Twenty-four hours after a leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, said that there was no anointed candidate yet for the governorship slot and other elective positions, three leading governorship aspirants in the party yesterday commenced consultations at different locations in the state.
While the former Senate Leader, Teslim Kolawole Folarin, in company of a serving Deputy-Senate whip, Hosea Ayoola Agboola and House of Representatives Chairman on Petroleum (Upstream), Muraina Ajibola, stormed Oke-Ogun area, another aspirant, Oluseyi Makinde, began a tour of Ibarapa areas where he met with three monarchs in Igangan, Tapa and Ayete.
The supporters of a former governor of the state, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, who is also staging a come back bid to Agodi Government House with his ‘Team Akala 2015’ were guests of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), where they canvassed support for the Ogbomoso-born ex-police officer.
Except for Akala’s men who met with journalists, the duo of Folarin and Makinde visited prominent monarchs and PDP leaders in Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa areas respectively.
THISDAY reliably gathered that the party hierarchy will next week roll out monies payable by individual aspirant for expression of interest and gubernatorial forms ahead of next month’s primaries.
A source in the Oyo State chapter of the PDP hinted that each gubernatorial aspirant might cough out nothing less than N16million; the breakdown of which is N11million and another N5million for both the national headquarter and state branch respectively.
Already, the state chapter said yesterday that it had began the sale of expression of interest forms for aspirants seeking to be elected as governor, senators, members of the House of Representatives and the State House of Assembly, calling on interested party members to avail themselves of the opportunity.
According to the chairman of the party in the state, Alhaji Yinka Taiwo, the expression of interest form for the post of governor will cost N5 million, while a Senatorial aspirant will pay N2.5 million, with aspirants for the House of Representatives and House of Assembly bound to pay N1 million and N250,000 respectively.
Speaking with THISDAY in Iseyin, Oke-Ogun area, Folarin said contrary to insinuations, he was yet to declare his gubernatorial ambition, saying he would do that in Ibadan later this month.
The former Senate leader who was welcomed to Iseyin amidst pomp and pageantry by a huge crowd of supporters visited the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Ganeey Adekunle Salau, where he solicited the monarch’s support for President Goodluck Jonathan.
He said, “this tour is informed by the need to consolidate the recent gains of the Obafemi Awolowo Stadium (formerly Liberty stadium), Ibadan, where about two million people of the South-west appended their signatures for Mr. President’s second term bid.
“And as a staunch believer in President Jonathan’s transformation agenda and the continuity of his administration in 2015, I am going round in company of Senator Agboola and Hon. Ajibola to draw the support of the people from across the five geo-political zones of the state to support our President for another four years in office.”
The Aseyin in his brief comment used the opportunity to bless the gubernatorial ambition of Folarin, describing him as ripe enough for the exalted seat of the state governor.
‘Team Akala’ at the press conference clamoured for the return of their boss. They hinted that the former governor would officially declare his governorship intention in Ibadan, the state capital, tomorrow.
The group said the yearning for Akala’s return as governor of the state on the party’s platform in 2015 by market women, students, artisans, civil servants and other concerned individuals who have been experiencing hardship due to the obnoxious policies of the present government made the former police boss to join the race.
The ‘Team Akala 2015 Project’ through its Coordinator, Prince Niran Adeyoju, said: “ The professionals, youths, students and women in Oyo State are coming together under this umbrella, speaking with one voice, calling on the citizens of Oyo State to make a critical choice in 2015.”
The group said market women, students, civil servants and other people from the 33 local government areas of the state have tested and they trust the former governor and they want him to come back in 2015.
“The most critical commentators and discerning public have agreed that Otunba Alao Akala is an acknowledged benevolent leader, a distinguished Nigerian whose distinction as former governor of the state readily presents him as a man we need to lead us out of the woods, having enough to eat, a place to sleep, and a good school for our kids were never a problem for the indigenes of Oyo State between 2007 and 2011.”
On the rationale behind his second coming, the group declared that “Akala’s unrelenting zeal in initiating and executing people oriented programmes with direct impact on the welfare of the people during his first term in office stood him out as the best man for the highest job once again in 2015”
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of the team, Dr. Muhammed Kola Balogun, while stressing that Akala’s government would have zero tolerance for thuggery and violence in the state said the former policeman used his experience in the police to maintain peace in the state through the provision of materials and necessary support for the security agents. He said most of the violence recorded during his reign were instigated by the opposition who were desperate to occupy the government in 2011.