By Abiodun Adeyemi
The political landscape of Oyo State in the last one week has been abuzz with discussion on the entry of Mr Joseph Tegbe into the governorship race.
Tegbe’s candidature has elicited so much attention not because he is a giant politician. Indeed, he is no politician at all. It has generated so much attention because his name has been linked with Governor Abiola Ajimobi. This is a confirmation of suspicions all along that the governor has a preferred candidate as successor in 2019.
Tegbe’s entry has jolted friends and adversaries of Ajimobi. Tegbe is never known to be a politician. At best, he has been the chief economic adviser of Governor Ajimobi in the last seven years. Although Ajimobi has parted ways with Prof. Ademola Ariyo who brought Tegbe into the government, Tegbe has survived seven years of relationship with Ajimobi. This is not a mean feat knowing full well that Ajimobi does not keep friends. One of his favourite sayings is that it is his wife, Florence, who keeps friends. He uses people and dumps them after use.
In seven years, Ajimobi has done that to everyone who came his way. When he lost his job at National Oil and sought refuge in politics, it was the likes of Dr Busari Adebisi, late Alhaji Lam Adesina, Alhaji Fatai Ibikunle and the late Alhaji Dauda Alawuje, his father’s personal assistant, who showed him the ropes. He parted with all of these people when he found his feet.
In 2011 when he sought to become governor, Chief Michael Koleoso led the battle against late Alhaji Lam Adesina who had wanted Senator Femi Lanlehin for the post. Ajimobi won and one of his first casualties was Chief koleoso whom he forced out of the ACN.
He defeated Chief Koleosho by relying on the likes of Chief Gani Alade, Alhaji Abolade Akinyemi in Ibadan, Alhaji Abu Gbadamosi, Alhaji Lekan Kassim and Alhaji Sulaiman Ajibade in Oke Ogun. Today, these are the leaders of Unity Forum that Ajimobi has forced out of APC.
In the fight against these eminent politicians, he relied on his SENACO (Senator Abiola Ajimobi Campaign Organisation) whom he gave the impression that the defeat of these big politicians will give the control of the party.
The dust is yet to settle on the exit of these politicians when he brought Joseph Tegbe. He is done with the men and women in SENACO. Where is Morounkola Thomas, Gbade Ojo, Jiboye Omodewu, Wasiu Dauda, Adeniyi Olowofela and others who fought the battle against the Unity Forum? None of them is good to be governor?. The answer is a resounding “no”. There are gubernatorial materials among them. Their only misfortune is that Ajimobi looks for new friends after using old friends to fight his battles. Where is Adebayo Adelabu who funded many of the governor’s initiatives and battles?. Where is Zacheus Adelabu who uses his generousity to calm the nerves of the governor’s supporters who always complain of neglect? Where is Barrister Niyi Akintola SAN, the advocate of “gate keepers” politics who became Ajimobi’s megaphone, going to court to defend every case instituted to stop the erecting of the building blocks of the Ajimobi dynasty? Where is Teslim Folarin who abandoned PDP believing Ajimobi will give him the gubernatorial or Oyo Central Senatorial ticket? Where is Otunba Adebayo Alao -Akala who laboured to tolerate all the insults of Ajimobi’s political humiliation in the hope that he would be anointed candidate? Where are Ajimobi’s allies in the last seven years who had quietly prayed that he will anoint one of them as successor? Where is Isiaka Kolawole and Mojeed Olaoya who abandoned the Lam Adesina ship mid-stream believing they found a new worthy master in Ajimobi?. All of them are realising late that they have boarded a one chance vehicle towards 2019.
The rumbling in the SENACO group since the audacity of Tegbe to enter the gubernatorial race is understandable. Unfortunately for them, Ajimobi has moved on. Tegbe is the new bride. He does not know politicians and politicians don’t know him. If elected governor, the only people he will relate with are Ajimobi and his wife and their children. And Ajimobi has virtually completed assembling the team that will keep him his prisoner. Seyi Adisa, the Principal Private Secretary to the governor has suddenly traced his roots (just like Tegbe did) to Awe in AFIJIO local government where he is building a house, preparatory to becoming the speaker of the House of Assembly. Eighty year old Akin Oke is chairman of the party and Tokunbo Afikuyomi, a Tinubu acolyte, has been nominated by Ajimobi as vice chairman of APC in the South West. Ajimobi himself will be senator for Oyo South, Bimbo Kolade will be senator for Oyo Central and Fatai Buhari will remain senator for Oyo North. Ajimobi is done with the SENACO group and it is Tegbe’s turn.
Will Oyo State go the way of Lagos State where a departing governor will retire the entire political class and create the state in his own image? Or will the people live up to their name as Ajise bi oyo laari, Oyo ki se bi enikankan?.
Time will tell.
Abiodun Adeyemi, who writes from Igbeti, headquarters of Olorunsogo local government, is a social media enthusiast.