The Presidential and National Assembly elections in Oyo State in which the Presidential Candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari and the party swept the polls has sent the losers going back to the drawing board.
During the election, the party’s Senate and House of Representatives candidates also came tops with the party winning all the three Senators as well as 12 House of Representatives seats against those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) (1), Accord Party (AP) (0), Labour Party (LP) (1) and Social Democratic Party (SDP) (0).
The development has also sent jitters down the spines of the leaders of the party on ways of checking it during the election coming up at the weekend in order to prevent what might turn out to be a bandwagon event.
This is so serious to the extent that a meeting was called by the stakeholders in the state in order to address their common problem.
Some of those present at the meeting which took place at the Bodija Home of the Accord Party National Leader and its Governorship Candidate, Senator Rashidi Ladoja were; Senator Teslim Folarin, governorship candidate of the PDP, Seyi Makinde, SDP, Ambassador Taofeek Arapaja, Chief Jumoke Akinjide, Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory as well as Barrister Sharafadeen Abiodun –Alli of the LP.
Apart from looking for the way forward so that their parties will not suffer the same fate in the Saturday April 11 Gubernatorial and House of Assembly polls, Ladoja was of the opinion that the one just held was messed up by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
One of aides of the Accord Chieftain, Honourable Adeolu Adeleke also reiterated this saying that the party never accepted the results.
But no sooner had the dust settled on this matter when news went viral that photographs of the Accord and Labour parties gubernatorial candidates (Ladoja and Akala) alongside that of the President – Elect, were seen displayed on the same poster at some strategic places in Ibadan last Wednesday.
Expectedly, this drew the ire of the APC and the Senator Abiola Ajimobi government which promptly condemned the act by describing it is an attempt by Ladoja and Akala to hoodwink the people of Oyo State.
“They can’t do that. That is fraud and they are known for fraud. They never voted for Buhari.
“They took money from Jonathan and openly canvassed for him. They voted for him. Why all of a sudden are they trying to associate themselves with Buhari?, they chorused.
Gov. Ajimobi also emphasised that they wanted to play on the intelligence of the people of Oyo State warning that any move to defraud them or twist the truth is bound to fail, even if “they wear Buhari’s mask”.
Not done yet, the APC Director of Publicity and Strategy, Mr. Olawale Sadare in a statement described the posters as disgusting, evil and obnoxious, adding that it was a desperate attempt to win and a ploy to escape the anti – corruption crusade of Buhari after he must have been sworn in on May 29.
He said those responsible for the posters should be brought to book while members of the public should shun them as Buhari, a principled man will never associate with them but Governor Ajimobi who he said is the President -elect’s choice.
Interestingly, the Ladoja/Akala camps and others have all come out to say that they had nothing to do with the posters and that they have all it takes to win the gubernatorial election coming up this Saturday and do not need to go to such extremes.
In order to increase their chances, they have called on their supporters not to be jittery nor have sleepless nights over the victory of APC in the last elections, saying that the Buhari victory was a vote by all Nigerians not an APC magic and that things will be different in the House of Assembly and Governorship elections this weekend.
But if Senator Teslim Folarin, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, Engineer Seyi Makinde, governorship candidates of PDP, Accord, Labour Party and SDP thought their problem is half solved, they must have another thing coming.
Another kite was flown that all of them have stepped down and are ready to support one candidate for the much coveted number one seat in Oyo State.
But all of them have responded forcefully that there is no iota of truth in the rumour as everyone is his own man in the election.
However, Sadare will not let them be saying: “Now that the people of Oyo State have again shown their preference for APC, we strongly advise the followers Teslim Folarin, Rashidi Ladoja, and Adebayo Alao-Akala, to review their stance and jump out of the turbulent ship in order not to sink with them.
He said APC is ever ready to protect their interest unlike some parties like Accord, “which neither has root nor capable of protecting their interest at the state and national levels.”
Gov. Ajimobi has also enjoined the people of Oyo State to give him and the APC their mandate again in Saturday’s Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections.
The ball is now in the court of his opponents to play their game in this political test of will.