APC, PDP Battle For The Soul Of Ondo | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


APC, PDP Battle For The Soul Of Ondo

Posted: Feb 24, 2016 at 12:09 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
Temidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
From all indications, 2016 will be an interesting year in Ondo state.  Residents of the state widely regarded as the Sunshine state would go to the polls for a new Chief Executive Officer for the state as the eight year reign of the incumbent governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, whose administration came into office on February 5, 2009 comes to an end.
Not a few political analysts would agree that the election is expected to be a two-horse race between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which is currently controlling the government in the state, Peoples, and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). However, other political parties in the state are also putting certain measures in place to ensure they triumph at the end of the contest. These include the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Accord Party, (AP) who may not be so popular in the state, but are adequately preparing to make a telling impact at the polls.
Only recently in an article titled ‘ In Search Of A Credible Leader’, Fisayo Adedayo, Public Relations Officer, Southwest zone of the National Association Of Nigerian Students (NANS), noted that “The problem with Ondo State is of poor leadership. The state is in dire need of a sincere leader who is willing to harness the state’s resources for the purpose of lifting her indigenes from the state of penury to plenitude. We need a governor with a clean slate who has not been sullied by the murky waters of our brand of ‘jegudujera’ politics”.
Mimiko’s Defection Leaves Ondo PDP In Disarray
Indeed not a few Ondo indigenes belong to this school of thought.  The continuous fall in prices of crude oil coupled with declining monthly allocations has lend credence to the fact that the people of Ondo cannot afford to vote for a politician that will mismanage the resources of the state. Only the best according to the voters would be good enough for them.
However, presently all is not well with PDP, the ruling party in the state. The trouble, which began late 2014 when governor Mimiko, -who was allegedly forced out of the PDP by former President Olusegun Obasanjo- formally rejoined his original party from the Labour Party (LP) is yet to abate.  Since he has his structures in the Labour Party, many wonder how Mimiko would work with the PDP leadership in the state, which has always been critical of his policies and governance style.
Predictably, Mimiko’s defection ruffled quite some feathers among the old members of Ondo PDP. And while they were still ruminating on how to checkmate the governor, the national headquarters of the PDP compounded the crisis by dissolving the party’s executive councils from the state, local, down to the ward levels in order to pave way for the governor’s loyalists. Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, announced the dissolution.
What ensued was a war of attrition between the old members of the PDP and the governor’s camp over who controls the party. As the crisis dragged on, the dissolved state executive council went before an Abuja High Court, asking the court to restrain the NWC from dissolving the Ebenezer Alabi-led state Executive Council. After much politicking, Alabi eventually agreed to step down to allow peace to reign since the party primaries were close by and the party needed to present candidates for both state and National Assembly elections in 2015.
The Mimiko faction of the party, also known as the ‘new-PDP,’ took over the new leadership with the appointment of a serving commissioner in the state cabinet, Clement Faboyede, as the new chairman. This led to mass decamping of PDP supporters to opposition parties, especially the All Progressives Congress (PDP). Aware of the danger this might pose to the party’s chances at the polls, the governor has made concerted efforts to pacify the aggrieved members but his overtures were rejected. The former state chairman Alabi rejected his appointment as Senior Special Assistant to the governor.
The gale of defection still continues as some high profile politicians recently dumped the governor. Prominent among the defectors are Patrick Akinyelure, a senator in the seventh National Assembly and Dr. Pius Osunyikanmi,  Director-General of the Technical Aids Corps, both of whom announced their decisions to quit the PDP earlier this week  along with thousands of their supporters.
Governor Shops For Successor
There is no doubt governor Mimiko, would be very much interested in who succeeds him in office. This is because aside consolidating on the projects and achievements of his predecessor, the new governor, may according to informed analysts, protect him from perceived harassment that may arise if the opposition party triumphs.
While it is true that he holds the ace as regards who succeeds him, however his body language on this sensitive matter is not known by anyone. He seems to be keeping his choice of candidate close to his chest as he has refrained from openly canvassing for who would succeed him.
Presently, several names have been penciled down as the likely choice of Mimiko. Prominent amongst these are Eyitayo Jegede, his Commissioner for Justice and Attorney -General, Barr. Olukayode Ajulo, former National Secretary of Labour Party (LP), Sola Ebiseeni, Commissioner for Environment, Tokunbo Modupe and Rotimi Adelola, a doctorate degree holder in Organisational Psychology from the University of Ibadan who is currently Secretary to the State Government (SSG). Lasisi Oluboyo, the incumbent deputy governor of the state, is also considered a likely choice for the governor. Except a dark horse emerges, many within the PDP circle believe one of these men will likely be chosen by the governor as his anointed candidate at the polls.
Multiple Aspirants; APC’s Headache
The general belief amongst politicians in Ondo state is that the PDP is no longer popular.  Given the success recorded by the APC in last year’s presidential elections and the crisis rocking PDP in the state, many politicians in the state are of the view that the APC is the party to beat in Ondo state.
Among the contenders within the APC, Hon. Bode Ayorinde, representing Owo/Ose Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, who has already made public, his intention; Professor Ajayi Borrofice, the Senator representing Ondo North in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly; Hon. Victor Olabimtan, former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and Jamiu Ekungba,  a member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), others include Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2012 Election, ; Tayo Alasoada representing Ondo Central District, Chief Segun Abraham; former chairman of the party in the state Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, daughter of  Late Adekunle Ajasin,the first governor of the state,  Hon Derin Adesida; Prnice Ademola Adegoroye; Foluso Adefemi and Bukola Adetula.
Chief Olusola Oke, PDP governorship candidate in the 2012 election in the state , Awodeyi Akinola;  Niran-Sule Akinsuyi; Pius Osunyinkami, son of late Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, the former Secretary to the state government,  Adeniyi Adegbonmire;  Tunji Ariyomo; Dapo Adelegan; Ganny Dauda; Muyiwa Ogunleye, Chief  Tunji Abayomi and Wale Akingbade among others are also included in the race.
Odds Favour  Akeredolu
However Rotimi Akeredolu seems to be enjoying popular support among the people in the state. Recall that an albatross, which befell him during the 2012 election, was the allegation that he is an Ondo indigene in disapora. Therefore after the election he reportedly relocated to Ondo probably in readiness for the 2016. Between the period of the last election and now, he has reportedly gained wide acceptance from the APC supporters in the state and the national level. According to a reliable source, Akeredolu has played a huge role in making APC the political party to beat in Ondo state today and this will go a long way to brighten his chances of clinching the APC ticket.
In an interview he granted recently, Akeredolu said he is very sure of becoming the APC flagbearer in the state and ultimately, the next governor of the state widely regarded as the Sunshine state. According to him “ I am in it for the long haul. I am not only going to run but I am going to win. I never had any doubt about the fact that I would be governor of Ondo State come 2017 and I have no doubt about it. The accusation then would no longer hold water. Nobody is a born politician. Because some people contested an election and won did not make them professional politicians” .
“People came from various professional fields to contest for elections. That does not make them politicians. All of us have our first time. I have been in it for over four years now. So, that accusation would no longer be tenable. I think I am known. I think the people accept me. I know that with God on my side I am in it for the long haul. I will run and I am going to win”.
It is not surprising that recently, United Youths For Positive Change (UYPC),a socio-political organisation in Ondo State,  urged APC in  the state to choose  Akeredolu as its flagbearer in the October 2016 governorship election.
 According to the group, upon a discreet and detailed investigation, it has concluded that only Akeredolu has the experience and clout needed to defeat whomever the incumbent governor, Olusegun Mimiko and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) present as candidate at the polls.
In a statement signed by its spokesperson, Akinwale  Akinmoladun,  the group said the APC will do itself a great disservice if it fields a rookie “who is inexperienced about the true nature of Ondo politics” as its candidate in the election.
On why it is interested in who becomes the next governor, it said the incumbent governor has failed to maximize the enormous human and natural resources available in the state for the benefit of the people.
“ We  are appealing to our leaders in APC to give all the aspirants a level playing ground but we strongly believe that only Rotimi  Akeredolu possesses the wherewithal to defeat whomsoever the PDP and Governor Mimiko presents at the polls”.
“ Akeredolu aside being an experienced and thoroughbred politician has a firm grip on Ondo politics. He is loved both by the aged and the youths. Unlike others who are just jumping into the race now that APC is in power at the national level, Akeredolu has been on the field immediately after the conduct of the governorship election in 2012”.
“Ondo state is too important to be left in the hands of the PDP. The party at present is in state of disarray with members accusing the governor of running a one-man show. There is a need for Ondo state to be under the umbrella of the APC just like other states in the South-West except Ekiti which we believe will soon join our fold” the group said.
Whatever the case may be the thinking is that the incumbent governor still has a role to play in who succeeds him as the next governor of Nigeria’s Sunshine State.