IBADAN ELDERS BACK AJIMOBI, ASK ELECTORATE TO REJECT AKALA, LADOJA
Leaders of thought in Ibadan , Oyo State capital under the aegis of the Ibadan Elders' Forum, yesterday threw their weight behind the quest of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, for Governor Adebayo Alao Akala's job.
The forum's Chairman, Ambassador Olu Sanu said during a press briefing in the state capital that the elders took the decision to endorse Ajimobi after critically assessing other leading contestants in the race, which include Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Rashidi Ladoja of the Accord Party (AP) and Ajimobi.
But in a swift reaction, Ladoja described the elders' position as an effort in futility.
The former governor told reporters that: 'The masses who invited me to come and contest so as to rescue them from the shackles of poverty already knew who to vote for in the election,' alleging that the plan of the elders was to 'plant their stooge' as the next governor of the state.
Sanu, wrote off the incumbent governor as undeserving of a second term because whatever achievements his administration may lay claim to was not matched by the amount of resources available to the state since 2007.
He explained that the forum's disdain for the governor was not borne out of the fact that he (the governor) is not from Ibadan as people were made to believe but because of his perceived dismal performance.
He said: 'The incumbent governor, who is the standard bearer of the PDP has not creditably acquitted himself as the chief executive of our state as we have stated above, hence he should not be honoured with a second term.
'As for the standard bearer of Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, the Ibadan Elders' Forum finds it difficult and inadvisable to support his aspiration.
'In the first place, we believe the state needs a leader who has a listening ear, who will listen to the cry of the people and assure their collective needs. Sanu said Ajimobi was the most worthy and credible candidate that the state needed. But Ladoja insisted that the reasons adduced by the elders were invalid, baseless, untenable and unacceptable to logical reasoning.
He accused them of pursuing selfish interest. The former governor said that the electorates should be allowed to choose their leader through the ballot box and not through unguided endorsement. In a release signed by Prince Dotun Oyelade, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Pubic Communication, he said the decision of the Ibadan Elders' Forum to dabble into partisan politics did not come as a surprise.
He added that about this time four years ago, the social cultural group made similar pronouncement, declaring support for the same Senator Ajimobi and calling on all citizens of Oyo State to vote for him. 'Of course, the plan failed with the victory of Governor Akala during the 2007 election because, the masses refused their strange instruction.
'It is a fatal political mistake that is now repeating itself as the Ibadan Elders' Forum, it cannot insult Oyo State people by dictating to them, who they should vote for. The statement said that at this period of our democratic development, the forum must be out of touch with contemporary realities, and in any case, it is obvious that the forum is not representing the general opinion even in Ibadanland.