The coming 2019 governoship election in Oyo state is going to be a battle to finish, among political gladiators and their parties. Already, top politicians and opposition parties are closing ranks to form a strong and formidable structure that could wrestle power from the ruling governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, and his party, APC.
The recent development within the political class is a strong indication of what is imminent. Chieftains of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party (AP), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Labour Party (LP), Action Alliance (AA) and a number of other opposition parties have been holding talks and if an acceptable deal is finally sealed, it would definitely change the political calculation in Oyo State.
Recall that a few weeks ago, the reconciliation team of the PDP led by its National Caretaker Committee Chairman, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, visited the state in a bid to reconcile their aggrieved members and those who have defected. The visit has since been yielding positive results; Political bigwigs such as the former governor of the state, Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja, of the Accord Party; Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s candidate in the 2015 guber race, Engnr. Seyi Makinde; Elder Wole Oyelese; Alhaji Yekini Adeojo and many other top politicians are expected to come back to the party.
The party, as it appears, is more than battle ready to take on the ruling party come 2019. The PDP seems to have learnt some lessons from its past mistakes, especially in the last elections where it couldn’t put its house in order. It resulted in its failure to retain the presidency. In Oyo State, it came distant fourth with total votes of 79,019. It has since adjusted and ready to bring all stakeholders across the state on board, to form a formidable alliance for the political battle ahead.
But how can PDP achieve this? A close source to the party revealed that the game plan is very simple. “You know there is already a wide hole in the APC. Majority of their members in the state are not happy with the way Ajimobi is running the affairs of the party. Apart from that, he has also performed below expectation and people of the state generally are not happy. So, PDP is going to exploit the lapses in the incumbent performance to send APC packing come 2019. By the time we come out with a larger house, they will know what is at stake,” the source stated.
It was also gathered that PDP is leaving no stone unturned to achieve its aim by bringing on board all the major stakeholders across the state. In the team are: Senator Ayoade Adeseun from Ogbomosho, a former senator who represented Oyo Central; Senator Hosea Ayoola Agboola from Oke-Ogun zone, who represented Oyo North (the former Deputy Senate Chief Whip); Elder Wole Oyelese; former Deputy Governor Azeem Gbolarunmi; former SUBEB Chairman, Prof. Soji Adejumo; former FCT Minister, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide; former governor, Senator Rashidi Ladoja with his Accord Party members. Also in the new team are; Engr. Seyi Makinde with his SDP team; former Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Lowo Obisesan; Chief Richard Akinjide; Chief Yekinni Adeojo and many other founding fathers of the PDP in Oyo State.
They are all prominent politicians with a formidable political structures. Some political watchers in the state said that if all these bigwigs could come together as a team, there is definitely a trouble ahead for the APC. Though, it is still unclear, who gets the PDP’s ticket (some say it is between Seyi Makinde and Femi Lanlehin), while others believe that whoever emerges would enjoy great support that could stun the APC.
Meanwhile, sensing the danger ahead, the leader of APC in the state with the incumbent governor, Senator Ajimobi, has since put in motion his strategy to retain his party, APC, in power beyond 2019. Just last week, the ‘Koseleri’ governor as he is popularly called in the political circle, held a powerful meeting with the duo of former governor Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and former Senate Leader, Chief Teslim Folarin, in far away U.K. The meeting, observers noted was a sample of the strategic political moves to be expected from Ajimobi in preparation for the 2019 election. Though, some insiders in the Ajimobi group have described the latest alliance from the opposition as a mere dream that could not come true.
They said Ajimobi has done so well for the people of Oyo State to earn their respect; in terms of development, good governance. They claimed that Ajimobi had raised the standard of governance in Oyo State, with many achievements and won’t allow some uninformed elements to destroy what he had built. They even came up with this political arithmetic using the 2015 guber election result as a bench mark for analysis. They asserted that if Ajimobi could polled 327,310 votes to come first, Ladoja 254,520 votes (second), Alao-Akala 184,111 votes (third), Folarin 79,019 votes (fourth) and Makinde 54,740 votes. And now that Ajimobi, Alao-Akala and Folarin are into alliance, it means 590, 440 votes to their side while Ladoja and Makinde will get 309,260 votes.
But to some political watchers, however, 2019 is still far away and it is too early to conclude. Things are still going to happen politically. Truly, politics is full of intrigues, one can’t predict what would happen before the election. Oyo State has 33 local government areas and there are politicians scattered all over the places with their followers, but not all these followers would be on the same page with their leaders in protecting their own interests. This simply means that the game is just starting and many interesting episodes will play out before 2019.