The Oasis Reporters
March 4, 2019
In Nigeria’s politics, an observer must read beyond the surface to get to the root of what is presented in order to have a richer understanding of the situation on ground. Therefore when former governor of Oyo state, Christopher Alao Akala who had earlier convened a coalition of political parties meeting in the home of his former boss, Rashidi Ladoja, suddenly turned round to say that he is joining forces with Adebayo Adelabu of the APC as he abandons his own dream of governing the ‘Pacesetter state’, Oyo people knew instantly that something had given, somewhere.
First, the background:
Ogbomosho born Christopher Alao Akala was once deputy to former governor Rashidi Ladoja. Ladoja fell out of favour with then strongman of Ibadan politics, Chief Lamidi Adedibu who was his godfather. The chief instigated Ladoja’s impeachment, to make way for Akala to become governor. In the next tenure, Akala won his election on the back of the godfather, for ordinarily, Ogbomosho votes alone can’t make him governor of Oyo state.
In his second attempt to be elected governor, he lost to Ibadan born Senator Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi, the current governor. With a possible EFCC overhang threat, Akala switched camp and joined the All Progressive Congress, APC, in the hope of having “his sins forgiven” as Party chairman, Adams Oshiomhole alluded.
Seeing that his later capitulation to Ajimobi’s APC did not yield any meaningful fruit towards the realization of his going back to Government House for a second and last tenure, he left to form his own Party, the African Democratic Congress, ADP and run as governor. His hopes were hinged on two factors: one, the large assembly of Ibadan gubernatorial contestants would diffuse votes outcomes for all the candidates, and make his bulk Ogbomosho votes significant enough to go for a second round.
Secondly, in the event that Ibadan candidates coalesced behind just a few candidates, he could negotiate with one of them and wrest significant concessions by delivering the bulk Ogbomosho votes.
However, while in the APC, he had some pickings, just for himself and family. At least, his son, Olamiju Alao Akala was made the Ogbomosho North local government chairman.
Therefore when it was mooted that Alao Akala had a fair chance of doing a deal with the People’s Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Engr. Seyi Makinde which would have made the loss for the APC Candidate, Adebayo Adelabu bigger, governor Ajimobi knew exactly what to do: Rattle Alao Akala. His son was rapidly suspended from office as chairman of the Ogbomosho North LG council.
Knowing what government power can achieve, Akala got the message, loud and clear. He abandoned his natural PDP home from where he became governor, and suddenly lined up behind the APC candidate, Adebayo Adelabu, thus scuttling the envisaged coalition.
Ajimobi must have grinned, because soon afterwards, there was breaking news, that the suspended Local Government Chairman of Ogbomoso North and Son of Alao Akala, Olamiju Alao Akala had been reinstated by Governor Abiola Ajimobi after his father rejoins APC in the State.
He wants his supporters in the African Democratic Congress, ADP to join him. The problem is that majority of Oyo people are so independent minded, as they displayed during the last presidential election. Being in a ruling party does not impress them, as much as track record of performance.
The former governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, is working for the All Progressives Congress (APC), ahead of next week’s governorship election, and wants his supporters across the state to join him in his latest move.
Speaking to reporters at his Ibadan residence, Akala said: “I remain in ADP and all our candidates for the House of Assembly seats will stand in the March 9 elections, on the platform of the ADP, with my full support but I will work for the victory of Bayo Adelabu.”
He explained that his alliance with APC was based on the party’s belief that the ADP could perform optimally, and maintain a strong grassroots network not only in Ogbomoso but also in Ibadan, Ibarapa, Oke-Ogun and Oyo.
He said: ”Our core values and philosophies as indicated in our ADP manifesto, ‘Rescue Mission Agenda’ has been adopted by Bayo Adelabu with the Presidency as witness. I have, therefore, as a candidate of ADP, accepted to support Adelabu of APC for victory and therefore form a coalition government.
“My solemn gratitude goes to our members, state and national leaders of the ADP, for the ample opportunity given to me to lead and fly the flag of the party. Though my decision is a very tough one, it is for the progress of Oyo State.”
Alao-Akala said his decision following the results of the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections was based on the outcome of some incidents.
“It is widely known, that, I initiated alliance talks with the main opposition parties in Oyo State vis-a-vis my great party, the Action Democratic Party (ADP), the African Democratic Congress (ADC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) with my boss, the former governor of Oyo State and Osi Olubadan, Senator Rashid Adewolu Ladoja as mediator.
The reason why he actually switched camp was finally revealed when he said that “during the alliance process, I received an emergency call from the Presidency. In the meeting with Presidency, I was prevailed upon to work for APC”.
Whatever may be the prevailing condition that the presidency put forward before Alao Akala may be subject to speculations. But it is widely known that many former governors like Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State, Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia State etc who abandoned their political parties to join the All Progressive Congress, APC have had their corruption cases before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, tactically stepped down.
Therefore, the electorate is no longer impressed with their new found political love.