2nd March, 2019
With the unfolding events in Oyo State, it seems that the coast is almost clear for the All Progressives Congress, APC, to clinch the most coveted governorship position in the state in the Saturday March 9, 2019 Governorship Elections as well as possibly form the majority in the state Assembly.
At the Presidential poll held on February 23, 2019, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, won in the state, and even displayed its strength by shockingly and incredibly aborting the senatorial dream of the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who lost to Dr Kola Balogun of PDP, a former commissioner in the state. As at that time, it was crystal clear that most of the people in the state were tired of the APC and its policies, which has been described as anti-people.
However, about three days to the Presidential and National Assembly Elections, the erstwhile Governor of Oyo of State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, a governorship candidate of Action Democratic Party, ADP, who had left the APC in October 2018, spearheaded a movement aimed at ensuring that APC does not win the forthcoming governorship election.
He summoned series of crucial meetings for the opposition parties which are African Democratic Congress, ADC, Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, PDP, and the Social Democratic Party, SDP with the aim of teaming up against the APC. At the meetings, which were held in Alao-Akala’s Bodija, Ibadan residence as well as the house of Senator Rashidi Ladoja’s house, another erstwhile governor of the state, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin of ADC and Barrister Sarafadeen Alli of ZLP were present.
Initially, Seyi Makinde of PDP, did not show interest in the merger talks, by the time he wanted to join, Alao-Akala had shoved him aside describing him as being too politically immature to work with. The calculation was that if either Makinde or Lanlehin, who are strong candidates, is prevailed upon to step down, with Akala also stepping down, the opposition will be united to tackle the ruling APC.
While practical solution was being sought for this logjam, the APC’s national leadership played its trump card by summoning Alao-Akala to the negotiating table. Alao-Akala, who is from Ogbomosho, is being courted by the APC going by the overwhelming votes the PDP was able to get from Ogbomosho North and Ogbomosho South at the recent Presidential Poll for which Akala is believed to have greatly influenced.
By Thursday February 28, 2019 after it was gathered that Alao-Akala had a meeting with the national leader of APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the movement he initiated and championed had practically collapsed. According to reliable sources, the bait that hooked Alao-Akala included a promise that the moment he agrees to hand over Ogbomosho’s vote to APC, Olamiju, his son who was recently sacked as the Chairman of Ogbomosho North Local Government for defecting from the APC to ADP, will be restored and he will be given four slots which will include Secretary to the State Government, SSG and two commissioners, just to ensure that he is well represented in the new APC government at the state level. With the agreement of Alao-Akala to join forces with APC, it is reliably gathered that Olamiju has been reinstated.
According to the source, Olamiju collected his letter of reinstatement from the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters on the evening of March 1, 2019 and will resume office on Monday.
Following this development, Alao-Akala, through a statement signed by Chief Wale Ohu, the Director-General, Akala Campaign Organisation, disclosed his withdrawal from the 2019 governorship contest saying that after holding high level consultations across the State, he has concluded to team up with others to ensure the emergence of the right candidate. He said he was teaming up with another party that has the interest of the people at heart.
The statement reads in parts:
After careful Consideration of the results of the last Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections and in furtherance of the Development, Progress and Peace of Oyo state. Far reaching decisions have to be taken and actualized.
The ADP after holding series of high level consultations across Oyo state after the last General elections has come to the conclusion that the sanctity, integrity and progress of Oyo cannot and must not be compromised.
“We have felt the pulse of the people whose support has brought us this far, it is important that we dance when they play the tunes. We have given deep thoughts to the future of this state and have realized that not much can be realized in isolation. Hence, the need to team up with the party that puts the interest of the masses on top of its priority list. Looking at the results of the last elections, we have realized the need to re-strategize and ensure that Oyo state is not left out in the cold. To this effect, the Oyo state ADP and the Akala Campaign Organisation hereby call on all our Members, teeming supporters and well-wishers across the state to come on board in this move towards positioning our state for better national interest”.
Shedding light on the development in a statement on Friday March 1, 2019 evening, Alao-Akala said, “Following the outcome of the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly Election, I, Otuna Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala- the Oyo State 2019 Action Democratic Party, ADP have decided to form an alliance with the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Mr Adebayo Adekola Adelabu ahead of the March 9 Governorship and state House of Assembly Election in the state. However, all the ADP candidates for the House of Assembly seats will go to the election with my maximum supports.
He explained, “It is widely known that I initiated alliance talks with the main opposition parties in Oyo State vis-a-vis my great party – the Action Democratic Party ((ADP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) with my boss, the former governor of Oyo State and Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashid Adewolu Ladoja as mediator.
”Meanwhile, during the alliance process, I received an emergency call from the Presidency. In the meeting with Presidency, I was prevailed upon to work for APC. My response was that I should be given 48hrs to consult with my people, the opposition parties alliance committee as well as the teeming members, the leaders and the stakeholders of my great party, ADP. On resumption of the alliance meeting, my boss (High Chief Rashid Adewolu Ladoja) told me point blank in the presence of other governorship candidates that I was not in consideration for Governorship due to my place of birth – Ogbomoso. According to him, “we need an Ibadan man to slug it out with another Ibadan man, which is Bayo Adelabu,” With the statement, my geographical place of birth is the only crime I committed. Since I’ve been unfairly and technically booted out of the alliance talks, I consulted with my party stakeholders and supporters whose support have brought me this far. Having realised that my 2019 governorship agenda cannot be realised in isolation based on the present situation, the only option remaining for me is to form an alliance with Mr. Bayo Adelabu of APC”.
As things are, except Ibadan, Oke Ogun and Oyo overwhelmingly vote against the APC, APC will eventually carry the day. However, residents of Oyo State are apprehensive about the APC candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, who during his campaign foregrounded more taxation in store for the people. Foreclosing this is his vow that cars with Lagos and other plate numbers will have to renew their plate numbers. The cost of getting a new plate number is about N50, 000. It also feared that Adelabu will likely continue to implement what has been described as ‘throat cutting’ tax policies of his immediate successor, Governor Ajimobi.
But, as the saying goes ‘Man proposes, God disposes’, residents of the state are keeping their fingers crossed and are preparing to go out en mass to the polling stations come March 9 in order to have a say in who rules the state for the next four years.