No fewer than 30 aspirants from various political divide have so far indicated interest to contest the governorship seat in Oyo State, barely 22 months to the 2019 general elections, newsmen has reliably gathered.
Investigations by our correspondent show that aspirants, some of whom have decided to run on certain political party and those yet to decide on a platform have been holding meetings, talks with their followers, various groups and associations, leaders of thought and traditional rulers across the five geo-political zone of the state.
Oyo State is divided into Ibadan (11 LGAs), Ibarapa (3 LGAs), Ogbomoso (5 LGAs), Oke-Ogun (10 LGAs) and Oyo (4 LGAs).
Ibadan, the state capital, since 1999 produced three governors; Alhaji Lamidi Adesina (1999-2003); Senator Rasidi Ladoja (2003-2007) and the incumbent Senator Abiola Ajimobi (2011-2019) while Ogbomoso only produced Otunba Adebayo Alao Akala (2007-2011). The three others are yet to produce the number one citizen in the state.
Parties jostling to succeed the current governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi are those in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Accord Party, Labour Party, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and KOWA party.
All Progressives Congress: The APC that produced Ajimobi, who was fortunate to serve two-term since the history of the state, has has largest number of aspirants.
They include, a Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, Minister of Communications Barrister Adebayo Shittu; a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Chief Niyi Akintola; erstwhile Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Yunus Akintunde; Ex-Chief of Staff, Professor Adeolu Akande and Commissioner of Finance, Mr. Bimbo Adekanmbi.
Others are senators representing Oyo South, Ridwan Adesoji Akanbi; Oyo North, Abdulfatai Buhari; Oyo Central, Monsurat Sunmonu, pioneer General Manager of the Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSTROMA), Engineer Aderemi Olaniyan: Commissioner for Health Dr. Abdulazeez Adeduntan; prominent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ahmed Raji.
Also in the APC list are former Commissioner for Finance during the first tenure of Ajimobi, Mr. Zackeus Adelabu; member representing Akinyele/Lagelu Federal Constituency, Hon. Temitope Olatoye; Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr. Ajiboye Omodewu and scion of Late Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, Dr. Ayobami Lam Adesina.
Peoples Democratic Party: The PDP that produced the immediate past governor, Chief Adebayo Alao Akala and his predecessor, Senator Ladoja from 2003-2007 and 2007-2011 respectively, currently has the second largest aspirants jostling to become governor.
Those nursing the ambition include a former Senate Leader and governorship candidate of the party who came third in 2015 election, Senator Teslim Folarin; ex-commissioner for Education, ex-Minister for Special Duties, Sports and governorship candidate under the defunct Action Congress (AC) in 2007, Professor Taoheed Adedoja; former Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education, Professor Soji Adejumo; former Deputy Governor to Adebayo Akala during his eleven months tenure after the impeachment of Senator Rasidi Ladoja, Chief Azeem Gbolarumi and former Registrar of Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Dibu Ojerinde.
Accord Party: Those nursing governorship ambition under AP include the National Leader and former Governor of the state, Senator Rasidi Ladoja, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin.
Social Democratic Party: Engineer Oluwaseyi Makinde being the major financial of the party since its resuscitation in Oyo State is believed to be the only aspirant that has so far expressed interest to run under the platform.
A chieftain of the party and close associate of the Ibadan born business tycoon informed DAILY POST on Sunday that Makinde is the only one he know nursing the ambition in SDP.
The SDP stalwart said, “I only know of Seyi Makinde, for now”.
Labour Party: A former Secretary to the state government and ex-Chairman, Odu’a Investment Company Limited Chief Sarafadeen Abiodun Alli, is said to be nursing the ambition under LP.
KOWA party: The party’s governorship candidate in 2015 and the chairman of the party, Alhaji Olaide Olayiwola is the only one yet who has expressed interest to replace Ajimobi in 2019.
A former governor, Chief Adebayo Alao Akala, is also interested in returning to the seat but no one knows under which platform he intends to run.
Other governorship aspirants are former Commissioners, Barrister Kazeem Adedeji and Barrister Lowo Obisesan; Pastor Taiwo Otegbeye and a Public Relations expert, Mr. Fagade.
Analysts are however of the opinion that only a few of all individuals who have indicated interest are serious in their ambition taking into consideration their profile, background, followership, influence, financial strength among other factors.