As the build up towards the next general elections is practically assuming critical moments with analysts, gladiators, members and promoters of political parties are aggressively engrossing in fortifying their groups and structures ahead of rooting and propagating parties and candidates for different contests.
Till now, most attentions are predominantly on the the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) and the incumbent governor, Abiola Ajimobi on the possibility of conducting or having rancor free selections of candidates into various posts; gubernatorial, national and state assemblies against the sheer imposition which characterized the emergence of the candidates for the last local government elections.
Similarity, gaffers are also curiously monitoring the developing progress in the camp of the African Democratic Congress(ADC) as renowned movers and shakers from the ruling and opposition parties are continually trooping into the newly energized party mostly to combine synergies and wrestle power from the ruling power which has dominated the space since 2011.
As widely believed that politics is a game of personalities ahead of ideologies, the next electioneering will be mainly attached to few influential individuals factored or considered by each candidate and supporters in the contestations to lead, envisage and dictate mode of politicking so as to achieve the desire goal which is the power to control public resources as a ruling party.
Tongues would be certainly wagged on the following and few many others political savvies as next electoral contestations play out.
1. Governor Abiola Ajimobi
The incumbent governor will be prominently featured and factored principally by all candidates of the APC as their fortunes would be directly or otherwise attached to his popularity to attract the electorate and socio-political organisations support fo success.
Although, it is very doubtful if the ruling APC could replicate the superlative outings it had in the last general elections due to the sharp division and polarization of the party structure as a result of the disenchantment and defection of most graasrooters mainly of the Lamist group believed to be the dominant in the party.
Governor Ajimobi is reported to be remorseful of the unfortunate crisis and being suspicious of some leaders of the party and appointees in his cabinet majorly elected chairmen and councillors in various local government areas and local council development areas of alleged of hobnobbing with aggrieved former party stalwarts in the ADC for the next electioneering.
2. Oloye Rashidi Ladoja
Former Governor Rashidi Ladoja is one of the prominent political figures who will be assigned to play vital roles in the coming general elections as his unrepentant followers and supporters across the state mostly in Ibadan, the state capital are seen on a daily basis group and regroup to hit the ground running.
His new political abode; ADC is believed to be in possession of strategic political bigwigs to favourably contest, win and ultimately oust the depleting APC provided every key player in the party allows internal democratic practices and overall interest to override personal as always alleged of the former supremo of Accord.
3. Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala
Former Governor Christopher Akala will irrefutably serve a rallying point and might serve a determinant for any political party to dominate and form the next government as every group is visibly polarized now.
Although, he has signified intention to contest the next governorship on the platform of the APC but being seen as a tamed striker due to the overbearing display of the governor in regards to the party affairs.
Ogbomosho born politician, Alao-Akala can’t be predicted of which political party he would be contesting on or rooting for in the next general elections for as many political watchers are sensing that the man is not in anyway comfortable with the leadership style of Governor Abiola Ajimobi as the alpha and omega of Oyo APC members fates.
4. Chief Michael Koleoso
The babalaje of Saki land, Chief Koleosho was literally effaced from the political reckoning as his defection from APC alongside other few aggrieved members who also fell out with Governor Ajimobi in the twilight to the last general elections.
Former secretary to the state government under late former governor, Alh. Lam Adesina is now seen to have gotten afloat of the politicking importantly with the massive dominance of his late boss protégés in ADC across the 10 local government areas of Oke – Ogun who are rigidly against Ajimobi’s choice of chairmen and councillors for the local government elections and many decisions regarding the party activities.
5. Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle
Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle, the longest served Personal Assistant and right hand man of late former Governor Lam Adesina is an unseen but proactive and pragmatic strategist calling sorts in the ongoing alignment and realignment in the making of the next general elections.
He is believed to have a potent grip of some notable grassroots politicians who were largely loyalists and adherents of former governor, Lam Adesina across the state.
Ibikunle, an Ibarapa born and a former Nigeria Custom official commands respects and wields great influence on politicians who pride themselves as Lamists in the present dispensation.
And unbatated massive presence and frequent meetings of juggernauts across divides at his Akobo political office attest to the fact that he is an indelible factor to be overlooked for the next general elections.
Although, he is reportedly eyeing Oyo South senatorial district, the project it was learnt he shelved to ensure more active engagements in the reelection bid of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2015.
6. Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja
Former deputy governor, Ambassador Taofeek Gbolagade is a person grata in Ibadan political space with his experience as two terms former chairman of Ibadan South East, honourable member representing Ibadan North East / South East and deputy to the immediate former governor Alao-Akala and ambassador to Iran.
He commands and dictates the trends of voting in some local government areas being one of the groomed political students of late political warlord, Alh. Lamidi Adedibu.
Arapaja seems to be more in control of significant number of late Ibadan High Chief’s political soldiers. Apart from being the coordinator of former council bosses in Ibadan land during the reign of his former boss; Alao Akala.
Arapaja’s stake in who wins through balloting in Ibadan South East was attested to when he deployed his political clout for Accord in the last general elections.
He is aspiring to contest the next governorship on the platform of the swelling ADC but his influence and support will also be a plus for willing party and candidates in the next general elections.
7. Engineer Seyi Makinde
Engr. Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde is a fast rising political figure who is exponentially enjoying compassion and support from the public over his philanthropic dispositions.
His style of politics is though being criticized as archaic owing to the approach and strategies towards the political intrigues.
Makinde undoubtedly is expected to pursue his gubernatorial project for the next general polls more strategically. Of which many are of the opinions that he must have outgrown some certain outdated manner of politicking.
8. Olatoye Sugar
Honourable member representing Akinyele / Lagelu federal constituency is one of the political personages every keen watcher is apprehensive of his next electoral project.
Sugar as fondly called has captivated heart of people beyond his constituency with different developmental and philanthropic gestures.His body language is ironically portending more grassroots loss to the ruling APC as the man is continuously rumoured to have ditched party to continue his career elsewhere.
9. Chief Bayo Adelabu
Adebayo Adelabu is a leading gubernatorial candidate in the next general elections on the platform of the ruling APC. His aspiration has unequivocally awakened and initiated many presumed apolitical beings into the murky politics.
He is such a personage whose curriculum vitae would wow any educationally inclined mind having attained an enviable professional height as banker importantly a deputy governor in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The aspiration of grandson of former Ibadan opposition party leader, late Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi is lately sensed to be traversing lengths and breadths of the state.
10. Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun
Former caretaker chairman of Ibadan North West local government is known to be a proven crowd pullers corroboratively as his historically led the campaigns of the election and reelection of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
Olatubosun is seen in many quarters as being an institution with the feat he achieved in the mobilizing and projecting candidacy of the incumbent governor against the then dreadful ruling PDP with his firm connections with some grassroots socio-political groups.
He is reported in the news few days back of his intention to contest for national assembly seat of Ibadan North West / South West federal constituency where he allayed fear of being favourably challenged by the sitting honourable and other prospective aspirants.
11. Oloye Tesleem Kolawole Folarin
Sen. Tesleem Folarin is a household name in Oyo politics having two term being a member of the fifth and sixth national assembly, importantly the leader of the sixth senate.
He contested and woefully lost the 2015 gubernatorial elections as the standard bearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party(PDP).
Folarin is an avatar exponent of “jagba” political tactics and being madly in love with Governor Abiola Ajimobi since his defection. And since being a tink tank of the ruling APC.
It is still uncertain but it was grapevined from a reliable quarter that he is reoiling his political machinery to return to the red chamber to representing Oyo Central senatorial district which had done on two consecutive occasions before.
12. Alhaji Hamzat Ayoade Adeseun
Sen. Ayoade Adeseun is a popular personage in the state political turf. He began his electoral career with the progressives before derailing in 2003.
He had been privileged to contest and win as member of the two chambers of the national assembly viz; house of representatives and senate on the different political platform on the different occasions.
Adeseun played brilliant roles in the emergence of Governor Ajimobi in 2011 when he also contested and won his election into the senate.
Owing to the irreconcilable rift between Ajimobi and himself in the build up to the last general elections, he defected to PDP and contested to return to the senate but lost.
Alhaji as fondly called in his Ogbomosho country home, Ayo Adeseun is an utility political player whose input would contribute to the effect of the coming general polls.
13. Oloye Jimoke Akinjide
Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide is a daughter of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide but a rooted political witch in Ibadan land with her bond with many political elements across the state.
She was a key promoter of former president, Goodluck Jonathan last presidential campaign in the south west.
Jumoke, a former minister of state for FCT is unequivocally a distinct political personality in the state which many school of thoughts believe would play critical roles in ruffling the coming balloting.
She is being rumoured to be aspiring to contest for Oyo Central senatorial district in the next general elections on the platform of the PDP.
14. Barr. Abdulraheem Adebayo Shittu
Alh. Adebayo Shittu, minister for communication is an prominent lawyer, experienced and respected politician in the state.
Apart from being a former member of the state house of assembly, he is a staunch associate of President Mohammed Buhari.
Shittu in spite of the complacency exuded by Governor Ajimobi in 2015 contested the return of the latter but lost. Regardless of being at loggerheads with the governor over the lordly conduct of the latter.
He is a gubernatorial aspirant of the ruling APC and expected to play vital roles with his Abuja connection and financial wherewithal.
15. Prof. Adeolu Akande
Prof. Adeolu Akande is an accomplished scholar. He is a seasoned professional in politics notably profession of political science.
Akande, the immediate chief of staff to Governor Ajimobi is moving heaven and earth across various political institutions to contest and win the next guber poll.
He is one of the leading lights and illustrious sons of Oke – Ogun being supported by the different stakeholders from the region to actualize the dream of governing the state.
16. Engineer Joseph Olasukanmi Tegbe
Engineer Joseph Tegbe is the rave of the moment in the contact and mobilization for the next gubernatorial elections in the state.
Although, the bearer seems to be a dark horse in the tricky Oyo political turf but being fortified by the political machinery of the incumbent governor, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi to succeed him in the office.
To be Continued. . .
——— Written by Samsudeen Mobolaji Popoola, a Public Analyst from Oyo state.