OpinionsReport

How APC Lost the Ibarapa East Bye Election

It is no longer news that the Peoples Democratic Party PDP Candidate Mr. Debo Ogundoyin has successfully clinched the House of Assembly seat of the Ibarapa East constituency election held on the 2nd of June 2018, in the process, defeating the APC candidate, Mr Kunle Adeyemo, who is the younger brother to the late speaker of the House of Assembly Hon Micheal Adeyemo. This is rather a surprising development which caught people unawares as the APC in Oyo state recently clinched ALL the chairmanship as well as the councillorship seats in the recently held local council elections in the state.

In the election result as released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mr Debo Ogundoyin of the PDP polled 6,277 votes, while the APC candidate Mr Kunle Adeyemo polled 4,619 votes to place second and, Mr Abiodun Adepoju of the Accord party polled 2,859.

However, indications have begun to emerge as to the conditions that guaranteed the APC candidate; Mr Kunle Adeyemo lost the election to the PDP candidate.

In the first instance the candidature of the APC candidate for the election was perceived to be quite controversial by some watchers of the political scene who consider him a political neophyte and someone who obviously does not have the political clout and exposure to navigate the political waters of the constituency considering the fact that he is a political outsider who was brought into the political game accidentally as a result of the demise of his elder brother Hon Michael Adeyemo. The ruling party APC considered him for candidacy as compensation to the Adeyemo Family and as an avenue to ensure that Michael Adeyemo though dead run down his tenure as a state legislator from the constituency in view of zoning the seat to Eruwa in the next year’s general elections.

This obviously did not go down well with some active participants in the political scene who see the imposition of an outside and a political neophyte as undemocratic. The fact that the APC candidate Mr Kunle Adeyemo was handpicked by the Governor of the state without due consultation further fuelled the internal disaffection within the party. It is instructive to understand the fact that the party structure in the state is factionalized, especially considering intrigues that played out before and during the ward congresses and the subsequent fallout in the state. The party is polarized between the faction loyal to the Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Unity Forum faction led by the Minister of communication Mr Adebayo Shittu.  

Apart from being singlehandedly handpicked by the state Governor, the personality of the candidate himself was considered a thing of concern especially when view in contrast with the PDP candidate Debo Ogundoyin. Mr Kunle Adeyemo was a relatively unknown personality apart from being a brother to the late speaker therefore commands little or no clout or followership even within Lanlate his home town. The PDP candidate on the other hand Mr Debo Ogundoyin was a son to the Late socialite, Chief Adesheun Ogundoyin, an astute entrepreneur and philanthropist in his days before his demise. Apart from being a son to an influential personality, Mr Debo is a graduate from Babcock University where he studied Agronomy. Not much can be said about Mr Kunle Adeyemo educationally.

Perhaps the most important factor that played out in against the APC at the elections was a speculation in some quarter that an honorable member of the House of Representatives from the state decide to sponsor the Accord party candidate from Lanlate Mr Aboderin Adepoju who eventually polled 2,859 votes at the election.  The implication of this reality is the fact that votes were effectively split between APC and the Accord party. In the Ibarapa East Constituency there are 10 wards; Lanlate has 6 wards while Eruwa has 4 wards. The APC lost in all the 4 wards in Eruwa to the PDP, while it could only win two of the 6 wards in Lanlate.

Obviously the internal crisis within the APC factored itself into the electoral defeat. The loss is in itself a big blow to the Ajimobi faction and a ‘boost’ to the Unity forum who absconded from the electioneering process thus fuelling the speculation that they (unity Forum) sponsored the Accord party candidate in a bid to spite the leadership of the party under the factional chairmanship of Chief Akin Oke. The unity forum has always harped on what it calls the “reign of impunity” in the party and the weakness of the party leadership in Oyo state to provide credible leadership for the party member in the state. This loss to the APC only helps to support their arguments against the Ajimobi leadership.

With this electoral loss, there is a strong need for the APC in the state to put his house in order towards the forthcoming general election come 2019. Any internal squabbles will obviously play into the hands of the opposition as seen from the just concluded by-election and would spell doom for the party in the forthcoming 2019 elections.  

The consequences of a house against itself is anybody’s guess.

Report by Victor Alagogooko for IbadanCity Announcer

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