By Emmanuel Ufot
The release of the names of the 12 Aspirants cleared to contest the All Progressive Congress, APC, governorshipship primaries in Ondo state on Monday July 20, 2020, by the party screening Appeal Panel Committee appear to have set the stage for the incumbent Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to test his might.
The other 11 Aspirants cleared to confront the governor in the up coming APC, primaries include his major rival Ifeoluwa Oyedele,, an Engineer and Olusegun Oke, a perennial governorship Aspirant in the state. Others are Joseph Iji, Olumayo John Okunjimi, Olayide Adelami, Olajumoke Anifowoshe, Awodeyi Akinsehinwa, Akinola Collins, Isaac Duerimini Kekemeke, Olubukola Adetula, Abraham Olusegun Michael and Nathaniel Adojutelegun.
Before the screening Committee forwarded the final list the governor Mai Buni led APC Caretaker /Extra Ordinary National Convenion Planning Committee, it had earlier disqualified one of the Aspirants Abraham Michael , who appealed and was consequently cleared.
Even efore the list was released on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, speculations were flying that Akeredolu , the governor , has been disqualified. However , ahead of the Monday party primaries, political pundicts are already x-raying the chances of the incumbent governor losing the ticket for a second term in office based on the perceived land mines laid on his way which could be likened to that of the south-south state of Edo where Godwin Obaseki , the incumbent lost out.
For some political followers, one of the things that could count in Akeredolu’s favour in the state is the spirit de corps factor. Two Caretaker Committee members are sitting governors and another sitting governor will supervise the Organisation of the primary.
The thinking is that they support their Colleague, Akerdolu, to win the primaries. Another factor is the incumbent factor. Many believe that the governor should have built his political structures over the years with legion of supporters across the state.
Similarly, his achievements over the years, many posit may count in his favour or work against him. Another factor, political analysts pointed out that may work in the incumbent governor’s favour is the reported closeness to Adams Oshiomhole , a former governor of Edo state and Court sacked National Chairman of the party. Although, he is no more the party National Chairman, but his Associates still populate the Caretaker Committees and he is said to still be Coordinating the Affairs of the party from outside, thus wielding some influence. So, Oshiomhole is on the side of the governor, which could be a plus or minus for him during the primaries.
Like Edo , the fighting within the APC, that snowballed into pronounced disaffection between the governor as known as Aketi with eputy governor Agboola Ajayi is one cross that Akeredolu may be carrying with some political followers believe could go ahead to hunt him.
The reason being that Ajayi who had since decamped to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to contest the position of the governor has followers both within the APC, and outside the party. Should Akeredolu pick the party Ticket for APC AND Ajayi , pick for the PDP, it is surely going to be a yeoman’s battle.
Again the way the governor was carrying out his scrubble with Ajayi, the deputy governor up to the heel of refusing to hand over when he went into Isolation over COVID 19 angerered not a few Ondo people who thought he took it too far. Similarly, the inability of the governor to influence the state House of Assembly members to carry out the impeachment process of the deputy governor and the refusal of the of the state Chief Judge to do the bidding of the House of Assembly to Constitute a panel for the impeachment was an indication that the governor that the governor has lost his grip and influence on one hand and that the deputy governor Commands political clout in the state on another hand.
Most significantly is the fact that the governor has built political enemies within the party both within the state and at the national level during the 2019, general election.. Primarily, two astute politicians in the state, Senator Ajayi Borroffice and current minister of state, Niger Delta, Omotayo Alasoadura, may not have forgotten the anti-party activities of the governor that worked against them personally and the party in general.. Borroffice and Alasoadura, both Senators, were seeking second term but the governor did not give them his support.
The governor was said to have wanted his anointed godson,, Tunji Aboyomi to replace Borroffice, who he was said to have sponsored to join Action Alliance Party and handed over his structures to him. Despite the plot to install Abayomi as one of the elected Senators from the state, he still lost narrowly to the incumbent Borroffice , representing Ondo North Senatorial district.
If Borroffice was lucky to win the election that made it possible for him to go back to the upper Chamber for a second term , Alasoadura was not lucky. He was said to have lost the election to the PDP Candidate, only for the governor to Compensate him with a ministerial position. He was appointed the minister of state, ministry of Niger Delta , by President Muhammadu Buhari, on the recommendation of Akerdolu, the state governor.
Tduo, according to party sources, have not forgiven the governor and would use the 2020, governorship election as an opportunity for pay back time. From that. Many APC ,top notches both in the state and the national had fingered the governor’s glaring anti-party activities during the last general elections as the reason why the Katsina state born Nigerian President lost the election in Ondo state to Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP.
After the election, some Chieftains of the party were said to have openly accused him of anti-party activities and even mooted his suspension. The Value News findings shows that some party egg heads may not be favourablly disposed to Akeredolu , picking the state governorship ticket for a second term.
Another significant hurdle the governor may have to surmount is getting the support and good will of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and the party National leader. It is a known fact that . the governor did not get the support of Tinubu, in the 2016, governorship election and from all indications that is not going to change in this 2020.
Party sources has confirmed that the former Lagos state is not likely going to endorse the t Akeredolu Candidature for the governorship position of the state. The rumour making the rounds is that the former Lagos state governor has thrown his weight behind Abraham Michael, who was initially disqualified but later cleared by the screening Committee to contest the primaries. But facts have emerged that the new bride of the party is Oyedele.
The Okitipupa born Engineer who is currently one of the Executive Directors of Niger Delta Power Holding Development Company based in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had been a long time associate of Buhari. He was a member of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, led by the Daura born polititician , which later fused with the Tinubu led Action Congress of Nigerian, CAN, ,to form a mega party, APC. Infact, he is reputed to have designed the party logo. Many believes that he enjoys the support and the good will of the President and the party hierarchy. A development, analysts believe could give him the ticket on Monday at the epense of Akeredolu unless the governor muscle up all the arsenal within his powers all the mines laid for him.
In 2016, President Buhari had supported Akeredolu but the support, The Magazine findings shows had since fizzled out after he was briefed about the role played by the governor in the 2019 general election, which gave the the upper hand in the state.
Party sources revealed that both the other governorship Aspirants and the egg heads in the state have been given a matching order to pull their resources together and work for Oyedele to not only get the party ticket but win the September election.
Apart from parading an attractive Manefesto which was said to have earned hi popularity and acceptability across the 18 local government areas of the state , he was said to have on his own put in in place as the Magazine gathered a 400 member thin thank group made up of technocrats and politicians to ensure he actualize his mandate.
The governornor has in the past days gone into Campaign in the three Senatorial districts of the state for delegates votes So for oolookers, Monday July 20, 2020 is Akeredolu day of appointment with fate.