Governor Abiola Ajimobi wants to return to the Senate from Oyo Central District at the expense of the incumbent, Adesoji Akanbi. Ajimobi represented the zone between 2003 and 2007. He was elected governor in 2011 and 2015.
Akanbi defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to African Democratic Congress (ADC) last month soon after Ajimobi picked the APC ticket during the primary.
The two contenders are neighbours in Oluyole Estate, Ibadan. While Ajimobi hails from Ibadan South West Local Government, Akanbi is from Ibadan North West Local Government.
The two had enjoyed a cordial relationship until the governor signified his intention to take over Akanbi’s seat last year. Akanbi had dropped his governorship ambition earlier in the year to concentrate on returning to the Senate.
The district comprises the six inner city local governments in Ibadan and the three local governments in Ibarapa.
As the electorate await February 16, 2019 to cast their votes, whoever wins between the two major candidates will celebrate an endorsement of his leadership. The result will be a judgment of Ajimobi’s eight-year administration and four years of Akanbi’s representation.
If the governor wins, based on the strength of his party, his achievements and popularity, it will amount to positive signals for the APC governorship candidate, Bayo Adelabu, in the governorship election coming afterwards.
If Ajimobi loses, it will be interpreted as a rejection of his leadership and his party, APC. This may also have a negative effect on the governorship election.
Oyo South Senatorial district has the highest population among the three districts in the state. This is due to the huge voting population of the Ibadan inner city councils. For this reason, those councils will be the battleground for the two major candidates and others jostling for the seat.
Ajimobi won in most of the nine local governments in his 2015 election. Akanbi also defeated his closest contender in the election, Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin, in most of the councils in the same election. He defeated Lanlehin with over 50,000 votes to win the race. But whether the popularity is of the party or the individual contenders will be determined in the 2019 election.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Adebayo Lawal, will also have his popularity and that of his party tested in the race.
Culled from The Nation.