Speculations were brought to an end yesterday when Executive Chairman of Oyo State Housing Corporation and former Commissioner for Justice in the state, Barrister Bayo Lawal, was announced as the running mate to Governor ‘Seyi Makinde for the 2023 gubernatorial election.
Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State, Hon. Dayo Ogungbenro, broke the party’s silence in Ibadan shortly after the governor addressed party leaders, local government party chairmen and local government chairmen from the 10 local governments of Oke Ogun Area.
At the meeting held at the Presidential Lodge of the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, Makinde said that after consultations with party leaders, he had picked a running mate from Irepo/Olorunsogo/Oorelope Federal Constituency, where his incumbent deputy hails from, to ensure balance in the power configuration.
According to a statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the chairman of the Oyo State PDP, who spoke at the behest of the governor, stated that Lawal had been chosen to run with Makinde.
The chairman formally announced the exit of the deputy governor of the state, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan from the party and the urgent need for the governor to consult with leaders from Oke-Ogun.
“The outcome of that consultations is that Barrister Bayo Lawal from Irepo Local Government, will run with Governor Makinde as his Deputy Governor in the 2023 general elections. That is the interpretation,” he said.
Also speaking at the end of the meeting, Lawal, appreciated Governor Makinde and all the leaders from Oke Ogun for choosing him as the governor’s running mate.
He said, “this is a great privilege that I won’t take lightly or simply but with all seriousness. Our leaders have spoken about the journey so far. A lot of consultations have gone into choosing me as the running mate of the governor come 2023.
“Obviously, His Excellency’s considerations are many but he singled out a few of them – replacing his running mate from the same federal constituency where the current Deputy Governor came from.
“So, it is really a great honour for all of us in the Oke-Ogun region, which the Deputy Governor has been zoned to.”
Lawal expressed gratitude to party leaders from Oke-Ogun, none of whom he revealed, stood against his nomination by the governor.
“However, this throws a lot of challenges to me as a person. First, I have pleaded with all my leaders to give maximum cooperation to this administration. We want to continue on that pace and tempo and even add more.
“That is what I am supposed to do as the deputy governor and I pledge my loyalty to the governor, the party and the people of Oyo State,” he promised.
Elders and leaders of the party from the zone appreciated the governor through Pa Michael Adegbite, a foremost Oyo State PDP chairman, reiterating the readiness of the party and the people of the zone to support Governor Makinde to achieve success in the forthcoming elections.
The meeting had in attendance Makinde; chairman of the Oyo State Advisory Council, Senator Hosea Agboola; former PDP State Chairmen, Chief Michael Adegbite and Alhaji Kunmi Mustapha, current state chairman of the party, Hon. Ogungbenro.Others were the 10 local government chairmen and 10 local government PDP chairmen from Oke Ogun.