By Sikiru Akinola
On daily basis, the feud between Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Communications Minister- Adebayo Shittu is assuming an interesting dimension. It is interesting in the sense that they are both of the same All Progressives Congress, APC. And there once ‘friends’.
Only yesterday, Ajimobi and state officials of the APC who were ‘scheduled’ to be at the commissioning of South-West Zonal Office of the Muhammadu Buhari Osinbajo, MBO, Dynamic Support Group set up by Shittu, stayed away. Unknown to Shittu, a ‘sensitization rally’ had been hurriedly, at around 6 pm on Friday night, put together for Saturday, the same day billed for Shittu’s programme. Ajimobi thought well; he knew APC members would want to listen to him on local government election. Let’s clap for Ajimobi’s ‘political desk’ chaired by Dr. Morohunkola Thomas for that wonderful idea.
Anyway, the two events held simultaneously, ‘successfully’, at two different locations. While all the councillorship and chairmanship aspirants were at Oke-Ado, Shittu’s ‘invited guests’ waited endlessly for the Koseleri Governor. This was after Ajimobi had provided his jeep for his former legislative colleague- Sen. Ken Nnamani, who was invited for Shittu’s programme.
Meanwhile, few days to the event, Shittu had ‘reported’ Ajimobi to Buhari, Odigie-Oyegun and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for what he called Ajimobi’s ‘highhandedness’ in the running of the affairs of the party. Unhappy with the statement, caretaker chairmen of the 18 Oke-ogun local government and local council development areas where Shittu hails, ‘attacked’ the minister, saying his ‘action is injurious to the APC’. Not done, APC publicity secretary, a Ph.D holder, said to have been appointed by the SENACO faction of the party fired another salvo, saying Shittu’s governorship ambition is driving the him ‘MAD.
The feud didn ‘t start today; it became pronounced when President Buhari announced Shittu as Oyo State nominee in the Federal Executive Council, FEC. Ajimobi allegedly did everything possible to stall the confirmation. Open letters and petitions were written against Shittu. Newspapers got advertorial upon advertorial, just to discredit the Saki-born lawyer. They all fell on deaf ears. Shittu sailed through. Not to be outshone, Ajimobi quickly organised a reception for Shittu. You remember that event at Kakanfo Inn where Shittu wore ‘mint green’ lace agbada with a black glove to match?
For many people, ija d\’opin, ogun titan. But it was not. Shittu would later accuse the governor of trying to ‘hijack’ the party, assuring that he would prevent such action. Ajimobi would not reply personally. His ‘boys’, through faceless association chose to. It degenerated to the extent that the minister described his alleged inability to ‘properly’ defend his ministry’ budget at the Reps Committee level headed by Saheed Akinade-Fijabi to a proxy war. He, however, didn’t say who ‘sponsored’ the two-term lawmaker to fight him.
You would remember that Ajimobi presented the state Excos of the party with a ‘tear rubber’ Toyota bus few weeks after the minister donated two ‘refurbished’ buses to the party. That, political analysts called ‘healthy rivalry. In fact, when rumours had it that Ajimobi wanted to use his Oke-Ado house, which houses Oyo APC, for a bakery project, Shittu was said to have consulted property experts to help get a ‘befitting office’ for the party.
But why is is that after many reconciliatory moves within and outside the state, between the duo, they have failed to sheath their swords? Not long ago, both elder statemen said they were friends, especially since 2007 and till date, there is no sign that the two are ready for reconciliation.
But is Ajimobi afraid of Shittu? Oh, sorry, who is afraid of each other? Both are know to be brave and courageous. Few months ago, Ajimobi, while on a condolence visit to a party leader in Okeho, headquarters of Kajola local government, said he would want an Oke-ogun man to succeed him but not like ‘some people. This action, many argued, is a veil reference to the minister. Shittu, on the other hand, has never failed to tell those who care to listen that he will succeed Ajimobi as governor.
One thing that is sure: Shittu will contest the 2019 governorship election, whether in APC or elsewhere. From when he was the ‘Bayo-we-can-trust’ to the ‘Bayo-we-trust’, he has always been contesting, even without ANY financial war chest. One thing I don\’t know is that can Shittu stop Ajimobi\’ bid to ‘hijack’ the party? Or, can Ajimobi thwart Shittu\’s guber bid?
PEN-TA-GUN, Sikiru Akinola’s opinion about state of things in Oyo State, is published every Sunday. He can be reached via email@example.com.