No fewer than (9) aspirants from various political parties in Oyo State who are of Oke-Ogun (one of the five political zones in the state) extraction have indicated interests to succeed the incumbent Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi in 2019, DAILY POST has authoritatively gathered.
The zone which consists of 10 local government areas since 1999, had only produced Deputy governors – among whom were Barrister Iyiola Oladokun and the current deputy Governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo.

Oke-Ogun fondly known as Food Basket of Oyo State due to its landmass and agricultural potentials had also produced a speaker – Hon. Mukail Alarape and Secretary to the State Government – Chief Micheal Koleosho.

Investigations by DAILY POST as at the last count revealed that political bigwigs such as the current Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu (Saki West), former Chief of Staff, Professor Adeolu Akande (Itesiwaju LG) and Engineer Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan (Oorelope LG) have openly indicated interest to govern the state from 2019.

Others include a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barrister Ahmed Raji; former Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde (Atisbo LG); Head Editorial, Board of Guardian newspapers, Mr. Debo Adesina (Itesiwaju); Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Isaac Ajiboye Omodewu (Itesiwaju); Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Bimbo Adekambi and former Commissioner for Education, Professor Solomon Olaniyonu (Atisbo LG).

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DAILY POST gathered that the zone since inception of the current forth republic in 1999 had been nursing the ambition but the move became glaring in 2011 when the current Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu contested under the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressives Change (CPC) against Ajimobi of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

Since then, the zone had been canvassing for the shifting of power from Ibadan (with 11 Local Government Areas which had produced three out of the four governors from 1999 till date) to Oke-Ogun.

Some leaders of the zone including former Minister of State for Agriculture, Chief Bamidele Dada; former Deputy Governor Chief Iyiola Oladokun and Former Secretary to the State Government, Chief Micheal Koleosho, traditional rulers, professional bodies, students and youth groups had also been lobbying for the number one seat over the years but the move became deepened when the Oke-Ogun Development Consultative Forum (ODCF), a pressure group for the development of the zone formally declared the support for the zone to produce the next governor of the state in 2019 last Friday in Ibadan, the state capital.

President of ODCF, Dr. Olusegun Ajuwon (OON) who spoke on behalf of the zone maintained that the region, in achieving its ambition in 2019 is not only relying on its strength, but decided to work with other regions and all stakeholders to realize this objective.

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Ajuwon while addressing journalists at a press conference under title “Governorship of Oyo state come 2019, it is our turn in Oke-Ogun” held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo state Council headquarters, Iyaganku, however stated that the region is not specific about any particular party but have mandated it on the ears of all aspirants from the region to “be good party men to get their party’s ticket.”

The event was attended by eminent personalities from the region, among which are executive members of ODCF, retired Chief Justice of Oyo state, Bayo Lawal and a governorship aspirant in the state, Engineer Remi Olaniyan.

Ajuwon said “Oke-Ogun as a distinct segment of Oyo state is hereby announcing formally that for the governorship of Oyo state, it is our turn, come 2019. Gomina Ipinle Oyo, Oke-Ogun lokan. I would have added the phrase pure and simple to the slogan Governorship of Oyo State come 2019, it is our turn in Oke-Ogun, but I am fully aware that there is hardly any such phrase in politics. I know nothing of such comes easy and producing a governor will never be easy. But have resolved to do so, so help us God.

“We Oke-Ogun people are loyal, we are hardworking, we have integrity and we are friendly, peace-loving, godly and we are bold. We have demonstrated these virtues in Oyo state, in the country and even outside the shores of Nigeria. From the time of Western region through the period of Western state, old Oyo state to the present, no citizen from OkeOgun has been a governor. We have been patient but we are convinced that it is now our turn to lead. We have very many qualified candidates of good standing, experienced with track records of excellent performance in public and private sector.”

He said the region will not only relying on its strength only, but decided to work with other regions and all stakeholders to realize this objective.
“We however duly acknowledge that we certainly cannot win the governorship by ourself in Oke-Ogun. We need the support of the other areas in the state. We are therefore soliciting for the understanding and support of our dear compatriots in Ibadan, Oyo, Ogbomoso, and Ibarapa. We urge you all to join hands with us in this our quest and push, after all democracy is a game of numbers. We need as many friends as we can get to accomplish this goal.”

“Whichever party that presents an indigene from Oke-Ogun we will support. What is however certain is that we’re going to present one candidate to actualize our aim”.

DAILY POST recalls that Governor Abiola Ajimobi had also expressed support for the agitation by the people of the zone to produce the next governor of the state.

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Though he counselled that the people must seek the support of the other zones of the state for the dream to be actualized, noting that Ibadan alone constitutes 52 per cent of the entire population of the state.

Ajimobi who spoke in Okeho, the headquarters of Kajola Local Government Area of the state, at the fidau prayers for a stalwart of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Salami Oloola, acknowledged the role played by the people of Oke Ogun in his election victories, particularly in 2015 when he won an unprecedented second term in office.

“I can recall vividly that during the 2015 governorship election, I won in nine, out of the 10 local governments in Oke-Ogun, and this aided my emergence as the first governor to secure a second term in office in Oyo State.

“I cannot thank you enough. I will forever cherish you my people from Oke-Ogun and I am using this opportunity to assure you that I will reciprocate your love for me.

“Without prejudice to the competence and legitimacy of aspirants from other zones nursing the ambition of succeeding me, I can say the people of Oke Ogun deserve my support.

“But, I will advise that you seek the support of people from other zones. You must win them over to win a governorship election. For instance Ibadan people alone constitute about 52 per cent of the population.”

Speaking while featuring at South West Group of Online Publishers (SWEGOP), media chart recently held in Ibadan, one of the aspirants, Engineer Rauf Aderemi Olaniyan while making a case for Oke-Ogun’s turn to produce the next governor of the state however said the ideal candidate must be marketable, reliable and educated.

He also informed that Oke-Ogun should produce a sound, trusted and knowledgeable candidate to vie for the number one seat in the state.
The ex- General Manager of Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency, (OYSROMA) said “I don’t believe in big names, look at Barrack Obama, a black man, his father is from Kenya, he rules America, don’t look at where he was born, so if Obama can sail through in USA, so also an Oke-Ogun man can sail through to become governor of Oyo State in 2019.

“In spite of the fact that Barack Obama was a black man who had several things working against him, he emerged as the first black President of the United States. So, if a black man could become US President, then a candidate from Oke-Ogun can become Oyo State Governor.
“But as I said, he must meet some criteria. He must be someone who is marketable, reliable, educated and knowledgeable.
Olaniyan said he is in the race to better the lot of the people.

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“This question you ask, I will say Astagarfullahi (May God forgive me), I don’t want to say it because as a Muslim you don’t mention what you do for people, what are we in life for?

“it is to assist people. Many people are benefiting from my health initiative, 7 Medical students of LAUTECH, I am sponsoring them, those that are not Medical are still there.

“I don’t have any problem with the determinant factors, the people you mentioned, I don’t have problem with them, so I can tell you that I am okay. As I said if Obama can sail through, an Oke-Ogun man can also sail through”. Though, some of them have not come out officially, but Oke-Ogun is next to produce governor.

He said his ambition is not for personal benefit but for the collective benefit of the people. Olaniyan noted that he had been offered the position of the Deputy Governor several times but he had always declined the offer because his people need him to serve them at a different capacity.
Minister for Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu in a recent interview while boasting that it is time for the zone to produce the next governor of the state, however, insisted that he is the best candidate for the job.

He declared that Ajimobi would hand over the baton of leadership to him when the time is ripe.

Shittu noted that ‎other gubernatorial aspirants in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) fold would also join hands with him.
He observed that his political maturity and experience would make other aspirants to work for him to become the next governor of the state.
“I am not afraid of other aspirants. I have the experience, I have been in politics since I was a student and I have been serving the government too.
“So I have what others do not have and I am sure those things will work for me,” he boasted”.

He said “Apart from General Jemibewon, Ajimobi recorded tremendous success in terms of infrastructural development and in other sectors.
“But despite that, I will succeed him and do better to take the state to greater heights”.

Shittu insisted that, “I have programmes and plans that will enhance agricultural development, education, health and other sectors in the state and by the grace of God, my administration will change Oyo State for the better”.

But political observers are of the opinion that the zone would need acceptable candidate and work with other zones especially Ibadan where the bulk of the votes come from before it can lay claim to the number one seat in the state.

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