The trio of Engineer Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Chief Adebayo Adelabu of the Accord Party are currently engaged in a last-minute struggle to govern Oyo state.
Any of the three could win the gubernatorial election scheduled to take place on Saturday.
A total of eighteen candidates are contesting. They include: Ajekiigbe Lateef of AA, Akinwale Tayo Tawfiq of LP, Popoola Olukayode of the NNPP, Okedara Mojeed of AAC, Ajadi Bamidele of ADC, Yusuf Akim of ADP, Adeshina Adewale of APGA, Adeniran Adeyemi of APM, Yinusa Kazeem of AAP, Okunade Tunde of BP, Adegboyega Raymond of NRM, Michael Lana of SDP, and Euba Aduragbemi of YPP
The candidates are seeking votes from 2,305,903 registered voters in the election to be held in 6,390 polling units spread across 33 local government areas in the state.
Based on their popularity, acceptability, and campaigns, three of the gubernatorial candidates stand out among the rest. They are Makinde, Folarin, and Adelabu.
This is contrary to what happened in 2019, when the battle was a two-horse race between Adebayo Adelabu, who was the candidate of the APC, and Seyi Makinde, who was the candidate of the PDP.
Makinde, in the election conducted on Saturday, March 9, 2019, scored a total of 515,621 votes to defeat Adebayo Adelabu of the APC, who scored a total of 357,982 votes.
Adelabu is basing his campaign on his performance during the 2019 gubernatorial election, an indication that made him conclude that he is still a candidate to beat on Saturday.
The former Deputy Governor (Operations) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) believed that the majority of APC members, who are usually regarded as ‘progressives," would vote for him.
This is in addition to the support he would get from members of his party.
Adelabu believes that he has invested in the state in the areas of real estate, agriculture, and hospitality. He has the conviction that all these would work in his favor.
Adelabu is of the opinion that he ran the best campaign and has the best profile to govern the state starting in May this year.
Folarin is currently representing the Oyo Central senatorial district. He has been going around the state canvassing votes from the residents, citing that Oyo State should not be in opposition to the APC-controlled federal government.
His party won three senatorial seats and eight (8) House of Representatives seats, an indication that the APC is a party to beat in the elections.
Some of those who had pledged to support him are SDP candidates in Oyo North Senatorial District, Mulikat Areola-Akande, and Ibadan North East/Ibadan South East federal constituency, Deji Aboderin, and an Accord candidate in AFIJIO, Atiba, Oyo East/Oyo West, Oyeleru Oyedemi.
Folarin is expecting the people of the state to vote for him so as to be in the same political party with the ruling party at the federal level.
Makinde, the incumbent, has been going around the state, promising that he would consolidate on his previous achievements in the areas of education, health, and agriculture, among others.
He is said to be running a ‘populist’ government and has been endorsed by the gubernatorial candidate of the SDP, Michael Lana, and candidates of Accord, the Labour Party, and the NNPP who lost during the last National Assembly elections.
They include Accord candidates in Oyo North senatorial district, Hon. Shina Peller, candidate in Saki West/Saki East/Atisbo federal constituency, Robert Atitlola, candidate in Ibadan North Federal Constituency; Umar Faruk Arisekola Alao; Sunday Oni, candidate for the Labour Party in Ibadan North West and Ibadan South West federal constituencies; and Ibarahim Ajiboye, candidate for the NNPP in Ibadan North East and Ibadan South East federal constituencies.
A section of the Labour Party led by its state chairman, Sodiq Atayese, has also endorsed Makinde.
He was rumored to have had an alliance with the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, but his party members have rubbished such claims.
Makinde will rely on his previous achievements and the support of his party members, among other things, to retain his seat.