Chief Niyi Akintola’s outburst is disgraceful and unbecoming of a responsible elder, not to talk of an educated and knowledgeable senior advocate of Nigeria. I am particularly not surprised because I was a victim of his unrefined mannerism when I rented his former house at Olubadan Estate about 20 years ago. Thank God I was well cultured to withstand his onslaught with dignifying candor and thereafter enjoyed his apologies when he realized his mistakes.
Chief Akintola’s defeat during the APC governorship contest was not unexpected because he was never considered a favorite candidate by any measure. The APC primary contest was squarely between Senator Folarin and Chief Bayo Adelabu. The emergence of any other candidate might have been a huge upset. Chief Akintola should have understood that nowadays, the Oyo State governorship contest requires more than old age and senior advocacy. It takes modern-day cats to understand the craft of hunting modern-day rats.
Meanwhile, Chief Akintola’s outburst is not new in Oyo State politics. I could recall the spoiler game he implemented after Chief Adelabu was selected during the 2019 APC primary election at the stadium. It took an “order from above” for Chief Akintola to let go of the ticket for Chief Adelabu when other aspirants, including Chief Tegbe, who was highly favored until the wee hours of the primary election day. I remember that my brother, Late Chief Fatai Abimbola (Abogun), told me that “we have been directed to support Bayo, the youngest aspirant”. Even, after Chief Adelabu became the APC candidate, Chief Akintola still worked against Chief Adelabu to ensure his defeat to Governor Seyi Makinde. No one is clear of the sum Chief Akintola received from Governor Seyi Makinde to warrant a similar spoiler stance this time. But for the interest of the pacesetter state, Chief Akintola should at least be cautioned, knowing that Seyi Makinde’s governance had brought untold hardship and economic stagnation to the state.
President Buhari and Asiwaju Tinubu have made it crystal clear that only APC candidates will be supported during the 2023 general election and all warlords should sheath their swords and look at the bigger picture. Chief Akintola should either join the progressive people of Oyo State to enthrone a progressive government that will pursue progressive agenda or honorably join any other party instead of embarking on anti-party postures, which is now an old trick, forbidden and illegal.
On the other hand, based on my experience, I would enjoin the beneficiary of the ticket, Senator Teslim Folarin, to be more magnanimous because it takes the Grace of God to concede defeat in an election with acclaimed “doubtful results”. The Senator Lanlehin-Led Reconciliation Committee has achieved tremendous progress within a short time. However, there is a need to employ more heavy lifters. Therefore, Senator Teslim Folarin should employ the President, the presidential candidate Asiwaju Tinubu and a host of others including NWC as suggested by Dr. Adeduntan, to reign on the aggrieved leaders. I listened to Chief Akintola, Dr. Adeduntan and Barrister Adebayo Shittu’s interviews repeatedly, and based on my professional understanding of human behaviors, I am well convinced that, if handled well, these leaders would work for Senator Teslim Folarin, come 2023. After all, after 4 years in the wilderness, no true progressive, patriots or forward-looking Oyo State indigene will wish the pacesetter state, another stagnant or retrogressive 4 years under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde’s PDP.
Other articles by Dr. MKO Abimbola can be read here