Dayo Johnson Akure
THE jostle for the ministerial slot for OndoState has split the ranks of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Specifically, the battle to outwit one another has inadvertently pitched the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu against some close allies of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Foremost among them are two engineers, Ife Oyedele and Rotimi Fasakin, both executive directors of engineering in the Niger Delta Power Holding Company and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) respectively.
Oyedele and Fasakin have come a long way with President Buhari since the days of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which is a formidable power bloc within the ruling APC.
Oyedele is from Okitipupa while Fasakin hails from Akure and it is generally claimed that they are both interested in the ministerial position.
But Akeredolu according to one member of his kitchen cabinet is “disposed to either his immediate predecessor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko or any of his two aides- Mrs Bunmi Ademosu (Special Adviser to the governor on Multilateral and Intergovernmental relations) and Mr Boye Oyewunmi (Special Adviser to the governor on Investment and Development).
“He is yet to make up his mind on who to back but the worst case scenario is that he would forward the three names to the president for one of them to be considered”.
But a more interesting scenario appears to be playing out elsewhere as APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is said to have come under intense pressure to back Akeredolu’s Special Adviser on Public Utilities and Power Infrastructure, Engr. Tunji Light Ariyomo.
In fact, the paramount traditional ruler of Akure land Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi is believed in some circles to be also backing Ariyomo.
Oba Aladetoyinbo’s position could also have flowed from his continued insistence on having an indigene of Akure in the federal cabinet.
Ariyomo, however again is a political godson of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
This twist is believed to have played Southwest coordinator of the APC Presidential Campaign, Chief Olusola Oke off the radar as his main backer, the immediate past governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola is also said to be also keen to position himself in the cabinet.
Oke’s case is also not being helped by the poor performance of the APC in the presidential election in Ondo State.
The APC lost not only the presidential election but also both the Ondo South senatorial district and Oke’s Ilaje Ese-Odo Federal Constituency.
While Oke had made frantic efforts to explain the reasons responsible for the party’s poor outing, the presidency is said not to be convinced over the reasons.
As for Mimiko, Fasakin, Ademosu and Ariyomo, their argument has been that while the North and South senatorial districts of the state already have the governor and deputy respectively, it was only equitable for the minister to come from the central.
The trio of Fasakin, Ademosu and Ariyomo are all from the Akure Kingdom in the central senatorial district.
Mimiko, from Ondo town also from the central senatorial district, contested the last senatorial election on the platform of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) but had endorsed and worked for President Buhari.
It would be recalled that Mimiko cut a deal with Akeredolu in the last election whereby two of the three state Assembly seats were won by the APC.