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Muftau Gbadegesin

OYO APC — Throughout his four-year tenure as Communications Minister, Adebayo Shittu was always at loggerheads with the late Abiola Ajimobi, former Oyo state Governor, over personal issues and party affairs. Instead of finding ground, the two political bigwigs went ahead with chutzpah, vowing to wreck each other until their actions and vituperations mowed down the party and destroyed their ambitions. Tellingly, it is no doubt that Ajimobi and Shittu’s constant and incessant political and verbal bickering would morph into an intensive internecine self-destructive war; one that would cost the party more than they ever imagined.

Unsurprisingly, the cracks in the Oyo APC wall before the 2019 elections led to the defeat of former President Muhammadu Buhari in that year’s Presidential election to the opposition PDP. That internal wrangling also led to the embarrassing defeat of the late Abiola Ajimobi’s senatorial ambition and ultimately, the defeat of APC gubernatorial candidate, Oloye Bayo Adelabu, to Seyi Makinde of the PDP. In essence, the events of that intra-party fisticuff within Oyo APC can help shed light on the current leadership tussle tearing the party apart, especially as lobby for ministerial slot reached a fever pitch level. In a sense, it appears that Oyo APC would learn from that horrible political outing, alas, the party is yet to heal from many years of its political trauma and seems to be in search of a messiah minister who will rescue it from the hands of its abductors.


In search of a messiah minister……..


When it was obvious that preventing Barr. Shittu from becoming APC flag bearer (after Oyo APC under Ajimobi failed to stop him from becoming minister) through the ballot wouldn’t come easy, he was successfully outwitted those who perceived his ambition as a threat. In return, Shittu repeatedly penned acerbic and damaging letters against the late Abiola Ajimobi.

One of them was written to the national leadership of APC on June 8, 2018, Barr. Shittu accused the late Ajimobi of running the party like a fiefdom. He said Ajimobi’s undemocratic disposition has undermined the party’s unity and stability for selfish reasons. In response, the late Ajimobi fired at Barr. Shittu describes him as a man who lacks decorum, and style and is unfit to be the Governor of a state.

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Now, after a heartbreaking defeat in the last election, many are turning to President Tinubu for political respite. In fact, they want the President to appoint a party man who has the clout and charisma to unite warring factions and restored the party’s lost glory. In 2015, when Adebayo Shittu was nominated as a Minister, he was rejected by Ajimobi’s led Oyo APC who thought they had the right to nominate Oyo state representative at the federal executive council. But in 2019 when Sunday Dare got his appointment as minister, he was accepted with mixed feelings. Like Shittu, his appointment was equally influenced by powerful external forces that could neither be stopped by either Oyo APC or other power brokers in the state. In the two instances, Oyo APC knew better not to expect either Shittu or Dare to pull the magic wand of uniting the party for good but now, when the party is bogged down by some leadership spell, the majority are reflecting on where shoes started to pinch the party and whether a sphinx is troubling the fortune of the party.


Is Oyo APC under a spell?

Interestingly, most members of Oyo APC contend the party is suffering from some kinds of afflictions and spells. At least, given the performances of the party in the 2019 and 2023 Guber polls, it is evident that a lot is wrong not just with the unity, and stability but the survival of the broom party. Unity aForum, a faction within Oyo APC worked against the interest of the party governorship candidate in the 2019 election on account of being sidelined and shortchanged by the government of the late Ajimobi. Many believe that anti-party activity paved the way for the emergence of Governor Seyi Makinde. Consequently, that same 2019 scenario equally played out in the 2023 poll where crops of APC chieftains openly declared support for Governor Makinde against Senator Folarin. Of course, this bitter tiff has made it exceedingly difficult for the party to reconcile and resolve its various internal challenges.
Oke-Ogun Again?

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After the 2003 Presidential election in which Olusegun Obasanjo was declared winner, the former military head of state quickly assembled a team of politicians and technocrats as ministerial nominees. One of them, Otunba Bamidele Dada was made minister of state for agriculture. Like Barr. Shittu, Otunba Dada equally hails from Oke-Ogun and was the first indigene of the region to become a federal executive council member. But now, with speculations flying around the town about the possibility of Barr. Ahmed Raji, SAN becoming a minister under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, one is bound to ask whether the time is ripe again for another indigene of the Oke-Ogun region to represent the pace-setter state in Abuja.

Noteworthy here is that neither Dada nor Shittu were appointed solely on account of their places of birth or region. They were instead rewarded based on their deep connections and political networking with powerful and influential decision-makers. Shittu on his part was made minister because of his relationship with former President Muhammadu Buhari. Despite obstacles against his nomination, he has nonetheless dashed a juicy ministry that could have helped prepare him for bigger political assignments. Unfortunately, like most before him, he frittered with the golden chance to thrust himself into the consciousness of the people of Oyo state by fighting both real and imaginary political adversaries. Chief Sunday Dare on his part was equally said to have enjoyed the patronage of a powerful Emir in the North. Whereas politicians at home continue to wait for ministerial slots to fall on their laps, those who truly mean business had already reached a compromise out of the state for a seat at the seat power.

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Makinde In The Mix


The two-time Oyo APC had the grace of nominating one of its own as a minister, it was outsmarted by powerful elements outside the state. As pointed out, both Barr. Shittu and Chief Dare were products of various external political intrigues and skirmishes. And now, that is not about to change except for the President’s decision to ditch Makinde and set the ball rolling for the unity of APC. With Governor Seyi Makinde amid these political intrigues, it becomes essentially difficult for Oyo APC to resolve their crisis without batting an eye.

Possible names such as Senator Teslim Folarin (APC Gubernatorial candidate in the last election), Barr. Ahmed Raji (many in the APC believe he is not a bona fide member of their party and that his appointment will further divide and polarize the party, nonetheless, he enjoyed a cordial relationship with the Governor and that may be the game changer), Professor Adeolu Akande (former Chairman, NCC board of commissioners has been tipped for greater responsibility on account of his stewardship at various national assignments), Engr. Rauf Olaniyan (considered to be a frontline given his roles and contributions to the emergence of President Bola Tinubu. He was made the state chairman of, the Grassroot Independent campaign council), others such as Prof. Abideen Olaiya, Dr. Ismail Adewusi among others are also been considered for the plum job.

Until now, the rest of the public await with practiced curiosity how the ministerial cap from Oyo state fit. Till then, the squabble continues.


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