Road to Ondo 2020

The nation Nigeria few weeks ago witnessed an electoral wonder in the Edo Gubernatorial Election which saw to the emergence of Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) against the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Pastor Ize Iyamu who many because of the federal support thought would emerged victorious. The nation once again is ready with the attention of the international community are fixed on the conduct of the October 10 gubernatorial election in Ondo State.

The twists and turns of the various political parties within the past few months in the state has made the election one to look forward to; coupled with the conduct of the Edo Gubernatorial Election which many rated as one for the people which truly represented the will of the people and truly depicted the political cum Electoral realities which the people wanted to serve as the bane and foundation of their Electoral realties.

The question on the mind of many even as they await the conduct of the October 10 gubernatorial election in Ondo State is that, are we in for another sensational electoral process as witnessed in Edo State one which the people can truly rise up collectively to own the results or are we in for another run just like the previous electoral process in Nigeria which is always characterized with the elements of electoral violence, rigging and malpractices.

While we will have to wait few more hours to determine which way these electoral process will lead to, it’s quite imperative to discuss the various key facts and issues surrounding the conduct of the gubernatorial polls in Ondo State.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

Following the accolades received by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State over the conduct of the Edo Gubernatorial Election, the Electoral body has a huge task before it as it’s expected to ensure that it consolidate on its strides in the Edo State recently conducted election.  Just like in Edo State, the state are high, the people are anxious. The recent political theatrics by the involving political parties has given the people of Ondo State and the Nigeria community a glimpse of what to expect as the tension no doubt has been raised over this.

It will be recalled that few months ago it was reported that there was a fire outbreak at the INEC office headquarters in Akure which saw to the destruction of certain card readers which were intended to be used for the gubernatorial polls.

The Chairman of the Electoral body, Mahmood Yakubu has promised Nigerians that the body will see and ensure to a peaceful conduct of the election in Ondo State while also adding that the body aims to surpass it’s achievements as witnessed in Edo State.

Based on the data gotten from the website of the Independent National Electoral Commission, 17 Political Parties will be presenting their respective candidates for the polls.

In other recent developments, the People’s Democratic Party rejected the choice of the Vice Chancellor of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof Eyitope as the chief returning officer of the Ondo Gubernatorial Election. He’s rejected based on the allegations that he shares the same hometown with the incumbent Governor of Ondo State who is also the party Flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN.

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN

The party flag bearer of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and also the incumbent Governor of Ondo State is in the process of seeking a re-election as the Governor of the Sunshine State. The former two times President of the Nigerian Bar Association who became the governor of the state after losing out on his first try to Olusegun Mimiko will be banking on his antecedents over the past three and a half years in the State. The White beaded legal cum political figure will also be looking forward to seeing himself become the second Governor to be re-elected in the history of the State.  While many of the populace are not happy with the governor over the increment of the tuition fee of the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko, the Governor hopes that the people will be pitching their tent with him over his industrial cum infrastructural development which has been attributed to the state under his leadership.

It will be recalled that the Governor lost his Deputy to the Zenith Labor Congress (ZLP) who will also be contesting for the same position in the Gubernatorial Election. The Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi and the incumbent Governor parted ways over irreconcilable differences. This development has further added more fire to the already built tension among both camps.

It’s the hope and prayers of the people of Ondo State that the two Political icons will not allow their differences to get in the way of ensuring a peaceful conduct of the Gubernatorial Election in Ondo State. He also faces Eyitayo Jegede of the People’s Democratic Party.

 

Eyitayo Jegede.SAN

Contesting under the aegis of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) the Akure born legal luminary will be seeking to unseat the incumbent Governor of the state, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN who he believes has lost the People’s mandate. This will be his second attempt at taking a shot at the lofty position. Eyitayo Jegede SAN has been described by many as a calm and reserved person. He’s also a former Attorney General of the State.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) hopes to build on its recent victory in Edo state where it candidate emerged winner of the Edo State Gubernatorial Election. It will be recalled that this is the second time that Eyitayo Jegede SAN will be contesting for the position, his first attempt was thwarted by Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the year 2017.

 

Agboola Ajayi

Also a lawyer, who has been regarded as the third force in the gubernatorial race. Also the Deputy Governor of the State whose recent fallout with the incumbent has seen him dropped his membership of the All Progressive Congress APC for the Zenith Labor Congress (ZLP) to contest the Ondo 2020 Gubernatorial Election.

Prior to his defection to the Zenith Labor Congress (ZLP) his first stop was the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) where he contested the Party’s Gubernatorial Primary Election where he came second, losing out to the eventual winner of the contest, Eyitayo Jegede SAN. He is currently been supported by the former Governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko was also regarded a former friend to the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN.

 

Nigerian Police Force

The buildup to the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election has already seen various incidents of Pre-electoral violence in the State, no doubt the tension is high among the three major candidates and their respective parties. The stakes are high and the onus lies on the Nigerian Police Force to Control the situation as the people hopes and prays for a peaceful conduct of the election

 

The Electorates

 

Considered the ultimate decider of the election, it’s the hope that the majority sees beyond the political smokescreen and noise that is usually attached to the activities of political parties that are involved in the election. Politicians and their respective parties will do anything to emerge winners and this includes sugar coating the people by making tall promises.

This is another chance and opportunity for the Ondo State people to consolidate on their Democratic gains by electing a leader of their choice, one who had the best interest of the masses at hand. The Ondo State Economy is considered a straight jacket one as it is a civil servant dominated one.  It’s quite important and pertinent for them to elect one who can lead the state to attaining a fast growing industrial entity. The state is blessed with numerous mineral resources which can be harnessed to birthing a highly industrialized society.

The state is a relatively peaceful one which serves as a boost for investors to come and do business in the State. The state has the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, it also has the deepest deep water and longest coastline in Nigeria, this if well exploited can be money spinning one for the state and the nation at large. Also the state is considered one of the biggest producers of Cocoa which is in high demand in the international market.

The people must look beyond the gains of stomach infrastructure to electing leaders who has a vision towards harnessing the rich resources that the state is blessed with. The world is in a post Covid-19 reality and the onus rest on various governments to ensure that it keeps its Economy afloat. The Nigerian Economy is a dwindling one in recent times, it’s high time the make a good choice for themselves by thinking for the future. It’s high time they set aside sentiment and embrace objectivity even as they go to the polls come October 10 2020 even as they elect for themselves a leader.

 

By Marcus Amudipe

October 13, 2020

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