Owo Zone Set To Headline Ondo 2016
AS the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states begin to take the backburner, all eyes are on Ondo State, with its election coming up in 2016. There is no doubt Ondo will be the next theatre of politicking.
Expectedly, the tempo of political activities in the state, is on the rise as politicians are beginning to align, form groups to lobby and contact political leaders and influential groups as well as planting mobilisation teams all over the state for the purpose of not only making their presence felt, but to garner enough support.
In fact, the return of some old faces known as serial aspirants to the scene and the arrival of some young, fresh and able ‘bodied’, who over the years have been the brain behind some community development projects across the state, which some analysts say have qualified them for elective offices, has kick-started massive and deafening political activities.
As was the case in 2012, when the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) had the record of producing the highest number of governorship aspirants put at about 30, the new All Progressives Congress (APC), which ACN fused into, is also chasing that record, as no fewer than 10 aspirants have so far indicated their interest to contest in the party’s primary election to select the governorship candidate.
Among those that have indicated interest to fly the APC flag during the governorship poll are Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Chief Jamiu Ekungba, Akinfehinwa Awodeyi, Chief Bukola Adetula, Jumoke Anifowoshe and Niran Sule, Victor Olabimtan, Segun Abrahams, Senator Ajayi Boroffice and Dr. Tunji Abayomi.
A glance through the APC list clearly shows that the Northern Senatorial District made up mainly of Owo and Akoko ethnic groups is about the main contender for the party’s governorship slot. Though APC is yet to formally declare that it has zoned its governorship ticket to the district, reliable sources within the party confirmed to The Guardian that the decision is a fate accompli and that APC, which supplanted AC is going to repeat the 2012 formula, when it zoned the ticket to the North. The sources further noted that that reason accounted for why all the aspirants are today drawn from the North.
Political argument and opinion even within the North favour concession of the ticket to the Owo axis of the northern APC. They contended that the Owo axis produced the state governor 36 years ago in person of late Chief Adekunle Ajasin, but the Akoko people recently had a governor in person of late Chief Adebayo Adefarati and the deputy governor slot now for an ongoing period of eight years.
With this scenario, the battle for APC’s governorship ticket appears to have been localized to the northern part of the state, making it a local duel between the Owos and the Akokos. Out of the four APC aspirants from Akoko, Senator Ajayi Boroffice who leads the pack, observers say, seems to be the main contender. Aspirants from the Owo axis in the APC include Akeredolu, Adetula, Ekungba, Awodeyi, Anifowoshe and Sule.
Until recently, the two names that dominated political discussions in the state were Boroffice and Akeredolu. However, with the emergence of Adetula, the political barometer and calculation have since changed to the extent that in the eye of an average APC member in the state, Adetula appears the change agent being awaited.
The way Bukola (Adetula) has taken the state by storm through his political activities also support the speculation, especially shortly after the inauguration of his Bibire Mobilisation Group (BMG), which has its slogan, Bibire Ko se Fowora. He has has taken BMG to all the 18 council areas of Ondo State.
An executive member of one of the wards in Ose council area near Owo, Gbadega Bayetiri, said: “With the coming of Chief Bukola Adetula into the APC governorship race, he has continued to outshine others to the extent that all those old aspirants have now taken the back seat, he is being proclaimed as the real change agent.”
Moreover, political watchers in the state seem to narrow the APC contest to Adetula and Boroffice. Concerned APC sympathizers who said that the party must get it right this time around insist that the only way to get it right is not to repeat the mistake of the past by not fielding a candidate that would again end up as a liability to the party.
An APC member from Owo, Rotimi Adegboye told The Guardian that though he bears the same name with Rotimi Akeredolu, any one who wants the party to win the coming governorship election should consider candidates with electoral value. APC sympathizers further express worry that both Akeredolu and Boroffice have constituted themselves to forces of division within the APC in Ondo, stressing that their struggle for dominance has factionalised both the state executive council and the party as a whole.
Some analysts are of the opinion that given the manner Akeredolu and Boroffice have caused divisions within the party, any attempt to field either of them would certainly affect the political fortunes and performance of the party in the coming election.
They posited that Adetula holds the ace since he has not aligned with either of the two power-blocs. Despite their differences, all the aspirants from Owo axis are united in their opposition to the ambition of Boroffice, who they claim had on two occasions come to beg the Owos for support in his senatorial bid, on the condition that he would not come back to them for a governorship ambition.
“Senator Boroffice only begged them in Owo to concede the National Assembly seat for him, which they said they obliged him. They vouched for his integrity, saying he would never come again to take the gubernatorial ticket from them”, the sources said.
A PDP member, who spoke with our correspondent declared that though his allegiance is still with the old PDP (PDP Konigba), he was desirous of change like those in the APC, warning that only a credible candidate from the APC can win the next election and put an end to the political dynasty of governor Olusegun Mimiko and his PDP-Gbasibe family in the state.
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