Akala tackles Ibadan elders on rotational governorship

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Femi OGUNLANA
An ex-governor of Oyo state, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, has blamed the Ibadan elders for the perpetual hold on power by Ibadan politicians, asserting that rotational governorship is best for the state.
Chief Akala noted this in his autobiography titled, “Amazing Grace,” due for launch on Thursday, November 5, 2020 in Ibadan.
Akala, in chapter 12 of the book sub-titled, “Ibadan and the rest of us,” frowned at Ibadan’s stranglehold on power saying this negated the tenet of rotational presidency being canvassed by Yoruba groups like Afenifere and Yoruba Council of Elders.
“Let me recall here that the 1997 National Confab made bold attempts at resolving the segregation that had characterized our politics at the federal level, when it addressed the issue of rotational presidency between the north and south.
“The 2014 National Confab also made a case for that though rotation of presidency is not captured by the consequent 1999 Nigerian Constitution, it has nonetheless become a compelling feature of our political culture since then.
“Political parties and players at the national level and in many states have reflected the tenet since the advent of the nation’s nascent democracy. However, the pact seems not to have penetrated Oyo state.”
He decried what he called the segregationist attitude of the Ibadan elites, describing their approach as primitive.
“The primordial holding on to power by the Ibadan people, under whatever guise, has become primitive and embarrassing.
“If the Yoruba insist that the presidency should be zoned to it in 2023, it is expected that it should ensure that charity begins from its domain by rising to stop the domination of a section by another as it obtains in Oyo state.
“It is not an exaggeration to opine that the Ibadan attitude to power has become segregationist and outrightly sectional.”
Akala, who served as deputy governor prior his emergence as governor in 2006 and 2007, now advocated rotation of governorship among the three senatorial districts in the state, noting that crisis would ensue later if this is not entrenched.
Sarcastically he added, “Tracing things from the First Republic, what came as intriguing was the fact that Ibadan never got to challenge the domination of the Ijebu, Egba and Ijesa. Its fabled military might did not translate to political might.
“Throughout that period in the western region and the Oyo state, Ibadan was like what the rest of us in the present Oyo state are – vassal territories under the hegemony of the Egba, Ijebu and later Ijesa.”
He buttressed his claim of Ibadan elders’ culpability in the scenario by making reference to an allegation by another former governor of the state, an Ibadan man, Dr. Omololu Olunloyo, “As Dr Olunloyo has made us to understand, it is the Ibadan Council of Elders that has compromised the level playing ground for brilliant minds in the state, particularly our young people, to contend, contest and rule.
“They are the ones fuelling the continued lopsidedness that has resulted in five of all the six governors in the state being Ibadan indigenes, with the exception of my governorship, which those elders want to confine to an aberration that must never be allowed to happen again.”
He now counseled, “It makes sense if stakeholders begin to take a closer look at the geopolitical dynamics of the state and sit down to negotiate the rotation of the office of governor.
“A situation should be worked out whereby either of the other two senatorial districts, Oyo central and Oyo north, produces the next governor of the state in subsequent general elections as it is done in the other Yoruba states of Ogun, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.”
He faulted the Ibadan’s propensity for thwarting the progress of non-Ibadan politicians through subordination. “Ibadan has consistently embarked on subordination process that takes away the fire in the politicians from Oyo, Ogbomoso, Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa, if not quenching the fire entirely.
“The Ibadan intelligentsia has raised that to the level of policy and it seems to work for their politicians. They consistently lower the quality of our politicians by appealing to their gullibility. They then set them up as puppet office-holders usually as deputy governors, speakers and commissioners and then dump them rather ignobly after which they are engulfed in the worst frustration of their lives.
“To resign would be difficult. To stay on would be like hell on earth. One only needs to hear from my brother Chief Adeyemo, the immediate past deputy governor of the state, to know the trauma of being a surrogate office holder.”
The Otun of the Source was extremely harsh on the Ibadan Council of Elders also accusing them of reluctance to let go of the effete feudalism practice and royalty, which he posited informed their keeping subservient the common man in the street in the former republican city.

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