2019 elections have come and gone. But, it left some memories that will continue to pullulate the political environment for a long time. One of such barometric pressure that gauged the elections and one that ultimately signalled the hard luck story of APC was what political pundits called “SOJ factor”.
Senator Adesoji Akanbi will for a long time remain a Spanish version of political magnifico in Oyo Politics, particularly considering his father figure in Oyo South senatorial district that he last represented in the red Chambers. His exit from APC barely few months to the last polls was a proverbial worst sorrow for the party.
Only an eternal students of Politics in Oyo state will downplay the defection of Senator SOJ popularly called “Okanlomo ” by his teeming admirers as quotidian occurrence in Politics. You don’t expect a party to keep it’s glory when it has ingloriously pressed an exit buttons to his major striker. Only people without a conscience ,to whom evil is ecstasy, will go on emotional binge for loosing a goose that is reputed for laying a golden egg.
With the benefit of hindsight, it was a bitter pill for Senator Soji Akanbi to swallow to finally take a bow out of an empire he co built as a progressive. The mien of SOJ to the unedifying pronouncement inside the hallowed Chambers by the then Senate President , Bukola Saraki was unmistakable . No sooner had the apparently enthusiastic Senator Bukola mentioned that among the “big fish ‘ that had been trapped to hitch into PDP train from APC was SOJ than the latter mounted the soap box to refute what was later known to be unfounded claim . It could have been a slam dunk for PDP, a party that was leaving no stone unturned to wrestle power from the ruling party preparatory to the last election. It was more like political somnabulism for the Senate president who had earlier dangled PDP automatic tickets to any turncoats. To SOJ , APC is home.
Stating the reason deitre for SOJ ‘s final decision to move out of his beloved party would amount to unnecessary repetition as he had personally laid bare the ground for his actions without grandstanding on several occasions.
One may ask , had SOJ stayed put in APC , what difference could it have made? A lot if I may say.
As a lengthened shadow and defacto engine room of his new bride,ADC , the financial contribution he made to steady the boat of that party could have possibly been saved to strengthen APC.
It’s also obvious for a new emphasis that APC presidential candidate in the last election lost by hairs margin in Oyo state. See the statistics that provided strong evidence to how that ugly fate could have been reversed.
PDP polled 366, 690 votes, APC polled 365, 229, ADC came a distant third with 40,’830 votes.
While it can’t be argued that both APC and PDP were strong footed in Oyo state and heavily prepared for the election, the ADC presidential candidate ,Mr Obadiah Mailafia was relatively unknown. Some people even claimed there was not a single poster or billboards of his in any corner. It therefore became glaring that if hundreds of SOJ faithfuls who cast their votes for ADC had voted for APC presidential candidate, the defeat ,which was quite narrow, could have been averted.
It leaves a sour taste in the mouth of many political observers that a party that has a winning streak to deliver massively for President Buhari in 2015 and towers above other strates could end up eating an humble pie four years later. Discerning minds have heaped the blame of reversal of electoral fortune in Oyo state on Governor Ajimobi’s overbloated political clouts , a delusion of grandeur that eventuated in politics of exclusion.
2015 presidential election results in Oyo state. APC 528,620; PDP 303,376.
The same scenario played out in both Senatorial and Fed Rep election in Oyo South where APC candidates were maulled by some insignificant votes by PDP.
Talking of ibNW / SW which is SOJ political strongholds, the Rep scandidate ,Fijabi Saheed would have been dancing “Azonto” after the election if SOJ had offered him a bulkwark of political solidarity to rest on. See the results: Stanley Olajide (PDP), 28, 367 votes against Mr Saheed Fijabi who polled a total of 25, 560 votes.
What also remained a “squandered hope ” of APC to coast home victories in both Oyo South Senatorial District and even the Governorship elections couldn’t have been a mirage if Okanlomo had thrown his weight behind APC. For example , if the Oyo South Senatorial ticket had not eluded the grasp of SOJ, his soaring credibility going by his stellar records in the zone could have saved APC from ignominy. Senator Adesoji Akanbi could have deployed into use his political sense of ” cognito circa rem’ to win landslide. With APC having three senators, the, rest could have been history so to say. The gospel truth is that “APC fielded a candidate with a limbo existing in a negative dialectics in the eyes of the electorates to fly it’s flag in Oyo South , the jarring defeat was predictable as the party itself staggered into the election with heavy burden on it’s head.
Political pundits in Oyo state would have expected Governor Ajimobi to borrow a leaf from Senator Bola Tinubu who sacrificed his Senatorial ambition in 2007 for the party to flourish. Tinubu would have won the Senate seat against Hon Ganiyu Solomon that time but the party would have received bruises in it’s overriding interest in reclaiming Lagos State and SW region .
By and large, if Senator Adesoji Akanbi (Okanlomo) had not been denied ticket for Ajimobi, ‘ the capo dei capi’ ( constituted authority) to sublate his own self interest, who knows APC might have not been ineluctably battered and scattered like shards from a bottle dropped from the great height. Adesoji Akanbi Okanlomo, no doubt is a factor anytime, any day in Oyo Politics.
It’s amazing that despite huge state and administrative resources (SARs,) splurged on the election and the bravado of Governor Ajimobi to put Oyo South under his feet, he nonetheless could not poll a hundred thousand votes. Whereas Senator Akanbi Adesoji who trailed uncharted political path ADC barely few weeks to the election narely hit 50,000 votes.
Ajimobi Abiola APC ,92, 218.
Akanbi Rilwan Adesoji 49,417
Kola Balogun 105, 270
Will APC rebound in Oyo state? Has Oyo APC learned its lessons in a hard way? Will the party emerge stronger from its present point of weakness ? Only Time will tell.
Comrade Adesokan Sodeinde , a public affairs analysts and staunch APC member writes from Eruwa, Oyo state.