By Ibidapo Balogun
As the nation waits anxiously for the election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State in the last two weeks has increased the tempo of its activities and campaigns in the state bringing to the fore the accomplishments of President Goodluck Jonathan, the party’s presidential candidate. It started with the announcement of the former governorship aspirants of the party whom many thought had left the party as the key drivers for the presidential campaign. In an unprecedented manner, the best of PDP in the state were rallied by the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide to work for the re-election of President Jonathan. The likes of Professor Soji Adejumo, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi, Engineer Femi Babalola, Chief (Mrs.) Ayoka Lawani, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, Hon. Mike Okunlola and Barrister Are Abdulsalam Abdulahi were made directors to coordinate the eight directorates set up for the campaign.
From then the candidacy of President Jonathan and even the PDP became more visible virtually everywhere. The physical space was filled with posters and billboards of Goodluck Jonathan and PDP. As jingles are blasting the achievements of President Jonathan, the hitherto hidden latent became known to the electorate. Realising how much the President had done for the state in the areas of education, health, rural development, commerce, agriculture, women empowerment and social development, the music is changing in most markets and joints. For instance, many people were jolted when they were told that the President had expended over N10billion on tertiary institutions in Oyo State particularly The Polytechnic, Ibadan and Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, LAUTECH Ogbomosho.
The clincher, which the State Coordinator for the campaign, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, never forgets at her strategic consultations and meetings is the creation of the much-desired Ibadan State already approved by the National Conference set up by President Jonathan. In all the campaigns, rallies and meetings in Ibadan, the mention of creation of Ibadan State was always greeted with loud ovation and excitement by the people. Through the efforts of the team, the various efforts of the President Jonathan PDP-led administration are opening the eyes of the masses to the numerous achievements and roles it has been playing in virtually all sectors in the state but which has hitherto gone unnoticed and or at best given the credit wrongly ascribed to the APC-led administration in the state.
Oyo State is one of the states in the South West that President Jonathan won gallantly in 2011, notwithstanding the emergence of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria as governor. The combination of the votes of the PDP and the Accord Party delivered the state to President Jonathan ahead of the Presidential candidate of the then defunct ACN. The result may not be very different this time again, as some other parties in the state are ready to join the train.
The arrowhead of the Presidential campaign organization in the state, Oloye Akinjide is no pushover. Coming from the revered Akinjide family, she has boasted that the defection of Akala and Seyi Makinde to Labour Party and Social Democratic Party respectively would never affect the political fortunes of President Jonathan in the state. Akinjide believes that the President’s achievements in Oyo State in transportation, rail, road construction, education and youth empowerment would speak for him on February 14 this year. She said President Jonathan would win the state overwhelmingly in the presidential election.
This time round, the driving force which has been core to widespread acceptance of the choice of President Jonathan is not unconnected to his promise of creating Ibadan state. The yearning for Ibadan state has been a long battle that many elders and people are hoping it would come into being during their lifetime
Expressing his level of expectation and anticipation for the state creation, Pa. Agboluaje Adewumi, a 70-year-old Beere-born retiree, said the creation of Ibadan State would be a dream come true for him and his generation. He expressed readiness to collaborate with any leader who will deliver on the promise. Pa. Adewumi who lamented that for more than two decades going, the people of Ibadan had been labouring, working assiduously to facilitate the creation of Ibadan but all efforts had been in vain. He is worried that many communities who are not as big as the present day Ibadan in terms of population and landmass are already states of the federation. He wondered why the case of Ibadan would be different.