Three Ibadan indigenes-Adebayo Adelabu (All Progressives Congress) (APC), Seyi Makinde (Peoples Democratic Party) (PDP) and Olufemi Lanlehin (African Democratic Congress) (ADC)-are contesting for governor of Oyo State. Who wins? Correspondent Oseheye Okwuofu writes on the battle for the Agodi House.
The three major political parties in the Pacesetter State- the All Progressive Congress(APC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC)-have elected their governorship candidates for next year’s election.
From inception in 1976, Oyo State has been known for its pacesetting, largely due to the fact that all who have governed the state were tested men with vast experience in governance. The late Chief Bola Ige, popularly known as the Cicero of Esa-Oke was a political wizard and an orator. Ige, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), governed the state between 1979 and 1983. The mathematician, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, was Commissioner for Education. He was governor for a few months in 1983. Chief Kolapo Ishola was Chairman, Akinyele Local Government. He governed from 1992 to 1993. Alhaji Lam Adesina was in the House of Representatives between 1979 and 1983 before he was elected governor from 1999 to 2003. Chief Rashidi Ladoja was a distinguished senator before he was elected governor from 2003 to 2007. He was impeached, but later returned by the Supreme Court judgment which quashed the impeachment. Otunba Alao-  Akala was Chairman, Ogbomoso North Local Government and deputy governor before he was elected in 2007. Abiola Ajimobi was senator before he  won the governorship election in 2011.
Clearly, underdogs have no place in the coveted Agodi Government House. All the major political parties cannot ignore this history. APC, PDP and ADC have presented their best to vie for the number one seat.
The APC produced the former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and grandson of the first Federal Minister of Social Services and Natural Resources, Alhaji Adelabu Adegoke, popularly known as Penkelemesi, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, who will be slugging it out with  the PDP candidate,  Seyi Makinde, a businessman, and Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, a veteran, of the ADC.
Although the  ADC is a relatively new party in Oyo State, it is home to notable politicians who disagreed with their former parties, but needed to seek their fortune on a new platform.
The primaries conducted by the ADC and the PDP  to elect candidates for the 2019 elections have stirred confusion that assails the parties. The PDP candidate, Makinde, has a suit instituted by his opponent, Senator Ayoade Adeseun. The ADC has been torn apart by the choice of its candidate, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin.
Apart from the strength of the candidates, the crisis that followed the primaries will affect the chances of the ADC and the PDP in the governorship election.
Many supporters of the aggrieved aspirants are opting out to work against Lanlehin in the election as a pay back.
Of 13 aspirants, 12 have  queried  Ladoja and others for imposing Lanlehin on them. All efforts made by the aspirants to reverse the controversial primary proved abortive.
They  were said to have gone to Abeokuta to request former President Olusegun Obasanjo to prevail on Ladoja not to impose Lanlehin on them, but their protests did not yield a positive result.
Determined to fight to a logical conclusion, they had approached a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to intervene in the alleged illegal selection of Lanlehin as the candidate.
The aspirants claimed that Ladoja, Chief Michael Koleoso Busari and Olakojo took an unjust decision to handpick Lanlehin without wider consultations.
The 12 plaintiffs in the suit are: Barrister Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli, Hon. Festus Wale Adegoke, Dr. Nurein Aderemi Adeniran, Mr. Ayodele Adigun, Dr. Yunus Abiodun Akintunde and Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja. Others are: Senator Gbenga Babalola, Dr. Mohammed Kola Balogun, Barrister Ayanlowo Obisesan, Engineer Aderemi Olaniyan, Otunba Oluseye Opatoki and Engineer Aderemi Oseni. The defendants include the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), ADC, National Chairman of the party, Chief Ralph Nwosu, Ladoja, Dr. Dele Ajadi, Senator Michael Koleoso, Dr. Busari Adebisi and Chief Olayiwola Olakojo.
Observers said it will be a bitter pill for the party in the governorship election.  Notwithstanding the last minute statement from the national headquarters of the party that the Oyo ADC has finally settled for Lanlehin, the die is already cast. The intra-party crisis in Oyo ADC has narrowed the  2019 contest, leaving the stage for the PDP and the APC.
The ruling APC, with its intimidating credentials, has a lot to worry about. Though, highly applauded by the wisdom and maturity applied in the conduct of its party primary, APC needs to work very hard to win the governorship election. Judging by the performance of the incumbent governor Abiola Ajimobi in infrastructural development, the party is in a good position to make reasonable impact . However, the strength of its  candidate, who has never contested any elective position before, may be a disadvantage. Adelabu said he will be relying largely on the legacy of his grandfather.
Besides, the post-party congress crisis, which exhumed  the two rival groups in the party, SENACO and LAMIST, almost crippled the APC. Many party supporters defected to the ADC as a result of the disagreement.
Fears are also being expressed that the party may pay dearly for the sins of Ajimobi, who was said to have stepped on many toes in the course of forcing some of his unpopular policies on the people. An example  is Ajimobi’s   review of the contentious 1957 Chieftaincy Laws of Ibadanland, which pitched the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and vocal and influential Ibadan sons and daughters against the governor. The dust raised by the exercise is yet to settle. Despite these shortcomings, the APC, with its power of incumbency and its overwhelming political structures spread across the 33 local government areas of the state, may likely retain the crown at the end of the race.
The PDP, a major opposition party is recovering from its defeat in 2011. Like the ADC, the crisis arising from its primary is yet to abate. Adeseun, who contested against Makinde, has headed for court, challenging the outcome of the primary. He is alleging fraud and manipulation of the delegates’ list, which led to boycotting of the primary. Adeseun is supporters have threatened to work against the  party if justice is delayed. Observers said the gale of defections in Oyo PDP may weaken the chances of the party.
Apart, from the inherent intra- party crisis Makinde, an expert on fluid and Gas Metering, is not new in Oyo politics.  In 2007, Makinde contested for the Oyo South Senatorial seat on the platform of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), but lost to the PDP candidate- Kamoru Adedibu.
Makinde remained undeterred by his first failed attempt and in 2010, he aspired for the Oyo South 2011 senatorial seat but lost the primary to the incumbent Oyo South Senator.
In 2014, Makinde contested for  governor.
In December 2014, upon the conclusion of the primary, he was denied the governorship nomination ticket. Makinde defected to the Social Democratic Party (SDP), on the platform he contested for governor but lost out in the end.
In September 2017, Makinde returned to the PDP, where he  emerged as the candidate. Notwithstanding its weaknesses, no one can underestimate the strength of the PDP in the race, judging by the fact that it rivals the ruling APC, in terms of structure and financial muscle. Observers were of the opinion that  the contest is going to be between the two gladiators, Chief Bayo Adelabu of the APC and Engr. Seyi Makinde of the PDP. The question is who among the two will occupy the Agodi Government House come 2019. Only the party with an unusual wit, people’s goodwill and sagacity will make the difference.

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