By Emmanuel Uffot
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has scaled the first hurdle in his second term by emerging victorious in Monday July 2020 governorship primary of All Progressive Congress, APC, Ondo State.He defeated eight other aspirants by pooling 2,725 votes to beat his closest rival, Olusola Oke, a perennial governorship contestant who scored 262 votes. Coming a distant 3rd in the contest was Isaac Kemekeme with 19 votes, Soka Iji, 9 votes, Nathaniel Adojutelegan and Olaide Adelami pooled 4 votes each. Anifowoshe Olajumoke had 2 votes, Bukola Adetula, one vote and Awodeyi Akinterinwa, one vote.A total of 33 votes were declared invalid at the tension free primary that took place at International Event Centre, The Dome in Akure, Capital of Ondo State.The incumbent governor won in all the 18 local government areas of the state.Indeed given the earlier political permutations ahead of the primary which had looked as the incumbent governor will have many rivers to cross, in order to get the ticket, but the outcome of result turned out to be an anti- climax. Indications that Akeredolu will have an easy ride emerged when Ifeoluwa Oyedele who was touted to be the anointed candidate of many APC stakeholders, step down for the governor 24 hours before the primary, only to be followed by three other aspirants, Segun Abraham, Jimi Odimayo and Nathaniel Adojutelegan shortly before the delegate election.
A total of 12 aspirants were cleared for the primary election only for 4 to withdraw leaving 8 to go into the election with the incumbent governor.Before the primary, Akeredolu’s anti- party activities during last general election which led to APC loosing the state in the presidential election, his not too cordial relation with the national leader of APC, Bola Tinubu and the party chieftains in the state like Senators Ajayi Borroffice and Omatayo Alasoadura were feared would work against him but this did not play out with the landslide victory.Findings indicated that Akeredolu having known this, is said to have reach out both to the president and Tinubu. He is also believed to have reach to his enstranged political foes Borroffice and Alasoadura who were annoyed with the governor for not supporting them during the last general election. Whereas Borroffice manage to brush to brush aside stiff contest to return to the senate, Alasoadura was not so lucky as he lost to the PDP candidate. However facts have emerged that the president had impressed it on members of the party in the state in particular on the need to rally around the governor in the interest of the party in the coming October 10 election. The believe is that being the incumbent, who has build political structures over the years it would be easy for him to confront whoever PDP brings out is probably going to be the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi. The fear among APC was that supporting another candidate to emerge at the expence of the sitting governor would present difficulties to sale at this short period, hence the decision to rally around the governor. Again the desicion of Governor Yahaya Bello primary election committee to go for indirect primary instead of direct primary which other aspirants favoured, indicated that the ticket for Akeredolu has been sealed as most of the delegates in indirect primary mostly owe allegiance to the governors. So the withdrawal from the race by a number of aspirants for the governor was part of the intrigues to pave the way for Akeredolu, also nick named Aketi.So now the die is cast, as he is waiting to see who will emerged in the rival opposition PDP whose primary is slated for Wednesday July 22.