By Kola Amzat
As Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s eight years’ tenure of purposefulness and direction winds up in 2019, Oyo State surely needs a personality of courage, tested and trusted administrator, a reputable professional, an individual imbued with local and international exposure as well as deep knowledge of governance to re-integrate the state into the main stream of Nigerian politics. In the pack of the aspirants struggling to assume the leadership of the state come 2019, Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) stands out to succeed our amiable governor.
He is progressive. He is developmental. His knowledge of contemporary issue is deep. He has amazing knowledge of governance. He is one of the best lawyers our nation has produced. He is actually among the best 50 Lawyers in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the list of the best 500 Lawyers in the globe.
Akintola attracts respect and honor from his contemporaries in the profession across Nigeria, an attribute that propelled him to run for the presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association some years back. He has never shied away from making his views known in national discourse. Despite being a strong member of the ruling APC, he has cause to impress it on President Buhari the need to up the ante of fight against corruption. He also had cause to advise the APC leadership and membership across the nation on the need for orderliness, decorum, observance of ethos of internal democracy in the party as well as the need for members to subordinate their personal interests to the overall interest of the party. He has spoken against the illegal activities of the DSS as well as upbraided judiciary for the rot in the arm of government. That’s the courageous and resolute Akintola for you!
But the major attraction in his imminent candidature is that he is one of the few Nigerians who entered the trenches for years to ensure former President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP were flushed out of Aso Rock. APC assigned him to lead a team of lawyers to the North East to monitor and vacate any legal case brought by disgruntled elements in the PDP in the zone hell bent on seeking atrocious judicial advantage to frustrate President Buhari candidature for the presidency during the 2015 elections, an assignment the legal icon executed with a high degree of professionalism. He was also one of the Nigerians who fought General Abacha to a standstill to ensure the birth of today’s democracy. He alongside other pro-democracy activists not only held the forte in NADECO in Oyo while the struggle lasted, they were also moved in and out of DSS detention camps. The legal luminary had political tutelage under the late Abraham Adesanya, Uncle Bola Ige and Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. Akintola was also deputy speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly in 1999. His status then offered him a veritable platform to understand political dynamics, power intrigues as well as needs of the citizenry of the state.
The legal icon handled many high profile cases for the progressives. He was in charge of Adams Oshiomole and Kayode Fayemi cases in Edo and Ekiti states which the progressives won. He was also a prominent member of the team that claimed victories for the progressives in the cases of Segun Mimiko, Ibikunle Amosun and Abiola Ajimobi in Ondo, Ogun and Oyo respectively. He also made possible the victories of the progressives in Rochas Okorocha governorship case in Imo, Andy Uba and Danjuma Goje senatorial battles in Anambra and Gombe respectively. He handled most of the cases without collecting a dime.
Without any iota of doubt, Akintola has paid his dues politically, having been involved in government at the highest level in the past; having been one of those front-line, resolute, courageous and die-hard Nigerians who fought the military to ‘standstill’ to pave the way for today’s democratic governance in Nigeria; having committed his personal resources to fight the battles for progressives and having been an astute, accomplished and respectable legal professional for several decades. To cap it all, Akintola, at the helm of affairs come 2019 in Oyo, means new dawn beckons in the state in all facets. He will surely bring his level of experience, international exposure, shrewdness and astuteness in legal profession to bear on the affairs of the state. I appeal to stakeholders, members across the parties, traditional rulers, market women and the teeming youths to rally round his candidature.
* Amzat, (FCA, FCIB, ACS, MBA) is a Lagos-based financial consultant & stock broker.