Less than seventy two hours after Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State made a controversial statement that he would unveil his successor by May next year ahead of the 2019 Governorship election, government house sources have revealed names of five top politicians on the card of the governor as possible successor.
It was learnt that the would be anointed candidates not in particular order he piqued are his current Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Bimbo Adekanmbi; a Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and a grand child of famous leader of NCNC during the pre-independence days, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu; his erstwhile Commissioner for Works, an Oyo indigene and chieftain of the party, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde; a legal luminary, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN and his Ex-Chief of Staff, Professor Adeolu Akande.
It will be recalled that Ajimobi had on Monday at a media interactive session to mark his 6th year in office said: “Many of those who have shown interest in becoming the next governor are qualified while some are not qualified to be members of Honourable Assembly. I want a leader who can envision, be courageous. Oyo needs someone who is an intellectual, passionate, not afraid to take tough decisions, has the interest of the people at heart, not interest of the few. I have seen about five of those aspiring with potentials. I feel by May 2018, I will know who the person is”.
Ruling out the possibility of any of the opposition parties upturning the apples cart to dislodge his party from the coveted seat, Ajimobi had posited “the All Progressives Congress in the state remained the only party in the state, and is united. We have a united front. We can have those who are recalcitrant, trouble makers, rabble rousers, mischievous politicians. Is there any other party than APC in Oyo state?
“However, I have found at least five of them to be worthy in character and in learning. No more mediocrity in the governance of Oyo State. We have raised the bar. But, by May next year, I should be able to have a clearer picture of my likely successor, whom, I’m confident, will also be the people’s choice.”
Sources close to the governor said he was taken aback by the backlash that trailed his innocuous statement on succession plan but “as a man with strong heart, he is turning deaf ears to whatever his critics are saying.”
Another reliable source hinted that top politicians on the mind of the state helmsman are being weighed using what the source described as psychological SWOT analysis to subject each of them to empirical test with a view to coming out with the “best man for the job” that electorate would regard and respect to carry on from wherever he would end his tripartite policy of Restoration, Transformation and Repositioning agenda.
“SWOT describes each candidate’s areas of Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. And with a number of them already carrying on and having their eyes on the ball, His Excellency is neck deep in making sure that ‘Lagos model’ is replicated in Oyo”, the source hinted further while explaining that a close ally of the first family (out of the five) may eventually get his nod.
“And his thinking is such that merit rather than sentiment should play a key role in who will emerge as his successor no matter where such an individual comes from. The wind of change, according to him, should permeate all strata of our national life. You remember he was in Oke Ogun recently where he told their people to brace up for 2019. He doesn’t bother which of the zones in the state produces the next occupant of Agodi Government house. The same thinking is also coming from neighbouring Ogun State where Governor Ibikunle Amosun Tuesday evening said for fairness, equity and justice, Ogun East should produce the next governor because both Ogun West and Central has had their fair share of ruling the state at various times, leaving the East at receiving end.”The source who was unable to say categorically who among them is close to the first family, however intoned that “whoever will emerge must be in his good book so as to ensure peaceful post retirement rest for himself in case he jettisons his much-vaunted senatorial ambition which has been on for several months now but only made public by the governor on Monday.”
The Street Journal however, reports that the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu has crossed the Rubicon to contest in the governorship election in the state under the platform of APC come 2019 whether the incumbent government likes it or not. The minister, it was gathered is banking on the support of the president, Mohammadu Buhari to realize his ambition. The major huddle for Shittu, according to political analysts, is the fact that the party’s structure in the state is firmly under the control of Ajimobi.