By Ayomide Jayeoba
Today, the people of Oyo state will again go out to vote for a new governor who will be steering the wheels of the pace setter state for the next four years. And unlike the 2015 governorship election in the state, the battle to determine the new occupant of the Agodi government house after the expiration of the tenure of the outgoing ‘Constituted Authority’ by May 29, 2019 is directly a two-horse race between the two leading candidates, Adebayo Adelabu of the ruling party APC and Seyi Makinde of the PDP, thanks to the latest political alignments of gladiators and power brokers lining up behind them.
This was made possible following the results of the Presidential and National Assembly elections conducted fortnight ago in which both parties (APC and PDP) performed excellently well. While the PDP won the Presidential poll with a slight margin of 1451 votes, the APC won 2 out of the 3 Senatorial seats and 9 out of the 14 House of Representatives seats, the PDP on its own strength won 1 and 4 House of Representatives seats respectively. However, the election results, no doubts clearly showed that both parties with their strong political structures are in for a fierce slug out at the polls today.
Interestingly, the political gamings and permutations in the last one week has made the election even more intense between both parties. And with the failure of the incumbent governor to win his bid to return to the Senate after 12 years as he lost out to an unknown PDP’s candidate, Muhammed Kola Balogun and coupled with his fast decline in popularity among the people, the ruling party sensed a fire on the mountain and acted quickly by wooing the candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP) who is also a former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala back to the party. He has also dumped his ambition to declare support for Adelabu of APC to become governor. Meanwhile, Seyi Makinde of the PDP has also been boosted by his recent adoption as the consensus candidate of a coalition birthed by PDP and three other leading political parties in the state, the African Democratic Congress(ADC) led by its governorship candidate, Olufemi Lanlehin, the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) backed by former governor Rashidi Ladoja and Social Democratic Party(SDP).
In Oyo State, there are 33 LGA spread across the 3 Senatorial districts which are then subdivided into 5 geo-political zones in the state. The 5 geo-political zones are; Ibadan, Oyo, ogbomoso, Oke Ogun Parapo , and Ibarapa Mejeje .
Ibadan being the largest zone comprises of 11 LGA, Oke-Ogun the 2nd largest zone has 10 LGA, ogbomoso zone with 5 LGA while Oyo zone comprises of 4 LGA and ibarapa zone with 3 LGA. Our calculation, therefore will centre on the geopolitical zones rather than the Senatorial Districts.
Ibadan Zone: This ancient city has always been the deciding factor in determining the fate of who becomes the governor of the state as it boasts of the largest population. With this, the city alone will contribute nothing less than 50% of the total to be cast. Interestingly, the two leading candidates are indigine of Ibadan. While Adelabu hails from Ibadan Southwest local government, Makinde of PDP hails from Ibadan Northeast, the two local governments with the highest number of registered voters in the city.
Unlike in 2015 when the ruling party recorded a great success in the zone, the PDP’s Makinde backed the Ibadan chiefs will likely win 7 out of the 11 local governments in the zone while APC’s Adelabu will likely win the remaining 4.
Oke-Ogun zone, this is the second largest geopolitical zone in the state. This zone has always been the stronghold of the ruling party and has 10 local governments. Putting into consideration the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections conducted fortnight ago, where it won the only Senatorial seat and 4 House of Representatives seats, it is assumed that the APC will win 7 out of the 10 local governments with PDP winning the remaining 3.
Ogbomoso Zone, this is the home of the former governor Alao-Akala and as a grassroots politician with firm structure, he has always been winning all the 5 local governments in this zone. To prove this, he was able to win 1 out of the 2 House of Representatives in this zone for his party, ADP. The ruling party, APC saw this and played smartly by wooing Akala to their side just few days to the election. And with Adelabu of APC enjoying the strong backing of the former governor, it is believed that the APC will almost likely to win all the 5 local governments in the zone.
Oyo zone, there are 4 local governments in this zone and has been one of the strongholds of the ruling party since 2011, thanks to the strong support of the Alaafin of Oyo. And with almost all the political gladiators from the zone collapsing their structures to support Adelabu, thanks to the timely intervention by the monarch. The ruling party may likely win 3 out of the 4 local governments with PDP winning the remaining 1.
Ibarapa zone, this is the smallest zone in the state with 3 local governments, though votes from here can never be overlooked. The PDP currently enjoys the support of the Ibarapa people as evident in the last national Assembly elections where it won all the 2 House of Reps seats. And also, the fast decline in popularity of the incumbent governor Abiola Ajimobi among the people may prove damage for the ruling party in this zone. The PDP is most likely to win 2 out of the 3 local governments here with APC winning the remaining 1.
At the end, the smart intervention of the national body of the ruling party who sensed a smoke of fire on the mountain and thereby solicited for the support of Akala from the Ogbomoso zone following the outcome of the last presidential election in the state may prove as the deciding factor for who becomes the new governor after today’s polls and not Ibadan this time around, meaning that the candidate of the APC, Adelabu may be the likely winner given the support he’s enjoying from the strong man of Ogbomoso politics. Adelabu, barring any last minute ditch may likely win 20 out of the 33 local governments areas of the state and winning 54% of the total votes.