In Oyo State, the Peoples Democratic Party lacks a unified campaign for both its presidential candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, and governorship candidate, Senator Teslim Folarin. Both campaign organisations are working separately, and perhaps at cross purposes, no thanks to the state Coordinator of President Jonathan’s campaigns and Minister of State for the Federal capital Territory, Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, who seems not to be on the same page with Senator Folarin, on the governorship race in the state. IBIDAPO BALOGUN reports…
Dateline-Tuesday, February 24 and venue- headquarters of Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in Adamasingba, Ibadan, Oyo State. It’s a big building called Richard Akinjide Plaza owned by former Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide. The place was dotted with all kings of campaign paraphenalia for President Jonathan’s re-election. There was a beehive of activities around the place on this particular day, with people going in and and out of the complex, while another large chunk of people milled around. Key officials of the campaign organisation were waiting for Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory and Oyo State Coordinator of President Jonathan’s campaigns. WESTERN POST was told that there was a scheduled meeting of the campaign officials, but Oloye Akinjide who was to chair the meeting was not around. As it turned out, she was still holed up in Abuja and could not make the meeting.
Following PDP’s tradition, a governor is the coordinator of the president’s campaigns where the party produces the governor. In the absence of a governor produced by the party, the PDP governorship candidate becomes the coordinator for the president’s campaigns. The advantage in that system is that the two campaigns- for the president and the governorship candidate-become unified, and while drumming up support for his own election, the governorship candidate also campaigns for the president’s election. That way, the campaigns gather speed as the available resources and energies become synergised and are centred in one direction and not dissipated.
However, the situation is starkly different in Oyo State. Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide, President Jonathan’s Minister from the state, is the president’s coordinator. With that appointment, Oloye Akinjide has suddenly assumed a larger-than-life image in the scheme of things. The president’s campaign funds are channeled through her and not through the party’s governorship candidate. The presidential campaign seems to have a surfeit of funds, though how it’s being channeled is a different kettle of fish. But the governorship campaign suffers from a paucity of funds. As the Coordinator of President Jonathan’s campaigns, Oloye Akinjide’s name even rings louder than that of President Jonathan in her radio and television campaign jingles for the president.
Just how did Akinjide worm her way into the president’s heart? Some reckon that it was through her relationship with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan. She recently brought Dame Jonathan to Ibadan for a women development programme. She also recently arranged a meeting of some of the gladiators in Oyo State with the First Lady on the 2015 governorship election. At that meeting were former governors Rashidi Ladoja and Adebayo Alao-Akala as well as Senator Folarin. Oloye Akinjide was said to have told Dame Jonathan that only Senator Ladoja could deliver the state being controlled at present by the All Progressives Congress to PDP. She said Ladoja, who had since left PDP to found Accord in the state, should be brought back to fly the PDP ticket for the governorship. On that score, the duo of Folarin and Alao-Akala were united. They resisited the move and the meeting fell through. But that Akinjide’s feelings about Ladoja remains the crux of the problem in the PDP governorship campaigns in Oyo. How?
Akinjide Allegedly Roots for Ladoja
The Minister of State for FCT is being speculated to be rooting for Ladoja in the election. Some of her close associates are said to be running for elections in the state on Accord platform. She was daid to have facilitated the channeling of some funds to Ladoja governorship campaign by the presidency. The APC in the state had put the initial funds released to Ladoja at $1.2 million but WESTERN POST could not independently confirm this.(Alao-Akala is also said to have benefitted from Abuja as some funds are said to have been released to him to aid his campaign). Both Ladoja and Alao-Akala, though running on separate political parties, but the duo are said to be working for Jonathan’s re-election.
To smoothen the relationship between her and Akinjide, Folarin was said to have appointed an Akinjide’s ally and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Asimiyu Alarape, as the Director-General of his campaigns but this is yet to cut a dice from Akinjide. The Minister is said to be working on the theory that Folarin could not deliver the state to PDP and only Ladoja could wrestle power from the APC-led government of Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
Meanwhile, Akinjide had rallied all the former PDP governorship aspirants in the state to work for the president’s re-election.The likes of Professor Soji Adejumo, Professor Taoheed Adedoja, Alhaji Hazeem Gbolarunmi, Engineer Femi Babalola aka Jogor, 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. But the big question is how many of them are using that platform to work for the PDP governorship candidate?
Olaosebikan: We are all on the same page in Oyo PDP
The Director of Media and Publicity of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaigns in the state and former governorship aspirant of the party, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, however denied that the Jonathan Campaign Organisation is working at cross purpose with the governorship party’s campaigns.
On insinuations in some quarters that Senator Folarin’s Campaign in Oyo State is not working together with that of President Jonathan, Olaosebikan said: “There is nothing like that, they are working towards the same goal, including other candidates of the PDP in Oyo State”. He denied any rift between the PDP governorship candidate and the President Jonathan’s Campaign Coordinator in the state, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, saying the two camps are one.
On the meeting Folarin, Ladoja and Akala had with the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan last year, which was at the instance of Akinjide, who reportedly said only Ladoja could deliver Oyo State to the PDP, Olaosebikan said the party was yet to produce its governorship candidate then, but now that they have a credible gubernatorial candidate, everyone is working hard to deliver the state to the party.
“ We now have our own gubernatorial candidate in person of Senator Teslim Kolawole Folarin, and all us are working to ensure the success of President Jonathan at the polls. There is no conflict whatsoever, the two campaigns are one, they are always in touch, they talk every time,” he stressed.