As the race towards 2020 begins, Stephen Ola Ajimisan takes us on a journey through the potential candidates in this well crafted write- up. The race for Alagbaka, which is symbolic of the keen jostling for the seat of power in Ondo State in the next gubernatorial election, is taking new dimensions daily as different
As the race towards 2020 begins, Stephen Ola Ajimisan takes us on a journey through the potential candidates in this well crafted write- up.
The race for Alagbaka, which is symbolic of the keen jostling for the seat of power in Ondo State in the next gubernatorial election, is taking new dimensions daily as different political figures keep surfacing and resurfacing on the political track. As the events continue to unfold, people have started putting across plethora of political permutations and arguments regarding where the next chief helmsman of Ondo State, the next governor,must emerge from. While some people are of the opinion that the incumbent Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu,SAN should continue in order to be able to consolidate the infrastructural development that he had initiated,some people share a contrary opinion. While some of those who opine that Akeredolu deserves a second term are aggrieved members of his party, the APC, the major opposition, PDP have also raised strong reasons why he should not be re-elected. The aggrieved members of his party who are against him seem to do so on the ground that he does not give them a sense of belonging. They also raised the fact that because of their alleged and perceived loyalty to the Ilaje-born Olusola Oke,SAN and Dr Segun Abraham, the governor has sidelined them. Those in the PDP are of the view that the governor has not performed exceptionally well to deserve continuity in the state.
However,those who are very conversant with the political history of the state since the creation from the old Western Region in 1976 will discover that no executive Governor of the state has spent 8 years in office.Even, the “exceptionally performing” late Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin from Owo, the home of the incumbent Governor did not have the opportunity. Late Chief Elijah Adebayo Adefarati of Akoko Southwest Local Government in Ondo North Senatorial District tried jostling for a second term to no avail.
The brilliant Chief Olusegun Agagu Ph.D of Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo South Senatorial District sought reelection in 2007,got it but was later sent packing by the court in February 2009. Only the weird Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo West Loca Government Area, Ondo Central Senatorial District was so far favoured by Providence to serve for two terms. While some people viewed his luck of being victorious in his reelection as a divine design, some people attributed it to his political wizardry. This is an argument for another day because the much vaunted and flaunted political sagacity and wizardry were again put to test in the race for Ondo Central Senatorial District’s ticket in the just concluded general elections. In Mimiko’s rapacious quest to put a protege in the saddle,which some people see as a ploy purported to perpetuate his influence in the affairs of the state,he brought the Akure-born Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, again from the same Central Senatorial District. This was greeted with frowns and tantrums as people saw the emergence of Jegede as injustice to other senatorial districts. Though Akure,the capital or metropolitan city has not yet produced the governor of the state,despite their population strength, the people,even the Akure kindred rejected Jegede not because he was not qualified or because he offended them personally, but because he was coming from Mimiko’s camp. His Akure people saw him as Mimiko’s candidate and not serving the interest of the Akures. People from other parts of the state also saw his emergence as a fulfilment of Mimiko’s third-term aspiration so he lost. With the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu from Owo Local Government Area, the emergence of Adefarati and Adekunle Ajasin all from Ondo North Senatorial District, the people of Ondo State are already calculating that Ondo North has spent twelve years in the saddle as governors of the state. Olusegun Mimiko,haven spent eight years in the saddle as the governor from the Central District has taken the slot of the people of the central. Olusegun Agagu of the Southern District spent six years. So,it means that power should shift to the South if we believe in justice for all.
From the Southern Senatorial District, Ilaje Local Government Area is the largest in voting strength and the sole contributor of the largest percentage of the revenue used for running the state. They have never been the Secretary to the state government except when during the military regimes. They have never been speaker of the State Assembly,Deputy Governor and Governor of the state despite the fact that the local government is the economic kingpin of the state. People are already campaigning for justice on behalf of the local government area that the next governor should emerge from there. However, a crown is not given freely. It is wrestled and contested. It is therefore a task for them to stand firm in the struggle without division. So far,some competent aspirants of Ilaje ascendancy have signified their interest in the Alagbaka seat of power. They include Prince John Ola Mafo, a two-term Commissioner in the state and the running mate of Eyitayo Jegede in the 2016 gubernatorial election in the state, Hon Chief Olusola Ebiseeni, former chairman,Ilaje /Eseodo Local Government Area, also a two-term Commissioner, Prince Banji Benjamin Okunomo,former chair,Ilaje Local Government Area and the current Publicity Secretary of PDP in the State, obviously the youngest of the candidates from the PDP. Let me also add that the two-term gubernatorial candidate and the Director of Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Organisation in the Southwest, who is believed to be the most experienced candidate from Ilaje, Chief Olusola Oke,SAN is also jostling for the seat at Alagbaka. As it stands, at least four aspirants are already set for the Alagbaka race from Ilaje. Whether this is capable of affecting their collective interest of ruling the state is also an argument for another day. Whichever way it ends, a winner must surely emerge.