As Oyo APC leadership gravitates towards Alao-Akala

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The sudden death of former Executive Governor of Oyo State, Senator Ishiaq Abiola Ajimobi on June 25, 2020 has inevitably created leadership vacuum within the All Progressive Congress, APC in the state. The late governor it would be recalled wrestled the leadership of the party from late Alhaji Lam Adesina, also a former governor, upon assuming the governorship position in May 2011. Senator Ajimobi took control of the party consigning the former leaders into irrelevance. He became the dominant factor until his death in June 2020, the demise of Alhaji Lam Adesina having further reinforced his position. He was undoubtedly the alpha and omega of the party dictating its pace and activities and was largely responsible for selection of candidates for elections. He was the absolute figure in its affairs while it lasted. Many party stalwarts including those he met in the party struggled in vain to whittle down his powers instigating the exit of many of them from the party. But his demise which arose from complications from COVID-19 affliction had suddenly left the party rudderless with certain power blocs now scrupulously and unscrupulously scheming to hijack its machineries. The question has become very strident and the issue has been generating tremendous heat and controversies. The question, who takes over the reins of APC in Oyo State, is now the burning issue.
Prior the transition of the former strongman – Ajimobi – he appointed former governor, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, as the chairman of the party’s reconciliation committee with other party chieftains as members. It is indubitable that the party is enmeshed in crisis both before and after the last general elections, this is not anyway strange, the desire to heal the many wounds was therefore the basis for this reconciliation and the Akala-led committee was gearing up to deliver on this onerous assignment when death snatched Ajimobi. Otunba Alao-Akala is indisputably a big political player well-known across the country having spent time as deputy governor and governor of the state. Indeed by virtue of his political accomplishments, he is bigger than the late Senator Ajimobi on the basis of serving as governor before Ajimobi. It could be said without contradiction that only Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja under whom he served as deputy governor is his senior in Oyo State in the political arena. But because he met Ajimobi in the APC he quietly queued behind him. This is a fact many party members realized and it is no wonder that Akala is now becoming the focus of the party. It can be said that leadership is gradually gravitating to him in view of the many courtesy visits being paid to his Opadoyin Akala Lodge at Randa Area, Ogbomoso, in recent times by many topnotch party leaders. Senator Fatai Buhari representing Oyo North Senatorial District; Hon Olusegun Odebunmi a.k.a. Bunvic, representing Surulere/Ogo-Oluwa Federal Constituency; Senator Teslim Folarin, representing Oyo Central Senatorial District; Engineer Muftau Open Salawu among others have called on the former executive chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government in recent times. Leadership evolves naturally and automatically and that is what is unfolding within the fold of the former ruling party in the state.
Meanwhile, the final decision and anointing of who takes the mantle of leadership rests solely with the party leadership at the national level, particularly with Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of the party. Though Akala has said repeatedly that he was not angling to take over the leadership of the party in reaction to opposition to the emerging scenario, he is the one most fitted for the position by virtue of his antecedents. He has his tentacles spread across the state; he is a grassroots politician and has solid connections across the state. His governorship tenure showed evidence of his populism and welfare disposition which has endeared him to many in all nooks and crannies of the state. His popularity as Oyato Governor, ATM and whatnots reaches the heaven. Akala’s worth was further recognized during the 2019 general elections in the weeks leading to the gubernatorial election when he was airlifted to Abuja to converse with the powers that be to extract his support for the candidate of the APC, Bayo Adelabu. Alao-Akala has the wherewithal to lead the party in the state and if truly supported by stalwarts and members across the state especially in Ibadan he is bound to improve the fortunes of the party against an excellently performing governor that is Engineer Seyi Makinde, the incumbent helmsman in the state. Akala has the experience, has the clout and has the goodwill to champion the cause of APC that suffered ignobly in the last gubernatorial election in the state. However, if anointed to take the mantle, Akala also needs to improve on his leadership skills to really make the impact that will be expected of him. Many of his former followers and aides persistently allege that he wouldn’t bother to ferret out the truth in the event that an aide or follower is backbitten against; they claim the Otun of the Source wouldn’t go the extra-mile of cross examining the “accused.” Through this several capable hands are said to have deserted him. As leadership beckons on another big stage, he needs to look into this and other areas for success to continually trail his strides.

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