‘Ibadan o kin sin enikan ni emeji’ is the famous mantra of the Ibadan people and largely the people of Oyo State which means that ‘the people of Ibadan do not serve a person more than once’. The people have held dearly to their belief system that it has become a guiding factor in their choice of leaders. Even as good as Chief Bola Ige was, he was defeated by Chief Olunloyo; and since then, there has never been any leader who has been voted for more than one term by the Ibadan people. Whether this is a mere coincide or indeed an ideology, there seems to be an imminent change which is about to happen with just a few days to the April 11 gubernatorial elections.
In the forthcoming elections, there are 12 candidates contesting for the government house with 5 major aspirants who wield much power in their own right and also have many supporters. Apart from the incumbent governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi who belongs to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former Senator Teslim Folarin who is the aspirant under the aegis of the People’s emocratic Party (PDP), we also have former Governor Alao Akala (Labor Party), Senator Rashidi Ladoja (Accord Party) also a former governor and Seyi Makinde (Social Democratic Party).
Besides Engineer Seyi Makinde who is new in politics and has not run for any public office prior to this time, the other four have various held public offices with three of them being former state governors (including the incumbent) and Senator Teslim Folarin, a former senate leader.
Analyses of the various activities of the political parties and their candidates have shown that the election would be a close call for whoever emerges winner because of the multiplicity of candidates. Governor Abiola Ajimobi: He is the current governor and it can be said with little controversy that Oyo state has witnessed great changes in his time. He has concentrated mainly on infrastructural development, youth empowerment and environmental sanitation. At least, I feel less ashamed to claim to be a resident of Ibadan with the level of neatness that has been attained under his watch.
However, not many people feel the same way. The masses whom he ‘took’ their means of livelihood from them, and the many others who were affected negatively in his bid to make a better state could be found making comment like ‘Se titi la fe je ni?’ i.e. Is it roads we want to eat? These people would rather have food given to them on a platter of gold than construction of roads and the likes. Others would even be seen complaining about the security operatives ‘Operation Burst’ who sometimes flagrantly disobey the law especially traffic laws. However, with the success of the APC at the presidential elections, there may be a glimmer of hope for the incumbent governor. If he wins
the election, he will create history as the first sitting civilian governor to have won a second term in office since the creation of the state.
Senator Teslim Folarin: With the failure of the ruling PDP at the just concluded presidential election, and its failure to clinch any senatorial or House of Representative seat in the state, there may be problem for the candidate of the PDP come 11th of April. It might have not been this much of a bad situation, but with the daily defection of members of the power party to the progressives, it seems like the boat of the PDP is fast sinking in the state. The party’s primaries that produced him as the
candidate, which many see to be a controversial one, and which led to the defection Seyi Makinde and Alao Akala, may also work against him. However, his claims that he helped fast track many federal government projects in the state when he was senate leader might work in his favour.
All in all, there is still much tidying up to be done before the day of the election if he must win the seat. Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala: The ‘Oyato Gomina’ between 2007 and 2011 and the second in the 2011 election, Akala is definitely loved by many especially with his luculent nature. It would have been better for him if he had stayed in PDP because his new party does not enjoy much popularity within the state. But with the twist of events at the National Assembly election, being the only other party that won any seat apart from the APC, that could be an inkling to his favour.
The fact that he is the only candidate not from within Ibadan could also work to his advantage, that’s if his people are loyal. However, the fact that his past administration was violent and thug oriented, people who are just getting used to the calm established in the past four years might not want to trade that for anything.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja: Despite the fact of his impeachment in his first term as governor, Ladoja still enjoys considerable popularity amongst the electorate especially the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and civil servants with him coming third in the 2011 elections with about 200,000 votes. While some still strongly believe in his capability, some others see him as an old man whose time has gone. His gubernatorial ambition may also suffer a setback based on the alleged 500million naira and
vehicles collected from him by the EFCC which has been consistently hammered on by the APC-led government. It might have been an easy win for him but for the fact that there are many contestants in the race.
Engineer Seyi Makinde: A youthful politician and a wealth billionaire, he is the only one who has not held a political office among the aspirants. However, considering the political gladiators he is running with, there may not be a chance for him this year; probably in the next four years, he would have garnered the needed popularity to sway the heart of the people. Probably if elections were won only based on good works, there might have been a chance for him but there are many other considerations which may hinder his political bid at the moment. With three of the major aspirants being ex-governors coupled with the fact that they all enjoy popularity among the people, it
seems to me that the jinx of the no second term is on the verge of being broken.
This article is written by a citizen reporter based on his view about the situation in Oyo State polity.