Ajimobi backs Oke-Ogun’s guber bid in 2019
Ahead of increasing political activities in Oyo State and the jostling for relevance by various stakeholders, many questions are begging for answers on who occupies the Agodi Government House in 2019.
Incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is on the home stretch of his two terms of eight years and there is need to determine his successor and the zone where the person comes from.
Top of the issues agitating the minds of stakeholders is whether the state’s political leaders would respect the gentleman’s agreement of zoning in selecting the next governor or make it an all comers contest?
Besides, would the people of Oke Ogun from Oyo North, which is yet to produce a governor in the state since the dawn of democracy, speak in one voice to overcome the hurdles that have been preventing it from realizing the long-held ambition?
This must have informed the renewed agitation by leaders of Oke Ogun that it was their turn to produce the governor in the coming exercise.Their aspirations received a bolster recently when Ajimobi, during a fidau prayers held at Okeho, the headquarters of Kajola Local Government, for a stalwart of the APC, Alhaji Salami Oloola, publicly declared his readiness to support the zone in the next governorship election.
But the governor was quick to add that politicians from the zone should seek support of other zones in the state, especially Ibadan people, which he noted constitute 52 per cent of the entire population of Oyo.
Ajimobi acknowledged the role played by the people of Oke Ogun, in his election victories, particularly in 2015 when he won an unprecedented second term in office.
According to him, “I can recall vividly that during the 2015 governorship elections, I won in nine, out of the 10 local governments in Oke-Ogun, and this aided my emergence as the first governor to secure a second term in office in Oyo State.
“I cannot thank you enough. I will forever cherish you my people from Oke-Ogun and I am using this opportunity to assure you that I will reciprocate your love for me.
“Without prejudice to the competence and legitimacy of aspirants from other zones nursing the ambition of succeeding me, I can say the people of Oke Ogun deserve my support.
“But, I will advise that you seek the support of people from other zones. You must win them over to win a governorship election. For instance, Ibadan people alone constitute about 52 per cent of the population.”
The governor said he had, in his own little way, repaid the loyalty and support of the zone by appointing the highest number of commissioners from the zone, which, he said, was unprecedented in the history of the state.
Similarly, he said that he had constructed and was still constructing new roads in Oke Ogun, while he also established new tertiary institutions in the area.
Ajimobi said he decided to personally grace the fidau of the late Oloola because of his credential as a committed progressive and a great supporter of his administration.
Aside being a close associate of the late father of the deceased, Ajimobi said that the late APC stalwart would be sorely missed because of his openness, love for his fellow men and commitment to party affairs.
Ajimobi used the opportunity to admonish politicians to desist from character assassination and politics of do-or-die, but to live a life worthy of emulation.
A look at the senatorial districts in the state, which includes Oyo South, North and Central; Oyo North is the only axis that is yet to produce a governor.
Apart from Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala who hails from Ogbomosho (Oyo Central), all the other governors, including the incumbent Ajimobi, are from Ibadan in Oyo South. The late Alhaji Lam Adesina who ruled from 1999 to 2003 and Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, 2003 to 2007 are from the South.
Oke ogun consists of 10 local governments out of 33 in Oyo. While Oyo has the largest landmass in the South West geo-political zone, 60 per cent of the land mass is in Oke Ogun with an area of about 13,537 sq. km.
It has a population of about 1.6 million, according to the 1999 census figure. Nevertheless, its development does not correlate with the vast human and natural resources. These resources are yet to attract the attention of either the Federal Government or the successive Oyo governments.
Oke Ogun land is considered to be one of the best suitable for large-scale production of a wide variety of agricultural and as a matter of fact, the area is noted as being capable of producing enough food to feed the entire nation, if properly cultivated and given the opportunity to thrive.
Notwithstanding, Oke-Ogun farmers, who could host experimental models even on a large scale, are already practicing the agricultural policy that the present administration may wish to adopt.
The area also has abundance mineral resources like huge marble deposits at Igbetti, Olorunsogo local government area; gold and clay deposits at Shaki East and Shaki West; gemstones at Atisbo and Itesiwaju Local Government areas; abundance of granites in all the 10 local governments as well as kaolin and limestone deposits in the valleys of Osoogun and Ado-Awaye Hills.
Of equal important is the quality of human resources Oke Ogun parades and their intellectual capacities capable of boosting development and growth of Oyo and indeed Nigeria.
Before the recent appointment of Adebayo Shittu, as Minister of Communication, federal appointments from Oyo state have never reflected this reality. Indeed, the only ministerial appointments ever held by indigenes of Oke-Ogun within living memory, were the appointments of Chief (Mrs.) Janet Akinrinade as Minister of State for Internal Affairs 1979-1983 and Otunba Bamidele Dada as minister of State for Agriculture 2003-2007.
The inequitable trend has been sustained not because there are no suitable candidates and loyal party members from Oke- Ogun but often due to disregard for political equity among the geo-political zones in the state.