No fewer than thirty-nine (39) gubernatorial candidates in Oyo State indicated interest to succeed the incumbent Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi on May 29, 2019 when his second tenure will end.

Those who are contesting the election billed to take place on today, according to the list made available to DAILY POST by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) included Dr. David Okunlola (AGA) Gbadamosi Bairu Alagbe (PPN) Aderoju Ismail Balogun (MAJA) Adedoyin Tolulope Adeyeye Adedoyin (APA) Sharafadeen Abiodun Alli (ZLP) Taiwo Ibiyemi Otegbeye (PPC) Hon. Oladapo Wasiu Atilola (ID) and Saheed Adegboyega Ajadi (ACCORD).

Others are; Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala (ADP) Adelabu Adebayo Adekola (APC) Alhaji Adefboyega Adelu (DA), Tijani Ismaila Akinboyo (HDP), Rotimi Akande (UPP) Yinusa Kazeem Ayandoye (NRM) Olabode Ayodele Johnson (ANN) Hakeem Alao (AD), Babarinde Oye Ademola (DPC), Olaide Olayiwola (KOWA), Paul Adeboye Omotosho (CFC), Reverend Adenike Morenike Victor (AAP) and Makinde Oluseyi Abiodun (PDP).

Also in the list are: Olaunni Ariyo Olaitan (BNPP) Omobosola Owolabi Golohor (DPP), Bamigboye Abiodun Emmanuel (SPN), Oloyade Michael Ayobami (NCP), Mobolaji Ayorinde (SDP), Akande Akinsanyaolu (PDC), Paul Oluseye Smith (JMPP) Olufemi Lanlehin (ADC), Mogaji Odelalu (NAC), Awolusi Olusegun Gaskin (SNC), Bolanle Ashabi Sarumi Aliyu (NIP), Ojo Olayinka Kayode (MEGA) Olatunji Adigun Sadiq (LABOUR), Edward Olufeyisayo (NPM), Akinwale Laosun (AAC), Ladipo Oluwole (GDPN), Alhaji Belawu Ayoade Adebola (NEPP) and Olalekan Oladotun Ayorinde (ANRP).

The state is divided into five geo-political zones. They are Ibadan (11 LGAs), Ibarapa (3 LGAs), Ogbomoso (5 LGAs), Oke-Ogun (10 LGAs) and Oyo (4 LGAs). Ibadan, the state capital, since 1999 produced three governors; Alhaji Lamidi Adesina (1999-2003); Senator Rasidi Ladoja (2003-2007) and the incumbent Senator Abiola Ajimobi (2011-2019) while Ogbomoso only produced Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala (2007-2011). Three other geo-political zones are yet to produce the number one citizen in the state.

Though a sizable number of the thirty-nine candidates are not from Ibadan which has produced three out of the four executive governors since 1999, recent happenings have shown that history will still repeat itself during tomorrow’s election which will be a battle of two titans who are both from Ibadan.

The two leading candidates who are the centre of attraction in the Saturday’s election are; Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, candidate of the ruling APC and Engineer Seyi Makinde of PDP.

Before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the major contenders could be narrowed down to five candidates, Chief Adebayo Adelabu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Barrister Sharafadeen Alli of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Senator Olufemi Lanhehin of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) and former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Action Democratic Party (ADP).

But, the result of the last elections with APC winning two Senate seats, Oyo Central and Oyo North senatorial districts and nine House of Representatives seats and PDP winning one Senate seat, Oyo South and three House of Representatives seats, has changed the equation to a two-horse race between the two young billionaires, Adelabu and Makinde.

Since last Monday, political horse-trading has taken over the state with three major contenders who have no hope of clinching the coveted seat aligning with either Adelabu of APC and Makinde of PDP. The emergence of the duo came as a result of various permutations, alliances and coalitions among the leading political figures. While a former Governor and candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala had at the weekend formed an alliance with APC candidate, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, PDP, ADC, ZLP and SDP on Monday signed an agreement to present Makinde as a consensus candidate.

Alao-Akala said that he had jettisoned his ambition to contest under the ADP. He, however, insisted that candidates of the party for the state House of Assembly would go to the election with his support. He said that though, he had formed the alliance with the APC, candidates of the party, ADP would go ahead to contest under the party, ADP.

His resolve to form the alliance with APC, our correspondent gathered may not be unconnected with a meeting held with former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently. Alao-Akala in a statement signed by Chief Wale Ohu, Director General, Akala Campaign Organisation, declared that he decided to form an alliance with APC instead of other opposition political parties in the interest of the people.

Ohu said, “Following the outcome of the just concluded presidential and national assembly elections, the Alao-Akala Campaign of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), has decided to go into an alliance with the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Adebayo Adekola Adelabu ahead of the March 9th Governorship and state elections in the state.

“However, all Action Democratic Party (ADP) candidates contesting for the House of Assembly seats will go into the elections with the full support of His Excellency, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala”.

Lanlehin, Alli and Ayorinde while explaining why they are backing Makinde insisted that they forfeited their ambitions for Makinde in order to free the state from the shackles of outside oppression and domination.

The trio in a statement jointly signed with Makinde said “It is no longer news that a good number of parties in Oyo state have deliberately intensely over the last few weeks and have come to the resolution that there is an urgent need to free our dear state from the shackles of outside oppression and domination.

“We have therefore decided that in order to present an effective and workable solution to the unpalatable situation where Oyo state has remotely controlled for the past 8 years by outside forces and manner of constituted authority, there is the need to form this alliance of political parties in the state.

“We have firmly resolved to present one candidate in the person of Engineer Seyi Makinde of the PDP for the office of Governor at the elections holding on 9th March 2019. He shall be heading by the special grace of God and the power of the people of Oyo state, a government of unity which will cater for the interest of all our people irrespective of political association”.

Though, the gubernatorial election billed to take place today has become a subject of discussions among youths, women and other residents of the state, no one can predict who the winner of the election will be as at now.

The contest will be tight because the duo are from Ibadan, the state capital. While Adelabu, grandson of the famous Ibadan politician, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu hails from Adelabu’s compound, Oke Oluokun in Kudeti area of Ibadan South East Local Government Aea, Makinde, son of an accountant hails from Ibadan North East Local Government Area.

Though, Adelabu, born in 1970 is younger than Makinde who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, the two of them graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and University of Lagos respectively.

With the endorsement of Adelabu, an accountant by Alao-Akala and some stalwarts of other opposition parties and the alliance of ZLP, ADC and SDP to work for Makinde, an Engineer, the coast has now been cleared that the gubernatorial election is now a two-horse fight between Mr. Adebayo Adelabu of APC and Seyi Makinde of PDP.

The grandson of the late Ibadan flamboyant politician of the NCNC flame, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, fondly known as Penkelemesi, during an interactive session with journalists, said his seven-point agenda – security, agriculture, housing, education, health, environment, transportation and transportation management – would help to take the state to continue where Ajimobi will stop.

Adelabu promised to anchor his programs on security, agriculture, housing and education. He said, “For me, the critical sectors where I will anchor my programmes are security, agriculture, housing, education, health, environment, transportation and transport management system. Those are the seven key areas that we want to focus. We have identified three major areas of priority based on what the current government has achieved. those three areas of priority, in fact, four areas of priority are agriculture, education, health and housing. The housing part of it, is going to prepare us to be able to take advantage of what we expect from Lagos.

PDP candidate, Mr. Seyi Makinde while insisting that he remained the man to beat in the election, promised to address the issue of poverty, unemployment and dwindling state of education in the state when elected in the 2019 general elections.

Few hours to the election, political analysts in the state are of the opinion that the winner of the gubernatorial election cannot be predicted because none of the two candidates can lay claim of having the assurance of the electorate above the other.

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