With not less than twenty aspirants announcing their intention to succeed Abiola Ajimobi as the governor of Oyo State, the battle for the soul of the pace-setter state has begun in earnest, writes Femi Ogbonnikan
Barring last minutes hitches, the race for the soul of Oyo State number one seat appears to be a contest that is set to bequeath a distinction between those clamouring for the 2019 governorship baton to shift to Oke-Ogun, an axis which has never had a fair share of the office and those routing on the basis of senatorial district.
Oyo State politics is unique and distinct. Ibadan its capital had served as the pioneer theatre in the evolution of a home-grown partisan-politics of the defunct Western Region, with its attendant genre of wit.
Based on the zoning method cross the three senatorial districts, no fewer than 13 aspirants from across the state’s 33 local government areas have thrown their hats into the governorship ring.
Beginning from Oyo North district alone, six aspirants (the incumbent Minister for Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu (Saki West LG), Mr Remi Olaniyan (Orelope LG), Prof Adeolu Akande (Itesiwaju LG), Mr Isaac Omodewu (Itesiwaju LG), Sen Abdulfatai Buhari (Ogbomoso South LG) and Mr Debo Adesina (Itesiwaju LG) have signified their intention to run for the state governorship seat.
In Oyo South district also, six contending forces (Chief Bayo Adelabu (Ibadan South East LG), Chief Niyi Akinnola, SAN (Ido LG), Sen Soji Akanbi (Ibadan North West LG), Mr Biodun Awoleye (Ibadan North LG) and Dr Kola Balogun (Ibadan North East LG) have signified interest in the coveted seat. Not left out, three aspirants (Alhaji Yunus Akintunde (Oyo West LG), Hon Olatoye Temitope Sugar (Lagelu LG) and Dr Owolabi Babalola (Akinyele LG) from Oyo Central district have also joined the fray.
However, the race has taken a new dimension. The people of Oyo Central District are unhappy. With 11 local governments, four from Oyo town (Afijio, Atiba, Oyo West and Oyo East), five from Ibadan metropolis (Akinyele, Lagelu, Ona Ara, Oluyole and Egbeda) and two from Ogbomoso (Surulere and Ogo Oluwa), they are agitating for the zoning of the next governorship ticket to their district. Thus, their argument is predicated on what they described as the imbalance in power sharing since 1999 to date. They averred that the two other districts (Oyo South and Oyo North) have had a fair share.
From 1999 to date, Alhaji Lam Adesina, from Ibadan South East Local Government and Oyo South Senatorial District, was in office between 1999 and 2003. Also, Sen Rashidi Ladoja, from Ibadan North Local Government and Oyo South Senatorial District, was elected into office on May 29, 2003 but he was impeached onJanuary 12, 2006, while his deputy, Otunba Christopher Alao Akala, took over the mantle of leadership from him and until he was subsequently, reinstated into office on December 7, 2006.
While in the 2007 general elections, Akala, from Ogbomoso North Local Government and Oyo North Senatorial District, was elected into office and left in 2011, Sen Abiola Ajimobi, from Ibadan South West Local Government and Oyo South Senatorial District, took over the mantle of leadership on May 29, 2011 and he is on his second term in office, having broken the jinx to become the first executive governor to win his second term in the history of the state.
An Ibadan based second republic politician, Elder Jide Ajao, in a recent interview appealed to all aspirants from both Oyo South and Oyo North districts, jostling for the coveted seat to give room for justice, equity and fair play in choosing the next governor in the coming 2019 general elections.
He stressed that both Oyo South and Oyo North have had their fair share of Agodi Government house, thereby leaving Oyo Central with its 11 local governments at the receiving end.
Ajao, however, maintained that it is time for Oyo central to nominate one of the four leading aspirants jostling for the governorship from the senatorial district as Ajimobi’s successor.
He noted that three aspirants of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state; ex-commissioner for works in the first term of Ajimobi, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, Temitope Olatoye Sugar and a former health commissioner, Dr. Isaac Babalola Owolabi, were all eminently qualified to succeed Ajimobi as governor.
“For instance, a number of them from Oyo Central are professionals in politics desirous of taking Oyo state to the next level. They are credible without any blemish and are the kind of the people we should entrust the state into their care.
“Is Ibadan the only town in the state? We have had our own fair share. Let the Alaafin of Oyo also produce the next governor. Without Oyo, Ogbomoso, Ibarapa or Oke Ogun, we can’t lay claim to Oyo state. Ibadan has had its own fair share of the governance, producing three governors since 1999 with the the exception of Alao-Akala from Oyo North.
“Oke Ogun should forget 2019 because they are enjoying the ministerial slot in the present administration and besides, ‘Alao Akala had governed the state from their Oyo North region hence the need to allow Oyo Central occupy the seat come 2019 because whatever that is good for the goose is also good for the gander”, said Ajao, the Coordinator, Oyo State Reality Forum.
Among the aspirants with towering status are:
Alhaji Yunus Abiodun Akintunde
Born on March 6, 1962 at Onikanko Compound, Pakoyi, Oyo town, Akintunde began his primary education at Ansar Ud-Deen Model School, Balogun, and later his secondary education at Oranyan Grammar School, both at Oyo town. In his quest for higher educational qualifications, he attended both The Polytechnic Ibadan and Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo Campus, Lagos where he obtained OND in Physics with Electronics and a BSc degree in Physics and MSc degree in Energy Studies and a Master of Public Administration. Currently, he is a PhD (in view) holder in Energy Studies at the University of Ibadan.
Akintunde cut his political teeth when he was first appointed commissioner, Oyo State Civil Service Commission between 1999 and 2003.
A staunch member of the APC, he was at a time, the state’s commissioner for works and transport between August 2011 and November 2012 and subsequently, an executive assistant to Ajimobi between April 2014 and May 2015.
On account of his deft political skill, Akintunde was at several times chairman, APC State Registration Committee for Osun State in January 2014; chairman, APC State Congress Committee for Kwara state in April 2014; member, APC House of Representatives (serving members) aspirants’ screening committee in 2014; and member, Executive Advisory Committee (EAC) for re-election of Ajimobi between 2014 and 2015.
Akintunde hails from Oyo West Local Government, in Oyo Central Senatorial district.
Chief Adeniyi Michael Akintola (SAN)
Akintola was born in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.
He went to a military school before he got an admission into a Polytechnic. Soon afterwards, he took a Cambridge University Advanced Level Examination and performed better, after which he was employed at Mac-job Grammar School, Abeokuta, Ogun State as a teacher between 1979 and 1981. In his quest for higher educational qualifications, he offered a provisional admission into a unversity and studied law, thus, obtaining his LLB.
Akintola is a holder of MSc in Political Science, MCArb (UK), FCCIA (UK) and FCArb.
Also, he was ex-deputy speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly. He is from Ido Local Government, in Oyo South, the same senatorial district with the incumbent in office.
Prof Adeolu Olumide Akande
Akande was born on July 3, 1965 at Idi-Arere, Ibadan. He hails from Otu, headquarters of the current Itesiwaju Local Government Area, in Oke Ogun, Oyo State. Akande is a holder of BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in Political Science, all from the University of Ibadan. He had worked briefly as a reporter/feature writer/member, Editorial Board of the Nigerian Tribune between 1991 and 1993 before he was elevated and became Deputy/Editor, Sunday Tribune, a position he held between July 1995 and February 1997. He was Special Assistant (Research and Communication strategies) to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo between May and December 2003 and subsequently, Chief of Staff to the Oyo State Governor, Sen Abiola Ajimobi, between June 2011 and September 2013. He is from Oyo North Senatorial district.
Adebayo Adekola Adelabu
Adelabu, a seasoned banker, hails from Ibadan. He was born on September 28, 1970 to the family of Mr and Mrs Aderibigbe Adelabu Adegoke. He is a direct grandson of late Adegoke Adelabu (aka Penkelemesi), an articulate grassroot politician of the pre-independence political era. Bayo, as he is fondly called, is one of the contenders for the governorship race. Until his appointment as Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bayo was an Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer, First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc. He holds a first class degree in Accounting from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun state and he is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN). He hails from Itesiwaju Local Government, in Oyo South, the same senatorial district with the incumbent Gov Abiola Ajimobi.
Hon Olatoye Temitope Sugar
Born 45 years ago, Sugar is a member of the House of Representatives representing Lagelu/Akinyele Federal Constituency and also the chairman House Committee on Urban Development and Regional Planning.
Sugar had a brief stint at a professional teacher at Sagamu High School, Makun, Sagamu and Orile-Ilugun Comprehensive High School, both in Ogun State before venturing into partisan-politics. Upon his foray into politics, he was appointed Special Adviser to ex-Gov Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, having been the PDP Youth leader in Ogun Central. Subsequently, Sugar was in 2011 general elections elected member of Oyo State House of Assembly. He hails from Lagelu Local Government, in Oyo Central Senatorial district.