By Adeola Badru
IBADAN-A former House of Representatives member, Mr Dada Awoleye has said that the immediate-past Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi was not a true democrat who believed in internal democracy, just as he said the former governor always wanted to call the shot in All Progressives Congress (APC).
He made this known in Ibadan while speaking on the new lease of life brought by the new administration in the state under Governor Seyi Makinde.
According to him: “I discovered that all the Executive Governor of Oyo State in the person of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, wanted then was a situation whereby he called the shot in his political party.”
“He seemed not to believe in having internal democracy in the All Progressive Congress (APC). That’s the reason he was not happy when I emerged the party’ s candidate because I was not his candidate. He probably wanted somebody else in 2011”
“The same thing played out in 2014 when we held the primaries. You will recall the APC was formed in 2013. Again, I was not his preferred candidate, he was in support of Farouk Arisekola, who happened to be the son of renowned business mogul, Alhaji Arisekola Alao.”
“And right from there he had been saying that subsequently there won’t be primaries in APC, that he would dictate who gets what. It actually came to pass, it was in the course I went and meet him.”
“Initially, I was to go for governorship election but he called us and hand twisted us in a way to step down for three people out if which he would pick one. so, I discovered that I was not even in the picture.”
He wanted people who have much money to prosecute the election and he also wanted to contest for the senate.
When I met him in my bid to go for House of Representatives for the third time, he said he had already got people he told to buy forms, that really got me annoyed and I had to pull out of APC. I believe I could realise my ambition somewhere else. It was not actually in my own volition to have left APC, it was due to the fact that internal democracy was lacking in the APC.”
“By the time I pulled out, a lot of people too had pulled out of the party due to the same reasons of not being allowed to participate in the congress. I would say I am one of the people who last pulled out of the party. It was a matter of ideologies and policies. I will not stay in a party where I would not be allowed to contest freely,” he noted.
Responding to a statement credited to the former governor that his influence as governor gave some politicians the leverage and opportunity in APC, Awoleye maintained: “I have contested elections three times back to back and won since 2007. And I can tell you that my own personality contributed to a number of votes senator Ajimobi got in Ibadan North then.”
“In 2007 when I won the election into the Oyo State House of Assembly and also to the House of Representatives, my votes were so high and gave Ajimobi leverage.
“We had to campaign rigorously the other time for him to defeat Senator Ladoja with one thousand, eight hundred votes, it was a very had work. So, whose influence was bigger then? I can tell you in 2018 that I got over thirty-six thousand votes and Accord that came second then had sixteen thousand votes. I defeated Accord with roughly about 20,300 votes.”
“In 2019 if I had contested in APC my votes wouldn’t have gone below thirty-six thousand. The minimum of forty thousand or at least thirty-six thousand. The vote of the APC candidate in the last election was sixteen thousand, not up to half of what I use to get.
“What that means is that if Abiodun Dada Awoleye had contested in APC his votes would have pushed that of Ajimobi upward from the range of sixteen to thirty-six thousand votes, with which he would have defeated Senator Kola Balogun in the election. Senator Kola Balogun defeated him with twelve thousand five hundred votes.”
“Ajimobi lost the election because he had tactically thrown some of us who are very important members out of the APC. So, I can tell you that I would have won if I contested in APC and Ajimobi too would have won too,” Awoleye asserted.
He described Governor Makinde as a team man, who has shown to the world that he needed people who would support him to drive the process, adding that he is a governor who has put a round peg in a round hole.
“My relationship with Engr Seyi Makinde is very cordial ever since we worked with him, he has always been carrying us along. He has been calling me especially at various times to offer my own piece of advice, though, I have not formally joined PDP. I and many of their leaders talk and meet at social functions, that has not made me PDP, ” he said.