In this report, Sikiru Akinola, writes about the battle for the Oyo South senatorial ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, between Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Sen. Adesoji Akanbi.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi and Senator Adesoji Akanbi are set for war over who flies the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the 2019 Oyo South senatorial district election.
Ajimobi, who is completing his second term in office as governor of Oyo State, wants to return to The Senate which he vacated in 2007. Ajimobi represented Oyo South between 2003 and 2007 before his failed gubernatorial bid.
Akanbi, a former member of the House of Representatives in the botched 3rd Republic, is completing his first term in The Senate.
Though Akanbi is yet to speak officially on his next political aspiration, OYO INSIGHT reliably gathered that the fashionistic lawmaker, who has, at all times, shown his loyalty to the progressive cause, would prefer a return to the Red Chamber.
Ajimobi, on the other hand, has not been bold to officially declare his senatorial bid. His loyalists, including the secretary of the party in the state, Hon. Mojeed Olaoya and chairman of the party in the senatorial district, Prince Adefioye Adekanye, have been mobilizing support ‘silently’, according to impeccable sources.
The governor, OYO INSIGHT learnt, doesn’t have the courage to openly begin the consultation. Ajimobi is said to be wary of the backlash that may follow especially from the Ibadan ‘gatekeepers’ who are like Akanbi’s godparents. Akanbi, OYO INSIGHT gathered, has wormed himself into the hearts of the Ibadan elites, especially the Iyalode of Ibadanland, Alhaja Aminat Abiodun.
The announcement last week of the notice of activities for the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will shape events.
According to the notice, collection of nomination forms for national and state elections by political parties is fixed between Aug 17 and Aug. 24. As such, people will get to know whether or not Ajimobi wants to contest the senatorial election.
As for Akanbi, the declaration by Ajimobi that he would run for Senate in 2019 may give him a good reason to leave the APC.
Ajimobi was, during a recent event, quoted as saying that he was being encouraged to return to the Senate by the party stakeholders within and outside Oyo State.
He said: “It is those outside the state that are encouraging me to run. I have been there before and we need experienced people to give us quality representation. We need people we can trust, not people who will betray Oyo State and Southwest’s interest for a messy pot of porridge. We know those who betrayed us for mere Senate committee position.”
Akanbi’s loyalty to the Progressives’ cause has never been in doubt. He has proved it many times. During the National Assembly leadership election, he was one of those who stood with the family though Bukola Saraki triumphed. Not too long ago, Akanbi debunked report that he had defected together with some APC lawmakers, a decision that was hailed within and far and especially by the leadership of the party.
Those rooting for Ajimobi’s return to the Senate say his experience as a former senator and a governor would enhance his performance in the upper chamber and thereby give the state quality representation.
One of his aides said there was nothing wrong if the governor decides to go to Senate next year. Afterwards, his colleagues in Ogun, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has declared that he would be contesting for Senate next year.
A party chieftain, Alhaji Lekan Olasunkanmi, said if Ajimobi gets the ticket, Akanbi will still remain in the APC. He said Akanbi is a close associate of Ajimobi and that on the eve of his purported defection Akanbi was with the governor at the state liaison office in Abuja.
On whether it was true that there was an agreement between Ajimobi and Akanbi that the latter would spend only one term in the Senate to pave way for the governor’s ambition, Olasunkanmi said he was not aware of such agreement.
However, Akanbi may leave the party. Currently, many parties are talking to him. Sources disclosed that Accord was the first to talk to him. “Later, Engr Seyi Makinde spoke to him on the need for them to work together. Currently, his colleagues who have joined the African Democratic Congress, ADC, are mounting pressure on him. In fact, ADC Leader, Chief Rashidi Ladoja, has spoken to him,” another reliable source informed OYO INSIGHT.
It was further learnt that the lawmaker has narrowed his choices to either of the ADC or PDP. Akanbi was said to be taking his time as he will finally take the decision in few weeks time.