14 for governor in Oyo

Two years into his second term in office, no fewer than 14 men across five major political parties are itching to succeed Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi. BISI OLADELE writes on the aspirants to the Agodi Government House.

The succession battle in Oyo State has started.
The moves by the governorship aspirants to ensure their emergence as the flag bearers of their political parties in the election can no longer be ignored.
For now, only men will be squaring it out in the bid to succeed Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2019. From Ibadan to Oyo, from Ogbomoso to Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa, women are not showing interest.
In the All Progressives Congress (APC), ambitious members are reaching out to opinion leaders, influential groups and other stakeholders to trumpet their intentions. They are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that their names are established before the electioneering.
The level playing ground is created and strengthened by Ajimobi’s insistence that he would not foist any candidate on the party.
In opposition parties, including Accord Party (AP), Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), aspirants are are also involved in strategic moves to position themselves.

Adebayo Shittu
The Minister of Communications is one man that has kept his eyes on Agodi Government House since 2009. A lawyer, former commissioner and lawmaker in the state, Shittu, who hails from Saki, Oke-Ogun area of the state, was the governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in 2011 and an AOC aspirant in the 2015 governorship election. He lost the ticket to the incumbent who is serving his second term.
Shittu is determined to succeed in his ambition this time. He has been building bridges across the state since his appointment as minister in November, 2015.
Using his current position and relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari as a platform, Shittu is forging more links with traditional rulers, students, religious groups, leaders of institutions and many grassroots leaders to actualize his ambition.
Due to his relationship with President Buhari, which culminated in his appointment as minister, some analysts believe that Shittu may enjoy the backing of Mr President should he do well at the primary.

Adesoji Akanbi
Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi is representing Oyo South District. He hails from Ibadan North West Local Government.
A former member of the House of Representatives, business man and grassroots politician, Akanbi was a governorship aspirant in 2011. After losing the ticket to Ajimobi, he shunned the polls, until he returned to contest for the senate in 2015 during which he beat his next-door neighbour and brother at Inalende, Ibadan, Sen. Olufemi Lanlehin, to take his position at the Senate.
Akanbi is said to be eyeing Agodi Government House with seriousness, even as he focuses on pleasing his constituents who spread across Ibadan and Ibarapa lands.
A follower of the late Alh. Lam Adesina and supporter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Akanbi was just honored as the Okanlomo of Ibadan land by the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji. The senator is said to be working hard to realize his ambition of taking over the governorship seat in the next election.

Bayo Adewusi
Dr Ismail Adebayo Adewusi hails from Eruwa in Ibarapa  ýEast Local Governmen. A finance expert, former Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State and two-time governorship aspirant, Adewusi, 59, has been a top politician in the state.
The economist hopes to build on his political structure to form alliances with other blocs in the party to clinch the APC ticket.

Niyi Akintola (SAN)
Akintola, an erudite lawyer, also hails from Iddo Local Government, Ibadan. He is a former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly and a close associate of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Akintola has won many election petition cases since 1999. He is a friend to many present and former governors and senators.

Adeolu Akande
Prof. Adeolu Akande is a lecturer at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State. A political scientist, entrepreneur, media guru and politician, Akande was the Chief of Staff (COS) to Governor Ajimobi from 2011 to 2013.
The former Senior Special Assistant to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar hails from Itesiwaju Local Government, in Oke-Ogun area of the state.
Akande is using all platforms to pursue his ambition to govern the Pace-Setter state in 2019.

Ajiboye Omodewu
Isaac Ajiboye Omodewu is the Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development in the state. He hails from Itesiwaju Local Government. Omodewu is one of Ajimobi’s close associates in Oke-Ogun zone.
A business man and farmer, Omodewu hopes to ride on the party platform to emerge the governorship candidate of the APC in 2019.

Azeez Adeduntan
Dr Azeez Adeduntan hails from Ibadan  South East. A medical practitioner in the United States of America (USA), Adeduntan vied for the Peoples Democratic Party  (PDP) governorship ticket in 2011 and lost before moving over to Labour Party (LP) for the same ambition in the build-up to the 2015 elections. He joined the APC shortly after the election.
Though currently serving as the Commissioner for Health, Adeduntan is not dropping his ambition to govern the state.

Yunus Akintunde
Yunus Akuntunde hails from Oyo West Local Government. A building contractor, farmer and business man, Akintunde was a staunch member the PDP before defecting to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2011.
He was appointed Commissioner for Works and retained the portfolio till September, 2013 when there was a cabinet reshuffle.
Akintunde was recalled into the Ajimobi’s government in 2014 as an Executive Assistant.
A grassroots politician, Akintunde is stepping up in his ambition to emerge the next governor.

In Accord Party in Oyo State, three gladiators are believed to be nursing ambition to contest for the post. They are Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin and Chief Bisi Ilaka.

Rashidi Ladoja
A former governor, Chief Rashidi Ladoja will be contesting for the third term in a row after leaving office as governor on May 28, 2007 if he succeeds in picking the party’s ticket again.
An engineer, farmer and business man, Ladoja was elected governor under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003. He left office without re-contesting in 2007 due to the crisis that engulfed his administration. Since 2011, however, he has been trying hard to ascend Agodi hilltop Government House again. He lost to Ajimobi in 2011 and 2015.
The septuagenarian leads Accord in Oyo State. Should he decide to pursue his governorship ambition, he will have Lanlehin and Ilaka to contend with this time.
But, it is not clear if the Ibadan high chief will rather keep his gaze on his possible ascendancy to the exalted throne of the Olubadan of Ibadanland. He is just two steps away from the traditional throne.

Olufemi  Lanlehin
Olufemi Solagbade Lanlehin was the senator representing Oyo South from 2011 to 2015 on the platform of the ACN, which metamorphosed into the APC. He crossed to the Accord party during the preparation for the 2015 elections.
The politician who once served in the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu administration in Lagos State as a Special Adviser, hails from Ibadan North West. He is also a former member of the House of Representatives.
He was a governorship aspirant under the ACN in 2011. He lost in the primary to Ajimobi. Since then, Lanlehin has never hidden his ambition to sustain his desire to govern the state.
He is a chieftain of Accord and will stake all that is possible to get his ambition through the hurdles.

Bisi Ilaka
Chief Luqman Bisi Ilaka hails from Oyo East Local Government. A former chieftain of the PDP up to 2011, Ilaka has contested twice for the Oyo Central Senatorial District under Accord and lost.
The tax consultant is contesting for the seat this time. But, he will have to contend with Ladoja and Lanlehin to pick Accord’s governorship ticket.

Teslim Folarin
Senator Teslim Folarin has been a chieftain of the PDP since the days of the late strong man of Ibadan politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu. Folarin was Senate Leader between 2007 and 2011.
He was the PDP governorship candidate in the 2015 election. His candidacy, however, divided the party and decimated the chapter.
It was his emergence as the governorship candidate that forced Chief Adebayo Alao-Ajala and Mr Seyi Makinde to leave the party with their followers. Since then, the PDP has remained weak in the state.
The politician, who hails from Ona-Ara Local Government of Ibadan, will have a smooth ride in picking the governorship ticket, If he decides to remain in the PDP because he looks like the most popular politician in the party in Oyo State today.

Oluseyi Makinde
Oluseyi Makinde is the chief financier of the SDP in Oyo State. He contested for the Senate under the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in 2007, lost in the primary for the same ticket under the PDP in 2011 and also lost as the governorship candidate of the SDP in 2015.
But, his fame is growing due to his youthfulness, cool mien and philanthropic gestures.
The Ibadan North East-born politician is an oil magnate who many regard as the face of a new generation of political leaders.
He is pursuing his governorship ambition tirelessly. Makinde is sure to pick his party’s ticket for the 2019 election.

Sharafadeen Alli
Sharafadeen Alli was a Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in the Rashidi Ladoja administration.
A lawyer and Ibadan chief, Alli, who is also a former Chairman, Ibadan North Local Government, contested as the deputy governorship candidate of LP in the 2015 election.
Now that the governorship candidate, Alao-Akala has defected to the APC, Alli will have a smooth ride, if he chooses to remain in LP.
With these 14 men scheming to gain advantage over one another in preparation for the election, it is not yet known if any of the political parties will embrace the zoning formula to reduce aspirants.
For now, only men are brave enough to voice their ambition. The stage is, perhaps, waiting for women to join the race.

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