Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Ondo 2020: A Two Horse Race


By Allen Sowore 

As the October 10 Ondo Governorship Election approaches, it's becoming crystal clear that the election is a two-horse race between the incumbent governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN who's the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) and his Deputy, Agboola Ajayi, the candidate of the people's force, Zenith Labour Party (ZLP)

Although, the People's Democratic Party (PDP), which was before now the major opposition party in the state and other political parties have presented their candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to participate in the election. Unspoken political arrangements, traditions and what both Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his Deputy Agboola stand for remains the major issues to be decided upon by the people.

It is a known fact in the political history of the state that the governorship seat, whether by happenstance or deliberate political arrangements, rotates among the three senatorial districts. In other words, by that extant arrangement, the district that produces the current Deputy Governor is the zone expected to produce the next governor.   This expectation built on tradition puts Honourable Alfred Agboola Ajayi in good standing in the forthcoming election.

Similarly, it has become an unbroken political jinx in Ondo State for the incumbent governor to lose to an emerging opposition. In 2003, Adebayo Adefarati lost his reelection bid to Dr Olusegun Agagu. In 2007, by the implication of the judgement of the Court of Appeal in Benin, Dr Olusegun Agagu didn't win his reelection. It's only Dr Olusegun Mimiko who has enjoyed the uncommon grace of governing Ondo State for two terms of eight years. Even at that, his political party, the PDP lost the 2016 Governorship election to the APC.

I simply do not want to comment on how PDP squandered its golden opportunity to produce the next governor of Ondo State because I may be accused of bias, sophistry and prejudice. But those who appear to be more interested in raising a candidate and not the governor every election circle can explain better. 

The mere fact that no single human being has decamped either from the SDP or even Accord Party to the PDP since the announcement of its candidate speaks volume. The torrent of attacks and vetuperations against the national leader of the Zenith Labour Party, who's also a  former governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko by Akeredolu and his jittery camp has clearly shown that the incumbent is  aware that the ZLP stands formidable and it's strategically ready to wrestle power from him.

The Deputy Governor has said it often, that the disagreement between him and the governor was not personal. It's rather about the government's policies and decisions which affect the lives of the people. Whether to over tax the people or not; whether to make tertiary education affordable or not; whether to neglect dependable health care or commercialize it, it's about whether to impoverish the people or empower them, whether to run government through kleptomaniac family members, clan and cabal; these are the contentious issues.

On the surface, the PDP has a candidate. But the real contest is between Akeredolu and Ajayi. The good people of the state must take decision whether to continue with this clannish government or to liberate our dear state. The people must decide whether to return government to its original owners (the people) or to leave it in the hands of profiteers in borrowed, blemished robes.

The people have a choice to make in October 2020.

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