The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) may have to step up its political game in Oyo State, as more governorship candidates have stepped down for the governorship candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Oluseyin Makinde.
The governorship candidates of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Olufemi Lanlehin and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) Sharafadeen Alli on Monday ended days of anxiety and procrastination by stepping down for the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Oluseyi Makinde, The Nation reported.
The candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) Bolaji Ayorinde also joined the alliance with the PDP.
The alliance narrowed down the major candidates in the Saturday election to only All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Adebayo Adelabu and PDP’s Makinde.
The third major candidate, Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) is currently in an alliance with the APC.
The directors-general of the campaign organizations of the parties involved in the coalition confirmed the decision on Monday, saying that details would be provided later.
The Nation learnt that a formal announcement and unveiling of the coalition will be made in a press conference on Tuesday.
The agreement was expected to have been reached on Saturday but the ADC and ZLP were said to be in consultation with their stakeholders.
Only the SDP confirmed its status in the coalition being built with the aim of dislodging the APC which has been governing the state since 2011.
In one of our reports today, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State reportedly cautioned not to appear at APC rallies in the state.
Ajimobi lost his Oyo South Senatorial District bid to Dr. Kola Balogun of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 105,720 votes to Ajimobi’s 92,579 votes, meanwhile the other two senatorial slots were won by the APC. To worsen matters, of the five federal constituencies in Ajimobi’s Oyo South, APC won only one, while PDP has already won three and is set to claim the fourth when the election is concluded this weekend, SaharaReporters said.
APC’s woeful outing in Ajimobi’s expected stronghold has prompted protests from party leaders, with Bola Tinubu, the National leader, now personally overseeing the campaigns in a desperate bid to prevent a potential surrendering of the governorship to the PDP. And one of what Tinubu has quickly done, apart from buying off Adebayo Alao-Akala’s candidature, is to ban Ajimobi from showing up at APC governorship campaign meetings involving Bayo Adelabu, the party’s candidate.
“The belief of Tinubu and other APC leaders is that it is Ajimobi that the people are angry with — not APC — therefore he should stay away from campaign activities,” an APC source very familiar with the development told SaharaReporters.
“The fear is that Ajimobi’s appearance at Adelabu’s campaign rallies will be damaging for the party. In fact, there is a jingle of the party begging the people, explaining that Ajimobi, not the party, is the fall guy. Since the presidential and national assembly elections, Adelabu has been campaigning on his own — without the Governor’s involvement.”
In the said jingle, listened to by SaharaReporters, APC “begged” all indigenes of the state in the name of God and in the names of prominent Yoruba sons such as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Governor Bisi Akande and Tinubu. The party also mentioned President Muhammadu Buhari and Adams Oshiomhole as begging the people, and specifically censured Ajimobi for his pride in disrespecting the Olubadan of Ibadan, among many other offences.
With Alao-Akala’s withdrawal for Adelabu, Tinubu has already gained inroad into Ogbomosho, where the party could not campaign ahead of the February 23 elections.