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Ondo 2020: 17 PDP aspirants waiting to reap from APC’s incoherence

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Akeredolu

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other opposition parties are waiting anxiously to benefit from the crisis in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Political gladiators across the 203 wards and three senatorial districts of the state have shown interest to wrest the Number One job from Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu. Some will be featuring for the first time, while a handful would be trying their luck once more.

In the South District, which has been the strongest base of the PDP since 1999, there are: the South West Chairman of the party, Chief Dr. Eddy Olafeso; Chief Sola Ebiseni, Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, Otunba Bamidele Akingboye (OBA).

Also from the district are: the former state Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr. Banji Okunomo; a former commissioner for Information and deputy governorship candidate in the last election, Olu Mafo, just to mention a few.

In the Central, the former Attorney General and commissioner for Justice, Eyitayo Jegede, who was the party’s candidate in 2016, has shown interest to recontest; and in the North are: the former special adviser on Labour Matters, Mr. Dayo Fadahunsi and former commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Special Duties, Mr. Femi Adekambi.

The PDP state chairman, Engr. Clement Faboyede, boasted that the major opposition party will send Governor Akeredolu packing out of Government House in Alagbaka in 2020.

He declared that the party is making efforts to ensure that its house is in order across the 18 local government areas, adding that the party will conduct a transparent and hitch-free primary election that that will produce the standard-bearer.

Aside being a party with past success story in the state and country at large, the PDP put an impressive performance in the last general election by defeating the ruling party despite its incumbency to give PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a resounding victory.

In the same vein, the party won two out of the three senatorial seats, namely: South and Central districts; while the PDP candidates won two House of Representatives seat in the South, one in the Central, while the other two lower chamber seats were won by other opposition parties.

Governor Akeredolu’s faction of the APC could only win one National Assembly seat in the Lower Chamber, while the other faction of the APC won the only senatorial seat and three House of Representative tickets.

These were the effects of the in-house fighting within the ruling party and remote fallout of the controversial September 3, 2016 governorship primary of the party that produced Akeredolu and the Aketi team.

Faboyede expressed the possibility of the party reclaiming the state from the APC.

Reeling out the intimidating profile of PDP governorship aspirants, he noted that about 17 aspirants have signified interest for the party’s ticket, boasting that the least of them is better than the best candidate that APC can ever produce.

The chairman, who was a former commissioner in the state said: “Our primary will be clean and clear. There will be no brouhaha. The PDP now has about 17 aspirants. But I can assure everyone that the best candidate will emerge because we will ensure free fair primary.

“During the last primary of the party, we did not receive a single query. The ball is in the court of the delegates to elect a candidate that will be accessible.”

The PDP chieftain also bemoaned the lack-lustre performance of the present administration as huge advantage for the major opposition party.

According to him, the acceptability of Governor Akeredolu and the APC government has dwindled drastically at all levels due to poor Social Protection Programmes, gross disconnect from the grassroots and deterioration of people-centred and welfarist programmes inherited from past administration.

He added; “at this time of government of pressure and tyranny, we have decided to leave no stone unturned. By God’s grace, Ondo State will rise again with the PDP government.

“The incoming PDP government that will be sworn in by February 23, 2021, will be a government that respects social norms. It will govern based on empathy and the rule of law.”

This confidence from the major opposition party may not be unconnected to the resolve by some members of APC to work against the party if Akeredolu gets the second term ticket.

From reliable sources within the party, the faction in government, since it took over the reins on February 24, 2017, has tremendously marginalized other factions that are not members of the Aketi team.

One of them, who confided in our correspondent, recounted that across the 3009 units of the state, APC members, who are not part of Aketi Team are abandoned. He lamented that there is no difference between most APC members and the opposition party members that are not in power.

He disclosed that the governor is not funding the party adequately to cater for the needs of the party members, who are the political foot soldiers to be used in any election. He also noted that the political appointees too could not take care of any party structure in their wards.

An APC chieftain in Okitipupa LGA, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “We have never seen this kind of Akeredolu-led government in this state. In many of our meetings across the state, the people are lamenting terribly. In fact, there is no difference between now and when we were in opposition.

“We all worked assiduously for Aketi during the primary election. We abandoned our own son, Olusola Oke, to vote this man, Aketi, but he has abandoned all of us. Even when forming his cabinet, he appointed those who never worked for him at the primary and abandoned us. We are waiting for him next year; if he eventually gets the party ticket, we will work against him and the party,” he said.

The party chieftain noted that it is still one of their leaders, Mr. Igbekele Akinrinwa, who is not even empowered enough politically to take care of the party structure in the area, that is still appealing to them to support the Akeredolu-led government.

Consequent upon these, the PDP Chairman, Faboyede, while addressing Olafeso and supporters during the latter’s notification of the party on his governorship ambition at the party secretariat on Monday, affirmed that PDP would send Akeredolu and APC out of government.

The national vice chairman (South West), Olafeso, who was a commissioner for Information during late Dr. Olusegun Agagu’s regime, recounted that his ambition is a rescue mission to salvage the state from the present doldrums in all sectors.

“There is no government in Ondo State here. This state is the state of Ajasin, Adefarati, the state of Agagu and Mimiko. We are now witnessing a situation where students are paying from primary school level to secondary school.

“The tertiary institutions are far beyond the ordinary man. I’m a product of the Awolowo era. I won’t have been educated if there was no social welfare program for the ordinary man on the street. They have abdicated their responsibility,” he said.

Olafeso disclosed that when the time comes, many PDP members who had gone for sojourn in other parties would come back home to work together for the party and reclaim her lost glory in the mandate to give quality governance and dividends of democracy to the people.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of PDP chieftains who angrily left the party for APC in the build-up to 2016 election when Mimiko decided to choose a successor from the same Central District where he hails from.

Aborigines of PDP presently in the APC are: the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi; former Assembly Speakers: Victor Olabimtan and Abdulsalam Taofeek, the Chairman of SUBEB, Princess Oladunni Odu; the commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo; the commissioner for Education, Mr. Femi Agagu, a brother and Chief of Staff to former governor, late Dr. Agagu.

Others are: the minister of State for Niger Delta, Senator Tayo Alasoadura; former chairman of OSOPADEC, Gbenga Edema; the current Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Ifedayo Abegunde; the commissioner for Works, Saka Yusuf; the commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Yemi Olowolabi among others.

Sources close to the Government House revealed that majority of the appointees are having grudges with the way the governor is running the government, making it extremely difficult to maintain the party and their supporters.

Some APC insiders fear that there might be implosion should the Governor attempt to replace his deputy Ajayi with another politician from Okitipupa. The onus is on the Governor and party leaders to join forces and build a united party.

Meanwhile, Jegede, who is a close ally of PDP’s Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, intimated the party leadership in Akure South and Idanre councils of his intention to vie for the next governorship election.

“I am here to thank you for the support you gave me during the 2016 governorship election. I see myself as somebody who is ready to serve. I contested the last gubernatorial election and we knew the result, the following day we went to church to thank God for how far He had helped us.

“Now, I consulted God Almighty again, I asked if I should go forward on this project, He answered me that I should go ahead. I am asking you whether to go ahead or not? This is not the time for the campaign.

“We will surely come back when the time comes. I seek your support for our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party and appreciate you for all your efforts both during the 2016 governorship election and the last general elections,” he said.

Fadahunsi, who hails from the same council in the North District with the incumbent Governor, is said to also have some consideration to slug it out with APC and square it up with a deputy from the South.

It was gathered that popular considerations within Mimiko’s cabinet favoured him in 2016 but the former governor chose to do otherwise.

There are indications that PDP will bank on its strongest base in the South District to pick its candidate in the next election, though there are many aspirants from there, whom close sources within the party revealed, are working closely with Jegede.


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