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Ondo as emblem of new power equation in S/West

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By Dayo Johnson

A perusal of the ministerial list released by President Muhammadu Buhari showed that the camps of some supposed godfathers in the South-West geopolitical zone lost out.

Akeredolu, NANS,Ondo
Akeredolu

They slipped into disarray after the names were made public.

While the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was learned to have had his way in only two of the states, Oyo and Osun, he lost out in Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti and Ondo states.

S/West list

Those who made the list from the South West are former governor of Lagos and immediate past Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; former governor of Ekiti State, Niyi Adebayo; former Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Sen Olurunnimbe Mamora;   immediate past governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, ex-Commissioner for Works   in Ogun State in the administration of   Senator ibikunle Amosun, Olamilekan Adegbite; Senator Tayo Alasoadura and former Executive Commissioner at the Nigerian Communications Commission ,NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare.

Hard work and loyalty

However, many believe that Fashola made the list and was lucky to be the only minister from the region that was reappointed.

He was said to have been reappointed not just because of hard work, but loyalty.

The immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi, was however unlucky as he was dropped from the initial list.

A source told Sunday Vanguard that powerful persons at the presidency worked against the ministerial nominee of the APC leaders, just to frustrate his perceived presidential ambition.

In Ondo State, the camp loyal to the National Leader of the party, including a former Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, Chief Olusola Oke, Bola Ilori, and Solagbade Amodeni among others, were rattled by the choice of Sen Tayo Alasoadura.

Also read: Tinubu disowns group rallying for his 2023 Presidential bid

2020 governorship ambition

Alasoadura, who represented Ondo Central Senatorial District in the Senate, is a close ally of the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and was said to have been nominated by the latter.

Loyalists of the APC National Leader had pitched their tents with Oke, while another camp queued behind Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Niger-Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, Ife Oyedele.

He is a close ally of President Buhari, a relationship that dates back to the days of defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.

Oyedele, who was said to have helped in the formation of APC in 2013 lost out despite his closeness to the presidency.

The plan is to make him a minister, preparatory to 2020 when he could contest for the governorship position of the state.

Sunday Vanguard learned that Oke, who was also angling to use the ministerial seat as a springboard for his 2020 governorship ambition may now have to lobby for the position of Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission.NDDC.

Before the list was made public, the Oke camp in the state had boasted that the days of Akeredolu were numbered going by the assurances they were given that Oke would make the list.

Since the time of the late Governor Olusegun Agagu, this is the first time that a nominee of the state government would be appointed. Ministerial nominees from Ondo had been picked without any input from the governor.

Akeredolu’s lieutenants

Little wonder Akeredolu’s lieutenants across the state rolled out drums to celebrate the choice of Alasoadura. The described his appointment as a sign that the governor is in the good books of the presidency.

With Alasoadura as a minister representing the state, Akeredolu has scored a price goal in Akure, the seat of power as no indigene of the state capital had been appointed a minister since 1999.

Alasoadura, who was the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), lost his bid to return to the Senate following the crisis in the state chapter of APC.

Others who reportedly lobbied for the ministerial seat from the Central Senatorial District include the Secretary to the State Government and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Utilities, Ifedayo Abegunde.

The Deji of Akure was said to have taken the duo to the Sultan penultimate week ostensibly to lobby for the ministerial slot without the knowledge of Akeredolu.

Speaking on the   Alasoadura, a member of the State Working Committee, SEC, told Sunday Vanguard in confidence that: “There is no doubt that the appointment of Alasoadura will significantly alter the political calculations in the state ahead of the 2020 gubernatorial poll.

“Being a reliable political soul mate of Akeredolu, the appointment of Alasoadura is considered to be an added advantage to the governor. The people of the state for the first time many years have spoken through Akeredolu on their preferred ministerial nominee.

“If the slot had been secured by a foe of Akeredolu, the position would have been effectively deployed to whittle down his influence and probably chase him out of the Alagbaka Government House in 2020. It would have enriched the foe with enormous political energy to wrestle the party’s ticker with the governor.

“ We all know that ministerial slot has always given ambitious politicians an opportunity to dislodge the incumbent. It gives such politicians the power, influence, political stamina to effectively pursue their aspiration.

Adefarati defeated Agagu

“For instance, the late Dr Olusegun Agagu contested the governorship of the state against the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati in 1999. Adefarati defeated Agagu. But Agagu was appointed a minister by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The former governor did not take his eyes away from the governor’s seat. He used his ministerial position to defeat in 2003.

“The immediate past governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, is another study in how to deploy the power and influence of a ministerial position to dislodge an incumbent governor. Mimiko joined the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, a few weeks to the 2003 gubernatorial election.

“After the victory of Agagu, Mimiko was appointed the Secretary to the State Government, SSG. While Agagu’s mind was preoccupied with the development of the state, Mimiko was eyeing his seat and seeking opportunities to shove aside his boss.

“An opportunity came when the Ondo-born politician was appointed a minister following the sack of Mrs Mobolaji Osomo. Mimiko effectively used the position to push Agagu off the gubernatorial seat.’’

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