BY OLA AJAYI
Barely a month after Governor Abiola Ajimobi was adopted as the sole candidate for the 2011 election by some Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN party leaders from Ibadanland, the murmuring against the adoption from within the fold is turning into a fight.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State had not spent up to two years in office when he was adopted on December 17, 2012 as the sole candidate for the 2015 gubernatorial election by some party elders from the 11 local governments making up Ibadan land.
The chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN who adopted him cited what they claimed to be his unique achievements among others in pursuing their case for an unprecedented second term for the clean conscious governor.
The governor himself has kept mum about the issue that was triggered of by his foot-soldiers in the ACN in the eleven local governments in Ibadanland.
The Ajimobi associates at the meeting included the State Chairman of the Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Dr. Adebisi Busari and party chairmen in the 11 local governments in Ibadan among many others.
Dr. Busari, who claimed to be speaking on behalf of the local governments in Ibadan, in moving for the adoption of Ajimobi for a second term, faulted the popular Ibadan slogan that no governor serves twice in the state. He said that the slogan only applies to the traditional institution in the city because every family is entitled to the throne. So, it is impossible for any family to produce two kings in a succession.
He asserted that it was in the party’s constitution that its governors who have spent the first tenure, would be presented for the second term.
Now just weeks after the declaration of the party’s leaders, some chieftains, not from the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, but within the ACN are rising against the adoption.
In their ranks are a serving senator and another strong pillar of the party.
Speaking through a group known as Peoples Progressive Front, they distanced themselves from those who picked Ajimobi as the party’s sole candidate for 2015 governorship election.
To them, the call was too premature and unreasonable.
In pledging a boycott of a follow up meeting to the December 17 endorsement meeting that was scheduled for January , 11, 2013, they said:
“The Ibadan South Senatorial Meeting slated for Mapo Hall, Friday 11th January, 2012 in which the brains behind the afore stated declaration wished to assert their immoral authorities remains a charade as it does not enjoy the support of many key stakeholders who have all indicated their decision to boycott it”.
Led by their Chairman, Mr. Kayode Omooba, the ACN members also frowned at the declaration of the governor as the party’s leader as they questioned the relegation of Chief Micheal Koleoso who had worked relentlessly for the growth and survival of the party.
“The decision of some disoriented and misguided persons to declare Governor Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi as the Leader of the ACN in Oyo State following the shocking and painful demise of Alhaji Lamidi Onaolapo Adesina was hasty, presumptuous and unreasonable and therefore null, void and of no effect”.
Governor Ajimobi, in their opinion, should not be distracted in his quest to offer good governance to the people of the State as our party had promised during the electioneering campaigns
This kind of opposition is not the first time. Similar rivalry ensued during the selection of Governor Ajimobi by the powers that be in the ACN some weeks before the 2011 elections.
Sources confided that there was a gentlemanly agreement at the adoption of Ajimobi prior to the 2011 election that he would only spend four years after which another person would take the mantle of leadership.
Besides some of those against the adoption of Ajimob for a second term are not only crying out because of what some described as being hasty, some are just determined not to allow the governor to go for a second term.
Busari one of the leading advocates for Ajimobi’s second term, however, pooh poohs arguments to the contrary saying that it was the tradition of the progressive parties such as the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN and the Alliance of Democracy, AD from which the ACN metamorphosed to present incumbents for a second term.
Now, there are factions loyal to late Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, who had to agree reluctantly to Ajimobi’s candidature in 2011 only after the national leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu waded into the matter.
Adesina’s death would seriously have impact on the togetherness of the party. While his loyalists carry with them bottled anger against the governor for not giving them their own share of the cake, some of them, after the death of Adesina, have realized that their survival is dependent on Governor Ajimobi and it would be wise for them to fall in line since there appears nobody that can whittle down the growing influence of the governor.
It is as such not surprising that the kind of personal interests that make it difficult for the PDP to remain united is already splitting the ruling ACN.
Busari’s argument of keeping to tradition in following the progressive culture of presenting incumbents for a second term, however, would hardly be fully accepted by Ajimobi’s core associates. After all, none of those nominated for a second term ever won in the general election.