As politicians step up consultations ahead of local government elections in Oyo State, three leading figures in Ibarapa Central local government are set for a supremacy contest in the area.
Honourable Ajibola Muraina, Chief Ademola Ojo, and Mr Akinyemi Akinlabi, who had all served the local government as chairmen one way or the other in the last 16 years, now hold the aces in the local government.
Muraina, a former member of House of Representatives, served for one year as the chairman Caretaker Committee of the local government during the tenure of a late governor of the State, Alhaji Lam Adesina; Ojo was chairman for eight years (two years as a caretaker and two terms of three years as elected chairman), while Akinlabi served two terms as caretaker chairman totalling 12 months.
The three are not holding any political position as of now, but they currently belong to different political parties.
Akinlabi is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC); Ojo (Accord Party), while Muraina belongs to the PDP.
Observers in the zone believe that the three gladiators could determine where the pendulum of victory swings in the local government election in the zone coming up in September.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that though Akinlabi is already gearing up to contest the election, the other two are said to be working together to present candidates for the polls.
At the moment, three politicians jostling for the chairmanship ticket of Accord from the Zone include Rasheed Okunlola (aka Alatishe), Soji Akinteye and Mr Sakiru Omitoogun while the only known candidate in the PDP is Segun Oke, who is a former chairman, Caretaker Committee of the council.
The APC has about 10 aspirants, among whom are Akinlabi; Habib Ibrahim, Rufai Azeez, Sesan Odunaye, Bernard Adegoke, Olatundun Olojede, Wale Adeyemo, Chris Okesola and Patrick Oyatumo.
Sources said that going by factors which had influencedpast elections in the zone, the battle this time could be between the trio.
A source, who pleaded anonymity, alleged that “In Ibarapa Central, Akinlabi, Demola Ojo and Honourable Muraina hold the ace. The three young politicians now determine who wins elections here.It reflected in the result of the elections.”
A politician from Igbo-Ora, Kabiru Babatunde informed that,”Whenever two of them belong to a party, it (party) carries the day in the local government. Whenever anyone of them stands for election and the other two are not contesting, the candidate wins. The greatest problem, in Ibarapa central occurred in 2007, when A,kinlabi and Ojo contested the chairmanship election of the council under the defunct AC and PDP respectively. Although Ajibola Muraina was in PDP with Ojo, he stood aloof.
“During the 2003 general election, the PDP was lucky to have the three of them in the party.
This dealt a big blow to the progressives as the then AC were unable to win any ward in the council in all elections. The bloc of the progressives was almost dead until Akinlabi returned to the camp in 2007 for the local government election. His return made the AC to win a ward at the council election; reclaim one ward at the tribunal and used the two wards to re-establish the progressive party in the 2011 general elections.
“The trio shared victory for their parties during the 2015 general election, APC won the Presidential and Senatorial elections in the local government; Accord clinched the governorship and State House of Assembly elections while the PDP won the House of Representatives elections.”