By Yemi Akanmu
It is no longer news that a former Oyo State governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala was hurried into a plane to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of the South West in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Abuja on Thursday.
At the panic meeting, the former governor’s help was sought in Oyo state to weaken the base of the coalition being built by opposition parties in a bid to defeat the ruling party in the March 9 governorship election in the state..
Although this might not have been necessary initially, but the results of the February 23 presidential polls which the ruling party lost by a slim margin became a point of worry for Governor Abiola Ajimobi and leaders of the party in the south west geopolitical zone and those at the centre, as such, one great loser in the region should the state slip out of the hand of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, had to intervene.
In intervening, Akala, whose zone in the state is perceived to be hostile to the ruling party had to be rein in and that was the game having observed that time would be of essence with just few days before the March 9 governorship elections across the nation.
Although Akala was promised in the brokered deal to bring the Secretary to the State Government, SSG and promised two commissioner slots in the event of victory for the candidate of the APC, Adebayo Adelabu, but those privy to the Abuja meeting said the real deal was the assurance that the Ogbomoso-born tactician would be left off the hooks in his trial bothering on N11.5 billion before the court.
Akala alongside his former commissioner for local government and chieftaincy matters who later became a senator, Hosea Agboola; and an Ibadan-based businessman, Olufemi Babalola; are being prosecuted for alleged conspiracy and misappropriation of N11.5 billion from the state’s treasury when Akala was the state governor between 2007 and 2011.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, accused them of conspiracy, illegal award of contracts, obtaining money by false pretence and acquiring property with money derived from illegal act as well as concealing the ownership of such property.
At the meeting on Friday in Lagos with the national leader of the APC and Ajimobi’s confidant, Tinubu, the ex-governor, who has withdrawn his Action Democratic Party, ADP governorship ambition was reported to have told Tinubu that he could not be supporting a party that was bent on prosecuting him.
Although his plea did not get immediate nod from President Buhari but we were reliably informed that the former Lagos State governor assured him to put his mind to rest as long as he would deliver his zone and guarantee victory for Adelabu on Saturday.
Akala has since returned to Ogbomoso where he instructed his supporters to vote for the candidate of the APC in the governorship election of Saturday but directed them to vote for candidates of his party ADP seeking elections into the state house of assembly.