The events in recent times in the political landscape of Oyo state had left much to be desired as old friends are aligning and new alliances are being formed. Ahead of coming 2019 elections, there are different permutations surfacing lately. The jostle for who occupies the Agodi seat of power may have just begun and political analysts have noted the politics of electioneering being played out by top politicians at the party level.
The former governor and leader of Accord party in the state, Rashidi Ladoja, has now traced back his footsteps to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. The same story is read about Mr. Seyi Makinde, the former gubernatorial candidate of Social Democratic Party, SDP. While former governor Alao-Akala still remain within the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress.
There are no less than fifteen candidates warming up for the 2019 Oyo governorship elections. The most prominent candidate whose ambition is widely known is the current Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu. His recent political tour and penetration into every corner of the state is understandable. It is as though the minister is guided by the age-long wisdom in the adage; “a fox is not taken twice in the same snare” to leave no stone unturned. Having suffered electoral defeat twice, BAS, as he’s fondly called, has fasten his belt to rally round for support in all the four major regions of the state.
Taking the Oke-Ogun region for granted (being the region he came from), the former Oyo legislator has used his long years in living and working in Ibadan to earn a worthwhile traditional title at the palace of Olubadan Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, who recently conferred on him, the Agbaakin Afiwajoye of Ibadanland.
Earlier this month, he was honored with the award of Great Pillar of Trust at the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Diocese of Ogbomoso, alongside the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Femi Adeshina and the former governor of Oyo state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala. Just last weekend he was at Oyo federal constituency for commissioning of four boreholes, which were earlier commenced with six at Ibadan, another six at Oke-ogun and three at Ogbomoso, to complete the phase 1 of the Borehole projects – an initiative meant to provide access to potable water to the people and alleviate their sufferings.
The clamour to allow the Oke-ogun region ascend to power, is increasingly attracting more support from different angles. There is a clear signal from the presidency indicating the minister as the next governor of Oyo state. In a closely related development, the feud between the incumbent governor and the minister was finally resolved last week at a meeting that lasted for almost three hours, to the consternation all those who had worked tirelessly to see the discord between the duo perpetuates. Already there are tacit endorsements and support for Shittu from some traditional rulers in the state.
Shittu had again taken a move to pacify the long-neglected axis of the state that are yet to reap the dividends of democracy, to persuade them for support. A big political stalwart in Oyo, Prince Ajibola Afonja, popularly known as IGS, was seen during the weekend with the minister at the commissioning of the boreholes in Oyo.
During the period, the Prince observed that out of the fifteen candidates who had come to him for support, he singled out Shittu as his choice and the best man for the job. In a swift reaction, the singly appointed minister for communications was quick to seize the moment to identify himself as a typical Oyo indigene, noting that his father’s lineage is traceable to Ile Ilaka Olokuta of Oyo.
Pundits have opined that while other potential governorship candidates are still waiting for 2018 to strategize, the minister had acted very fast and smartly at that. The changing narratives of Adebayo Shittu have left many with no doubt of his bright chances to be the successor of governor Ajimobi.
This is a man with an unmatched political credentials and serious desire to pilot the affairs of the state. While the pendulum swings and we sit back to watch events as they unfold, we can only conclude now that the Shittu narratives are now changing for better in the state.
Asojúrere Idris Alao, a Public Affairs Analyst writes from Ogbomoso.