In a move targeted at shutting the doors of the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State, seven governorship aspirants of the party yesterday met and appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan and the Adamu Mu’azu-led national leadership of the party to give the PDP ticket to Ibadan zone for the party to coast home to victory in 2015.
Before now, THISDAY had reliably gathered that President Jonathan had inaugurated a team led by a former Deputy National Chairman of the party to advise it on which zone in the state should be ceded the gubernatorial ticket with their recommendations enlisting Ibadan, the state capital, which they noted accounted for close to about 55 per cent of the voting population.
A former governor was said to have gotten wind of the report and had been battling to impress it upon the party’s leadership including those who wrote the said report to Jonathan that he had what it took to win for the party because of his state-wide clout as a former helmsman.
But in a dramatic turn, the governorship aspirants of Ibadan extraction met yesterday in Ibadan where they unanimously agreed that the party must present an indigene of Ibadan as its candidate for the 2015 governorship election.
Those at the meeting were former Power and Steel Minister, Elder Wole Oyelese; a former Deputy Governor, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarumi; a former Sports Minister, Prof. Taoheed Adedoja; Prof. Soji Adejumo, Senator Teslim Folarin, Seyi Makinde and United States-based Vascular surgeon, Dr. Azeez Adeduntan while another aspirant of the party from Ibadan, Kehinde Olaosebikan, who was a former Chief Press Secretary in the state presented the resolution of his kinsmen.
In a communiqué released at the end of the meeting, the aspirants promised to work together as a team to ensure victory for the PDP in 2015 elections and deliver the state to President Jonathan.
“Given the political reality on ground, the PDP candidate, who by the grace of Almighty God will be the next governor of the state must come from Ibadan land. We take cognisance of the importance and political interest of other zones and resolved to work assiduously with them to achieve victory for our great party at all levels,” the communiqué read in part.
The group called on the people of the state to be assured of better government from 2015 when PDP would have taken over governance in the state, calling on members who have joined other parties to return to PDP.
The statement said: “We appreciate the patience of our supporters and indeed the good people of the state for enduring all the inhuman treatments inflicted on them by the current administration of All Progressives Congress (APC) and we assure them of a responsible and responsive government as from May 29, 2015.
“We appeal to our teeming and loyal supporters of the party to work together and for those who have defected from the party to return into the fold for a collective victory.”
Reacting to his omission, Olaosebikan described the meeting as a gang-up against his candidacy.
“I don’t believe in gang-up. I want the best aspirant to emerge. The meeting in question was a private initiative of a candidate. I am not in any way bothered about the meeting. Whoever called the meeting only wanted to win the support of others. Talking about the grassroots, I am more on ground and believe in my ability to deliver,” he said.
Similarly, following the gale of impeachments threatening some governors of the APC controlled states and coupled with the recent meeting of six APC lawmakers in Oyo State House of Assembly with their PDP counterparts, there is apprehension in the state that Governor Abiola Ajimobi too may be impeached before 2015 election.
But the impeachment rumour was at the weekend described as unfounded and figment of the imagination of its promoters by the assembly’s Chief Whip, Murphy Adigun-Hammed, representing Akinyele 11 state constituency.
The lawmaker in a telephone chat with THISDAY said the assembly was rather focusing on its constitutional mandate of making laws capable of changing the fortunes of the state in line with the transformation agenda of the governor.
“I also read it this morning in some dailies and I will say that it is laughable and comedy, borne out of unrealistic imagination of some nebulous and spineless individuals.
“When we should be talking about moving the state forward, some people are just focusing on dragging us backward.
“APC has 18 out of 32 members, so how possible is it for them to impeach our governor, we know where this is coming from.
“We know the PDP and their antics, they will not succeed in Oyo State, and my advice for them is that they should stop creating unnecessary tension in the state.
“As a matter fact, we are planning to endorse the governor for another term in office, I think the PDP and Accord Party (AP) should think of another gimmick because this is too cheap,” he said.
Also speaking, the care taker chairman of Iseyin Local Government Area, Alhaji Saheed Yusuff, said: “Such plan only exists in the minds of enemies of progress.”
He revealed that he was aware that the PDP wanted to create a state of tension in the state, adding that “such tactics would not see the light of the day.”
Meanwhile, a group under the banner of ‘Oyo Rescue Team 2015’ on yesterday appealed to former Governors Rashidi Ladoja and Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, seeking a comeback to Agodi government house, to emulate the Chairman of Nigerian Pension Commission (NPC), Chief Fola Adeola, who on account of old age, turned down requests by some people in Ogun State to contest 2015 governorship election.