How Alasoadura became ministerial nominee


By Segun Ajiboye

Before President Muhammadu Buhari finally made the list of his ministerial nominees known, speculations were rife about those being considered for the jobs.

The list kept changing as Nigerians churned out names of those purportedly being considered for the plum jobs. And the people waited with bated breath to know their new ministers.

The people of Ondo State were not left out of this restrained patience. It was common knowledge among the people that no less than four prominent and ably-qualified indigenes of the state were angling for the job, and so the people waited eagerly to know who would be picked.

Last week Monday, the President sent a list of ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation. Shouts of joy rented the air in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as the name of Senator Tayo Alasoaduara appeared among those nominated by the President to join him in steering the ship of the nation for the next four years.

The belief in political circles across the state is that Akeredolu was behind the senator’s nomination.

While speaking at a thanksgiving service organised by Alasoadura, Akeredolu told the gathering, which included prominent Akure indigenes, somehow predicting, that the senator would be nominated as minister by the president. To Akure indigenes, Alasosadura’s nomination is sweeter because it was the first time their kinsman would be appointed a minister since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999.

It is also imperative to state that, the fact that the national leadership of the APC did not oppose Akeredolu’s choice of Alasoadura is a bright indication that light may finally be appearing at the end of the tunnel for the party, and an indication that Akeredolu’s quest for peace in the party is finally yielding results.

Many regard the emergence of the senator as minister from a plethora of names that were allegedly being considered as a no mean feat for Akeredolu.

Among those mentioned as eyeing the job were the Executive Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited (NDPHC), Engr. Ife Oyedele, a former governorship aspirant in the state, Chief Olusola Oke and the pioneer Chairman of the APC in the state, Hon Duerimini Isaacs Kekemeke,  among several others.

There were speculations that Oyedele was the favourite of an Abuja group for the ministerial slot. Oyedele, also said to be a close ally of President Buhari, was a frontrunner in the race for the job until the lot fell on Alasoadura. It was learnt that a group of Abuja politicians sought the ministerial job for him so that he would be well placed to displace Akeredolu in the 2020 election.

Previously in the state, the ministerial position has always given ambitious politicians a firm advantage which they leverage on to dislodge the incumbent. It usually gives such politicians the influence and political connection to effectively pursue their aspiration and dislodge the incumbent.

Rumours have been rife that Oyedele, Oke and Kekemeke, all wanted the ministerial job to enhance their chances of winning the next governorship election in the state. But the emergence of Alasoadura must have put paid to their plans, while at the same time brightening the chances of Governor Akeredolu for a second term.

Media accounts may have strengthened this notion. While speaking with reporters in Akure,  Kekemeke was said to have expressed the fear that the appointment of Alasoadura would lead to the marginalisation of those who are not in Akeredolu’s camp.

Those familiar with the political intrigues that trailed the nominations have also hailed the governor, describing the feat as a masterstroke, which they say will play a major role in who picks the party’s ticket to contest the governorship election in 2021.

The governor had criticised the people of Akure South and North Federal Constituency in the central senatorial district for the defeat of Alasoadura in the last general election. The governor was particularly angry that the people failed to vote for their kinsman despite his performance in the eighth National Assembly, stressing that Alasoadura deserves to be re-elected.

Many stakeholders across the state believe that the governor’s choice of Alasoadura as minister from the state has also further cemented the quest for peace in the state chapter of the APC.

As a reliable political ally of Akeredolu, the appointment of Alasoadura is considered by many across the state as a big boost to the governor ahead of the governorship election. Perhaps more importantly, many party members see Alasoadura as a unifying factor, whose support base cuts across the three senatorial districts of the state. This is exemplified in the fact that there was no single opposing voice to his nomination, a distant departure from the past when petitions from various groups would have been flying around.

It will be recalled that the late Dr Segun Agagu  maximized the advantage of his ministerial position to push out Adefarati out of the Alagbaka Government House in 2003.

Similarly, the immediate-past governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, also used the opportunity of his ministerial position to earn himself a good place in the hearts of the Abuja power blocks and ultimately dislodge Agagu from office.

The stage for the new found optimism in the camp of the governor was set earlier in the month when the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, led other chieftain, including the former interim chairman, Pa Bisi Akande, former governors of Ekiti and Ogun states, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Aremo Segun Osoba respectively, to Akure to reconcile the factions.

It must, however, be said that there are still some dissenting voices, but the emergence of Alasoadura as minister may have changed the tide in favour of Governor Akeredolu ahead of the election.

  • Ajiboye is the Chief Press Secretary to Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN

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