Ondo 2016: SDP weighs in on PDP, APC crises
As the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State moves closer, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), is hoping to cash in on the internal wrangling in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the rival All Progressives Congress (APC), to win the race.
Although, some analysts argued that the party’s ambition was a hopeless venture and waste of time, SDP however said the 2016 governorship election in Ondo “will not only spring a surprise, it will also bring a change in the history of the state.”
The SDP intends to take advantage of the ongoing agitation among the governorship aspirants of the APC and PDP over alleged plans to impose desired candidates by the leadership of the parties.
Recently, some aspirants on the APC platform, particularly Dr. Tunji Abayomi raised alarm that former governor of Lagos and a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu wanted to impose Mr. Segun Abraham, as the party’s governorship candidate. Although, Tinubu and the National Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun have dismissed the allegation, they said to express support for any aspirant does not amount to imposing the person as candidate.
The party is already facing the consequences of the allegation as some angry members of the party recently accused the State chairman, Isaac Kekemeke of promoting a particular candidate. While banking to cash in on these developments, SDP said its plea was that security agencies and other stakeholders should ensure that the election was devoid of “violence and similar acts that can pose dangers to the people.”
The chairman of the party, Chief Korede Duyile, during the party’s congress where Dr. Olu Agunloye, a former Minister of Defense emerged as governorship candidate enjoined all the security agents to take appropriate measures to guarantee the safety of the people.
He insisted that those who go to villages with arms and ammunition during elections must be stopped to prevent reprisal action from the people that are yearning for change. Duyile also appealed to traditional rulers, elder statesmen, community leaders and parents to help prevail on those prone to violence to ensure peace before, during and after the election. Harping on why the SDP was full of confidence to defeat the ruling PDP and APC, Duyile said, “Agunloye has been a man tested in public office in the past and has been successful in all.”
Agunloye while saying that the PDP and APC has noting new to offer Ondo, since both parties have ruled and have offered their best “our party would bring the desired and positive change to the state if it wins the race.”He said his aspiration to rule the state was not driven by bitter politics to probe past administrations “but to harness the inherent opportunities in the state for better development.” According to him, “There is no time for probe because our people are suffering too much and sense of urgency demands that what is needed is to proffer quick solutions to their challenges.”He appealed to the people to shun agenda politics, which according to him promotes ethnicity and sectional interest.
MEANWHILE, some APC aspirants have called on the party leadership not to make similar mistake it made in 2012 that created the leeway for the incumbent governor, Dr. Segun Mimimo to claim victory. Some of the aspirants, Mr. Akinboye Oyewumi, Moyosore Oladunni and Akinyinka Akinnola, who spoke at different fora believe this is the right time to give room for fresh, dynamic and young ideas to rule Ondo.
According to them, “If going by the resolve of the APC leadership to enthrone a level-playing ground for all its gubernatorial aspirants to prove their mettle, the character the party will throw up after its primary would largely impact on its success in the governorship race.Oyewumi, who believes he is the best for the job said, “I have what it takes to turn the state around if elected.”
He is also banking on his past political exposure and activities, most especially his contribution to the emancipation of Nigerians under the military rule during the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) days “APC is a platform for me to touch the lives of the common man.”On whether he has the financial muscle or not to slug it out with other co-contestants, he said, “what is most necessary is conviction.”
Akinnola, while meeting with over 700 delegates in Akure said what Ondo needed for now was unparalleled development, which he was ready to deliver if elected. According to him, “This gathering is very unique because it marks the first time an aspirant would gather hundreds of our party members and chieftains to directly seek their support. I urge you to support me for this position because I have a lot to offer to our people,” Akinnola said at the colourful event on Saturday.
“The coming election is not just about unseating a PDP government, it is about ensuring a truly credible change that all of us would be proud of. I offer myself for service of our people to the glory of God for our great party,” he added, amid chorus of approvals by the delegates.
However, the power of incumbency cannot be ruled out in the situation. The PDP still remained a formidable force in the Ondo governorship race.A member of the party, who did not want his name in print, boasted that neither the APC or the weakling SDP has what it takes to unseat the PDP in Ondo “Mimiko has performed marvelously in the last eight years what is important now is continuity.”