In Oyo state, the race towards 2023 has begun in earnest. AGBOOLA BAYO writes that the APC governorship candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, who lost in the last election, is set to hit the ground running again.
The 2019 general elections, no doubt, has come and gone, however, Blueprint investigation shows that some of the political class are assessing the last elections and planning ahead of the 2023 general elections which, to many Nigerians, is still a bit far. According to them, the newly-elected political office holders should be allowed to settle down and concentrate in order to give the people the dividends of democracy as promised during the campaign.
In Oyo state, for instance, the situation is not different as the race for 2023 is on full course despite the fact that the out-going administration of Governor Abiola Ajimobi is yet to wind up and incoming administration yet to take over.
No hold bared
Indication to this emerged on March 17, 2019 when the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the March, 9 elections, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, finally breaks his silence after his defeat at the poll saying, “Like they say, the joy of the Olympics is not just in winning medals but in the fulfilment of our participation. And I also know that politics they say it is not a 100 metre dash but a marathon which we know always starts with a single step. That heavy and decisive step has been taken through the process of this last election and we wont stop until we reach our desired destination.”
Adelabu minced no words in declaring that, “It is worthy of note that one or two lessons have also been learnt and all these will guide our actions and activities going forward.”
The APC governorship candidate in a statement he issued and personally signed emphasised that he lost the March 9 governorship election due to what he referred to as the conspiracy or coalition of five other governorship candidates in the state.
“My apology for the delay in reaching out, being close to 40 days now after the elections. Like everyone of our supporters, I personally had to struggle for some time to come to terms with the realities of the disappointing results of the election and just returned from a two-weeks vacation abroad where I took some time to rest, spent time with my family and reflected on the way forward,” he said.
Chief Adelabu quickly added that, “Electoral losses, as read in history, have made great leaders come out stronger, better and more successful and never to depress or discourage them. I take solace in the persistence and tenacity of our 357,000 strong genuine voters (which is larger than what ushered in the last three successive governors) and kindness of history and posterity. The devil is in the details like they say, as a first timer, with 357,000 genuine votes, we remained the single strongest candidate in the 2019 guber elections displaced by the conspiracy or coalition of five other candidates. This also gave out our party as the single strongest and most popular party in the last elections. All these should not go unnoticed and should prepare us better for challenges ahead.”
He pointed out that he won’t stop until he reaches the desired destination.
“While I believe the results came out the way it was destined, the adduced reasons notwithstanding, our party is collectively convinced that the election was marred by various electoral irregularities and malpractices ranging from front loading of votes to multiple voting cutting across same and multiple polling units, hence the petition submitted at the tribunal presently being prosecuted and this is left for the Judges to determine.
“Notwithstanding the outcome of the election petition tribunal, I’m personally of the opinion that we need not be stagnant in our electoral quest and planning for the next election should start in earnest. Our political structures across the state remain intact while our supporters remain undaunted. We intend to keep and maintain these structures and regularly reach out to our fans and supporters who till date are still left gapping and wondering why the results came out the way it did. The reflections are all over the state as everywhere seems to be in a state of mourning and no signs of celebrations or jubilations ushering in a popularly elected new government.
“It’s a good day to you my people. 2019 elections have come and gone. I want to thank you profusely for the uncommon support, morally, financially and spiritually that you showed me during the last gubernatorial election. I’m eternally grateful and indebted to you and I believe it’s only the Almighty Allah that can pay you back and in folds too.
Once again, God Himself knows the sincerity of our intentions and genuineness of our purpose; so our sacrifices are not in vain, but remain an innocent investment in the desired prosperity of our dear state. Whatever happens to a man is either a blessing or a lesson. However in this case, it’s both a blessing in disguise and a lesson to come out a better and stronger person.
Notwithstanding the shocking and unfavourable outcome of the elections, I still thank the Almighty Allah for seeing us through a well orchestrated electioneering campaign devoid of casualties which I believe will go down in history as one of the most flamboyant, issue-based and all inclusive campaign ever in the history of Oyo state politics.”
Chief Adelabu stressed further that, “We are still thankful to God that our party still occupies the federal government and the national executive of our party has assured us of consistent and special support to enable us bounce back being the only state in the South-west now in opposition. I also want to let you know that I will soon reach out to you on specific plans, programmes and activities in our camp and plead that you should not relent in your support for this cause and very soon, we will reach our destination.”
A critical look at Chief Adelabu’s appraisals of the last elections clearly showed that he looks more determined and committed for the battle ahead going by his words that, “notwithstanding the outcome of the election petition tribunal, I’m personally of the opinion that we need not be stagnant in our electoral quest and planning for the next election should start in earnest.”
No doubt, the planning, as he rightly said, has started but trust Nigeria politicians, as the baton of power will on May 29 be shifting from the ruling APC to the hands of Engineer Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), there will surely be cross carpeting of the ‘professional’ politicians from the APC to the ruling party in the state, which if not adequately handled by Adelabu and other stakeholders in the state, it would compound more to the already known factional problem rocking the APC in the state.