The Value News

Ondo 2020: Akeredolu’s Fate Hangs On Thin Rope

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.

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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.  

Stephen Ubanna

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September 2021

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