Ondo APC schemes for Senate principal position
EXCEPT for the first term of Dr. Olusegun Agagu, between 2003 and 2007, when the closeness of the late governor to the then incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo was explored to attract massive federal presence to Ondo State, the state had always been operating outside the ring of power play in Nigeria.
Between 1999 and 2003, the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) government, like its counterparts in the south West geo-political zone, played the politics of opposition that the old Western region was known for in the early days of Nigerian politics despite the fact that Obasanjo hails from the area.
Even the emergence of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as the helmsman in 2009 after a 22-month legal tussle to reclaim a 2007 mandate, did not help the situation as the state was further “alienated” by being the only state under the control of the Labour Party (LP) a one-state party that struggled fruitlessly to expand its frontier.
The situation was such that there was no political personality from the state that could be listed among the first contenders in Abuja, the seat of power, until a few months ago when the retired general from Oka-Akoko, Olasehinde Arogbofa, was named as the chief of Staff (COS) to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Decrying the situation, Mimiko, while justifying his defection to the PDP last year October, said the state had stayed too long outside the periphery of power and that it was time to align with Abuja so that it could get good mentioning in the country’s power equation.
The March 28 presidential election, which was lost by the PDP to the All Progressive Congress (APC), has however put paid to that dream as the state, after May 29 inauguration of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) as the President, would still find itself in the opposition camp.
Because Buhari won in the state and two out of the three Senators and five out of the nine members of the House of Representatives were delivered to the APC, there is the opportunity that the state may find itself in the inner corridor of power particularly in the control of the national legislature.
On the line to become the next “big man” in Abuja, according to speculations making the rounds, is sitting Senator Ajayi Boroffice, a Professor of Human Genetics and pioneer Director-General of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NARSDA) who launched the first Nigerian Satellite into space.
Boroffice, who was a lecturer at the premier University of Ibadan before taking up the space assignment under the Obasanjo administration, was elected into the Senate on the platform of the LP of Mimiko and became, even as a first timer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.
He later decamped to the then Action congress of Nigeria (ACN) to contest the 2012 Ondo gubernatorial poll but failed to secure the party’s ticket.
Sources disclosed to The Guardian that Boroffice who is going to be the only ranking Senator from the state is likely to become a principal officer of the National Assembly when the 8th parliament is inaugurated in June.
A particular source who is close to the leaders of the APC said the choice of Boroffice was not too hard to make because he is the only one qualified in the Ondo/Ekiti axis of the South West since Ekiti gave all its seats in the National Assembly to the PDP and the other elected Senator from Ondo, Agagu’s Commissioner for Finance, Tayo Alasoadura, is a fresher in parliament.
The source argued further that with the election of Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who is from the Lagos/Ogun axis as the Vice-President, the control of Osun and the expectations that Ogun and Oyo would be retained by the APC, Boroffice would be the face of Ondo/Ekiti in the new power equation and being in the National Assembly, would naturally occupy the highest position zoned to the region in parliament.
Although it is not yet clear which position would be reserved for the South West in the National Assembly between the Senate and Majority Leader, it is almost certain, that the Buhari administration would create “a big man” out of Ondo State.
Already, a contact committee is said to have been set up by the APC in Ondo State to liaise with the power brokers with a view to emphasize on the need to put an end on what they called the “invisibility” of Ondo in the Abuja corridors of power but it still remain unclear whether their objectives would be met.