In the heat of the gubernatorial election, one state was on my mind- Oyo State. Though i live and work in Lagos State, my mind was fixated on Oyo State. Who would emerge governor of the state that boasts on never having to return any governor for a second time.
From the 1st Republic when the late Chief Bola Ige as a serving governor under UPN (1979-1838) sought re-election and failed, no other governor had been given a chance at the second term. Chief Bola Ige was governor from 1st October, 1979- 12t October, 1983. He sought re-election but failed, Chief Victor Omololu Olunloyo defeated him at the polls and was sworn in 1st October, 1983. Unsatisfied with the electoral process that led to hid defeat, Chief Bola Ige headed to court to challenge the process, all of this came to a naught as the famous Mohammodu Buhari coup truncated democracy.
The next Executive Governor was Chief Kolapo ishola whose tenure too was truncated by the acts who killed the June 12 hopes of 1993. Kolapo Ishola was governor from January 1992- 17th November, 1993.
After General Abdusalam Abubakar restored democracy and led the military back to the barracks, Chief Lam Adesina came into office as Governor of the state on May 29, 1999. He sought re-election after his tenure ended in 2003, the Oyo people would have none of it; Rashidi Ladoja of the People’s Democratic Party was preferred above him.
Oyo state reveled in its glory of not returning past governors, it was a popular saying amidst them – “do your one term and go away”. Same fate awaited Ladoja as he fell out of favour with his god-father, Late Lamidi Adedibu before his end of tenure. Lamidi Adeibu was de-facto in Oyo politics, he was rumoured to hold the balls of anyone who governed Oyo in his hands. Rasidi, though had won the hearts of the populace especially the civil servants, he was at logger heads with Adedibu and some 1st class obas in the state. He was impeached 12th January, 2006 in a shady process while his deputy, Otunba Alao Akala was installed in his place. Akala’s loyalty had been courted by the Ibadan politician, Lamidi Adedibu. A Court threw out their shady impeacment and Rashidi was re-installed December, 7th 2006 and remained in power till the end of his tenure.
His hopes of being re-elected was dashed as Otunba Alao Akala won instead at the polls. Alao Akala got served the same dish as the Oyo people chose Abiola Ajimobi over the ‘owambe’ governor in 2011.
For Abiola Ajimobi, one would think it would be an easy thing to get the bid to stay in the Agodi house for another 4 years but it wasn’t. Chief Rashidi Ladoja was back in the race and Otunba Alao Akala, then he had PDP Teslim Folarin and Seyi Makinde whom the youths loved.
In these days where elections are won on social media sites, discarding Seyi Makinde’s ambition wasn’t possible, then Teslim Folarin had the structures of PDP to hold on to, while Rashidi Ladoja had his past records of good governance working for him and he is from Ibadan like Ajimobi. Akala had a clique working for him too and he is in sure hold of Ogbomos South and North constituency.
Ajimobi had a big dream of changing the face of the ancient Ibadan city, his Urban Renewal Scheme however had the attendant suffering of the masses who were displaced from their stalls and shops. Civil servants had huge complaints about him too, unpaid arrears, non-promotion and elite governance. Others agree he has done well in security and physical developments, they wanted him in power for another 4 years.
Oyo State had a choice to make, Akala, Ladoja or Ajimobi as words on the streets was that they would prefer any of these three to Teslim of PDP. For me, returning any one of the 3 means returning a governor for the second time as all of them had been governors in time past. That’s interesting.
Not returning a governor to power for a second time in Ibadan was not necessarily out of poor governance but of personal vendettas from god fathers. Ibadan seems to have been ridden of god-fatherism since the death of the strong man of Amala politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu and from a distance, one can say the diverse voices of the electorates were heard at the polls.
Oyo state chose a governor, Oyo state chose to return a serving governor for another 4 years, Oyo state chose their governor with minimal violence. It’s the first in the state, and I’m happy personal vendetta had little sway in their choice. May their governor serve them well a second time.