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Ondo APC crisis, boom for small parties

By Oluwaseun Akingboye, Akure. 
21 October 2018   |   3:39 am
IF the bigger parties do not put their houses in order, there are clear indications that candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may lose out to the small parties in Ondo State. 

Olusegun Mimiko

• Mimiko’s Zenith Labour Party, Others Waiting To Reap

IF the bigger parties do not put their houses in order, there are clear indications that candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) may lose out to the small parties in Ondo State. 

Parties that stand some chance of reaping from the failure of the bigger parties are: the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), which has the immediate past governor and political juggernaut, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as its presidential candidate; Young Democratic Party (YDP); African Action Congress (AAC), that has Omoyele Sowore, activist and indigene as Presidential candidate. 

Others are: African Democratic Congress (ADC); Social Democratic Party (SDP), which has the former SGF and Afenifere Chieftain, Chief Olu Falae, as its national Chairman; Action Democratic Party (ADP) and others. 

According to political analysts, the remote problems within the APC, emanating from the controversial September 3, 2016 governorship primaries that sowed initial discord in the party, leading to the crisis-ridden congresses, that produced Engr. Ade Adetimehin and his counterpart, Idowu Otetubi as APC parallel chairman, have greatly weakened the ruling party. 

Recently, it manifested in the rejection of two senatorial candidates: Dr Tunji Abayomi (North) and Lucky Aiyedatiwa (South) sent to the National Working Committee of the party by the camp loyal to Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. The incumbent senators: Prof. Ajayi Boroffice (North) and Pastor Yele Omogunwa (South) were given automatic tickets.

At the Federal House of Representatives, the NWC only conceded four out of nine candidates to the Governor, namely: Donald Ojogo, (Ilaje/ Ese-Odo), Jimmy Faloye (Akure North/South), Timehin Adelegbe (Ose/Owo) and Dr. Jibayo Adeyeye (Ondo East/West) to contest the 2019 poll. 
Akeredolu had rooted for for one of his commissioners Gboyega Adefarati (South West/South East), who resigned, and a return ticket for Stephen Olemija for (Akoko North West/ North East), but NWC favoured Ade Adeogun and Bunmi Tuni-Ojo for the constituencies respectively. 

While Mayowa Akinfolarin (Odigbo/Ileoluji-Okeigbo) and Ola Baderinwa (Idanre/Ifedore) both outsmarted the governor to clinch a return ticket, Albert Akintoye broke the rotational order to grasp the Irele/Okitipupa ticket to the disdain of Akeredolu and his APC chairman, Engr. Adetimehin. 

Meanwhile, three of the current Federal House of Representative members: Olemija, Babatunde Kolawole (Ajijo South West/South East) and Afe Olowookere (Akure North/South), lost the bid for a return ticket.Sadly for the party, the NWC team sent to the state to conduct the primaries did not show up but released the list amid outcry against the governor and APC chairman, who were accused of imposing candidates on members.

And at the state Assembly, only seven out of the 19 APC lawmakers clinched their return tickets and these has raised a lot of dust and animosity within the party at all levels, as the governor also lost some of his notable loyalists; and some loyalists who succeeded managed to ride rough-shod on popular candidates. Alongside other APC governors who were engrossed in such internal crises, Akeredolu had made several overtures to President Muhammadu Buhari and the national leadership of the party to no avail. 

A social critic and President of Movement for the Survival of the Underprivileged (MOSUP), Mr. Dappa Maharajah, said the primaries portend imminent doom for the APC in the state. Maharajah noted that “outcry against the party at all levels will lead to mass defection to other political parties by the aggrieved, apathy on the part of those who will not defect and a huge opportunity for small parties to win.”

According to him, the ruling party in Ondo State stands the chance of losing some of its notable members, especially the commissioners and aides who resigned their appointment to contest the election but were schemed out of the primaries. 
Moreover, some people believe that the major parties are enmeshed in political misadventure and have resolved to support new parties with credible candidates and ideologies so as to elect fresh generation of politicians. 

Aside the Governor making faulty decisions to impose candidates like Aiyedatiwa in the South and Olemija in the North, where their candidacy would have spelt disaster for the party if they had won, the NWC goofed through the imposition they also made. Most of the minority parties are poised to cash in on the political miscalculations made in the South District, where the APC Senate ticket was given to Irele Local Government Area and the House of Representatives ticket given to Akintoye too, from same council. 

Similarly, ace politicians like Victor Olabimtan, who was the Director General of Akeredolu Campaign Organisation in 2016, and others like him are nursing bitterness and displeasure over their rejection by the Governor, who openly declared support for other aspirants. It was reliably gathered that Olowookere, in annoyance, has picked the ticket of ZLP to slug it out with the APC candidate in Akure North/South Federal Constituency, joining other forces to wreck the APC. A reliable source close to Olowokeere revealed that he lost out from both sides because he was playing double game with the two factions.

Dr Mimiko’s political expertise and clout offers tremendous political wand for most APC and PDP aggrieved aspirants, who see the party as a platform to realize their political ambitions; and mostly, to inflict vengeance on the APC. Mimiko tactfully pitched tent with Zenith Labour Party when the original Labour Party (LP), of which he was founding member denied him. 

Iroko, as fondly called by his supporters has spread his tentacles across board by positioning candidates to contest the 2019 elections at all levels, having a current House of Representatives member, Joseph Akinlaja, representing Ondo West/East Federal Constituency, to seek a return ticket on the platform of the party.

It was rumoured that Governor Akeredolu, during his entreaties to the party leadership in Abuja had threatened that he would dump APC for another party if his candidates were not considered, while some of his candidates that failed to meet the list are set to join another party. 

A House of Representatives aspirant for Akure South/North Federal Constituency, Mr. Laf Mayokun-Alade, who cried foul over the primaries expressed uncertainty regarding the fate of the party in the next elections.Though Mayokun-Alade alongside other aspirants called for the cancellation of the primaries, he said: “Im not going to opt out of APC and I’m not going to work for anybody. My people and I are going to stay to watch what’s going to happen if they can impose to win the election in their own. All what we are asking for is free and fair election, we don’t want any imposition; you shouldn’t give what you cannot take.

“In the best interest of the party, there were no primaries in Akure South and North. We have to conduct a new primary because at the end of the day if there was no primary that means APC will go to the general elections without the candidates,” he said. It is clear therefore, that what the APC has done to itself has inadvertently created chances for smaller parties plan well and gain big. Prophetically, the SDP national Chairman, Falae, recently declared at a Summit in Akure that the major political parties would be plunged into crises that would lead to implosion, which would make them resort to the smaller parties as alternatives.