2019: Who Bears The Oyo APC Flag?

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Oyo APC Aspirants
From left: Alao-Akala, Moses Adeyemo, Abdulfatai Buhari, Adebayo Shittu, Adeolu Akande.
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THE question of who will be the gubernatorial flag bearer of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in Oyo State remains debatable. This results from the fierce contest for the single ticket by so many party gladiators, some of whom joined in recently and others who have been within the party. These gladiators all presume they are the right candidate who can deliver the much-needed success that the party needs in the 2019 polls.

Meanwhile, the incumbent governor and party leader, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who will be rounding off with his second term in office, has not minced words in enunciating that his successor should be able to ensure continuity in the legacies that his administration has laid. This, therefore, has implications for who will emerge next as the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer.

Logically speaking, one would expect that the person that will finally bear the torch of the party must share the same vision as the incumbent, have a large coverage of influence in the party; especially among the key zones of Ibadan, Oyo, Oke-Ogun and Ogbomosho. Such individual too must be able to align the interest of various factions in the party in order to get the strength of the party focused on one course.

Currently, the aspirants contesting the party ticket for the 2019 gubernatorial elections are about twelve. They can be categorized as major and minor hopefuls. The major hopefuls or better put “contenders” are those who have huge crowd coverage supporting them, and those who have the needed number to deliver them the opportunity to contest for the mandate of the number citizen of the state. On the other hand are the minor contenders who, though have been in the corridors of political administration, are not strong enough to win the need numbers or zones to fall behind them during the primaries. Nevertheless, all these contesting aspirants have the portfolio needed to gain the attention of the people. But it might be more important for them to get the numbers before their portfolios can be of much relevance.

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Currently, there are 12 aspirants or more that want to bid for the party’s ticket to be the gubernatorial candidate of the Party in the state. The list includes; former governor Adebayo Alao Akala; Current Deputy Governor, Moses Adeyemo; Former Senator Adesoji Akanbi; Former Permanent Secretary, Olaniyan; Former Chief of Staff to Governor Ajimobi; Professor Adeolu Akande; Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu. Others are: Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Former Deputy Speaker of Oyo House of Representative, Niyi Akintola; Former Commissioner and Federal Lawmaker, Senator Abdulfatai Buhari; Former Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Adebayo Adelabu; Former Commissioner for Land, Isaac Omodewu; Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan; Renowned Lawyer, Ahmed Raji; Lawmaker Hon. Olatoye Sugar; Former Commissioner for Finance, Mr Zaccheus Adelabu; Former Guardian Editor, Debo Adesina; Former Commissioner for Works, Dr Yinus Akintunde; Dr Kola Balogun, and  Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, among others, whose intentions are still a wish.

The similarities in these individuals are that they all have been in the political scene, maybe not in the same party as at the time they served but they all have served in one public position or the other, however, this may not be the determining factor at the party primaries. The ticket is most likely going to go to the man that has the numbers within the party.

In addition to the numbers, is the issue of ideology, zoning and personality? Considering the current influence of the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi (who in two serving terms- that will be concluded in 2019- increased the popularity of the All Progressive Congress party in Oyo state) might want to throw his weight behind someone who has the same vision as him and is able to continue his line of programmes.

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The person who seems to fit this kind of ideal is the current deputy governor, Moses Adeyemo. Signals from the incumbent also show that he might be behind his deputy as he had opened, his support for aspirants from Oke-Ogun. According to reports, the Governor sees his support for them as compensation for how they supported him during the 2015 re-election bid.  Howbeit, it might be difficult for the incumbent governor to impose his deputy on the party members. Moreover, Adeyemo isn’t the only aspirant from Oke-Ogun. There is also Adebayo Shittu, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Rauf Olaniyan, Omodewu to mention a few. Hence, even the Oke-Ogun aspirants have needs to lobby for the numbers.

In addition to the numbers, is the issue of ideology, zoning and personality? Considering the current influence of the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi (who in two serving terms – that will be concluded in 2019 – increased the popularity of the APC in Oyo State) might want to throw his weight behind someone who has the same vision as him and is able to continue his line of programmes. The person who seems to fit this kind of ideal is the current deputy governor, Moses Adeyemo. Signals from the incumbent also show that he might be behind his deputy as he had opened his support for aspirants from Oke-Ogun. According to reports, the Governor sees his support for them as compensation for how they supported him during the 2015 re-election bid.

Meanwhile, a close source to Agodi Government House once reported having said that Governor Ajimobi has pencilled down three aspirants, who are from Ibadan, the state capital. They are: the former Deputy Governor (Operations) Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a grandson of late Ibadan political icon, late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, Chief Adebayo Adelabu; Senior Partner and Head of the Technology Advisory Services and Markets of KPMG, Mr. Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, and former Chief Press Secretary to former Governor Lamidi Adesina and former Chairman, Oluyole Local Government Area, Alhaji Kehinde Isiaka Olaosebikan.

Howbeit, it might be difficult for the incumbent governor to impose his deputy on the party members. Moreover, Adeyemo isn’t the only aspirant from Oke-Ogun. There is also Adebayo Shittu, Prof. Adeolu Akande, Rauf Olaniyan, Omodewu to mention a few. Hence, even the Oke-Ogun aspirants have needs to lobby for the numbers.

In terms of zoning, Ibadan zone has so far produced 5 out of 6 governors in the state, and the sixth being former governor Alao Akala who is from Ogbomosho. Ibada is known to own the largest electorate share with about 52 per cent votes in the state. Hence, there is a burning issue among the major zones in the state that 2019 election should be a time to give Oke-Ogun a chance at the job of the number one executive seat in the state.

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Despite this agitation by politicians from that zone, other aspirants from Ogbomosho and Ibadan are still persistent in clinching the seat of the state house.

There’s Alao Akala, from Ogbomoso, who has formed a big faction for himself in the All Progressive Congress (APC) Party in Oyo state, hence, he might have the needed number of supporters but not likely to still continue the political ideologies or policies of the incumbent. The chance of that happening is dicey. Asides Akala, there is Fatai Buhari, who is also from Ogbomosho and has the goodwill of the incumbent. Hence this makes his chances quite promising too.

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