As in Ecclesiastes 3:2 where it’s specifically stated that, there is a scheduled time for human being to be born, as well as to die, so it was for the distinguished Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi who recently succumbed to cold hand of death.
The independent-minded, resolute, flamboyant, and political warrior of Oluyole stock, cheated death a couple of times before he was eventually overpowered.
What a man with panache, glamour and the same measure of controversy! Ajimobi was too full of life to die as he did. The Oluyole political warlord was distinguished both in death and while alive.
He obviously re-wrote the political history of Oyo state, a state where citizenry are notorious for always denying an incumbent governor, an opportunity of renewal of office.
Ajimobi didn’t only ride triumphantly to governor’s office for the second time; he did so in style, silencing the coalition of Ibadan & Oke Ogun political heavyweights, spearheaded by Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja.
His tenure changed the conservative posture & mentality of Oyo politics. He constructed modern & durable roads in all nooks & crannies.
He particularly gave a face-lift to hitherto filthy Ibadan Land, with architectural masterpiece of roads, in all the strategic locations of the ancient city, coupled with that amazing Mokola interchange overhead bridge that has completely changed the face of business in Mokola, Dugbe, Sabo, Bodija and its environs.
He also built health facilities of contemporary standard in the three senatorial districts of the state.
Even though, his tenure was associated with controversy, with particular reference to his needless involvement in Ibadan Obaship matter and the demolition of Ayefele Radio station, Ajimobi was undoubtedly the poster boy of APC in the southwest geo-political zone during his reign, for he represented the party sufficiently well.
Distinguished Senator Ajimobi has gone and it’s forever. It’s a reality we must reconcile ourselves with, and considering that nature abhors vacuum, someone else in the state must step into position of leadership he occupied with candor and intimidating presence, and such personality must of necessity be, of an Ibadan stock, If APC must not only desire to be on the same pedestal with PDP, the ruling party, but also to wrestle the power & authority from them, comes 2023.
Ordinarily, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala unarguably suppose to assume the role, considering all his political accomplishments, as well as his comprehensive knowledge of the state political landscape and more importantly, his avowed loyalty to the party, but his age is an obvious barrier.
We must admit that, that energy to run around is no more there. Also, it would be contrary to the principle of fairness & equity to domicile the leadership of the party in the same geo-graphical location, where the Minister representing the state comes from.
This is where Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN), a vast politician also of Ibadan stock comes in. At 59+ thereabout, he represents balance between the young and the old stock, and more importantly, he has the vibrancy, intellect, physical presence and tested political bloc, to engage the present PDP leadership in the state and battles them to submission.
Akintola, an eminent legal practitioner and well respected Senior Advocate of Nigeria has capacity, commanding personality, knowledge and panache, to be the rallying point for the party in Oyo state.
He belongs to the undiluted stock of progressive family, having cut his political niche under the tutelage of late Chief Bola Ige and Archdeacon Emmanuel Alayande, both faithful of legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was the Deputy Speaker of Oyo state parliament during the short-lived democratic governance of 1993.
Till date, he’s been an unrepentant progressive Lawyer. He was at the head of eminent team of Lawyers, who restored at different times, governorship mandate of Adams Oshiomole, Kayode Fayemi, Ibikunle Amosun, and even late Isiaq Ajimobi.
Akintola, a life member of Nigerian Body of Benchers, a feat he achieved at 50, Niyi is also one of the best ten Lawyers in Nigeria, as well as one of the best 50 lawyers in the African continent. He was one time a frontline aspirant to the exalted office of President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), an office he missed by whiskers.
During the 2019 APC gubernatorial election in Oyo state, Akintola was the obvious choice of the generality of the people of the state; from Ibadan to Oke-Ogun to Oyo to Ogbomoso zones, the sentiment was the same.
And this development remained unaltered, until the very day of the primary, in fact till the last minutes, when the national leadership of the party ordered him to withdraw for the reasons best known to them. Against all odds, especially the wishes of his die-hard supporters spread across the length & breadth of the state; he had to withdraw, thus succumbing to internal democracy of the party.
Despite this setback, he has not waiver. He’s not deterred. He has not been found wanting. He has remained committed to the ideals, tenets and philosophy of the party.
Such character and personality is what the party needs in this crucial & critical period in the state to provide direction, credible & purposeful leadership and essentially, to be the rallying point for the millions of party adherents across the state.
To choose someone else is to confine the party to political oblivion & obscurity and make it lives under the PDP shadow for unreasonably length of time.
Oyo state is a progressive state; the PDP reigning there now, is an aberration. This is therefore a clarion call to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the APC national leadership and President Buhari to endorse Chief Niyi Akintola as the new leader of the party in Oyo state. That’s the way to go.
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