In the weeks leading to the final reconstitution of the dissolved Oyo State executive council by Governor Abiola Ajimobi, the Ibadan residence of Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Alhaji Azeez Arisekola Alao, became the Mecca of sort for former cabinet members seeking to return and other politicians and professionals rooting for commissionership slots. Ajimobi himself over-delayed the re-composition of the cabinet perhaps to up the tempo of lobbying. It took around two months before the governor eventually reconstituted the cabinet, claiming at one point that he was under pressure, as, according to him, the various sections of the public wanted to have nominees in his cabinet.
As the would-be commissioners flocked Aare’s residence in droves seeking his endorsement, some other lobbyists also headed for the palace of Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi in Oyo to seek his support.
However, eventually on November 5, 2013, precisely 43 days after he dissolved the cabinet, Ajimobi sent 12 names to the state House of Assembly for screening as commissioners. Six more names were later added to make up the 18-member cabinet. In the end, the list showed that the governor picked from the various power blocs in the state in order to boost his chances of re-election in 2015. Prominent power brokers in the state who have their siblings or nominees in the cabinet are Aare Arisekola, Alaafin of Oyo, Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Samuel Odugade Odulana, Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi Ajagungbade and the owner of Splash FM in Ibadan, Chief Bayo Akande.
For instance, Princess Adetutu Adeyemi-Aigbe, daughter of Alaafin, was named Culture and Tourism Commissioner while Princess Oyefunke Oworu, daughter of Soun of Ogbomosho, takes charge of Ministry of Trade, Cooperatives and Investments. Prince Gbade Lana, son of Olubadan, is in charge of Information and Orientation ministry, Mr. Umar Farouk Alao, Aare Arisekola’s son, holds the portfolio of Ministry of Youth and Sports while Engr. Deji Akande, son of Akande, owner of Splash FM, is the new Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development.
Son of late Governor Lam Adesina of the state, Dapo, formerly Commissioner for Youth and Sports, also returned as Commissioner for Industry, Applied Science and Technology. All in all, five commissioners were retained from the dissolved cabinet. They included Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, Barr. Adebayo Ojo, Princess Adeyemi-Akhigbe, Mr. Zacheus Adelabu and Dapo Lam-Adesina.
Also in the cabinet are Prof. S.O. Olaniyan, Adewale Lawrence Olujide and Abiodun Fatai Atanda.
Ajimobi can hardly be blamed for his seeming desperation to beat the re-election plague that had haunted many a governor of the state in the past.
Former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala would have broken the jinx and returned in 2011 but for his unnecessary face-off with Arisekola and Alaafin of Oyo. Only recently, Alao-Akala tried to make up with Oba Adeyemi by scheduling a time to visit the monarch in Oyo but the traditional ruler cancelled the visit at the last minute, saying Governor Ajimobi who would have provided security for such a ‘high profile guest’ was not in town.