobi but his Excellency has not shown or disapproved to his ambition. Nevertheless, political analysists have advised Governor Ajimobi not to toy with the destiny of Oyo State people by not supporting Bayo Adelabu who is considered to be most suitable person to continue from where Ajimobi stops.
Adesoji Eniade: The dark horse?
Here comes the immediate past Head of Service and son of a prominent figure in Ibadan and progressive’s family, Pa Eniade of Ibadan. Armed with all professional certificates as an all-round civil servant, Eniade knows the civil service inside out. Hardly had he completed his career path than the governor appointed him as an Executive Assistance. He has been representing the Governor on a number of social events and rumor mongers say he is the preferred choice of the governor. Eniade told journalists on a Fresh FM weekend political circuit programme that he would pick the sole ticket of the party ahead of the general election. His strength lies in the rumoured support of the governor, the progressives’ clan and untainted public service experience. Many people wonder where he would get the fund to prosecute his tall ambition, as a retired civil servant from Oyo State. He is seen as lacking the necessary exposure to take Oyo State to the promise land
Dr. Owolabi Babalola: Ibadan Elites, Integrity comes handy…
Babalola has a reputation that is missing among today’s politicians. It was Babalola Owolabi who voluntarily resigned as Commissioner for Health when his signature was sought to fast track a project at a reportedly grossly inflated contractual sum which would also fetch him a princely N100million in one fell swoop. He turned down the offer and after threats to his life, resigned and stepped aside. Until recently when he set up campaign office close to APC state Secretariat, many had thought he was back to full service as a regular visitor to Harvard University. His strength lies in his integrity and closeness to elites and front-line traditional rulers in the state.
Mr. Bimbo Adekanmbi: Ajimobi’s Initial choice
This is the much- talked choice of the first family for 2019. Suave, intelligent and unassuming, the youthful commissioner for finance is the most trusted ally of the governor. He was former Deputy chief of Staff to the governor in his first term. For seven years running, he remains the closest aide to Ajimobi and was being groomed to the exalted office. His strength remains the governor and his place of birth, Ibadan. He was given no chance at all, his only antecedent in life is being appointed into government of Oyo State by Ajimobi.
Adekanmbi has been challenged to state his record before coming to government through his godfather.
Bayo Shittu: Backing on Buhari’s support
The serving Minister of Communications means different things to different people. Largely controversial but he remains unperturbed and had argued severally that why he was being vilified was due to his belief that Ajimobi would hand over power to him in 2019. His strength remains his Oke Ogun place of birth and President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged connection in his gubernatorial ambition.
It was confirmed that Governor Ajimobi who is a of major factor that would decide who gets the governorship ticket is highly disposed to Shittu’s aspiration of succeeding him and he does not hide it.
Senator Fatai Buhari: performance, philanthropy
The Senator representing Oyo North comes with a public service of unrivalled performance, according to the governor in his recent appraisal of the Ogbomoso-born Fatai Buhari. He was also a former Commissioner for Local Government under Ajimobi and erstwhile House of representative member. Though a loyal party member, Buhari’s influence cuts across divides. He is another leading aspirant in Oyo APC. His strength: service to humanity and philanthropy.
Dr. Ayantayo Ayandele: The Ibarapa born business mogul and leading player in the nation’s power sector is a man of impeccable character and unimpeachable track record of service in academics, public and private sectors. With influence cutting across different segments of society, Ayandele is a man to watch out for as the race towards the 2019 gets underway.
Temitope Olatoye (Sugar): Youthful, versatile and a liberal spirit
A first-time member of the House of Representatives from Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency is imbued with milk of human kindness and arguably the sole National Assembly member giving artificial legs to those who could hitherto not walk, the same way he provides succor to countless individuals across the state through his Olatoye Sugar Foundation (OSF). He is leaving no stone unturned as the race to the gubernatorial election gathers momentum.
Joseph Tegbe: Ajimobi’s Joker is a technocrat and economic guru
This man cuts the mien of a technocrat and ‘Alakowe’ to the core. He is a Team Leader at KPMG and was the brain behind a number of economic policies Ajimobi brought to bear in governance and he is reputed to be a points-man in a number of Ajimobi’s private enterprise. Quiet and unassuming, little is known about him in the political circle until last Ramadan when he sponsored a number of Islamic programmes to felicitate Muslim faithful in the state on the occasion of 2018 Ramadan. His profile soon found its way into the social media circles as a thoroughbred Ibadan indigene with family compound in Labo Ibadan. It is no more news that the entrant of Tegbe has changed the face of politics in APC especially among the supporters and loyalists of the governor. It remains to be seen how the governor intends to push him through the hurdles ahead because of the outcry dogging his ambition.
It was rumored in Ibadan that Tegbe is not from the town as being touted, that Tegbe is actually from Delta but has been in Ibadan for a very long time. Even unconfirm sources say that governor Ajimobi has been warned not to present Tegbe to Oyo State people as they say, itt wouldn’t fly, “Tegbe will be a hard to sell”, according to a political analyst.