•For OYO Guber Race
Race to Agodi Government House in Oyo State is getting interesting by the day. As the 11 March, 2023 date fixed for the poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) draw near, the polity in the pacesetter state remained charged. All stakeholders across different political parties are on their toes to make sure things work in favour of their various parties.
They have been working day and night to outshine one another since INEC announced date for the poll. Of course, there are 3 main contenders as far as the guber poll is concerned. The incumbent governor of the state Engr. Seyi Makinde of PDP; Senator Teslim Folarin, the APC candidate and Chief Bayo Adelabu of Accord.
Not only that these main candidates have been touring the nooks and crannies of the state but they have also been telling the electorates why they are the best choice. Expectedly, these leading candidates, as well as their followers, have also been throwing all kinds of political missiles at one another.
However, there have been different opinions as to how the election is going to play out between these 3 major contenders. Which is the main focus of this report, to x-ray the strengths and weaknesses of the three major contenders as far as Oyo gubernatorial election is concerned.
GOVERNOR SEYI MAKINDE
To some political pundits in the state, Makinde still has the brightest chances to win the election of all the three contenders. According to this school of thought, though the victory may not be in a landslide like what happened in 2019 but Makinde has an edge over the other two contenders.
Some of the things they believe will work in Makinde’s favour include the power of incumbency. As he still in control of the state. “To a large extent, we can consider the power of incumbency factor,” a political analyst said.
The believe is that the scenario of Ajimobi’s second term victory in 2015 may repeat itself. Ajimobi, it would be recalled, won the election by majority votes not by popular votes. After the overall votes were shared between Ajimobi, Folarin and Seyi Makinde in the 2015 election, the votes that won the election for Ajimobi was like 33% of the total votes.
Another factor that may work in Makinde’s favour is the fact that he has done a lot of physical projects that can seen across the state. Like the modern bus terminals, renovation of Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, rehabilitation and construction of roads linking some other parts of the state. Especially the Oke-Ogun area of the state. The 38-kilometre Oyo-Iseyin Road, 46-kilometre Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho Road, 76.7-kilometre Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso, 68-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road just to mention a few. Of course the people from these areas would want to vote for Makinde once again.
In the aspect of civil service renumeration too, Makinde is the first governor in the history of Oyo State to pay workers salary on the 25th of every month plus 13th month. He pays pensioners their salary as and when due and even added 10,000 naira Christmas bonus. So one can he has the loyalty of the civil servants and pensioners.
However, there are also some factors the political watchers in the state believe may work against Governor Seyi Makinde. Top on the list of these factors is the division within his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The continued crisis between him and some elders of the party in the state. His involvement with the G-5, which, according to some people, would be a kind of counterproductive for his second term ambition. There is also this believe in some quarters, that Makinde may likely find it a little bit difficult in the coming election since the alliance that brought him to power in 2019 is no longer there.
Another area people believe Makinde has not done well is the issue of youth development. According to a young political analyst, “the governor feels once the stadium has been renovated the youths are sorted. No, it goes beyond that. We have creative and entertainment industries. The governor has done practically nothing about these two industries. Whereas, the two industries, if properly explored, are capable of providing employment for millions of young people”.
SENATOR TESLIM FOLARIN
There is no doubt in the fact that Senator Teslim Folarin, the guber candidate of APC, is the most experienced of all the three contenders, politically. Having represented his senatorial district, Oyo Central for two consecutive terms under PDP and now in the Senate for the 3rd time in APC. He is also a former Senate Leader.
He is politically savvy and has the wherewithal to drive affairs of whatever political party he finds himself. As an Ibadan chief, the Asaaju Olubadan of Ibadanland, Folarin also has the ears of a good number of Ibadan elders. So to a large extent, he is the most politically established of the three of them. Folarin has also been visible more than ever before as far as this coming election is concerned. In fact, he is almost more visible than the incumbent governor. He has taken his campaign to the nooks and crannies of the state. This has also changed the notion that Folarin doesn’t spend his personal money for polotics.
He appears to be more than prepared this time around. The Tinubu bandwagon is also believe to work in his favour in the March 11 Guber race. The calculation is once his party is able to win the presidential election in February 25, then it would be of great advantage for him.
One of the major things that are believed to pose as stumbling block to his ambition, however, is the exodus that hit his party after the primaries. Bayo Adelabu and the likes who felt shortchanged at the primaries left APC for Accord. And they have been threatening fire and brimstone to teach the part a big lesson.
Another factor is people’s perception of Teslim Folarin. Oyo State people, especially the elites see Folarin as a rough politician who has the command of thugs across the state ( Hence he is tagged ‘jagba’ politician. All these and many more are believed to have negative effects on Folarin’s chances at the coming guber poll.
Chief Adebayo Adekola Adelabu is seen as the smartest of the three main contenders in Oyo guber race. He is sound. He had First Class from OAU.He rose to the very peak of his career at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Where he resigned as the Deputy Governor, to pursue another career in politics. He is a core professional, Seyi Makinde is a professional too. But Adelabu seems to have an edge over the other two candidates in this aspect. Adelabu also has the financial wherewithal to execute his election project.
Another things that Adelabu has going for him is the fact that he has all his investments in Oyo State. Many people believe that for him to have invested so much in Ibadan and Oyo State, definitely he has the state at heart.
But despite all these and the fact that he put up a good political outing at the last election, many many don’t see Adelabu winning the coming election. In fact, some political watchers in the state have described him as a ‘spoiler’ as far as the coming guber race is concerned. They believe he is only in the race to prove a political point since he was denied APC ticket.
Unlike Seyi Makinde and Teslim Folarin, who have been contesting elections for a while now (Makinde was in NNPP then late to SDP while Folarin’ was in PDP) Adebayo’s first shot at election in 2019 was highly commendable. He scored 357,982 votes and came second behind Makinde who polled 515,621 votes. But can he repeat the same feat come March 11, 2023? Can he win the guber race with Accord structure in Oyo State?
-Dare Adeniran 08057639079
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