The build up to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries in Oyo state is getting more intriguing, as different interest groups continue to scheme underground for their preferred candidates for different offices.
The race for the Oyo South senatorial ticket seems to be the most contested, although, it looks likely to be a one-horse race as rumour has it that APC leader and presidential aspirant, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been reaching out to party bigwigs in Oyo state to support his preferred candidate, Senator Rilwan Adesoji Akanbi.
This is not unexpected as Akanbi has been at the forefront of the South West Agenda (SWAGA) a political vehicle that has vigorously sold the Tinubu presidency across Yoruba states.
Tinubu is also believed to have argued that Senator Akanbi’s experience as a senator from 2015 to 2019 and his superior national influence is an asset to the party and the state, especially as the party would be facing a ruling PDP that is desperate to win all the seats in the state.
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Tinubu believes that Oyo APC needs to present its well rooted candidates who have the capacity to win the general elections.
The incumbent senator, Mr Kola Balogun, who surprisingly won the election in 2019 on the platform of the PDP had recently decamped to the APC after the ruling party in the state refused to grant him the party’s ticket for a second term.
He expressed displeasure over the manner Governor Seyi Makinde withdrew the South senatorial ticket from him and handed it over to Joseph Tegbe, who also recently defected from APC to PDP.
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While many APC members have described the exit of Mr Tegbe as proof of his lack of grassroots relevance in the party, their PDP counterparts also believe Balogun was dumped by their party due to non-performance in the Senate. This validates Akanbi as a leading contender for the seat.
As expected, the immediate past Senator, Rilwan Akanbi recently declared his intention to reclaim his Oyo South senatorial seat on the platform of his party, APC, saying his ambition is not built on “mere promises” but guarantees the continuity and expansion of an already established track-record of performance.
He recounted his many achievements and efforts for the people of the state during his time in the Senate and since he left the red chamber.