Until the 43-man ministerial list was forwarded to the Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, it was more like a fait accomplished that the urbane and cerebral Chief Adebayo Adelabu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate during the last election in Oyo state will be on the ‘Next Level’ cabinet team.
However, that was not to be as his name was conspicuously missing from the list, Oluyole News reported.
Sources said Adelabu lost to the power game that has been on since his emergence as the Oyo State APC flagbearer in the February general election. It was gathered that Adelabu has never been former Governor Abiola Ajimobi’s preferred candidate from the onset. Ajimobi was grooming Engr. Joseph Olasunkanmi Tegbe, Ibadan-born strategist, economic planner and philanthropist, as his successor but the APC stakeholders were the ones who forced Adelabu on him at the eleventh hour.
Even after the elections, the relationship between the two was said not to be chummy as there were rumours that Adelabu had gone behind Ajimobi, his leader to lobby for a ministerial slot.
Spotlight gathered that when President Buhari was eventually ready to compile his ministerial list, he was said to have contacted the former governor and offered him a slot which he rejected. Sources said Ajimobi, who will be 70 in a few months time, instead suggested names of two of his young protégés for consideration by the president –Tegbe and his former Finance Commissioner, Mr. Zacchaeus Adedeji. Though Adelabu was not nominated by Ajimobi, he was said to be on the radar for the cabinet position as he currently enjoys support from the respected national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Apart from his political influence and connections, Ajimobi is also a well known hardcore Tinubu’s loyalist. However, oblivious of the silent tiff between the former governor and his godson, the party leader decided to settle for a neutral candidate and this led to the choice of Ogbomosho-born seasoned journalist and communication expert, Sunday Dare, as an alternative nominee from the state. But it was gathered that Adelabu who has temporarily relocated to Abuja, will definitely not be left in the lurch as he would probably be compensated with another juicy position at a later date.
Spotlight gathered that some key supporters of Adelabu were totally dejected that he lost out in the game and have been fuming. But the debonair newbred politician had to calm their vexed nerves while pleading with them to give their support to Dare, who he described as “a brother, an accomplished journalist and party faithful from Ogbomosho who has in his own little way been contributing quietly to the success of our party APC, both at the state and national levels.”
Adelabu magnanimously welcomed Dare’s nomination and expressed hope he will use the office to benefit the party and contribute his own quota to the reconciliation process about to begin within the APC fold in the state to enable the party have a stronger and more formidable party ahead of 2023 general elections.
Until the build-up to the 2019 general elections, Adelabu, the grandson of late political icon, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu, popularly addressed as ‘Penkelemesi”, was unknown to many in the Oyo State political arena.
Before venturing into politics, Adelabu, who is the Parakoyi of Ibadan land, was a top figure in the corporate world. He previously held the position of the Deputy Governor (Operations), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) after stints with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Standard Chartered Bank, First Bank of Nigeria Plc. Asides his odyssey in the corporate world, Adelabu had set up different businesses in the city of Ibadan including Bayse One Hotels, Western Plus Hotels and Bayse One Farms.