Hurdles before APC in Oyo ahead of 2019 elections
• Govt, Ladoja trade blame over performance
• Indigenes shop for replacement
The Oyo State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) will face three critical hurdles as it prepares for 2019.
Although, members of the party are unperturbed on the grounds that 2019 is still far off with enough time to make amends over perceived challenges, the fact is the Abiola Ajimobi-led administration’s popularity among the electorate is waning by the day.
Political observers are of the view that the APC may not find it easy convincing the Oyo electorate on its party manifesto because of the perception that it deceived them with its change agenda, which is yet to bring any positive improvement to their conditions of living over a year now.
Besides, they claimed that the seeming arrogance of the incumbent governor might make it difficult for him to impose a successor and pushed it down the throat of the voters who are already nursing grudges over the administrative style of the governance.
The alleged poor performance of Ajimobi’s government, as well as the non-payment of workers salaries would also pose serious hurdles before the party in the next election, they argued.
For instance, the Council for Oyo State Indigenes (COSI) has indicated interest in having the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of Corporate Services, Mr. Adekola Adelabu as possible replacement for the incumbent.
The Council, which comprises enlightened indigenes of the state from all walks of life, said the choice of Adelabu, a grandson of First Republic politician, Chief Adegoke Adelabu a.k.a Penkelemesi was based on his humanitarian services he had been rendering to the people of the state.
The Convener of the Council, Mr. Olalemi Abiodun explained that the decision also was due to his competence, passionate and selflessness, which they noted were required to lead the state as governor.
He justified Adelabu’s choice, citing different strategic social interventions, which he said, the Adelabu Foundation had provided for the indigenes of the state since it was established few years back.
Beyond that it is not yet clear whether Ajimobi will not be cut in the web of the ongoing political intrigues ravaging the South West zone in 2019, which might ultimately place him beside or against the former governor of Lagos and a national leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Going by Ajimobi’s perceived arrogance and self-assertion, he may not succumb to any outside influence to dictate who succeeds him in office.
It is also been insinuated that the defection of former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala from the Labour Party (LP) to APC few months ago was a planned strategy to checkmate alleged plans by Ajimobi concerning who succeeds him in office come 2019.
Also irked by Ajimobi’s administrative style, is a former governor of the State, Chief Rasheed Ladoja who accused him of poor performance, non-payment of workers’ salaries and inconsistency over commitment to conducting local government elections.
Ladoja expressed dissatisfaction over the insistence of the state government that workers should continue to report to their duty posts without receiving salaries.
The former governor said the directive was not only unfair to the affected workers, but also goes against the principle of fairness and justice.
Ladoja also criticised Ajimobi, saying that the proposed creation of 35 additional local government areas “was a mere ruse to avoid the conduct of local government elections. This administration is yet to conduct council polls five years after its assumption of office.”
According to Ladoja, “In the face of free, fair and credible election, APC shouldn’t nurse the ambition of continuity after Ajimobi because the administration has failed.”
Also speaking on Ajimobi’s style, Senator Femi Lanlehin, who defected from APC to Accord Party (AP) before the 2015 said contrary to the insinuations he has no personal scores with the governor. “I didn’t have any battle with him. We have a governor who seems to do and know everything and who seems to think that he got to the office by virtue of his strength and power and strategies.”
Lalenhin said instead of making the party people-oriented, the governor has chosen to act like a superman.
Although, Lanlehin is yet to disclose whether he will run for the governorship election in 2019 and on which platform, there are insinuation Tinubu may be pushing him and some others to take up the challenge.
However, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the governor, Mr. Yomi Layinka described Ladoja’s comment as unfortunate and an indication of someone playing the Ostrich.
He said that plans to conduct the election are on and that the state government has done what was required lawfully by constituting the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) “it is not the job of the state government to organise council election.
Said he: “The state government has done the needful by constituting the state Independent Electoral Commission. The body is made up of credible personalities. If Chief Ladoja doubts the sincerity of the exercise, he can speak with the members of the body. It is not the state government that will start talking about dates and modalities for the election.”
The governor’s spokesman also flayed Ladoja over his remarks on non-payment of workers salaries, saying: “It is unfortunate, as a former governor to be making such statement. It is like burying your head in the sand.”
Layinka said despite Ladoja’s outraged “Oyo workers are celebrating the government’s efforts at taking care of their welfare, even as things become tougher. The problem is not peculiar to the state alone; the Federal Government is finding it difficult to pay workers and corporate organizations are also facing similar challenges.
“Oyo workers have shown understanding with the state government, they have access to all the information they need and at the moment, the workers are in a dialogue with the state government on the way forward to solving the challenges.”
“Of all people, he should be aware that this is something that is happening all over the country at the moment.”