Ahead of the forthcoming APC primaries in Oyo State, attention has now been shifted to Oyo South Senatorial district where key political bigwigs of the party are battling for the sole ticket in the axis to contest against the candidate of the People Democratic Party, Mogaji Joseph Tegbe. While it is very difficult to predict where the pendulum would swing, the general feeling in the state is that the All Progressives Congress would require a formidable candidate to challenge Governor Makinde and his anointed candidate Joseph Tegbe both of whom are from the district.
Currently about 10 aspirants had indicated interest to contest the position under the All Progressives Congress. While some have activated their machinery waiting for the primaries, others are waiting to be imposed in a shabby consensus arrangement. But whatever happens in this process may likely hold a major ace in what becomes of Oyo APC in the coming electioneering period. Beyond this, the fact of the moment is that the district is in dire straits and there has never been a more urgent need for serious political representation in Oyo South than it is now.
In the piece Kolapo Adebambo takes an in depth look at some of the leading aspirants for Oyo South Senatorial district in APC vis-à-vis their readiness, and chances approaching the poll.
Dr. Olushola Ayandele (Eruobodo) hails from Idere, Ibarapa central of Oyo state. In 2019 he indicated interest to contest the gubernatorial race but was later persuaded to drop the ambition. Most recently, his kinsman from Ibarapa Hon. Olawuyi Folarin Alao was reported to have stepped down his ambition and collapsed his structure to ensure the Ibarapa axis of the state presented a single candidate. Dr. Ayandele equally has strong financial warchest to challenge the Ibadan dominance of the district.
Unfortunately, the lack of any visible developmental project credited to his name and/or impactful presence in Ibarapa has allowed other aspirants to infiltrate his supposed stronghold and challenge his dominance in the region. Recently, two leading aspirants from Ibadan were at different times endorsed by political influencers in Ibarapa. It is also looking unlikely that the All Progressives Congress will field an Ibarapa man to square it out against the candidate of the ruling PDP in the next Senatorial election, Chief Tegbe who hails from Ibadan SouthEast. The only Senator from Ibarapa to represent the district emerged via a consensus arrangement in the defunct Alliance for Democracy. It is yet to be seen how Ayandele hopes to spring a surprise and win his party primary in the days to come.
Verdict: Eruobodo stands a tiny chance of winning the APC primary and even a declining chance to win the general election.
Senator Adesoji Rilwan Akanbi (SOJ) hails from Ibadan Northwest local government. He represented the district at the Red chamber between 2015 to 2019 before losing the APC ticket for Oyo South Senatorial district to then incumbent governor Late Abiola Ajimobi. In consequence, he decamped to a rival party Africa Democratic Party (ADC) against plea from political leaders within the party and came a distant third in the ensuing general election. His biggest strength approaching the primaries is his connection to the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is currently a leading voice in Southwest Agenda for Asiwaju movement (SWAGA). He is also believed to have fairly impacted the district with some useful projects while serving as a Senator.
Unfortunately, as a serving Senator a huge number of party faithfuls were displeased by his performance and inaccessibility. He also has a huge mountain to climb as Oyo South remains the only Senatorial district yet to be represented twice by one person whether successively or otherwise. He has also been found unreliable and could jettison the party when the odds turned against him.
Verdict – He has a slimmer chance of winning the primary and almost no chance of winning the general election because the district has proven not to give a second term to anyone whatsoever. Not Ajimobi, Lanlehin, Kamoroudeen Adedibu, even SOJ were fortunate to win their reelection bid. Giving him the APC ticket will make the race look too predictable.
Bimbo Adekanmbi (BIMADEK) hails from Beyeruka ward one of Ibadan Northeast Local Government. Bimbo was a member of the State executive council in Oyo State from 2011 to 2019. He served as Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) from 2011 to 2015 and later Commissioner of Finance, Budget and Planning from 2016 to 2019.
As an early starter in the race, he has successfully coordinated his campaign in the most applaudable manner building a huge fanatical following in the process. He sits at the center of the interests within the APC and appears well accepted by all political tendencies within the party. He has consistently defended the party in both print and electronic media against the onslaught of the ruling PDP and sometimes at the risk of self. His philanthropic gesture may also count as good for him particularly at the general election. He was a recent awardee of Progressive Tradesman and Artisan Association of Nigeria, Oyo state chapter and was also the Radio Nigeria personality of the year and an awardee of the prestigious CCII
Unfortunately one of his support bases has been eroded as the matriarch of the Ajimobi dynasty, rather than support his aspiration, decided to field her son-in-law. The fallout of this remains to be seen, but may prove costly for him if not properly managed .
Verdict: Based on his early starter status and appeal to the Party base, he stands a reasonable chance of winning the ticket and even a better chance of winning the general election in the event that he wins the soon to be determined primary.
Barrister Sarafadeen Alli hails from Ibadan North local government. The former Oodua Investment MD has served the state in different capacities. He was a pioneer Council Chairman for Ibadan North local government, a former Chief of Staff and later Secretary to the state government during the reign of Chief Rasheed Ladoja. He was also an aspirant for Oyo South Senatorial district in 2015 under Labor party where he lost scandalously. In 2019, he stepped down his ambition to be Governor under the Zenith Labor Party (ZLP) to support Engineer Seyi Makinde. Within the last decade he has donned the shirt of more than five different political parties in search of patronage and relevance. For this alone, several party faithfuls see him as an opportunist aiming to harvest where he did not plant. His biggest strength is his relationship with High Chief Rasheed Ladoja. Unfortunately, the Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland has refused to endorse him for the position.
Verdict: He may stand a chance at the general election with Ladoja’s endorsement. But the APC primary is looking insurmountable for him at the moment. He practically stood no chance except when a miracle or magic happened.
Kolapo Kola Diasi hails from Ibadan Northeast Local Government. His elder brother is the Ekerin Olubadan of Ibadan Land. He is also a son-in-law to the former Governor Ajimobi- his biggest credential facing the primary. He is a political probationer who has only recently joined politics about eight months ago. He has also recently been accused of sharp practice and has a pending case with the country’s anti graft body, EFCC. He has rejected all overtures to present his sides of the matter. Aside from his connection to the Ajimobi Legacy Forum, his aspiration looks empty and devoid of serious political substance. As a beginner, the general feeling among the leaders of the party is that he should have started his aspiration at a slightly lesser position from where he could hone his public service skills. His professional certificate as a Chartered Accountant has also been questioned as no record of him is found in the registry of the body. In the unlikely events that he emerges, the APC may have played into hand of their opponents as barrages of litigations may be instituted against the party.
Verdict: He will be a huge gamble for the ruling party.
Senator Kola Balogun hails from Aliwo, Ibadan Northeast Local. He is the incumbent Senator of the district. He is also the younger brother of Olubadan of Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty Oba Lekan Balogun. Recent events have seen him resign from the PDP and later join the APC in search for a second term ticket. Governor Seyi Makinde had accused him of poor performance and replaced him with Chief Joseph Tegbe. Until he left the PDP, he has also been roundly criticized by APC media for the same reason of underperformance especially when compared with his predecessors. He also bears the heavy burden of breaking the second term jinx should he be vetoed and handed the APC ticket.
Aside from his connection to Olubadan, he will be a hard sell for any party. He is already looking more of a liability to the APC than an asset.
Verdict – Except by imposition he has no chance of winning the APC ticket. Should this happen, members in protest may deliberately look at the other side and compromise this position in the general election.