Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi has promised not to impose or pick his successor.
The governor made the promise at a civic reception by Ibadan Elders’ Forum (IEF) to celebrate his re-election.
He told the senior citizens that his successor would “come naturally”.
The A-list event, held at the Ibadan House, in the heart of the ancient city, at the weekend, witnessed an assembly of prominent Ibadan sons and daughters.
Dignitaries who showed up to celebrate Ajimobi’s milestone were his wife, Florence; renowned industrialist Chief Kola Daisi; Chairman, Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre Dr. Lekan Are; Chief Adeniyi Akintola; former Chief Judge Justice Nurudeen Adekola; Central Bank of Nigeria Deputy Governor Bayo Adelabu and a former Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Prof. Adeniyi Osuntogun.
Also at the occasion were a former Head of Service of the Federation Prof. Oladapo Afolabi; an Ibadan industrialist Chief Bode Amoo; IEF President Amb Olusola Sanu; founder of Splash FM, Ibadan, Chief Adebayo Akande; Prof. Kunle Adeniran; House of Assembly Speaker Michael Adeyemo and Majority Leader Kehinde Subair, among others.
Vowing before the elders to deviate from the norm, Ajimobi said he would provide an enabling environment and level playing ground to facilitate the emergence of his successor.
The governor was responding to an advice by Sanu, who in his speech, urged him to start grooming his successor.
He said: “Although the norm is for the incumbent to anoint a successor, but I will deviate from that path.
“ I will not impose anybody on the people, who I trust to make informed decision during the election.
“My conviction that imposition is sometimes counter-productive stems from the fact that I’m not a product of imposition neither during my first tenure nor now that God made it possible for me to break the second term jinx.
“I’m confident that my successor will come naturally through his vision, track record, achievements, courage and commitment to the masses.
“We have many efficient, hardworking and competent people capable of succeeding me on personal merit.”
The governor urged citizens distancing themselves from politics to have a rethink.
Ajimobi, who called for attitudinal change, said “environmental sanity” would be restored in January.
In his welcome address, a former President of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Chief Adebayo Oyero, said the IEF was formed to return Senator Rashidi Ladoja to office.
He said: “But when it was clear that his party (Peoples Democratic Party) would not give him the ticket, IEF scouted for candidates from other parties.
“After analyses of other candidates, IEF decided to back Senator Ajimobi, who was in the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).”
Oyero added that since then, the forum had not wavered in the pursuit of the political interest of Ibadanland, “hence in 2011 and 2015, the forum analysed the chances of all Ibadan candidates before it endorsed Ajimobi”.
“All praises be to God; we are here today celebrating the choice we made,’’ Oyero said.
In his keynote address, Sanu said Ibadan people were very proud of Ajimobi for his listening ears.
He added that most of the governor’s programmes and achievements were products of consultation.