By Oluwafemi Ojo
Politics in Oyo State in recent time has been characterized with many local political events or the other with some popular and not so popular politicians strategically expressing one singular ambition which is mainly to occupy the governor’s seat in Agodi, come 2019. As it is our practice in this clime, anytime the incumbent draws towards the end of his/her tenure especially if such incumbent has no further constitutional right to contest for his/her current political office, different political characters rise up like bees fly to its honey comb, to the seat of power that the incumbent is about exiting. The same scenario is what is playing out currently in Oyo State, Nigeria.
Well, it is not a crime that these different characters have started once again to express their political ambitions but what is interesting is that these political animals in the political space in Oyo State consist of different men with various garbs and political colorations majority of whom seem to have deficiencies in the business of politics as far as Oyo Politics is concerned. One politicians that has caught my attention among these wannabe politicians is a legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN). The learned fellow, from all indications qualifies in his own right to vie for the position of the number one citizen of Oyo State in Nigeria. Of course, he needs no introduction in the legal luminary profession and he is amongst the best lawyers whose superior argument on legal matters are well consulted. But there is a caveat! Oyo politics as far as contemporary political history stands, is not a matter of who holds superior legal arguments or who possesses the most legal educational background. No, Oyo politics is more comprehensive and sophisticated than having the most legal educational certificate or practice, it is a politics that is in search of who has the political experience, sagacity and the grassroots connections that cut across all social classes and religion and all the zones in the state. This is where, I think the candidature of Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) has a great minus.
Besides, Chief Adeniyi Akintola’s recent expression of political ambition to govern Oyo State in 2019, there are other politicians who have equally expressed similar interest come 2019. One of such candidates is Mr. Sunday Igboho and another notable one is the current Minister of Communications, Chief Adebayo Shittu. Talking about the former, Sunday Igboho, appears to be the latest comedian in the political entertainment industry in Oyo State. He is by no means fit for that position as far as I am concerned and he cannot in anyway be the social choice of the wonderful, industrious, sagacious and friendly people of the ancient town of Igboho in Oyo State. This man, Sunday Igboho, as far as Oyo politics is concerned belongs to Adedibu’s school of politics and at best represents the kingpin of roughneck politics that has since become unacceptable in our state. On Chief Adebayo Shittu, the old man should know by now that, our local politics like global politics has shifted in paradigm to a youthful demographics. Oyo State does not need a parochial character who believes his only reason to ride to power is because of his closeness to the Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or because he believes that his current occupation as a federal government cabinet gives him have an automatic ticket nor because of his latter day advocacy for zonal inclusion of his political axis justifies his political ambition to become the next governor of our state in 2019.
The APC under the recent administration of Governor Abiola Ajumobi needs to strategically look for a candidate that is acceptable, that has the capability to consolidate on the achievements of Mr. ‘Constituted Authority’ and also right the perceived wrongs of his administration. As it is, APC still has the upper hand to win the 2019 because the only wobbling opposition party (PDP) in the state is currently entangled as usual in internal dynamisms and contradictions that may lead to another woeful performance in the coming elections. And worst still, is the fact that some notable former PDP politicians have become politically born again and joined forces with the ruling party in the state. But here is a caveat too for APC!
The ruling party needs to support amongst its folds, a politician (social choice) who has a strategic political incentive, a vote bank and whose loyalists cut across political parties, classes of people, religions and demographics. This is the only way that APC can right the wrongs of the present administration and make Oyo State indigenes to change their minds from a punitive election come 2019.
I must sound a warning here otherwise there may be misconception of my thoughts on this subject matter. The likes of Chief AdeniyiNiyi Akintola, Chief Adebayo Shittu, Mr. Adelabu, Mr. Sunday Igboho and many others are bonafide indigenes of Oyo State, who have the constitutional rights to aspire for any political position especially the governorship election that they all seek. But the question is, do all these aforementioned politicians and even the rest of the political characters not mentioned here possess the midas touch to turn things around in Oyo State come 2019?
To answer the poser above, I believe that the APC as a party needs to look beyond the aforementioned wannabe candidates and others currently parading themselves as possible material for political marketing in our state come 2019. As earlier postulated above, what pacesetter state needs for 2019 gubernatorial poll, is a candidate that has the requisite and comprehensive understanding of the political mileu and the peculiarities of the three senatorial districts and one who has a thick skin and high grass roots connections across all the 33 local Government Areas in the state. These are some of the acceptable qualities that APC should look for if the party real desires to retain the seat in Agodi and this is where Chief Adebayo Alao Akala, the former police boss and governor of Oyo State fits in perfectly. Though Chief Adebayo Alao Akala has been silent on his next political ambition come 2019 but he is one person that is widely acclaimed to possess the midas touch in Oyo State politics and one who has large heart to strategically attract thousands of votes across the three senatorial districts in the state. Should APC wants to win the next governorship election, the party should not only stop at winning Chief Akala to its rank (this which the party has done successfully), the party should move further, strategically encourage and support this Ogbomoso born politician, Chief Alao Adebayo Akala to contest for this position one more time.
In conclusion, in Akala’s candidature, I strongly believe, APC will have a winning edge this is because Akala’s acceptability transcends APC, he is well loved across political parties and has loyalists across different political platforms. The man has the required political experiences, he was a former local government chairman, former deputy governor and later governor. His political value to APC cannot be over emphasized, Alao Akala has in his people a vote bank and loyalty that is unusual. He is a political strategist and his alignment with political associates are something that is highly commendable. All these are what APC should look for in a candidate which Akala has in abundance and encourage, inspire and support him for the next governorship election in Oyo State come 2019.
Femi Ojo is a media strategist, blogger and an aspiring public intellectual from Oyo State.