As 2019 elections draw near, Sikiru Akinola, in this analysis, takes a look at the chances of loyalists of Governor Abiola Ajimobi who want to succeed him.
It is very hard to predict who flies the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming 2019 governorship election in the state, not even with the exit of the breakaway faction of the party- Unity Forum.
By now, one would have expected Ajimobi’s ‘anointed’ to have appeared but it is one month, new aspirant. However, the governor has not thrown his weight behind any one.
Sources told www.oyoinsight.com that Ajimobi is fond of telling any educated person: “we need someone like you in politics, I want someone like you to succeed me…”. Most them, one of the sources explained: “see that as an endorsement. And you will see them pasting their posters around, even without being registered as APC member.”
However, www.oyoinsight.com can authoritatively reel out names of those who were ‘encouraged’ to step into the race by Ajimobi.
While all the ‘preferred choices’ are from Ibadan, one common feature is that more than 4 of them are alumni of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Apart from this, 3 of the aspirants are financial experts. Also, 3 of them hail from Ibadan South East local government.
Though the governor had during one of his visit to Okeogun region of the state promised that he would love one of theirs sons to succeed him, none of his loyalists from the zone has been brave enough to declare interest in the plum job.
The 48-year old grandson of late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu Penkelemesi recently resigned his appointment as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, after serving four out of his five meritorious years. Few days ago, he led supporters to the Oke-Ado, Oyo State secretariat of the APC, to intimate the party of his decision to succeed Ajimobi.
In the build-up to the 2015 election, sources told www.oyoinsight.com, Ajimobi had met him at the residence of late Aare AbdulAzeez Arisekola. Though unconfirmed, Adelabu was said to be eyeing the governorship seat, in 2015. Ajimobi was said to have told the late billionaire businessman to prevail on Adelabu to wait till he completes his tenure; that he was going to support him. Adelabu, who was then Executive Director at First Bank, was later appointed CBN deputy governor.
Adelabu was Ajimobi’s initial favourite for the job. He has a rich CV having obtained a first class degree in accounting from OAU.
Before he resigned, he was said to be close to Ajimobi. Those close to the governor are of the view that the governor may stop “picking his calls” again since he doesn’t have anything to “use him for again since he has resigned from CBN.”
One thing that may work for Adelabu is his closeness to the Ibadan establishment but most of them, however, may not support Ajimobi’s choice.
Out of the governor’s men who have declared, he is the only one who has has been able to mobilise the largest crowd.
He hails from Ibadan South East local government area.
The current finance commissioner recently clocked 45. During Ajimobi’s first term, he was the deputy chief of staff. Adeolu Akande, now a professor, was his chief of staff to the governor. Apart from being very close to the first family, he was said to have won their hearts as he has carried out many tough assignments for them successfully.
Like Adelabu, his first degree was at OAU, in the same department. He later travelled abroad for further studies before he returned home in 2010.
Before now, he was seen as the preferred choice but loyalists of the governor have been declaring intention for the same job, one after the other, month after month.
The indigene of Ona Ara local government area is, however, yet to visit the party secretariat to declare his intention.
The outspoken lawyer, who is a former deputy speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly, hails from Ido local government. The senior advocate is a believer in the gatekeepers’ ideology. The ever-confident lawyer has been boastful that it is payback time for those he had assisted to repay him.
Though, his campaign activities have not been visible in recent times, he is yet to visit the party secretariat to officially declare his guber bid. His closeness to the Ibadan elites may help him but most members of the APC are of the view that “he is another Ajimobi” in the making.
He is an alumnus of the University of Ibadan.
Though nothing has been heard about him since he visited the party secretariat, the outgoing chairman of the Ibadan branch of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, and son of Ibadan’s first SAN, late Chief Agbaje Williams, is also a good material.
He studied at OAU.
The current health commissioner was the Labour Party governorship candidate in 2015 election. The OAU-trained surgeon recently visited the party secretariat to declare his intention to succeed Ajimobi.
Though it was not sure as at the time of filing this story if he enjoys the support of his boss, he is, however, a gubernatorial material. He hails from Ibadan South East local government.
By birth, the immediate past Oyo State Head of Service is a born-progressive. His father, Chief Ayo Eniade, is one of the APC leaders in the state.
Eniade, who was appointed executive assistant to the governor a day to the expiration of his tenure as number one civil servant in the state, hails from Ibadan North East local government.
The University of Ibadan graduate has done more of media engagement than political meetings. The little political meetings he has done are limited to Ibadan, his hometown. In the last few weeks, only little has been heard of him.
The engineer turned accountant hails from Ibadan. His entry into the race has enjoyed media attention than any of the governor’s ‘preferred choice’. It is receiving the highest attention ever. Though he has not officially declared, sources said he is the governor’s choice for the job.
The 52-year old OAU alumnus is said to be leaving no stone unturned in his bid to succeed Ajimobi. Many Ibadan elites are said to have keyed into the project. Sources said the KPMG partner, who has enjoyed due media attention since he began his guber activities less than two weeks ago, will soon visit top leaders of the party across the state after which he would officially declare his intention.
Sources added “his declaration would be the mother of all, in recent times.”
However, there are other loyalists of the governor who have their eyes on the job but are waiting for the governor’s approval. One of such is the current commissioner for land and housing, Ajiboye Omodewu.
Inside sources, however, dismissed his aspiration, saying that he and works commissioner, Dauda Wasiu, are josstling to deputise anybody picked from Ibadan. While Omodewu, who hails from Itesiwaju Local government area of Okeogun, is said to be looking forward to a Muslim candidate from Ibadan, Azuzu, as Dauda is called, looks forward to a Christian candidate from Ibadan.