Anxiety, As Ondo Elects New Governor | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Anxiety, As Ondo Elects New Governor

Posted: Nov 25, 2016 at 7:14 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)




TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI LAGOS — Today, Saturday November 26, 2016, the people of Ondo will troop out to elect a new governor who will serve as the Chief Executive Officer for the state popularly called ‘The Sunshine state’. A critical assessment of the parties cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC) for the election has shown that only four of the 28 political parties have so far exhibited the highest sense of seriousness and commitment with a view to winning the governorship seat.

The parties and candidates include All Progressives Congress (APC) which fielded Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as its flagbearer, Alliance for Democracy (AD) with Chief Olusola Oke as its candidate, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which has Barrister Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as its flagbearer and Social Democratic Party (SDP) which fielded a former Minister of Power, Dr. Olu Agunloye as its candidate for the election.

Prior to Wednesday’s ruling ordered the reinstatement of  Jegede of the Ahmed  Makarfi faction of PDP as the authentic candidate of the party and the removal of the name of Barrister Jimoh  Ibrahim of the Ali Modu Sheriff, many had thought the Ondo State governorship election would be a fierce battle between the APC and the APC.  Had PDP gone into the election with Ibrahim as its candidate, many analysts believe that the party may not clinch even 10th position at the end of the exercise given the fact that the billionaire businessman is not really keen about winning the election to occupy the Alagbaka Government House. He is believed to have taken advantage of the crisis in the PDP to boost his ego and settle personal scores with the incumbent governor, Olusegun Mimiko.



Decision Time For Ondo Residents


Analysts also believe that many issues will shape today’s contest. These include money, federal might, popularity of candidates, re-alignment of forces, ethnicity and the agitations for zoning and power shift. The performance of the APC government at the centre and the PDP government at the state level are also key factors. Another factor is the external interference as exemplified by AD. Given his performance, It remains to be seen if the people of Ondo will still want Governor Mimiko to continue in office through his sponsored candidate, Jegede. Also, having experienced first-hand APC’s definition of change, one wonders if the people of the state will vote for that change in Ondo.

With the allegations that a National Leader of APC, Bola Tinubu and South- West governors loyal to him are backing  Oke’s AD, the people of Ondo will also decide whether they will allow a governor who will be dictated by external forces who are not even members of his political party.

Oke  Promises Jobs, Developments


Governorship candidate of the AD,  Olusola  Oke left the APC shortly after the outcome of the September 3 governorship primary that produced  Akeredolu as winner. In 2012, he was the governorship candidate of the PDP.  Though many see him as grassroots politician who has followership across the 18 local governments of the state, Oke’s reputation as a nomadic politician has cast a serious dent  on his rising profile. Independent learnt that many stakeholders in AD are skeptical if Oke will not dump the party again if he wins or loses the election.

Speaking on why he left the APC, Oke’s spokesman, Rotimi Ogunleye, said that his principal left the APC because the platform was tainted with injustice. He said Oke believes that the September 3 primary of the APC was rigged and the delegates lists tampered.  He added that in spite of the protest and the recommendations of the committee which considered the appeals arising from the election, the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun  still went ahead to subvert the will of the people.

“Mr. Oke has the dream to build our fortunes into our future. His agenda is that of Ondo State which is to bring sustainable development to the people.” Mr. Ogunleye said. “The journey cannot be abandoned even though the vehicle had broken down. We cannot abandon the journey but we can abandon the vehicle.”

On his plans for the people of Ondo if elected, h e assured the people that he had put in place a programme to revamp the economy and make the people the cornerstone of his administration.

“This poverty in the midst of plenty and the glaring ineptitude of those in power is unacceptable. “We want to change this, we want to bring in a new order, we want to bring in a new vision, we want to make our people happy and bring joy into the lives of all and sundry in Ondo State.

“We will revamp our economy, we will make our traditional rulers happy, make our people the cornerstone of our programme and empower our youths to benefit from the abundant recourses that abound in Ondo State.’’

Also speaking on the rate of unemployment in the state, he promised to create 3,000 jobs within the first six months if elected as governor.

“I am very sure Mimiko will vote me and I promise to resuscitate all the moribund industries in the state to create 3,000 employment within my first six months. ” No new industry, unemployment everywhere, all projects initiated by previous administration has been abandoned but the only thing we see around is cosmetic projects” he said.


 Akeredolu Promises A New Dawn


It appears that the dust generated by Akeredolu’s emergence as the candidate of the APC has settled with the meeting of President Muhammadu Buhari with the aspirants and key leaders of the APC in Akure last weekend.  During the meeting, the president told the aspirants that the unity of the party was crucial for the outcome of today’s election.

“I am very pleased that those of you who lost the primaries are still very much in the party,” the president said. That you lose elections doesn’t mean you should walk away, you keep on trying. I went to the Supreme Court three times in my bid to become the President of Nigeria. I like your high spirit and your commitment to the party and I hope your constituencies are taking note of that.”

A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Akeredolu has always expressed optimism that he will emerge victorious at the end of the exercise. Even when the litigations between Jegede and Ibrahim was ongoing, Aketi, as he is popularly called promised to defeat both men if they square up with him as candidate and running mate.

“l can always tell you, people who know me, they know that I talk most times with some confidence, let me assure you here that by the grace of God, we will win the election in Ondo state.

“I can assure you I would have been happier facing both of them together, if Eyitayo Jegede was chosen as candidate and Ibrahim as his deputy, I will still win. Infact Jegede happens to be a friend, Ibrahim too. Jimoh Ibrahim went to Ife, so we have known ourselves for long. I have no fear about both of them. We know that we are going to win this election and I have no doubt,” he added.

As a member of Nigeria’s ruling party, Akeredolu promised to use his connection with the FG to bring development to the state if elected. According to him, if the state must catch up with its economically viable counterparts in the southwest, Ilaje and Ese-Odo local council areas would form the economic hub. He promised to set up a port and a refinery in the area to attract development and create jobs for the unemployed youths in the riverine area and the state at large.

Akeredolu who also promised to focus on rehabilitating roads in rural areas if elected also promised to create more local government areas to bring development closer to the people. He also assured the residents that he will not abandon the programmes of the incumbent governors if elected.

“My understanding about government is that government is a continuum and I will operate with it. It is just that because we have failed to have development plans. In those days, we have five years development plan but by the time somebody spent four years, anybody who comes thereafter will complete the other one year and now start another development plan. I believe that whatever is done by a previous government, you must not abandon it for as long as it is going to benefit your people”.

“We might have different priorities. If what is being done does not fall into my own priority, it is not that I will abandon it. It might not take all the full attention but it will never be abandoned but completed. I am not one person who believe in abandoning the project of a predecessor. We will finish it. Whatever it is, we will try and finish it. We will pursue our goal. Whatever the development plan we put in place, whether anybody who comes after us decides to follow is left to him. But for us, I am not that kind of person that comes into government and abandon programmes of previous government. I believe government is a continuum” he said.


 Jegede to Consolidate On Mimiko’s Achievements


A key member of the  Mimiko’s administration, Jegede is the Attorney- General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo state is likely to continue from where the incumbent stopped, if elected.  Jegede, who suffered a lot of campaign time owing to the litigation between him and Jimoh Ibrahim has promised to has promised a friendly tax regime if elected as governor. He stated that people will be charged small amount of money as tax to encourage positive response.

He said that his government would adopt a friendly measure to make people pay their dues to encourage government serve them well.

The gubernatorial hopeful while admitting that the time is challenging, offered that extra ordinary measures would be taken by his government to ensure the people perform their civic obligation of regularly paying their taxes.

“My position is to make the tax minimal so that it can be a little bit friendly. And you don’t have to wait to collect taxes once in a year; you can do it every month, you can do it every quarter, and you can make it as small as possible to encourage positive response,” he said.

He said Ondo as a civil service state, will disconnect financially from the central government if elected the next governor of the state.

“It will take some time but it can be done and industrial base will also be created in the southern belt especially with the Omotosho power plant that will ensure power supply to the area,” he added.

Jegede also expressed his readiness to develop the state to the satisfaction of its founding fathers, stressing that the state needs more industries to cater for the teeming number of the unemployed youths.He urged the people of the state to give him their maximum support to develop the state and make it an envy of other states in the country.

He also promised to look into the agitations of some traditional rulers in the state regarding poor grading and marginalisation by their senior colleagues if elected.


Agunloye Promises Better Life For Workers

Agunloye on his part said if elected, will use his wealth of experience as a former Minister of Power and Steel and the pioneer Controller General of Federal Road Safety Corps ( FRSC), to turn most of the moribund economy in the state around. He also promised to create 100,000 jobs if elected.

Speaking further, he said the SDP administration, when elected into office in November, will invest in people as well as tap into the vast rich mineral resources available in the state noting that with his past record of achievement and the fact that he has credibility, integrity and capacity to build human and structural infrastructures he can be relied upon to make the difference in their lives.

“We shall make the payment of salaries and pension a priority. To do this, we shall place the salary of civil servants on the first line charge to ensure that they are paid as at when due. We intend to do this because we are pained by the level of poverty on the land.

“We want to alleviate the poverty on the land, boost the purchasing capacity of the people by ensuring that their salaries are paid promptly thereby assisting them to meet the basic needs of their families.

“The people, who are mostly civil servants, are suffering and, of course, whatever affects them has considerable impact on the lives of others largely because these civil servants have many dependants,” he said stressing that lack of focused planning and the will to effect positive change in the lives of the people were the reasons government has failed to affect them positive,” he said.