In what appears to be a move to forestall multiple governorship candidates ahead of the 2019 general elections, a group, Ogun West Consultative Forum (OGWCF), on Tuesday, endorsed Sen. Solomon Olamilekan Adeola, as the Ogun West gubernatorial candidate for the governorship seat of the state.
Sen. Adeola, who is presently representing Lagos West in the Senate, is vying for the Ogun State governorship seat on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
The Ijebu-Remo Governorship Agenda Elders Forum, had last week, announced the Ogun State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Bimbo Ashiru, as the Ogun East APC consensus candidate.
Briefing newsmen in Ilaro, Yewa South Local Government Area of Ogun State, President of OGWCF, Kayode Ajibola, said the Forum, which comprised professionals of Yewa-Awori extraction, had commenced work on how to present a singular but formidable candidate nine months ago.
Ajibola, flanked by the vice president of the Forum, Elder Kunle Amosun, the Secretary, Engr. Diran Ayanleye, Patron, Otunba Akeem Adigun and Prof. Tope Popoola, pointed out that multiple candidates, inability to speak with one voice and lack of political leadership, had prevented the zone from producing a governor since 1976, hence, the Forum’s decision to inaugurate a committee to screen all the aspirants and come up with one strong candidate.
He added that the group endorsed Adeola, otherwise known as Yayi, after it met, interacted and discussed with other aspirants from Ogun West. These aspirants, according to Ajibola, included the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), governorship candidate in 2011 and 2015, Prince Gboyega Nasiru Isiaka, the Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Tolu Odebiyi, a three-time House of Reps member, Hon. Abiodun Akinlade and the Commissioner for Forestry, Kolawole Lawal.
He, however, said other two aspirants, the current Senator representing Ogun West in the senate, Gbolahan Dada and the House of Representatives member representing Yewa South/Ipokia federal constituency at the Green Chamber, Abdul-Kabir Akinlade, did not honour the Forum’s invitation.
He listed origin, financial strength, vision cum developmental agenda, educational qualifications, political platform, experience, exposure and acceptability of the aspirants, as part of criteria considered by the Forum before settling for Senator Adeola.
Justifying the Forum’s decision to endorse Adeola, OGWCF president, however, said Yayi’s financial independence, his political exposure since 1999, experience as the senator representing the most populous senatorial district in Nigeria as well as his acceptability across the other two senatorial district, gave him the edge over other aspirants.
He, therefore, said other aspirants from the zone are not in any way precluded from the 2019 governorship race by the Forum’s decision noting Yayi was only endorsed and not adopted as a sole candidate.
He disclosed the Forum will commence work in earnest and go out to consult, meet and negotiate with other two senatorial districts and relevant political stakeholders.
Ajibola, who was the State Assistant Secretary of PDP in 1999, lamented the inability of Ogun West to produce a governor since the inception of the state, implored all political parties to choose their governorship candidates, vowing the Forum will campaign vigorously against any party that fails to do so.