It is no more a news that major political parties in the state have schemed out Okeogun aspirants from contest for the gubernatorial post in Oyo State. From the look of things, only one or two of the relatively new political parties in the state may field Okeogun indigenes as their parties’ flagbearers.
The reasons why we want an Okeogun person as next governor of the state is not borne out of selfishness or nepotism but fairness, equality and justice. We must not shy away from the fact that our state, at this particular point in time needs her best brain to be at the helm of affairs. Our efforts to raise the bar of governance to a heigher level require our collective struggling for selection of a God fearing, trustworthy and loyal person to take the mantle of leadership from Gov Abiola Ajimobi. Where such a leader comes from should not be a concern for all of us if selection or election of candidates for the gubernatorial post has been done with equality, fairness and justice. But the reverse is the case. A section of the state must not arrogate the power of “winner takes all” position at all times to itself. It has now become a syndrome which we must all find means to stop.
In my last write-up, I chronologed the ascension into gubernatorial position in the state in the last 34years and it was obvious only Ibadan indigenes have been ruling as governors. At the same time, Okeogun region has been producing the deputy governors.
A virile state requires ability to harness all resources, human and materials to create evenly distributed wealth through developmental projects. But a situation where capital projects, appointments and educational resources are being concentrated in the state capital just for the fact that it has the highest population is very unfair. Okeogun region has been abandoned for many years. We are always ever shortchanged in all the raminifications of what governance stands for. If you see any Okeogun person as head in any of the state establishments, ponder a bit, you will discover it is purely on merit (for instance, the Chief Judge post). Other key (juicy posts as politicians called it) appointments do not come to us. Even in some cases of heirachical ascedance to key posts, our sons and daughters will still be denied (a case of recent appointment of new house of assembly speaker).
For several years, we have been lamenting about these injustices – appointments, developments, health, educational, even the administrative head of state agricultural project existing in Okeogun was brought to Ibadan leaving the management of the project with the rituals of coming to and fro Ibadan for administrative approval. However, l must state emphatically that the era of lamentations of Okeogun people is over. Call it resolution or revolution, Okeogun unlike before have come together, to speak with one voice – OKEOGUN LOKAN.
The ongoing scheming out of Okeogun aspirants from the major political parties of both APC and PDP is a miscalculation on their part. The education, exposure and the wisdom in us shall be deployed to proof the Okeogun in us. You will recall that eminently qualified aspirants from Okeogun had earlier shown interest to contest the gubernatorial post in the two major political parties – APC and PDP.
The pack comprises of Professor Adeolu Akande, a professor of political science with wealth of experience in public office both at federal and state level as SSA and Chief of Staff respectively. The Honorable Minister of Communication – Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin a USA trained medical practioner with over 15years political exprience under Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Babatunde Fashola, both former governors of Lagos State. The erudite international public speaker and Editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspaper Mr. Debo Adeshina who acts as adviser to some African countries presidents. Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, a former Permanent Secretary in the state ministry of works and General Manager OYSTROMA. Hon. Isaac Omodewu, a USA trained administrator and commissioner for almost 8years in the state Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey. Also Dr. Gbenga Babalola, a former senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
All these are eminently qualified aspirants from Okeogun who were schemed out of contest with oratorary power of the state governor who doubled as the party leader in the state. Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin was forced to resign as deputy Chief of Staff earlier last year, Hon. Minister Barrister Adebayo Shittu was the last victim with NYSC saga. Hon. Isaac Omodewu was not found worthy of occupying the number one post in the state because he got political appointment under a governor who has the political power of life and death and used same to tell it to our Omodewu that he is not fit to be governor. Professor Adeolu Akande saw the handwritten on the wall when he was schemed out of participation in party congresses that led him to Unity Forum, same with Engr Rauf Olaniyan. Senator Gbenga Babalola also complained of highhandedness in his former party, the PDP and left for the relatively new political party ADC to pursue his dream to govern the state.
Given the narrative above, the OKEOGUN LOKAN can only materialise if the only credible alternative party ADC chooses one of us, otherwise our votes in the forthcoming election will be under protest. We are going to give massive support to Okeogun candidate of ADC or we boycott election totally. Feelers from the gubernatorial primaries of APC and PDP reveals that Ibadan indigenes have emerged from both APC and PDP primaries held yesterday. We implore both parties to choose their deputy governorship candidates from Ibadan too. Okeogun will no more accept second class post. I heard someone saying what are we going to do if an Okeogun person accept deputy slot from either of the parties. The answer is simple. Whoever tries that will incure the wrath of the Okeogun dieties!
Esv Ismail Adewoyin Is The Convener,
Okeogun Project Forum