The processes leading to the 2019 governorship election is near. In fact, the primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, is less than 8 months. Whether or not power will shift from Ibadan will be known in the next few months. What is certain is that Governor Ajimobi will exit Agodi Government House in 2019, what is uncertain is the person who will succeed him.
Let me digress a little. My column of last week -Why Ajimobi Should Listen To Party Faithful, received commendations and condemnations but the joy is that the former is more than the latter. Till date, I have not stopped receiving commendation. One erroneous impression I will like to correct is the notion that I was sponsored by those who are opposed to Ajimobi’s style. Why would I? For how much? I like Ajimobi more than some of you. You just have to permit me for not knowing the right way to say the truth. Twice, in 2011 and 2015, I was a volunteer-campaigner for our amiable Governor. May we not be surrounded by bad advisers. Or better put, may we have the gut to sack bad advisers!
Back to the subject of discussion. Deep inside of me, I want power shift from Ibadan, the state capital. Apart from the fact that I am from one of the ‘marginalised’ towns, I have many reasons to support the call for power shift. However, this is not to say that I am against the governorship ambition of those who are aspiring from Ibadan. But I must also say that some people are aspiring only because they are from Ibadan. Yes, that’s their only known credential. They have seen it as their birthright, forgetting that there are some certain conditions that must be met.
For long, especially since the present Osun was carved out of the old Oyo State, Ibadan people have been governor except once. Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, late Chief Kolapo Ishola, late Lamidi Adesina, Sen. Rashidi Ladoja have been governor, including the including the incumbent Ajimobi who will be completing his second term of 8 years next year. No doubt, the state capital should enjoy the ‘lion share’ of development in the state but the obvious over-conncentration of development in Ibadan, especially during the current administration, is worrisome. The best Ogbomoso land got in terms of development was when Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala was governor. And till tomorrow, even after his death, he will be reverred by children yet unborn. All these he did without giving due attention to the state capital.
Some may want to argue that Ajimobi dualised a 7km road in Iseyin, the gateway to Oke-ogun, calling it koseleri. This is after many kilometres of roads had been done, well-done in Ibadan. In the same Iseyin, the Agric-Oyo project which was unveiled with fanfair, is as good as dead. In Oyo town where I hail, Ajimobi has not completed any major project. The two road projects, which are not up to 7km is ‘lifeless’. The Atiba radio project is yet to reach lintel level, four years after it started. The silo in Aawe is lying helplessly by the roadside. The dualization work on Ogbomoso road was shodilly done. Since work stopped on these projects, Ajimobi had awarded and completed major projects in Ibadan. The Challenge-Orita road is more than 80 per cent completed. Three major road projects- Gate-Old Ife road, Idi-Ape – Akobo-Olorunda road and Gate-Iwo-road are ongging speedilly, with quality material.
Until last week when Ajimobi approved the reconstruction of the 65km Ibadan-Iseyin road, road users and farmers have had themselves to blame transporting their farm produces on that bad road, praying not to be waylaid by the deadly ‘fulani’ armed robbers. When the bill to establish our university was sent to the 7th Assembly, it was codenamed OYO STATE Technical University and not Technical University, IBADAN (emphasis mine). In fact, there was meant to be satelite campuses in the two other senatorial districts. Added to these is the fact that many abandoned projects inherited by the current administration in towns outside Ibadan have not been given necessary attention. The LAUTECH Teaching Hospital Annex in Oyo is lying there, on the Oyo-Ogbomoso road in my hometown.
All these considered, is our agitation for power shift not okay, especially at this time that an Ibadan man is completing his second term in office? As good as it is, Ibadan people that I have lived with for over 30 years will not relinquish power to anybody like that. It even goes beyond agitation. Let me commend the trio of Engr. Raufu Aderemi Olaniyan, Dr. Yunus Akintunde and Professor Adeolu Akande for the way they have been selling themselves to the partymen- APC. I wonder if our retired politicians wouldn’t have recorded success if they had embarked on their governorship aspiration like these three men. This is unlike before when our people became afraid and chicken out in the ‘middle of the road’, these trio should be supported.
The bid to shift power from Ibadan to other zones is realisable but we must be tactical with it. A strong team, made of up influential people from Ibarapa, Oyo, Ogbomoso and Oke-ogun should be composed. They should be made to meet their counterparts from the state capital, talk them into believing in our project, allay their fears and conceding some key positions to their sons and daughters. Secondly, the four marginalised zones should look for a way of adopting and working for just a candidate from the many aspirants should in case Ibadan endorses ‘one of their own’.
Also, we must not forget the roles the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III has always played in successive election. He has been involved for more than four decades. He has close relationship with many Obas from Oke-ogun, Ibarapa and Ogbomoso less cities. Currently, Iku Baba Yeye and the Olubadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji enjoy cordial relationship. Since 1976, nobody has been governor of this state without his input. Many of the aspirants, especially from APC and PDP, have been going to him, to seek royal blessings, for their governorship ambition. I will not say much but I know if Alaafin sneezes….You can only ignore him at your own peril. He’s a veteran of many successful wars. Those who disagreed with him in the past are still licking their wound.
Summarilly, our agitation goes beyond ‘awa lokan’. We have a lot of work to do and it is achievable in 2019, especially in the APC. The zoning of the chairmanship position of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to Oke-ogun speaks volume about the party’s plan for 2019. Somebody said the duo of Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha (now chairman) and Chief Jacob Adetoro should not have contested the position talkless of thinking of factionalising it. In fact, the party, as it is, doesn’t have a governorship aspirant from outside Ibadan.
PEN-TA-GUN, Sikiru Akinola’s opinion about political events in Oyo State, is published every Monday. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.