With the political parties strategizing on how to upstage one another to emerge victorious in the 2019 general elections, ADEBAYO WAHEED examines the antics of the over 40 contenders for the Agodi Government House, in Ibadan, Oyo State
As the candidates await the green light for final preparation for the race to occupy the Agodi Government House in Oyo State, no fewer than 40 candidates from different political parties will be gunning for the plum job of the executive governor of the state.
The candidates for the post of the state governor have no doubt being cleared by electoral empire in the state, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The race for governorship position in the state started with a crowded field, at a point, with almost 40 candidates declaring their interest for the position in the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) just like in other parties.
But along the line, the wheat was separated from the chaff at the various political parties levels before the candidate of each party finally emerged after a keenly contested primary election.
The incumbent governor, Senator Biola Ajimobi, because of term limit will not be among the contestants. He has declared his intentions to continue his political career by running for one of the three senatorial positions allotted to Oyo State.
The candidates and the political parties they represent are Akinwale Laosun, African Action Congress (AAC); Rev. Adenike Morenikeji Victor-Tade, Advanced Allied Party, (AAP); Saheed Adegboyega Ajadi, Accord Party; Oyedele (Hakeem) Oyebode Alao, Alliance for Democracy (AD); Femi Lanlehin, Action Democratic Congress, (ADC) Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala, Action Democratic Party (ADP); David Oluwafemi Okunlola, All Grassroots Alliance (AGA) and Olabode Ayodele Johnson, Alliance for New Nigeria, (ANN).
Others are Adedoyin Tolulope Adeyeye, African Peoples Alliance (APA); Adebayo Adelabu (APC); Oladuni Ariyo Olaitan, Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP); Omotosho Paul Adeboye, Coalition for Change, (C4C); Adegboyega Adelu, Democratic Alliance, (DA); Babatunde Oye Ademola, Democratic Peoples Congress, (DPC); Omoteleola Folake Florence, Democratic Peoples Party, (DPP); Ladipo Oluwole, Grassroots Development Party of Nigeria, (GDPN); Tijani Ismail Akinboye, Hope Democratic Party, (HDP); and Chief Oladapo Wasiu Atilola, Independent Democrats, (ID).
Others are Ademola Babatunde Oye, Justice Must Prevail Party, (JMPP); Olaide Olayiwola, Kowa; Olatunji Adigun Sadiq, Labour Party, (LP); Aderoju Ismail Balogun, Mass Action Joint Alliance, MAJA; Ojo Olayinka Kayode, Mega Party of Nigeria, (MPN); Moshood Odelalu, National Action Council, NAC; Oloyade Michael Ayobami, National Conscience Party, (NCP); Sarumi-Aliyu Bolanle Ashabi, National Interest Party, (NIP); and Edward Olufeyisayo Ladoye, New Progressive Movement, (NPM).
Others are Yinusa Kazeem Ayandoye, National Rescue Movement, NRM; Akande Akin Sanyaolu, People For Democratic Change, PDC; Seyi Makinde, Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP); Taiwo Ibiyemi Otegbeye, Providence People’s Congress, PPC; Gbadamosi Basiru Alagbe, Peoples Party of Nigeria, (PPN); Mobolaji Ayorinde, Social Democratic Party, (SDP); Awolusi Olusegun Gaskin, Save Nigeria Congress, (SNC); Bamigboye Abiodun Emman, Socialist Party of Nigeria, (SPN); Rotimi Akande, United Progressive Party, UPP; and Waheed A. Akanbi, Zenith Labour Party, (ZLP).
Now that the coast is clear for the candidates to represent and carry their political parties’ flag for the election, there is no doubt the ruling APC remains the party to beat.
To achieve this, there been realignments and coming together of different politicians from various political parties to ensure that the eight years rule of the APC end with Ajimobi.
Despite its performances and achievements in the past years, there had been serious condemnation of some of its policies and programmes, hence the need to replace it and ensure that another party and governor occupies the Agodi Government House comes May 29, 2019.
To this end, many of the aggrieved members of the APC have left the party to other political parties to achieve their political dreams and aspirations. But the fact remains that it will be a battle between the APC and the PDP which are the strong contenders to the seat of power.
Also, it should be noted that most of the contending political parties are the offshoot of the PDP, while only few of them emanated from the APC. For example, political parties like SDP, Accord, ADP, ADC, ZLP and several others were initially partly part of the PDP, while few others are from the APC.
The effect is that the number of eligible voters for these parties will no doubt affect their numerical strength. The same scenario came to play in 2015, when four political parties came together to form the APC and the crisis and the division in PDP led to the formation of another four political parties.
While the APC had unified votes, the votes which are supposed to accrue to the PDP, were at the end of the day shared among the four political parties all of which participated in the election.
Also, the failure of opposition political parties and their leaders to come up with a particular candidate to face the APC can be ascribed to why they were defeated.
As the 2015 scenario when there were so many opposition political parties, they were unable to defeat APC at the poll. Now going to the 2019 governorship election with as many opposition political parties may not stop the ruling party, APC from winning the election.
The fear is that there are so many opposition political parties contesting for governorship election in the state, but they are not strong contenders.
It will be necessary to take a cursory look at the chances of some of the contestants.
APC – AbdulWaheed Adebayo Adelabu
The APC candidate, Adelabu, is the grandson of famous politician Adegoke “Penkelemesi” Adelabu.
Adebayo was appointed by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in February 2014 as Deputy Governor, Operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and resigned this position in 2017 to go fully into politics
“Penkelemesi” Adelabu as he is now popularly known will rely on the popularity of the Adelabu dynasty in the political circle of Oyo State and he has the funds needed to campaign for the position.
As a young man, he is expected to bring fresh ideas to the development of the state.
However, the unpopularity of the outgoing governor, Senator Ajimobi may affect his chances at the poll.
Also, the people of the state may want a different direction after eight years of the APC government.
PDP –Seyi Makinde
The PDP candidate, Makinde, was born on 25 December 1967, to a renowned teacher turned accountant; late Pa Olatubosun Makinde and Madam Abigail Makinde.
He is a graduate of the University of Lagos.
It would be recalled that Makinde contested for the Oyo State gubernatorial seat on the platform of the SDP in 2015, but he will contesting under the PDP next year.
He is a philanthropist and has the funds to run what seems like a very expensive campaign. He is popular, young and will bring fresh ideas to the development of the state.
However, it should be noted that PDP is not as popular as the ruling party, while he lacks experience, as he has never been elected to any political position.
ADP – Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala
Another contender is Otunba Alao-Akala from Ogbomoso. Alao-Akala was the deputy governor of Oyo State from May 2003 to January 2006 and was sworn in as the substantive governor when his principal, Rashidi Ladoja was impeached, a position he later relinquished when the courts nullified the purported impeachment of Ladoja.
On December 8, 2014, Otunba Alao-Akala defected to the LP in Oyo State from the PDP. Two days after, on December 10, 2014, he formally declared his intention to re-contest for the gubernatorial election of Oyo State on the platform of the LP.
On December 17, 2017, he defected to the ruling APC at an impressive and memorable ceremony in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State.
As a former Oyo State governor, he knows what it takes, he has the name and recognition, and still enjoys tremendous followers from when he was a governor. He owns a radio station that will help enhance his popularity, and he has the funds to campaign for what appears to be an expensive election.
However, it would be recalled that he finished third during the last election, age may be a factor, party recognition may also be a factor.
However, the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Mutiu Agboke, has warned stakeholders especially politicians against hate speeches, fake news and any acts capable of disrupting the peaceful conduct of the election.
Speaking at a Stakeholders’ Forum held at Civic Centre, Ibadan to sensitise stakeholders on the need to ensure a violence-free general election, he disclosed that no fewer than 735,705 Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, are yet to be collected by eligible voters.
According to him, “This is alarming, hence, the need for collective efforts in ensuring that these PVCs are collected.”