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Ondo 2020: The trouble in APC and the fate of PDP

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According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the governorship election in Ondo State will hold in October 10, this year. Shortly after this announcement, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, also released the timetable and schedule of activities for the governorship elections. According to INEC, political parties must conduct their primary elections between July 2 and July 25, while public campaigns by various parties would begin on July 13, 2020, and end two days to the governorship election in the State. Ahead of the election, I have personally noted two things – the trouble in the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and the fate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which is the title and subject of the discussion of this article.

The trouble in APC 
The Bible says in the book of Mark 3:5 that if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. As it is, the APC in Ondo State is presently wallowing in a political storm of division, where about 80% of the leaders in Ondo State have come together under one umbrella in the name of Unity Forum to work against the reelection bid of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. The group, under the leadership of Alhaji Ali Olanusi, is also working to ensure they produce one of their members as a consensus candidate to slug it out with the incumbent in the party’s primary election.  This is aside from other aspirants who are not members of the Unity Forum but are also not disposed to the second term bid of the state governor. 

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On several occasions, the Members of the Unity Forum who are political gladiators in APC, have rejected out rightly the possibility of supporting Akeredolu for the second term, while the group itself, has continued to wax stronger in recent times. Governor Akeredolu on his part has also rejected any possible reconciliation with the Unity Forum. Recently, he openly drew a battle line with the Unity Forum and said, he has also prepared to fight them to a standstill. He gave this hint while speaking at a dinner he held in commemoration of his third anniversary as the executive governor of Ondo State. Akeredolu’s second term bid is not only threatened by the Unity Group. The governor is also not in the good book of the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, and Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the National Leader of the ruling APC. Tinubu is said to have reconciled with Akeredolu, but many who are closed to him have said that such reconciliation does not have anything to do with Akeredolu’s second term bid. Even of recent, the governor’s outbursts where he threatened the leadership of the party not to replace him if they wish to win the next Ondo State governorship election shows that the second term bid of the governor is under serious threat.

The original trouble for the ruling APC in Ondo State is that governor Akeredolu will create a problem for the party if he is replaced by the leadership of the party, because he would ensure the defeat of the APC in Ondo State by using the power of incumbency. Another trouble is that the array of APC leaders in the Unity Forum are also strong enough politically to scuttle the second term bid of the governor to the advantage of the opposition PDP if he eventually emerged as the candidate of the APC in Ondo State against their political conspiracy. As it is, only God could help the APC in Ondo State not to be consumed by the PDP upon the crisis created in the party by the two warring factions.

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The fate of PDP
With this, the opposition PDP is at an advantage to take over the state from the ruling APC in the October governorship election. But this is only if the PDP gets it right by studying the body language of Ondo State electorates regard the natural rotation of political power across the three senatorial districts of the state. The political history of Ondo State revealed a rotational arrangement of power among the three senatorial districts which is birthed either by the political parties or by the electorates themselves. A careful assessment of history in the election of state governors into offices in Ondo State shows that the electorates have regard for the rotation of political power in the three senatorial districts. The analysis below is a testimony to that effect. In 1999, Chief Adebayo Adefarati was produced as the state governor from Ondo North. Between 2003 to 2009; Dr Olusegun Agagu from Ondo South was elected the governor, while in 2009 -2017; Dr Olusegun Mimiko from Ondo Central was elected the state governor and the position shifted to Ondo North again, following the election of governor Akeredolu in 2016 and his subsequent assumption of office in 2017. 

There are two major lessons here: After the reign of Agagu from Ondo South, the PDP again gave its ticket to Olusola Oke of the then PDP from the same Ondo South, but he lost to former governor Mimiko who hails from the Central Senatorial District because the electorates didn’t vote for him. He lost to Mimiko even in his own Senatorial District because the electorates felt his party didn’t do the right thing to have returned the ticket to Ondo South after Agagu’s aborted second term. This same feat was repeated in 2016 governorship election in Ondo State because Dr. Mimiko failed to return the ticket to Ondo North. The former governor gave the ticket of the PDP to his own Senatorial District after completing eight years. The electorates again refused to vote the PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). This led to the emergence of governor Akeredolu from Ondo North. As the October 10 governorship election beckons in Ondo State, the fate of the PDP will be determined by the Senatorial District from which it produces its candidate, as the chances of the ruling APC is very slim because of the battle between Akeredolu and the Unity Group.
Olumide, publisher of Starnews NG Online newspaper, is the special assistant, media and publicity, to Senator Nicholas Tofowomo.

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