Abiola Ajimobi, Governor of Oyo State, is backing Joseph Tegbe, a Partner and Head of the Technology Advisory practice of KPMG, to succeed him, but SaharaReporters understands this is not primarily because Ajimobi considers him the best possible leader for the state.
Instead, Tegbe is Ajimobi’s pick because he is “God-fearing”, which, in this case, means he would not confront the Governor no matter the secrets he discovers upon assuming the office, and should he decide to, he had elders in church whom he can be reported to, and whom he would listen to.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, a source very close to the Governor recalled how he met with the 26 candidates seeking the All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket on Saturday, and told them to narrow the race to just three candidates. Only Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, was absent.
“He told them he would be happy if they could sit down and come up with three names who would contest the party’s primary. But as of last night, they still hadn’t arrived at those three names,” the source said.
“However, from sources very close to the Governor, he has already narrowed down the race to two people: Joseph Tegbe and Adebayo Adelabu, former CBN Deputy Governor.”
According to the source, Ajimobi and his family want Tegbe because they have done many things together since the dawn of this governorship reign.
“Tegbe may not have been in the limelight, but he has been doing a lot for the Governor in the background. He is a top-ranking official at KPMG.
“Adelabu too has done a lot for the Governor. When he was in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he facilitated the release of funds for the establishment of the Technical University, Ibadan. The funds had already been approved, but Bayo was the one who fast-tracked the release.”
SaharaReporters was also made to understand that Ajimobi is in a real fix, as he has “offended” all the aspirants.
“Each time anyone went to him to say he wanted to run in 2019, the Governor always encouraged them. He would answer, ‘Of course you are qualified. You schooled and you work in a reputable company; go ahead’. Now, those aspirants misconstrued the Governor’s encouragement for endorsement, not knowing that he had been telling all them the same thing,” he said.
“However, if he has his way, he would go for Tegbe. Bayo is very close to some Ibadan establishments — highly powerful people who would profit if he becomes Governor. These people are now using every opportunity to lobby the Governor, telling him Bayo would make a good successor. But the Governor knows that Bayo is already a billionaire, so it would be hard to control him because he has the money and the clouts to confront him should the need arise. You know how governors are always fearful of their godsons rising against them in future.
“In fact, Ajimobi has already said his successor must be a God-fearing person. That “God-fearing” means someone who belongs to a mosque or church, or who has people he respects, people whom he would listen to should he be reported.”
Meanwhile, Bayo, the grandson of Adelabu penkelemesi, is understood not be that kind of person; “he is a neutral person”. He was born Muslim but his wife is Christian. In fact, he has never been to either a church or a mosque. However, Tegbe attends the Cathedral Church of St David.
The source continued: “Also, you know governors must have one secret or the other. For that reason, Ajimobi wants Tegbe, who has been the one handling all their family deals. In fact, he is likely going to announce him soon because what he told them during that meeting was that if they liked, they could obtain the nomination form, which costs N22.5million, but he would buy three forms before the Tuesday deadline for purchase, and that when the three consensus candidates have been chosen, he would hand them the forms. Then whoever wins at the primary will pay him back the cost of the three forms, which is N67.5million.”
However, SaharaReporters learnt has so far Ajimobi bought one form, supposedly waiting for the deadline to pass and give the one form to Tegbe while Bayo would have none.
The APC governorship primaries are scheduled to hold on Monday September 24.