WHO WANT AGBOOLA AJAYI AS FALL GUY?
By Yemi Akintomide
By now, the deputy governor of Ondo State, Alfred Agboola Ajayi must know that the forces within the All Progressives Congress (APC) controlled government in Ondo State led by his boss and the governor, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu (SAN), who on daily bases, looking for his fall are growing with the speed of lightning and thunder storm.
This current banishment and all sides attack on the grassroots politician is not coming as a surprise to some of us who had been watching with keen interest happenings within the Akeredolu’s kitchen cabinets since it formation in 2017, months after both Akeredolu and Ajayi were sworn in as governor and deputy governor respectively at an elaborate ceremony inside the Akure Township Stadium on February 24, 2017.
At the inception of this administration, I personally has some reservations and palpable fear for the new union judging by the political backgrounds of both men involved in the union; Akeredolu, an Ibadan based lawyer in blooming private legal practice and a green horn in Ondo State political turf, in union with Ajayi, a grassroots politician who was elected as a councilor, a supervisor and a local government chairman before he was also elected as a federal legislator in the lower Chambers of the National Assembly.
As we will say in local language, the union get K-leg from the formative stage as both men came into the government with distinctive experiences, ambitions, targets and goals; more so, they were from different political parties, the People Democratic Party (PDP) and APC.
Ajayi came into the partnership armed with raw knowledge of the political space of not only his Ese-Odo council area, but the entire state owing to unbroken years of political sojourning and grassroots involvement across the eighteen council areas that made up Ondo State.
That was why he practically took over the control of all the political machineries of the Akeredolu’s government at the inception of the administration to give it a befitting set up and smooth running up to the moment when it became unbearable and perhaps, too powerful to the emerging cabal within the government.
At this point, an emerging cabal within the Alagbaka Government House swung into action by calling the attention of Governor Akeredolu to the enormous power he carelessly entrusted into the hands of his deputy, and the danger such unguided action could caused for the reelection bid of Mr. Governor.
As if a big cotton fell off his eyes, Mr. Governor started playing along the direction pointed out by the cabal, and instantly without given it a second thought, Ajayi, his deputy was since then, being viewed and tagged a mole alongside former ally of the governor and secretary to the state government (SSG), Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde.
The rumour going round then, especially when the governor was down with undisclosed aliment and he was off duty post for almost three months, was that Ajayi is warming up to takes his boss position, while Abegunde is favoured as deputy governor. Right from the day Akeredolu came back to Akure in grand style and resumed his duty, both Ajayi and Abegunde have not known peace as their duties were automatically reassigned to the chief of staff to the Governor, Olugbenga Ale and the head of service, Dare Aragbaye, respectively.
As if that was not enough, both high ranking cabinet members were further humiliated by the governor who empowered two of their close aides, Donald Ojogo and Saka Yusuf-Ogunleye. Both were placed well above their former bosses as they were saddled with bigger responsibilities in their respective local government areas.
But, why must Akeredolu make Ajayi the fall guy because of his reelection bid? Can Ajayi bold enough to stand against his boss in the primary election of APC or as a candidate of PDP or other political parties for the forthcoming October 10, 2020 Governorship Election? Answers to these questions are necessary for possible insight into the current “bad belle” going on inside the inner caucus of the Alagbaka Government House Ground and top executive members of the ruling APC.
But one thing I know as a matter of fact is that, the Agboola Ajayi I know will never go down easily without putting up a fight. And when I say a fight, it may not come the usual or traditional way of fighting a political battle of this manner; but be rest assured that he is a dogged political player, raw and undiluted grassroots politician and one with a lorry full of native intelligence.
During the pre-2016 Governorship election, Ajayi played a prominent role in the emergence of Akeredolu as APC candidate and the eventual winner of the election. He was the Generalissimo of Aketi Campaign Organisation and the commander in chief of the Think anew, Act anew foot sojas. He was everywhere, bringing everybody together on the field for the battle to be fought and won.
He house in Abuja was home for everybody that came to town from Ondo State then. He was ready to accommodate and entertain all manners of people, including politicians from other political parties. On many occasions, your truly was his guest in his Asokoro quarters in company of other colleagues when we couldn’t afford hotel accommodations in Abuja metropolis. All the rooms at the ground floor of the house were converted to bed rooms for visitors with quite a number of mattresses for sleeping pleasure of the large member of visitors that came calling everyday.
Bet it with me, it will be an hurricane task to fall this guy because he has prepared for this day long time ago; as a councilor, a supervisor and chairman, all in Ese-Odo and as a member of the House of Representatives for Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency.
I learnt that concerted efforts are ongoing to impeach this unusual politician and gladiator as the deputy governor, but I hope the Governor will not yield to this unwise counsel and unpatriotic advise of some paperweight politicians who are puffing around as cabal in the cabinet.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu need, like never before, to put on his thinking cap and tread gentlemanly in handling the impasse between him and his deputy, as he prepares to face other aspirants who are ready to slush it out with him in the primary poll of the ruling APC before he faces the general election later this year.
He definitely can’t avoid to add an additional burden to the one already put on ground for him to lift up by the troublesome group within the party known as Unity Forum led by another former deputy governor in the state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi. Rather, Ajayi should be made to take up his left role in the Aketi Campaign Organisation to lead the reelection battle like he did in 2016, because when the chips are down, we know those who are capable to delivery at minimal struggle and right on time.
YEMI AKINTOMIDE wrote from Orita-Obele, Akure.