Oyo: Rebellion, realignment ahead of governorship election
by Dare Odufowokan, Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor, Dare Odufowokan, reports that rebellions by some political party officials against the governorship candidates of their party, are threatening to end the gubernatorial dreams of some of the contestants ahead of the March 18 governorship election in Oyo State.
AHEAD of next Saturday’s governorship election in Oyo State, more and more politicians are engaging in open rebellion against their political parties by dumping opting to support the gubernatorial flag-bearer of other parties. Analysts say these actions are part of the gale of rebellions and re-alignments that are characterizing the frenzied moves by gladiators in the fierce struggle for the coveted governorship seat of the state.
Oftentimes, in buildups to elections in Nigeria, defections are a common phenomenon as politicians move around seeking greener political pastures. But it is not an everyday occurrence to see the leadership of a political party announcing that it will no longer be working for the victory of the candidate of its own party at the polls, but will rather be supporting the aspiration of the candidate of another party. More queer it is when this happens a week to the election.
Checks by The Nation revealed that the leading beneficiaries of these unusual political horse-trading are incumbent governor, Seyi Makinde, who is the candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Senator Teslim Folarin, the flag-bearer of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Both candidates, considered as the front runner in the three horses’ race to the Government House, have been reaping supports from dishevel in some other parties.
On the other hand, candidate of the Accord Party, Adebayo Adelabu, and gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Michael Folorunsho Lana, as well as Mrs. Aduragbemi, Animashaun-Euba of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), have been victims of the rebellions and re-alignments being witnessed as gladiators continue their push towards the gubernatorial position in Oyo state. The three governorship hopefuls are currently battling internal crisis within their parties as some officials declare support for either Makinde or Folarin.
Accord Party for Makinde?
During the week, Accord party leadership in Oyo State announced to the public that it has dumped its candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, and opted to throw its weight and structures behind the re-election bid of Governor Makinde of the PDP. Kolade Ojo, the State Chairman of the party, made this known at a news conference on Wednesday in Ibadan. He said that the entire executive members of Accord in the state have agreed to form a working alliance with the incumbent governor.
The party chairman accused Adelabu of not recognizing or respecting the party leadership in the state. “The state working committee, local and ward executives have lost confidence in Chief Adebayo Adelabu as a worthy candidate to be supported for the exalted position of state governor. Going forward, the entire ACCORD Oyo State executives have agreed to form a working alliance with the incumbent Gov. Seyi Makinde,” he said.
The party chairman said that entire party structure expressed displeasure, disappointment and disenchantment for not being carried along as partners in progress and pillars of electoral victory for his candidature. Ojo said that the coalition was born out of passion for uninterrupted good governance and their conviction that Makinde had performed creditably in delivering dividends of democracy to the people.
He said that the coalition would bolster accelerated growth and all round development. Ojo accused Adelabu of deliberate sidelining the wards and local government party executives in the scheme of things. He said that Adelabu preferred to work with his few supporters from a former party. He alleged that there is no harmonious working relationship with the Accord Party candidate sicne he joined the party. Ojo said that they were satisfied with Makinde’s achievements in different sectors such as Education, Health, Civil Service reform and prompt payment of entitlements to retirees.
Secretary of the party in the state, Olayinka Dairo, while explaining that the 32 Accord candidates for the State House of Assembly are still contesting, said the decision to back Makinde was not borne out of pecuniary considerations. “The 32 Accord candidates for the House of Assembly are still in the race to win. We call on supporters and party faithful to give them the necessary support for their resounding victory at the coming polls. Our party structure is not collapsed. It will be used to support the PDP government led by Gov. Seyi Makinde” Dairo said.
But the position of Ojo and Dairo may not be the opinion of the entire Accord Party going by certain developments. Few hours before the announcement of their support for Governor Mankinde, three House of Representatives candidates of the party had joined the camp of Senator Folarin, the governorship candidate of the APC. The defectors from Oke-Ogun, Ibarapa and Oyo zones, along with their supporters, had earlier on Wednesday in Ibadan, announced that they were returning to their former party, the APC.
The Reps candidates, Wakeel Oyedemi of Afijio/Atiba/Oyo East/Oyo West constotuency; Bashiru Lawal of Atisbo, Saki East and Saki West constituency and David Okanlawon of Ibarapa Central/Ibarapa North constituency, said they have realized the need to support the APC to unseat the ruling PDP during the next governorship election. According to the defectors, they will not be working for the victory of Adelabu at the poll on Saturday as they will be supporting the election efforts of the APC and Senator Folarin henceforth.
Few hours after the two ‘rebellions’ against his aspiration, gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party Chief Bayo Adelabu, urged members of the party and the good people of Oyo state to ignore what he called the antics of some people to mislead the voters. He assured members of the party and residents of the state that he is still in the race. “I have heard what some people from Accord Party have said earlier that they are following PDP, don’t mind them, they are only scared. There is no iota of truth in everything they said.
“I’m still in the race, we will contest and we will win, don’t mind the people that announced alliance with PDP. I can never form coalition with Makinde, I’m still active in this race, don’t be scared.” He assured party faithfuls that he remains calm as he will ensure that everything is prepared towards his victory. According to him, his opponents are scared of the rising popularity and for this reason, they are doing everything they can to undermine the chances of Accord Party at the poll and confuse the voters. “I am in the race to win,” he assured his supporters.
And to support Adelabu, the national leadership of Accord, same day, dissolved its executive committee in the state and appointed a five-member Caretaker Committee headed by Alhaji Isiaka Salami to take charge of the party. National Chairman, Muhammad Nalado, said the state executive in Oyo state was dissolved for anti-party activities. Other members of the caretaker committee are Bashiru Ayobami. Secretary; Fatai Salawu, Bimpe Martins and Ayodele Oyajide.
The APC candidate has also been reaping from some realignment ahead of the governorship election. Recently, members of Ladoja political dynasty otherwise known as Idera De, made up of loyalists of former governor Rasheed Ladoja, endorsed the candidature of Senator Teslim Folarin. In a statement signed by Hon Biodun Latiwo, and Hon Tolani Adigun, chairman and secretary respectively, the group said it took the decision having considered Senator Folarin’s track record as an astute politician and experienced public servant.
According to leaders of the group, Folarin has shown over time that he does not have a vaulting ambition, as he had made sacrifices for the political stability of the state. “In our analysis before arriving at a choice of candidate to support outside the PDP candidate, we looked at critical variables, comparing the present and future of our dear State. He is the most qualified of all the candidates based on cognate experience as the Governor of Oyo. Senator Teslim Folarin has built and maintained social bridges and networks of lasting friendships across every constituency in Oyo.
“He has eternal relationships with all regions of Oyo. We willingly endorse, adopt Senator Teslim Folarin,” the group vowed. Analysts say the decision of Ladoja’s loyalists to back the APC candidate is a big boost for his chances at the poll on Saturday.
In a related development, members of the Social Democratic Party, SDP in Oyo State on Thursday, said they have adopted Folarin as their preferred choice in the governorship contest in the state. The party made the announcement after an emergency state congress which held in Ibadan. According to sources, the meeting was called to review the performances of the party in the last presidential and National Assembly elections. Party leaders said the decision to support Folarin was taken in the interest of the state.
“Governor Seyi Makinde has been a woe for the entire state. It had been our long standing mission to oust the Makinde led government as a result of the level of betrayal to the coalition parties that saw him won the 2019 election as well as to the people of the state. In the last 46 months, governance has become something else in the state. This is why we are entering into this alliance,” Micheal Okunlade, chairman of the party, said.
Speaking further, he said “If he is not using consultants and contractors to fritter our state’s resources, he is doing half-baked projects, at exorbitant costs. His association with an ex-convict, and executive cover for his lawlessness has brought our state’s security to ground zero. Indeed, Governor Makinde’s infractions are endless. We believe that to right these wrongs, there is need for us to form a virile coalition with a party that can dislodge this administration that has shown itself to be lacking in development. That is why, after many meetings with major stakeholders even outside of our party, we arrived at Sen. Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
Rumpus in YPP
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in Oyo State, has summoned the party’s governorship candidate, Mrs Aduragbemi Animasawun-Euba and her running mate, Ojewole Adekola, to appear before the state executives of the party and defend allegations of anti-party activities. State chairman of YPP, Adedeji Adeyemi, while speaking on the matter during the week, said the two candidates have been alleged to be less committed to the gubernatorial election and the future of the party.
The party leaders said they will not allow anybody to dishonor the legacies of its founding fathers. But sources within the party told The Nation that the crisis rocking the party may not be unconnected with plans by some leaders of the party to force YPP to endorse one of the two leading gubernatorial candidates in the state ahead of Saturday’s election. “They want the candidates to agree to step down for another candidate and the two are refusing. That is the truth behind the summons and queries you are hearing about,” a source said.
Speaking recently, Animasawun-Euba has said she has no plans to go into a coalition ahead of Saturday’s elections. She foreclosed going into a coalition saying she is banking on the huge number of youths and women to win the governorship election in the state. “Election is just days away. If a coalition was going to happen, it would have happened. I do not plan to go into a coalition, but I must say that in Saturday’s election, Oyo State needs change not continuity.”
Oyo: Rebellion, realignment ahead of governorship election.
Oyo: Rebellion, realignment ahead of governorship election