THE race for the gubernatorial ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State is reaching a crescendo as the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi narrows his contemplation to three out of the over twenty aspirants jostling for the coveted seat in the party, and this is authoritative.
Highly impeccable sources close to the governor gave the names of the three top contenders as: Chief Adebayo Adelabu, Mr. Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe and Alhaji Kehinde Isiaka Olaosebikan, all, indigenes of Ibadan, the state capital
Chief Adebayo Adelabu (48) who recently resigned as a Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria is a 1992 Accounting graduate of of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and became a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria [ICAN] in 1994. Adelabu is also a fellow of Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria [FCIB]. Before his appointment in the Central Bank, Adelabu was an Executive Director in First Bank of Nigeria. He attended Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan and hails from Kudeti, Ibadan South East Local Government in Oyo South Senatorial District, the same senatorial district with the incumbent governor.
Also, Joseph Tegbe (52) studied Civil Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and later proceeded to Lagos Business School, Nigeria, where he obtained a MBA. Joseph Tegbe is currently a Senior Partner and Head of the Technology Advisory Services and Markets of KPMG Professional Services in Nigeria. He is also the Chairman of the National Council for Management Development [NCMD]. Tegbe went to Federal Government College, Ogbomosho. He is from Labo, Ibadan South East Local Government in Oyo South Senatorial District.
Alhaji Kehinde Isiaka Olaosebikan (56) is a 1987 Mass Communication graduate of The Polytechnic Ibadan and also holds a Master’s degree in Communication and Language Arts of the University of Ibadan. Olaosebikan disengaged from active journalism practice as the Regional Editor, North for Vanguard Newspapers in 1999 when he was called upon to serve as the Chief Press Secretary to the late Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Lam Adesina. He held the post till 2003. Olaosebikan, the House of Representatives Candidate for the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Oluyole Federal Constituency in 2003 is a two time former Chairman of Oluyole Local Government. A professional in politics, he is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Midas Communications Limited, a public relations firm. Olaosebikan attended Ibadan City Academy, Eleta, Ibadan. He is an indigene of Onipe, Oluyole Local Government in Oyo Central Senatorial District.
The three aspirants have varied degrees of affinity with the incumbent governor of the state ranging from professional to politics. Chief Adelabu who had been visible in the programs of the state government in the last two years was appointed by Governor Ajimobi as the Chairman of Oyo State Security Trust Fund. He is holding the position till date.
Tegbe is said to be an informal adviser to the Governor on commerce and economic development. His company KPMP performed the recent staff auditing of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS) that led to the redistribution of many workers of the corporation.
Olaosbikan, a known leading edge promoter of the APC and Oyo State Government’s policies and programmes was appointed the Chairman of School Governing Board in the novel educational revolution of Governor Ajimobi. He made the first personal donation to the education program. Reputed for his robust contributions to tourism and economic development of the state, Olaosebikan is an active participant and investor in the Transformation Industrial Park, a programe at the heart of Governor Ajimobi.
Both Adelabu and Tegbe have formally made their intentions public through declaration and sinages, Olaosebikan, a seasoned politician is at the moment concentrating efforts in winning endorsements and buy in from critical stakeholders including the youths, the cause of whom he champions, always unrelenting.
Other notable aspirants in the race on the platform of APC, include Mr. Soji Eniade, the immediate Head of Service of the state, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, the state Commissioner for Health, and his counterparts in the ministry of Lands &Housing, Finance, Isaac Omodewu, Bimbo Adekanmbi, Professor Adeolu Akande, Engineer Aderemi Olaniyan amongst others.
The immediate past governor of the state, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Akala who has been variously mentioned as an aspirant disclosed in a recent interview that he was still making consultations.
With the ward, local government and state congresses just conducted in the state, Governor Abiola Ajimobi is in absolute control of APC machinery in the the pace setter state.
Meanwhile, the consensus among the various interest groups and leaders in the state clearly emphasized the importance of the choice of the right candidate as the solution to the lingering crisis in the party.
The Core Progressives Forum (TCPF) comprising of notable progressives across the state, proffered that the pick of gubernatorial candidate for the next year’s election is critical to the final resolution of the persistent crisis.
The group, in a statement in Ibadan said that the state governor and party leadership must ensure that the party picks a candidate with profound appeal to all the warring members and possessing adequate political experience and tenacity to galvanize party members and as well draw new members to the party. He must also be a person of high integrity known for peace, progress and development of Oyo State
According to the statement signed by the State Coordinator of the group, Alhaji Akeem Oladeji, the issue at stake has gone pass the personality of the governor, hence the need to see that the candidate of the party for the gubernatorial election possesses the right credentials and qualities requisite for victory for the party.
The group noted that once the party chooses the right candidate with the full participation of the hierarchies of the party, the crisis would dissolve.
Alhaji Oladeji said the time has come for the aggrieved members to sheath their swords and stop being egoistic and personal about issues stressing that agitating for sharing of posts now or working against the interest of the party would not yield them nor the party any good.
“With the new executives put in place at all the levels in the state, as a group made up of politically experienced people, we know the time for agitations for party posts is gone. Without apportioning blame whatsoever, we want to appeal to our people to let us all move on and join the new executives in the process of strengthening our party.
“It is a clear fact that APC remains the most potent and popular party in Oyo State and Nigeria and for anybody with serious political importance that wants progress for himself, his ward, community, local government, the state and Nigeria, APC is the place to be. We should all therefore concentrate efforts towards the growth of our party in our different wards in the overall of the party and our candidates for next year general elections.
“We also know that at this crucial stage, it is binding on the our State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi and the leadership of the party to do an extensive search across the state in order to give us the right candidate that would suit the present circumstances; a candidate with the most profound appeal to the majority of our members, the aggrieved members and the generality of the people of Oyo State; a candidate with adequate knowledge and sound political experience capable of galvanizing party members and as well draw credible and valuable new members to APC.
“With the right candidate, we are certain that all the members of the Unity Forum and others grumbling within the mainstream will all return and be pleased with the leadership and the party. What every right thinking party man is looking for is continued success of the party at the polls and continuity of APC at all levels of government” Alhaji Oladeji added.
Already, a number of the warring Unity Group members are retracing their steps to the party while some are planning to exit and a few others undecided. But basically, most of their leaders particularly those with political appointments have decided to stay put in APC.
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