The March 9 governorship and House of Assembly election in Oyo has come to be one of the most successfully orchestrated political revolution in the recent history of the state as it left tons of surprises behind in a political march that signposted the end to the continuation the of All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
The people of the state, from Ibadan to Ibarapa; from Ogbomosho to Oyo and finally to the 10 local government areas in Oke-ogun, took a giant stride— a paradigm shift of political focus— to elect the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Engineer Seyi Makinde.
Makinde, an oil and gas mogul, who was prior to the election regarded as “a political underdog and novice” (having not held a political office before) defeated the APC candidate, Bayo Adelabu with a wide margin of vote.
He comfortably cruised to a victory against the highly cerebral son of Ibadan arguably most successful politician, Adelabu Penkelemes (peculiar mess) in an election that leaves the baton of government in the hands of the opposition.
We highlighted 8 possible reasons responsible for the defeat of the ruling APC party in the pacesetter state.
1. Poor handling of Intra-party crisis and subsequent defection of Unity forum members.
Without any iota of doubt, the first strike that broke the APC bond of political brotherhood was the defection of Unity Forum members of the party in 2018. The defection, which saw the likes of Dapo-Lam Adeshina, Muideen Olagunju, Abiodun Olasupo and numerous aggrieved stakeholders leave the party, was facilitated by poor management of the APC structure in Oyo state.
Recall that APC is an offshoot of a coalition of ideologically different political parties. When grievances started to brew, the inability of the leadership of APC in the state to put afore the individual differences boomeranged into lingering resentments, which saw two APC congresses hold in 2018.
With a feeling of rejection and disappointment, the Unity Forum faction later defected to African Democratic Congress (ADC), consequently making the party weak at the central.
2. Governor Ajimobi’s alleged arrogance amid ”poor performances”
Governor Abiola Ajimobi enjoyed the grace no politician in Oyo state has ever enjoyed. He came in through the garb of grace and providence to become the first governor to be consecutively elected twice.
He broke all jinxes including the popular Ibadan ki sin ya leemeji (Ibadan doesn’t serve people twice) slogan which dream-dashed the aspiration of his predecessors.
However, his honeymoon with the people of the state became suddenly truncated when the governor made himself an “emperor” running the state with a lack of caution and decorum in terms of verbal and administrative engagement.
Although he tried to quash the security challenges of the state and the ‘usual’ NURTW conflict, under his watch the education institution Oyo became a mess as schools like LAUTECH, Poly Ibadan and the rest became shadows of their glorious history in the wake of evitable strike action.
Besides, the state workers were reportedly owned heavy salaries. The governor easily lost the focus which his first term in office was built. Instead of good infrastructure, what people talk about his second term in office is an “arrogant’’ man at the Agodi government house, and a “constituted authority,’’ his self-given pseudonym.
3. Demolition of Yinka Ayefele’s ‘Music House’ and Ibadan Obaship tussle
It would be recalled that in 2018, Governor Ajimobi tampered with the long existing law guiding Obaship hierarchy in Ibadan and almost dragged the royal stool to an embarrassment in the media.
The row and rumble, which followed the governor’s decision to uplift 9 royal high chiefs in Ibadan to Obas, boomeranged into a big fracas, and of course a legal battle which the governor eventually lost.
It was a big battle between the governor and the opposing group led by Chief Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja and Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Olubadan of Ibadan. Consequently, the people of the state saw the spat as disrespectful to the Olubadan stool, thus vowing to take their pound of flesh, which they did in the election.
Besides, the demolition of the Music House, which houses the Fresh FM radio station of the popular Juju gospel singer, Yinka Ayefele, for a reason people said was politically motivated, also angered the people of Ibadan region.
The repercussion of this massive anger led to the governor’s defeat to Lekan Balogun of PDP in the senatorial election held in February 23. The anger was also extended to the guber election, which led to the defeat of APC candidate and a former Central Bank of Nigeria deputy governor, Bayo Adelabu to PDP’s Makinde.
4. LAUTECH saga
Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho remains arguably the biggest institution in Oyo state after the prestigious University of Ibadan. Although jointly run with Osun to maintain the sister-relation between the two states, Oyo is the bigger shareholder in the affairs of the institution.
LAUTECH’s miseries began in 2017 when the school was tugged into financial crisis due to the neglect and unpaid staff salaries by the government. The institution was later put under lock as its teaching staff went on strike action, leaving the fate of over 12 thousand students in the hands of aggrieved lecturers and a clearly insensitive government.
When there was no plan to address the lingering strike, LAUTECH students embarked on protest to the Agodi government house. There, they were confronted by the governor and his armed security. Unremorseful Ajimobi, in a widely circulated video, blatantly told the students there was nothing the government could do.
The school would later seek an alternative assistance from individual like former governor Rashidi Ladoja, governor-elect Makinde, who contributed millions to rescue the institution from its worst ever nightmare.
5. Seyi Makinde’s messianic philanthropy
Seyi Makinde moved himself fast ahead of his opponents as a philanthropist before throwing his hat into the ring of politics, thus making him the darling of people Oyo state people who have benefited from his various generous projects.
An entrepreneur, Seyi’s concern about the welfare of the widows, students, old people and youth of Oyo state crosses the ethnic-religious border.
From his free health project to his financial assistance to the widows and needy, Makinde, despite not winning any political election before, drew much attention to himself, which makes his victory easily foreseen.
6. Tinubu’s alleged influence in Oyo politics
Upon the defeat of APC to PDP in the February 23 presidential election in Oyo, the worried APC national leader and former governor of Lagos state, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was reportedly desperate to hold the state among his stranglehold.
To achieve this dream, Tinubu, towards the election, lured top stakeholders in the state to APC. The outcome of the re-alignment was the defection of Otuba Alao-Akala from Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) to APC barely four months he left the party following a post primary election crisis.
This alleged intervention “in the politics of Oyo state” was said to have angered political stakeholders in Oyo, who vowed to reject external control in the political affairs of the state.
7. Massive parties’ alliance
Disturbed by the ploys deployed by APC in a “desperate” attempt to win Oyo, elder statesmen led by Chief Rashidi Ladoja swung into action and started mending fences with political parties in the state, which later resulted to a formidable coalition that brought defeat to APC.
ADC’s Femi Lanlehin and ZLP’s Zarafadeen Alli, AD’s Hakeem Alao and others were told to pitch tent with the Makinde course in order to split the race between APC and PDP.
The coalition, which reverberated across the five political regions in the state, set a movement that would later bring to an embarrassing end the domineering influence of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and APC in Oyo state.