Ondo 2020: The epic battle for Alagbaka

WITH the manner of intrigues and controversies being thrown up by major political actors in the 2020 governorship election in Ondo State, the stage seems set for a serious dog fight with the forces deploying all forms of arsenals as recently shown. HAKEEM GDADAMOSI gives inside details.

THERE is no doubt that the 2020 governorship contest is going to be a clear contest between the two main political parties, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Though, other parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Action Democratic Party (ADP) say they are poised to make a difference, none of the smaller parties can boast of strong structures in the state and spread that can garner substantial votes.

The APC would want to use the election to maintain its dominance in the country, while the PDP would want to use the election to make an inroad into the region ahead of the 2023 general election, after capturing Oyo State in the 2019 elections.

With the incumbent governor,  Rotimi Akeredolu, announcing his interest in seeking for a second term in office after the celebration of his third year anniversary in office, the race for the Alagbaka top job begun in earnest.

It might not be a tea party for Akeredolu as many party members of the APC in the state have shown interest in the number one seat and are warming up to oust Akeredolu despite being from the same political family. Akeredolu, if re-elected, will become the second to secure reelection as the governor of the state.

At the moment, his predecessor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko holds that record, though he could not consolidate his agenda by way of installing a successor, with his preferred candidate, EyitayoJegede, losing to Akeredolu in the 2016 governorship election.

 

APC’s trouble within

Considering some achievements recorded by the Akeredolu’s administration in the state in terms of infrastructural development and payment of workers’ salaries, it ought to be an easy ride for Akeredolu in his quest to retain his seat, but for the internal wrangling in the state chapter of the party,  APC,  which has so far defiled all solutions.

The lingering intra-party crisis dates back to 2016, during the governorship primaries that produced Akeredolu as the APC standard-bearer. Other strong contenders in the party primaries like Chief Olusola Oke, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and Segun Abraham, among others, rejected the outcome of the election and coalesced into a stiff opposition against Akeredolu.

While Oke left the party for the Alliance Democracy (AD) to contest the election, Abraham, who emerged as the first runner-up, headed for the court to challenge the results of the primary election. Boroffice steered the middle course during the election. Yet, Akeredolu contested the election, won and emerged the governor of the state.

Three years after, the crisis lingers, with the aggrieved group distancing themselves from Akeredolu and his government. While remaining in the APC, they teamed under a group called the Unity Forum, with a former deputy governor in the state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, as the arrowhead. With time, a number of other aggrieved party leaders joined forces with Olanusi, with the sole objective of checkmating the second term bid of the governor.

The crisis worsened with some observers attributing it to the seeming ambivalence of the national leadership of the APC on the issue. The aggrieved faction kept beating the drum of war, apparently because of what some party stalwarts and observers described as the body language of the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu towards the crisis.

Though the national leadership of the party eventually intervened in the crisis after the APC lost the state to the opposition PDP in the 2019 Presidential election, the factional group led by Olanusi failed to embrace the olive branch extended to it by Akeredolu, while the report of the committee put in place to harmonise the two groups still remain in abeyance.

Determined to scuttle the second term bid of Akeredolu this year,  the Unity Forum resolved to produce a consensus contestant to face the governor in the forthcoming APC primaries. At least, 10 aspirants from the group have shown interest in the race. Apart from the aspirants from the forum, two other independent contenders have also thrown their hat into the ring.

 

APC aspirants

The list of the aspirants from the forum include the South-West coordinator of the 2019 Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate in the 2016 governorship election, Chief Olusola Oke; Executive Director, the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Mr Ife Oyedele; Olusegun Abraham; Bukola Adetula;  Dapo  Adelegan and Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose. Others are Olaide Adelami, Olarenwaju Kazeem,  Akintunde Awodeyi and Jimi Odimayo. Aside these 10 contenders is the pioneer chairman of APC in the state,  Honounable Isaacs Kekemeke and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Togo,  Honourable Sola Iji.

There are, however, discordant tunes in the APC over the purported emergence of Oke as its consensus candidate to face Akeredolu in the party primaries. The other nine aspirants have vowed to contest in the party’s primary. Oke, undoubtedly, is one of strong contenders in the race for the Alagbaka House. He will be contesting for the number one position in the state for the third time if he eventually wins the party’s ticket. Oke contested in 2012 but lost to Mimiko and re-contested under the platform of the AD after losing in the APC primary. He came third in the contest. Oke, regarded as having the full grasp of the politics of the state, is a former legal adviser of the PDP. He is perceived to be the only politicians among the aspirants from the Unity Forum who can give the incumbent governor a good fight.

Another strong aspirant from the unity forum is the Executive Director of the NDPHC, Ife Oyedele. He has not contested for any elective position in the state. Oyedele, an electrical engineer and political associate of President Muhammadu Buhari, is set to battle Akeredolu for the ticket of the APC. The Okitipupa-born politician is said to have to enjoy the blessing of the APC national leadership. He was said to have missed being appointed as a minister in Buhari’s cabinet in 2019. He was initially favoured to be a minister from Ondo in 2015.

He was a member of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the party Buhari formed ahead of the 2011 general election. The CPC merged with other parties to form the APC in 2013 and was said to be the brain behind the APC logo.

Dapo Adelegan, a former president and chairman of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), is the Managing Director, PR Africa International, who has distinguished himself in public relations practice. He is credited with the successful planning and execution of LekkiSunsplash, which was Africa’s biggest musical event for five years starting in 1988. He is a new entrant in the state political scene, though understands the art of politics.

Olusegun Abraham is another contender from the unity forum platform. He lost the 2016 primaries to Akeredolu and later challenged in court, the result of that party primary but he lost. He was championing the cause of the forum until lately when he decided to part ways with the group. The Akoko-born politician, whose aspiration received the blessing of a political godfather from the region in the last election, is believed to be walking on a tight rope this time because of variegated political convergence. He is said to have lost a lot of his foot soldiers to other contenders after the last election, just as his political machinery will need stronger and quicker lubrication to gather momentum. Besides, his critics claim his camp is promoting the said northern district and Akoko agenda. He hails from the same district with Akeredolu.

Mrs Junior Anifowose, a lawyer, is the daughter of the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin. She also served as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the Adefarati Administration. She was the state chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Anifowose contested the party’s primaries in 2016 where she was able to garner one vote. Though she was said to be favoured by one of the unity forum screening committee, the chances of the Owo-born politician clinching the ticket is suspect.

Other aspirants like Odimayo, Adelami, Olarenwaju, Awodeyi are great politicians who are known in the state’s political arena but are new entrants in the race to Alagbaka House. The two independent aspirants from the APC, who detached themselves from the Unity Forum, include the former Chairman of APC in the state,  Honourable Isaacs Kekemeke and Olusola Iji. Kekemeke, fondly called DI, is one of the influential politicians in the state. He was the Minority Leader of the state House of Assembly between 1992 and1993, as well as the pioneer chairman, Board of National Examinations Council (NECO) for three years (2001-2004).Interestingly, Kekemeke who used to be part of the Unity Forum before he parted way with the group on principle, described the forum as an amalgamation of persons whose operations were too combative and inimical to the health of the party. He has nonetheless, not spared Akeredolu at every given opportunity that he had not done enough to bring the party together. Kekemeke has established structures across all the local government area of the state and he is regarded as one of the thorough-bred politicians in the state that can give Akeredolu a good fight over the ticket of the APC.

Among the heavy weights in the race is Ambassador Olusolaji from Ondo South Senatorial District. Iji, the current Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Togo, stands out as the most ranked party man. He has never dumped the progressive party even for a day since his foray into politics He was the state chairman of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Iji’s strong commitment and connection with the progressive party also nudged him to once again become the Action Congress (AC) state chairman. He was also in Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

A lawyer and an activist, who enjoys a brilliant relationship with Chief Bola Tinubu and a former national chairman of ACN Chief BisiAkande,  one of obvious reason Iji is widely rated among the leaders of the party in the state and beyond.

 

What are the hurdles before Akeredolu?

Interestingly, no fewer than five of the aspirants jostling for Akeredolu’s job come from Owo.  One of the aspirants,  Adelegan attributed the large number of aspirants from Owo eyeing Akeredolu’s seat to perceived poor human relations of the governor. Adelegan, who acknowledged some achievements recorded by the administration in the last three years, claimed that the aspirants were out to redeem the image of Owo town and the people.  Adelegan said: “Half of the people from Owo that are out for governorship are not out because they know they will be governors. They just don’t want him to come back because he has underrated virtually everyone, and you know that Ondo State people abhor ridicule. Anybody from Owo seeking the governor ticket is qualified to be governor. They all have their various experiences and some of the aspirants are out to destroy the little modicum of support left for Akeredolu. They don’t need to be governors but they are very sad that who they supported three years ago underestimated them. If 10 people, elite, self-made men have made up their mind to run against their kinsman, it is a referendum on the governor.”

But the table might be turned against all those eyeing Aketi’s job. A member of the unity forum predicted that the efforts of the group might amount to nothing as the APC national leadership might negotiate the ticket with the incumbent governor. He noted that the leadership tussle which nearly consumed the national chairman of the party, has been abated with the Abuja Court of Appeal halting the suspension and removal of Adams Oshiomole as the national chairman of the APC.

He said the party had concluded that in order to allow those who wanted Oshiomhole out of office to sheathe the swords, the APC national secretariat said the only available win-win situation for both camps was for the National Working Committee (NWC), led by Oshiomhole to allow Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State and Akeredolu the right of first refusal concerning the ticket for their possible re-election for a second term in office as governors.

It is, however, obvious that the gang-up against Akeredolu might thicken based on feelers in the camps of other aspirants, just as speculations were rife that the governor could easily use the platform of another party in his second term bid. Akeredolu is said to be in a hot political romance with leader of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) according to some observers, the enlisting of some foot soldiers of Mimiko into Akeredolu’s government is a step towards consolidating the union.

Another factor the governor has to contend with is the cold war between him and his deputy, Honourable Agboola Ajayi. The duo have been denying the friction between their camps. Agboola has not been involved in any of the state functions lately and has been maintaining a dignified silence on state matters. Before the friction came to public fore, the Ekiti State governor,  KayodeFayemi was said to have meet the two leaders to settle their differences. It however became obvious that Ajayi might not run with the governor this time, as the lieutenants of the two leaders have been sending salvos to one another.  Already, people are talking in hushed voices of the possibility of an impeachment move against the deputy governor.

The cause of the crisis between Akeredolu and his deputy, according to a source within the state cabinet, is because Akeredolu had allegedly whittled down the powers of his deputy. This was said to have led to a crisis of confidence between them. Before then, Ajayi was said to handle all political matters, while the governor concentrated on administering the state. Ajayi, a former House of Representatives member on the PDP platform, was accused of romancing with the unity group and recruiting members of the opposition PDP with an intent to contest the governorship election. The source, however, said the governor turned down a move to impeach his deputy so that they could complete their joint ticket this year.

Another source close to the deputy governor claimed that about 17 members of the state House of Assembly and nine members from Akeredolu’s cabinet have pledged their allegiance to Ajayi. According to the source, most of them have been holding meetings at a private residence and will soon desert the governor to pitch their tent with the candidate other than Akeredolu for the coming election. To some analysts, this is not too a good omen for Akeredolu’s second term ambition. His deputy, who is said to command an immense influence in the state, has a great role to play in the election. Ajayi, former chairman of EseOdo local government area and lawmaker, is widely respected state.

Again, for Akeredolu to be returned as the APC candidate in the election, he has been asked to oil the party machinery. A top official of the party noted that the governor still has enough time to put smiles on the faces of party members. He alleged the governor of did not patronise the members that worked for his election. On his performance, Akeredolu is believed to have a robust relationship with workers in the state as regards the prompt payment of salary and other allowances. The administration has been able to reduce the seven months’ salary arrears inherited from the immediate past administration to one.  Apart from this, the government has not done badly in the area of infrastructural development and projects in the state. The Ore Flyover Interchange, and the multi-billion naira International Industrial Park in Omotosho, Ore in Odigbo Local Government Area which was commissioned by President Buhari in February 2020 are some of the projects executed by the present administration and might contribute to his reelection if he wins the party ticket.

Though, Akeredolu has received knocks by rural dwellers who criticised him over the concentration of projects in the urban centres especially in Akure, the state capital while they keep lamenting over the decadence of infrastructures and lack of government presence in the rural communities.

 

Contending issues in PDP

The PDP has its own opportunities and challenges as the countdown to the governorship primaries of the party progresses. Nonetheless, the party seems to be consolidating on the relative victory it recorded during the 2019 presidential election, where the ruling APC lost to the party. The development appears to have buoyed the enthusiasm of a number of party stalwart to indicate interest in the PDP ticket for the November governorship poll.

The party managed to put its house in order after the exit of a former governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko. He left for the Labour Party (LP) and later for the ZLP to contest the presidential seat in 2019 before abandoning the ambition. The PDP lost most of its members to ZLP.  At the moment, no fewer than 20 aspirants from the PDP have shown interest in its ticket, including the party’s candidate in the 2016 election in state, Mr. EyitayoJegede. The list also include the national vice chairman (South-West) of the party , Dr Eddy Olafeso; former member of the House of Representatives,  Honourable Bode Ayorinde; a legal practitioner and former commissioner in the state, Sola Ebiseni; John Ola Mafo; BoluwajiKunlere; BanjiOkunomo; Femi Adekanmbi; Dele Akingboye; DayoFadahunsi and a host of others.

Most of the PDP aspirants hail from the Ondo South senatorial district and a few from the Ondo North district, while Jegede remains the only aspirant from theOndo Central.

 

Endorsement

Controversies have been trailing the endorsement initiated by PDP aspirants from the Ondo South senatorial district. It has created a division in the party in the area. In Okitipupa Local Government Area, Olafeso was said to secure the endorsement of other aspirants from Ikale area, while Okunomo was said to have been endorsed in Ilaje.  The development sparked controversy in the party as the actors of the purported endorsement turned around to deny their involvement in the arrangement. While Olafeso was said to have emerged the party’s sole candidate in Okitipupa Local Government at a shadow primary held at Ode-Aye on April 30, 2020.  But in a twist, Kunlere and Akingboye, in separate reactions, distanced themselves from the endorsement of Olafeso as a consensus candidate. Similarly, a number of those who appended their signature for Okunomo signature turned against him and rubbished the whole process.

However, speaking on the number of the aspirants, the Media and Publicity Director of the PDP, Mr Zadock Akintoye, said the party had never zoned its ticket to any of the senatorial district, but assured that the best would emerged among the contenders.  His words: “Our party in Ondo State has never zoned its governorship seat and there is no history where you would find the party deliberately zoning its gubernatorial ticket. We have always ensured at all times that we give visible examples to show that we are a party that promotes free and fair electoral process. We will allow all contestants regardless of the zone they come from to contest in the election. The best of them will emerged in a free and fair election. We have more than aspirants at the moment that have indicated interest to contest for the ticket of our party. Our job as a party is to ensure that there is freedom of choice by party members as to who would become the party’s candidate.”

Some observers did not rule out the possibility of a major crisis breaking out in the PDP because of the large number of contestants. They opined that the primary might not be free and fair enough unless the party trim down the number of the aspirants. Apart from this, the party’s congress, if not well handled and managed might result in crisis as no fewer than five people have shown interest in the chairmanship position of the party and this is tearing the state chapter of the party apart if mismanaged.

However, the PDP caretaker chairman in the state, Mr Clement Faboyede promised that the party would ensure a free and credible primary election. According to him, the party is ready to defeat the APC and return to the Alagbaka Government House in 2020.  Faboyode explained that the party was making frantic effort to put its house in order across the 18 local governments in the state, assuring that the party will conduct a transparent and rancour-free primary election that will produce a popular standard-bearer.

There have been appeals from many of the members to the leadership of the party to streamline the number of the aspirants in the party to avoid another round of rancour. They recalled that the crisis that erupted in the party at the wake of the last election contributed immensely to the loss of the state to the APC.

Some of the members supported the second coming of Jegede as the party’s candidate, believing in his existing structures and argued that the post-party’s primaries in the past greatly contributed to the defeat of Jegede by Akeredolu in 2016. It will be recalled that a faction of the party led by Chief Jimoh Ibrahim dragged the Faboyede-led faction challenged the candidature of Jegede in court. Jegede was eventually declared the authentic PDP candidate, just 48 hours to the election. This prevented him from campaigning in the election in which he came second on the result sheet. Jegede plans to test his popularity again. His nomination during the 2016 election caused friction in the party as he was believed to have been foisted on the party by Mimiko. Though Mimiko had left the party, but Jegede was said to have re-organise the party and assumed the leadership of the party in the state. But some analysts opine that the party is too passive to give APC a good fight, noting that the party has failed to provide the needed opposition to rattle the ruling APC government in the state.

Many other aspirants have also expressed their interest in Akeredolu’s job to make a difference. Some of these include Ebiseni who contested in the Jimoh Ibrahim faction of the PDP, after his fallout with Mimiko over the former governor’s support for Jegede in 2016.  He lost the primaries in Ibadan lost to Ibrahim. He had since retraced his steps to the mainstream PDP in the state and he is regarded as a force to reckon with in the party.

Ebiseni, a grassroots politician understands the politics of the state and had boasted on several occasions that it would be an easy task for him to defeat candidates of other political parties. He was a three time commissioner in the state.Ebiseni said that, “It is the constitutional right of every person or part of the state to aspire to the office of the governor. While having the ticket of the party and winning the governorship election goes beyond social media agitations, some of which may even be annoying and offensive. To get it, we must work hard, engage other local governments, tribes, and groups in a friendly manner with mutually beneficial assurance and put forward our best candidate, in whom other people have confidence, based on robust relationship.

The national vice-chairman (South-West), Dr. Eddy Olafeso, has also expressed his interest in the number one seat. He is not a green horn in the politics of the state and the country and at large. Many believe his entry into the race is a boost, considering his wealth of experience, as the move has altered most calculations both in the PDP and APC. Many of the aspirants had withdrawn to the drawing board to restrategise in winning the primaries and the governorship election. On why he is joining the race, Olafeso said: “I need to give back to the society what I had benefitted,” expressing worries that the same Ondo State which benefitted from the free education programme of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo now has children dropping out of schools.

However, there are speculations that Olafeso has the backing of the only PDP governor in the South-West, Seyi Makinde, of Oyo State. According to the claim, the support is in appreciation of the role Olafeso played in the whole process that culminated in the emergence of the governor. But many of the aspirants are kicking against the aspiration of Olafeso on a moral ground. Olafeso, as the incumbent PDP deputy national chairman, is seen to be in a position to be a judge in his own case.

John Mafo is another aspirant on the platform of the PDP. He was the deputy governorship candidate in the 2016 election in the state. The Ilaje-born politician is a former Commissioner for information in the state.

Also in the race is the former lawmaker from Owo/Ose federal constituency, Honourable Ayorinde. Ayorinde who defected from the APC, is one of the frontline politicians in the Ondo North senatorial districts. The Owo-born politician is the founder of Achievers University in Owo and contested in 2016 primaries of the APC won by Akeredolu.

Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, lawyer, is grassroots politician from the Ondo South. The Igbotako-born politician was a member of the state House of Assembly and former chairman of Okitipupa Local Government area.  The former state secretary of the PDP in the state ran for election to the Senate for Ondo South in April 2007 on the Labour Party platform, but was defeated by Hosea Ehinlanwo. In March 2009 he was appointed Special Advisor to governor Mimiko on Political Affairs and Legal Matters before he resigned and contested against former Governor OlusegunAgagu in the April 2011 election for the Ondo South Senatorial seat, running on the Labour Party platform and defeated the former governor. He is one of the PDP strong contender.

A former publicity secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr. BanjiOkunomo is also in the race. Okunomo was among the Ilaje politicians and activists in the Ondo South. As the chairman of Ilaje local government, he endeared himself to the people, boosting his popularity in the politics of the state. Though he has never contested any elective position, he is regarded as one of the political leaders from his area.

Considering the army of aspirants from the PDP, the leadership of the party had been urged to streamline the numbers of the aspirants in the party so as to avoid another round of rancour. They recalled that the crisis that erupted in the party at the wake of the last governorship election contributed immensely to the loss of the state to APC.  A member of the party in the state expressed optimism that the ‘boys’ would soon be separated from the men. According to him, only a few aspirants will be able to pay the N31.5m for the expression of interest form. He predicted that the number of aspirants might be trimmed to two or three for the primary contest in order to avoid a post-primaries crisis.

 

Other parties

Aside, the two main political party,  the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and Action Democratic Party (ADP) are making frantic efforts to be relevant within the state political realm.

 

SDP

The SDP is gradually putting its house in order ahead of the election. The national vice-chairman of the party,  Dr Olu Agunloye said the party was involved in an mobilisation drive for the party. He said: “We have been going from local government to local government to put a permanent and robust structure down at the ward and unit levels. We are doing what people do in a hurry during an election time.” He promised that the platform would be ready “to accommodate people who are not satisfy with the way the PDP is being run or people dissatisfied with the way the APC is being run in the state or in the country.

“People who have seen the condition of our health sector, education, roads, and those who have seen the state of economic development in the state which is literally negative, people who are not happy with the state of unemployment in the state and want something better, we expect them to come to the platform of SDP.”

 

ZLP

The ZLP in the state which metamorphosised from the Labour Party (LP) has been tipped as one of the parties that may spring surprises during the next election because of the calibre of those running the affairs of the party. The immediate past governor of the state, Dr. OlusegunMimiko is the leader of party in the state but the ZLP recently suffered a setback. However, many observers believe that the ZLP ids likely to team up with Akeredolu to secure his second term ambition. This is because of the relationship between Mimiko and Akeredolu.

The resignation of some leaders and members of the ZLP in the state.

 

ADP.

Nothing is known about the party in the state until the national deputy chairman, (South) Mr. Martin KunleOlateru-Olagbegi, declared his interest to contest in the governorship race. Though Olateru -Olagbegi expressed optimism that the ADP would dislodge the ruling APC, the party lacks political structures in the state.  Analysts, however, said that it was obvious that the race for the number one seat in the state was between the APC and the PDP.

 

Third force.

A total of 14 parties have agreed to form a third force as the preparations for the election draw near. The platform called the Emerging Political Committee (EPC) adopted the Action Democratic Party (ADP) to give the APC and the PDP a good run in the election. But some parties that were listed to be part of the coalition have dissociated themselves from the platform. The SDP and ZLP distanced themselves from the merger arrangement. While the publicity secretary of the SDP in the state, Mr Remi Olayiwola, described the move as attempt to drag the party into the messy political mud for which some crude politicians in the state were known for several years, the ZLP said the claim was not only fallacious but also defamatory to us and inflammatory to the already charged political atmosphere in the state. Similarly, the ZLP publicity secretary, Mr. Felix Olatunde said that, “ZLP is not only disclaiming the concocted ADP membership but also dissuading the public from being part of the decorated fallacy. ZLP in Ondo State is intact and the party is fully prepared to go into 2020 gubernatorial poll with the preparedness and assurances of monumental victory.” He appealed to the party members to go about their normal party activities as permitted by the lockdown exigencies and ignore the wicked lies.

 

Zoning

One of the factors to dictate the choice of candidates in all parties is zoning. Though an unwritten agreement, the clamours for political zoning and other power-sharing arrangements as mechanisms for ethno-regional balancing has become a practice in the country and the Sunshine state.  It is believed that all the three zones had produced at least one democratically elected governor since 1999. The late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, who was elected on the platform of the AD in 1999, hailed from the Ondo North senatorial district, while the late DrOlusegunAgagu hailed from the Ondo South and Mimiko from the Ondo Central, succeeded Agagu.

The argument in certain quarters is that power returned to the North with the election of Akeredolu in 2016 and the people from the area insisting that the area should be allowed to have a second term. It is believed to be one of the reasons many of the APC aspirants are from the senatorial district against their kinsman, Akeredolu. Mimiko remains the only governor to have spent two terms of eight years.

However, the people of the South are clamouring for a shift of power to their area. This accounts for the army of PDP aspirants from the area, though, the party has stated clearly that the slot was opened to all the three senatorial district of the state.

 

Money politics

As the state approaches the election approaches, money politics remain a major issue. It still constitutes a major determining factor at party primaries and the election proper, going by past experiences. Money played a major role in the 2016 election; voters were brazenly induced with cash. And many believe a similar scenario might take place, with contestants with deep pocket likely to influence the process. Sadly, the tradition has altered the approach to politicking in the state as politicians hardly bother to campaign or canvass for votes.

According to observers, what happened in the 2016 election in the state might be a child’s play because of the level of poverty among the majority of the citizens. A political analyst, Alafe said hunger had fully become the veritable weapon to compel citizens to act in a particular way during elections.  He said: “These people are too weak to fight, with no option than to accept these crumps and vote for these politicians who turn around to oppress them.”

 

Structures.

Another factor that will be considered in the forthcoming election is the political structures of aspirants in the race. While Akeredolu will be contesting for the exalted position for the third time, having contested in 2012, 2016 and planning to re-contest for the third time. He lost in 2012 to Mimiko, but returned to win in 2016, using his existing structures. Though, his structures had been depleted but Akeredolu remains a force to reckon with in this election.

Another strong politician with solid structures is Chief Oke. He contested for the seat twice in the past: 2012 under PDP platform but came third in the race; he also came third in 2016, after dumping the APC for the AD to contest the election. The former national legal adviser of the PDP has a large following in the state.

Similarly, the PDP aspirants, Jegede, Olafeso and Ebiseni, have political structures in the state. While Jegede will be banking on his 2016 structures as the party’s candidate, he has ingrained his name in the subconscious of many in the state. Olafeso, the South-West vice chairman of PDP, will be leveraging on his position in the region to strengthen his structure ahead the election. Olafeso is known beyond the fringes of the state.

 

 

 

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Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, on Monday, listed some plants that residents of the state could consume to help boost their immune system against contracting the virus. Speaking at the Government House, Ibadan, Makinde said that people could boost their immune system against the virus by consuming… Read full story

COVID-19: Ekiti Residents, Authorities Worry Over Insecurity Amid Lockdown
No doubt, the battle against the coronavirus pandemic has remained the crux of major discourses across the globe and Ekiti State in particular in the last three months. Among the measures put in place in the state to curb the spread of the virus is the restriction of movement declared by the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi… Read full story

Reps To Partner Governors’ Forum To Produce Widely Acceptable Infectious Diseases Bill ― Gbajabiamila
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday reiterated the readiness of the House to partner Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) in the bid to produce a satisfactory Control of Infectious Diseases Bill for the citizens…. Read full story

EDITORIAL: Almajiri And Violation Of Lockdown Order
AS a rule, pandemics put social and political relations of the affected society under a magnifying glass, and Covid-19 has been no different. In Nigeria, it has revivified knotty social questions around unemployment, education, and youth alienation,the Almajiri conundrum being a perfect encapsulation… Read full story

Fake News Is Damaging Credibility Of COVID-19 Response, PTF Laments
The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) has lamented the negative impact of fake news on its work, saying that fake news is damaging the credibility of the nation’s COVID-19 response. The National Coordinator of PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, while speaking during the daily briefing on Monday said the impact of fake… Read full story

Oshiomhole Outsmarts APC Governors As Bulama Emerges National Secretary
National chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has finally consolidated his grip on the party national secretariat. Waziri Bulama from Borno State was on Monday sworn in as acting… Read full story

Danjuma Visits Aso Villa, Keeps Mum After Meeting With Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met behind closed doors with former Defence Minister, General T. Y. Danjuma, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the agenda of the meeting between the president and the visiting elder statesman, whose last visit to the State… Read full story

First COVID-19 Vaccine Tested In US, Shows Promise In Data From Eight People
Moderna Inc’s (MRNA.O) experimental COVID-19 vaccine, the first to be tested in the United States, produced protective antibodies in a small group of healthy volunteers, according to very early data released by the biotech company on Monday, Reuters report… Read full story

Trump Says He’s Taking Hydroxychloroquine To Prevent Coronavirus Symptoms
President Donald Trump of the United States revealed to reporters on Monday he’s taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine in an effort to prevent getting coronavirus, saying he’s been taking a pill every day for about a week and a half, according to a Fox News report… Read full story

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