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For the third time in a row, the Oyo APC is on the defensive regarding ministerial nominations. First, it was with Bayo Shittu, the outspoken and gregarious former communications minister whose selection angered the APC establishment in the state. In retrospect, the late Abiola Ajimobi was said to have led the pack for his rejection through proxy and eventually, public spats.



Followed by Sunday Dare, the soft-spoken immediate past minister of sports, whose appointment didn’t spark any furor within the party but who was nonetheless viewed with suspicion in part for his political aloofness and indifference, and given that a respected emir in the north and not some powerful elements within Oyo APC were said to have been instrumental and influential in his appointment.



And now, Oloye Bayo Adelabu, the gubernatorial candidate of the Accord Party in the last election, who is in the eye of the storm after his ministerial nomination was made public. Of course, the sentiment flying around within the Oyo APC is that the former CBN deputy Governor has once again, in his characteristic manner, reaped what he has not sown. That he has indeed cornered what truly belongs to them. The disappointment, to modestly put it, is palpable. For some, the saying that you cannot eat your cake and still have it sounds preposterous. Because ultimately, Oloye Adelabu’s nomination implies that, contrary to conventional wisdom, it is quite possible to eat your cake and still have it. But note: only a few people can do that without losing their charm and charisma in the process. Perhaps more clearly, the hope of a united, stable, and indivisible APC in Oyo State is hanging on thin ice. Like it was in the past, the party is about to be plunged into another dungeon of bitter polarisation and catastrophic balkanization—a replica of the divisiveness that played out in the electoral misfortunes and setbacks of the 2019 and 2023 governorship polls.

Consequently, the growing disquiet, disgust, and disappointment that have been hooting, hovering, and simmering within the Oyo APC are about to explode into something more cataclysmic; each camp is bracing for the worst. With the ministerial nomination of Oloye Bayo Adelabu, efforts at fence mending, peacebuilding, and reconciliation might have hit a brick wall—they always have. In a way, you only need to read between the lines, especially from aggrieved party chieftains and stalwarts, check Mrs. Funke Adesiyan and Prof. Olowofela’s salvo to understand the situation better. For now, tensions are high but will simmer with time. Hopes and expectations are low, especially for those on the other side of the divide, but may peak as the government at the centre gathers steam. Those who wanted to have a decent shot at the national cake are now recalculating and recalibrating their expectations. The era of renewed hope might not renew their depleted pockets.

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Again, the cries and hues of some chieftains and stalwarts of the party have equally underscored the dark side of politics: vengeance and revenge. It is like some elements within the Oyo APC have put a knife in the throat of the party, determined to kill the goose that laid the golden egg. In essence, those who had expected a messiah from President Bola Tinubu must be rethinking their stances now. The subtle message this nomination seems to be passing is quite startling: no messiah is forthcoming for Oyo APC. Rather than serving as a balm to the excruciating wound of the party, the nomination of Oloye Adelabu is now seen as a wedge cutting the supply of oxygen to the various parts of the party. Ironically, the same people who cried over the split milk of ‘Jagba’ in the last poll are now rejoicing and relishing in their own tactical manoeuvres and strategic manipulation and exploitation of the system and structure. It is what it is.



While the ministerial nomination has been tagged more as a reward for the politicians than an attempt to have more technocrats driving the needed reform in the new government, in the pace-setter state, the reverse is the case: a reward but not for loyal party members. For the umpteenth time, we are witnessing the downward spiral of loyalty in party politics. For instance, those who laboured for the success of APC are now gritting their teeth in disappointment. In today’s politics, loyalty may not be the only saving grace or holy grail for either political relevance or survival. You might need more than that to sail through the hurdles of power and principalities. But make no mistake, Oloye Bayo Adelabu, like a seasoned and experienced power (commodity) trader, only saw a loophole and capitalised on it. For example, the idea that you may have to go through conventional means to get what you want in politics has been demystified repeatedly by the ‘Agbakin’ of Ibadan land.




When the race for the 2019 APC governorship ticket reached a crescendo, speculations against Oloye Bayo Adelabu were rife, but he prevailed. He got the ticket when nobody gave him the benefit of the doubt. He’s been bullish. Undaunted and relentless in the pursuit of his dream, even when it means going the extra mile, Rather than rely on the wisdom of the crowd, Oloye Adelabu has demonstrated his uncanny ability to pull some of the biggest and heaviest political stunts in the state. With mirthful abandon, the minister-designate has continued to shock his adversaries in all spheres. But we might be missing an important point in this conversation: the power of narrative. Apart from the interplay of money and sentiment that worked in favour of Oloye Bayo Adelabu, one other significant factor that might have tilted the game on his side is the careful use of narrative. He was the APC flagbearer in the 2019 governorship, where he came second.



In 2022, the party structure was hijacked, and tickets were doled out to the favourites and loyalists of Senator Teslim Folarin, the mastermind of that hijacking. That he was forced out of the party alongside President Tinubu’s associates. And finally, Ibadan hasn’t produced a minister in APC government. The narrative is compelling and interesting, but not entirely correct. Unlike in 2019, when the party ticket was handed to him like candy to a recalcitrant child, the 2022 race for the APC gubernatorial ticket was more of a serious undertaking, the ticket was visibly beyond the reach of his contacts. In anyway, Oloye Adelabu might be a bookworm, but he has a lot to learn about politics. His contacts, connections, reach, and network might have worked wonderfully for him in the past and even now, but they surely have limits.

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OYO101 is Muftau Gbadegesin’s opinion about Issues affecting Oyo state, published on Saturdays. He can be reached via @TheGMAKing on Twitter, muftaugbadegesin@gmail.com and 09065176850