Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the All Progressives Congress, APC, need a popular candidate to defeat Hon. Adedapo Lam-Adesina, son of late former leader of the party, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, in the 2019 election. They are losing sleep over it.
Sources told OYO INSIGHT that Ajimobi bought extra forms as he believes the young Lam-Adesina would return before the primaries of the APC. It was learnt that he has not stopped sending people to persuade him to consider rejoining the party. “In fact, a leading governorship aspirant was one of those ‘emissaries’ sent to him,” a close source revealed to this newspaper.
The young Lam-Adesina, who left the APC few months ago owing to irreconcilable differences which arose as a result of the botched congress of the party, is now a member of the newly formed African Democratic Congress, ADC. Though he has yet to declare formally.
Before the purchase and submission of APC ended last week, OYO INSIGHT learnt that only ‘Deji Aboderin summoned courage to buy form to challenge Lam-Adesina, who is believed to have a cult following, due to his closeness to his constituents and the many masses-friendly empowerment programmes he has done in the last three years since he was elected to represent Ibadan North East/ South East federal constituency. Aboderin hails from the same Ibadan South East local government with Lam-Adesina.
Not satisfied with Aboderin, the governor was said to have drafted Hon. Lekan Afuye, who currently chairs Ibadan North East local government area, into the race. Afuye, the governor believes, has what it takes to deliver the federal constituency for the APC. This was after Ajimobi had rejected plan by his economic adviser and former Lamist, Dr Isiaka Kolawole, to run for the seat.
Not long ago, the governor held talks with the duo of Hon. Akeem Ige and Hon. Gbenga Adewusi. Both, Ajimobi believes, are popular and can challenge Lam-Adesina. Ige, a former council chairman of Ibadan South East local government and current minority leader of the Oyo State House of Assembly, has obtained nomination form to return to the assembly.
Though he has obtained nomination form to run for House of Reprsentatives’ seat against Lam-Adesina in the ADC, Arole, as the former chairman of Ibadan North East local government is known, may eventually run for an Assembly seat. In 2011, he came third, trailing Lam-Adesina and Olubukola Ajaja who came second and first respectively. In 2015, he came second while Lam-Adesina won.
However, it will be the toughest election for the APC as the party has never had a good show in the council council areas in the federal constituency. In the 2011 elections, the party lost 3 of the 4 state assembly seats in the federal constituency to Accord. It also lost the federal constituency seat to Accord’s Ajaja as some loyalists of the governor allegedly worked against Adedapo Lam-Adesina, in what was a plan to denigrate his father, the then leader of the progressives in the state, politically.
In 2015, the party lost all the 4 assembly seats to Accord again. The young Lam-Adesina, OYO INSIGHT recall, defeated former council chairman, Hon. Gbenga Adewusi, who was the candidate of Accord, in 15 out of the 24 wards in Ibadan North East/ South East federal constituency. This was after he had garnered over 400 out of the 600 delegate votes in the APC primaries held at Mapo.
Many APC leaders and members are yet to overcome the loss of the 40-year old lawmaker to ADC, as they believe he can succumb to pressure from his late father’s allies, especially Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and rejoin the party. Sources told OYO INSIGHT that the governor would be so happy to receive Lam-Adesina back into the party. It was further learnt that Ajimobi is said to be angry with those who ‘wrongly’ advised him against Lam-Adesina, who used to be closer to him. All these cannot be disconnected from the many unprecedented works the youthful lawmaker has done since his emergence. This are in addition to what he did as commissioner for youth and sports and later as commissioner for industry, science and technology.
In ADC, all former political ‘foes’ of the APC, are now to work together with the Lam-Adesina political structure in the federal constituency and the state. The APC, on the other hand, has a good candidate in Afuye if he is eventually picked. Apart from being a current council helmsman, he is not far from the street.
However, it is yet to be seen how the progressives can fully make inroads into Ibadan North East and Ibadan South East which are known to be inhabited by conservative majority, especially those who are believed to be badly affected by the policies of the Ajimobi administration.