As the political camp of former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala continues to swell by the day in his new abode, Labour Party, no fewer than seven top members of the Senator Isiaka Ajimobi -led government have concluded all necessary arrangements to defect to the Labour Party.
The Street Journal can authoritatively confirm that the defecting commissioners would be presented to the public at a mega rally slated for December 22 in Ibadan to make a bold step about Alao-Akala’s bid to govern the pace -setter state one more time under the platform of Labour Party.
Following the defection of the former governor to Labour Party, the party has been witnessing influx of new members apparently defecting from other parties particularly, APC and PDP to join forces with Akala to defeat both the incumbent governor and the presidency imposed PDP candidate in the next governorship election in the state.
What appears like a loss to APC and PDP however, became a huge gain for Labour Party as defeated aspirants in the two major parties readily found solace in Labour Party to further their political ambition.
It was gathered that sequel to the controversial PDP governorship primary in the state which led to the defection of Alao-Akala to the Labour Party, the political equation in the state had been reordered. It was initially believed that Akala would to remain in PDP with offer of some juicy political appointments by the presidency in order to give his full support to Tesilim Folarin. All entreaties by the presidency were however, rebuffed by Akala who surprisingly dumped the PDP for Labour.
Akala, it was learnt had offers from APC and Accord parties but declined to work with any of them. He was said to have claimed that he can never work with Ladoja again while the top-heavy APC was not too attractive to him. The Street Journal however, gathered that Akala rebuffed both APC and Accord Party which had offered him Senatorial slot for Oyo North
Akala had warned that he would leave the party with his teeming supporters if the PDP governorship primary in the state was compromised in favour of one of the aspirants. Series of meetings were help in Abuja with the presidency and David Mark, Senate president on the need to find a consensus candidate from amongst the legion of aspirants thrown up in the state.
Like Rashidi Ladoja who used Accord Party to test his popularity few weeks to the 2011 general election when he failed to clinch the PDP slot for the state, political watchers spoken to by our correspondents said ‘’ this is the real time for Akala to test his acceptability and popularity in the Oyo State politics’’.
It was argued that like Ladoja who swept some local government councils in Ibadan at the last polls, Akala should be able to sweep votes from the Oyo North Senatorial district while he can conveniently split the votes from other two Senatorial districts. The former governor, it was argued has an intimidating followership in Ibadan which appears to be the stronghold of the other two major party flag bearers in the state.
Save for, the Ladoja camp that enjoys some measure of stability, it was argued that all is not well with the camp of the ruling APC in the state as key members of the cabinet are said to be on their way out… to the Labour Party to strengthen Akala’s chances at the polls in February.
Sources close to the PDP say the presidency is now jittery of the level of acceptability of Akala in his new party and his growing popularity amongst the youths in the state. It was gathered that the presidency had identified Oyo State as one of the strategic states marked down to be reclaimed from the APC by all possible means.
The Street Journal reliably gathered that the below average acceptability of Folarin in Ibadan, his home town, let alone the entire state, is also giving the presidency Strategists grey hair. It was however, gathered that the campaign train of Akala is billed to navigate the length and breadth of the state in a colourful carnival-like manner.
‘’We will take our campaign train to the door steps of their fathers’ houses in Ibadan and we want them to do same to know who is more popular in Ibadan-land’’, said one of the close allies of Akala who begged to remain anonymous. He added, ‘let them do same in Ogbomosho to know how popular they are’’.