The politics of Oyo state is always intriguing. From the drama between Bola Ige and his teacher, Alayande, to the battle between Ladoja and his benefactor Adedibu till the record breaking reelection of Ajimobi which he battled his cousin and former colleague in the Senate, Teslim Folarin and others, including his immediate predecessor, elections in Oyo make an interesting watch, particularly the Gubernatorial polls.
From the surprising emergence of Adelabu in the APC, the seeming unending rancour of the next ranked party (African Democratic Congress) to the emergence of the Action Democratic Party and Zenith Labour Party from the aggrieved mass of aspirants from APC and ADC respectively, not forgetting the ongoing drama within the Peoples Democratic Party, the 2019 election has been no less dramatic. Each of the major parties has since had it’s share controversies. However, with the publication of the final list of candidates in Oyo, one can say, with relative certainty, who the contenders will be.
The 2019 Governorship race parades some of the finest minds in the state, including many first timers that cut across generations like Bolaji Ayorinde of the SDP, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Oman-based Oyedele Alao of the AD and Sanyaolu Akande of the PDC, a successful young farmer and agro consultant. While the outgoing Governor Ajimobi may have made history as the first Governor to be reelected in the history of the state, he faces a bigger battle to crown his legacy by producing a successor from his political party, which seemed weaker than when it successfully navigated the 2015 polls. Since 2003, the trio of Ajimobi, Ladoja and Akala have remained major players in the Oyo Governorship polls.
Truth be told, Ajimobi’s reelection, despite his commendable performance, was largely due to the inability of the opposition elements to have a common front. There is a slight possibility that ruling party repays the favor to the opposition, if they can manage to reach a working agreement towards the forthcoming guber election.
While Akala is still contesting the election for a record 4th time, both Ajimobi and Ladoja seek to deliver their preferred candidates. While Ladoja’s candidate Barrister Alli has spent more time in and around government, Chief Adelabu, who Ajimobi is rooting for has been a huge professional success, both in private sector and Government asides being the grandson of the erudite Adegoke Adelabu (Penkelemesi). Together with Seyi Makinde, anyone of them who emerges will be the youngest Oyo Governor in the current democratic dispensation.
The other contenders, Akala and Senator Lanlehin are well advanced in age, nearing 70 years. Most of the candidates are expectedly from Ibadan, the capital which accounts for over 50% of entire votes in the state. Since the huge votes in Ibadan will be divided, the winner of the race will likely be determined by the amount of votes harnessed from the other parts, which gives advantage to the APC, ADC and PDP due to the extensive party structures and resource based. The result of the Presidential and National Assembly elections will also play a role in the closing stage alignments and final results of the polls
The people of the state can however look forward to an interesting time in the run-in to the election. Hopefully, it will be issue based and the key players will maintain the peace that the state, and indeed the current government prides itself in.