There is no doubt that the governorship election come 2019 in Oyo State will be a battle to finish not only among the popular political parties, but also within the three major zones that made up of the pace setters’ state. The political happenings in the state are becoming more interesting by the day, especially with the number of people that have signified their interest to occupy the number 1 seat. At least for now, about forty names have come up and list keeps growing; no local government without at least two aspirants wanting to be next governor.
Interestingly too, there has been serious push from Oke-Ogun zone of the state to produce the next governor. They are putting every motion in place to break the Ibadan dominance. In fact, it was gathered that the prominent traditional rulers from the zone have met and spoken with one voice, that their quest to produce the next governor is nonnegotiable. Not even a Deputy Governorship slot can make them shift ground this time around. But as they say, ‘’Politics is all about negotiation and patronage’’. One cannot predict what happens come 2019.
Ibadan, out of the 4 geopolitical zones of Oyo State, namely: Oyo, Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun and Ogbomosho, has been consistently producing governors since its creation in 1976. The two men that have governed the state outside Ibadan are late Chief Ajibola Ige (from Ilesha) who was the governor in the old Oyo State (before Osun was carved out of it) and former Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, who hails from Ogbomosho.
But with the ongoing alignments and realignments among stakeholders and within opposition parties across the state, people are of strong opinion that things might be the way it used to be politically. The question, however, is whether Oke-Ogun agitation can be realized against the Ibadan’s, who statistically carry the majority votes (about 60% of total votes), having been in control of 11, out of the 33 local governments.
Another thing is the fact that the bar for becoming governor in the state has being raised; the game has changed. And whoever that wants to secure the number one seat must be well qualified. The person must be intelligent, sound with quality track record. Academic qualification will also play a major role.
All these aforementioned facts will be part of the factors that will determine who becomes the next governor. But the five underslisted facts are the major determinant factors in the election.
GOVERNOR ABIOLA AJIMOBI
In any political setting there is no way the influence of an outgoing governor’s input can be wished away in an election. In fact, a serving governor is a major factor in emergence of his successor at least within the party. Because as the governor he is the ultimate leader of his party in the state, on whose shoulder responsibilities of party structure management lies. He is also powerful on his own as an experienced politician with a track record. And this is where the executive governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi comes into the picture. As the leader, his political good will and achievements in office are also of great advantage to his party (APC). As this will also determine chances of whoever emerges the party’s candidate. If not the oppositions can use it against the party in an election generally
POLITICAL PARTIES’ ALLIANCE.
Though there is a strong indication that the leading political parties in the state are planning a merger but how far they can go is yet clear. Such plan failed woefully in the last March 2015 guber election as they couldn’t reach an agreement. It is believed that if the merging arrangement within the opposition parties works out and they are able to produce a consensus and a sellable candidate at the end of the day, no matter the zone or political party. It will be highly difficult to defeat such candidate in an election.
In the political setting of the country, it is widely believed that any political party in control of the central power has a great advantage over others. This is because they are in total control of the Army and other security agencies, which could be used to their advantage. And also in terms of mobilization, they have the financial capacity to pull a stunt in an election. This is the major reason some are of the opinion that the current Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu may use the opportunity of his closeness to the Federal in getting the party ticket.
Another factor that is most likely to cause a lot of issues among the political parties and stakeholders is zoning formula of the state. Oke-Ogun zone is already glamourizing for the next governor to emerge from the zone but to achieve this feat they need support of Ibadan and other zones.
Having been marginalized in the past and they are very resolute about it this time around. In this kind of situation and if not well managed, leaders from each zone are likely to support their separate candidates. While Oke-Ogun zone is battle ready, Ibadan too is not likely to give in to their clamor. Ordinarily, Ibadan believes in their voting power; they control the majority votes with eleven local governments out of the thirty three.
They believe strongly in Ibadan cause and it has been like that since 1983, when they worked against the second term of the then old Oyo State Governor, late Chief Ajibola Ige, to install their son, Dr. Victor Omololu Olunloyo. That is where the popular “lets our son do it“ (omo wa ni eje o se) and ‘Ibadan o ki si’yan leemeji’’ (Ibadan doesn’t serve one person for two terms) notion originated from.
Even when the late business mogul, the Aare Musulumi of Yoruba land, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola was alive, he controlled an enormous respect in the political scene. He was a force to reckon with alongside the likes of late Grand Commander of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111 and other prominent Ibadan indigenes. And after Arisekola’s death, things have not really changed in anyway (though it is believed that there is no more godfatherism), as whoever to emerge must have blessings of Ibadan stakeholders. The likes of Chief Bode Amao, Baba Kola Daisi, Chief Richard Akinjide, Olubadan of Ibadan land and others still have roles to play.
Though there is a strong campaign against money politics but money and politics can’t be separated, especially in this part of the world. So, ordinarily, Governorship race is project that requires a lot of money and whoever that is not financial fit can’t play the game in the first place. This where the boys will be separated from the men, as nomination and intent form cost millions of naira. That is aside maintenance of party delegates across the state, local governments and wards, in terms of mobilization and all. The party agents that will supervise the elections are also there, as well as many inducements that go behind scene.