Legal icon and governorship aspirant in the Oyo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Niyi Akintola, says the power to win the 2019 governorship election in the state is warehoused in “the gate-keepers” and not in any of the political parties.
The Senior Advocate said political power structure in the state dictated that any candidate who was unable to get the blessing and endorsement of “the gate-keepers” would lose even if he ran under the platform of the best party.
Akintola, who spoke in Ibadan at the weekend in an interview on Impact Business Radio, listed some of the gate-keepers to include Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the Alaafin of Oyo, the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Ogbomosho Paparo, Oke Development Council (ODC), the Soun of Ogbomosho, among others.
He described the gate-keepers as individuals and institutions with community value, emphasising their importance in the electoral success of any governorship in 2019.
“In Oyo State, it is not the political under which a candidate contests an election that determines who comes on board. If you get the blessing of the gate-keepers, you are home and dry. If you are out of tune with the gate-keepers, you are out, even if you contest under the platform of the best political party,” he said.
Told that the gate-keepers traded power for self-interest and not general interest, Akintola, who admitted the negative consequences of having gate-keepers in the politics of the state, said their usefulness overshadowed their demerit.
“Say what you like against Governor Ajimobi, he has raised the bar of governance in the state. Gone are the days it was a government of the illiterates, by the illiterates for the enlightened in the state. That has stopped.
“We are now running a government of the enlightened, by the enlightened and for the enlightened. Can people walk the streets freely like they are doing now some seven years ago? That Ajimobi was able to bring back peace is his biggest achievement.
“Today, everybody wants to live and die in Lagos because Senator Bola Tinubu set the template and laid the foundations for the development of Lagos. Babatunde Fashola built on it and Akinwunmi Ambode is sustaining it. We need to replicate this in Oyo State,” he said.