For the right reasons, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo state has received a broad beam of focus in the past few months. Top of these reasons is the array of sterling options the party got lined up for its 2019 gubernatorial slot to succeed Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
For the first time, the party, and by extension the state, has an embarrassment of choices made up of more professionals brimming with ideas, and less career politicians from the abula school of thought.
And, tongues have been wagging. The aspirants themselves, a ex-CBN deputy Governor, a KPMG executive, a Secretary to the State Government, a couple of business magnates, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and a couple of ranking cabinet members, in the race to outshine each other, have been engaged in what can be truly regarded as an intriguing war of optics, ideas and consultations around the state.
However, anyone who has been truly following global trends of politics, will agree that, at the end of of the day, what mostly triumphs is the idea that bears the wins of policy consistency through continuity, from one government to the next. Oyo state has remained a strategic state in the scheme of a wide range of things both in the southwest and in the nation as a whole.
Over the past years, especially those years mid-democracy, the state somewhat drifted off its pacesetting path and got stuck with the shenanigans of violence and mire of murky politics. Without doubt though, if one objectively considers the landmark moves the incumbent government has made in sectors like security, education, agriculture infrastructure and commerce, without mincing words, it’ll be admittable that truly, a repositioning has been successfully achieved with Oyo state via these key sectors, and thus, laying a tractable and solid foundation.
The Governor Abiola Ajimobi-led government has been able to set a fundamental tone to make Oyo state stand shoulder to shoulder with serious states as regards the indices of modern development and people-based governance.
This foundation should be very fruitful for an incoming government, especially if it shares a sense of connection to the current one. Hence, why the calls for continuity have rang loudest in the streets and across different people groups in the state, almost at a deafening decibel.
Oyo, the Oyomesi, and every well-meaning citizen of the Pacesetter, have had to consider the strategic position the state possesses towards the pace of development of the entire southwest, and thus, making it a somewhat easy decision to embrace continuity for what the APC, under Ajimobi’s leadership has offered.
As the build up about who succeeds Ajimobi mounts, one popular sentiment making statewide waves is that, the best candidate out of the sterling lot described above, to achieve the already established option of continuity, will be any candidate who has worked closely with the outgoing governor in his cabinet, close enough to make the work of continuity almost easy-peasy.
Thankfully, about 5 eminently qualified cabinet members have expressed the aspiration to bear the touch of continuity. The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan, Commissioner for Finance, Bimbo Adekanmbi, the Commissioner for Lands, Issac Omodewu, the immediate past Head of Service and current Executive Assistant (administration) to the Governor, Mr. Soji Eniade, and the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Lekan Alli.
These 5 have been heavily touted to clinch the party’s ticket with the support of the Governorand also the party hierarchy. In fact, it is rumored that Governor Ajimobi is keen about continuity also in a bid to ensure that important policies are built upon, such that Oyo keeps on in a stride towards becoming the exemplar amongst the states in Nigeria.
While the credentials of the touted ‘cabinet 5’ is not doubted, the political calculations about their chances haven’t ceased. Goodwill, popularity, overall competences, contribution to the current government and political relevance, have been the indices of these calculations.
In the past month, the name that has risen in relevance and acceptance across people and party lines is Lekan Alli. Asides being the fourth most important man in the state being the SSG, the man, going by policy formulation and implementation and his job description, is said to the closest to Ajimobi, and a formidable professional who has displayed his capabilities in outstanding ways during his time of service.
His humility is also seen as a refreshing trait and an attribute that has him becoming a darling of the people and party supporters alike. His political savvy has also been thrown up for consideration, for notably leading the successful campaign of the unprecedented 2nd term re-election of Governor Abiola Ajimobi in 2015.
Another school of thought that supports and explains his timely rise in relevance is the example of what has played out in other APC-governed states like Lagos and recently in Osun, and even in other states in the country, where most times, a cabinet member in the suit of the SSG or Chief of Staff, is picked to succeed the incumbent.Truth is, while the cap could truly fit many, the question we should ask is about who has the ‘head’.
Any and every well-meaning Oyo state indigene will agree that for our state coast home and achieve the many befitting and lofty heights, whoever must be put forward to succeed Ajimobi should be an almost apolitical choice, cerebral and dynamic, but most importantly, must be someone who has learnt and mastered the ropes of ensuring continuity from a suitably close range.
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