Ondo 2012: The Contenders, The Pretenders - P.M. News

Ondo 2012: The Contenders, The Pretenders

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A critical assessment of the parties cleared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for the Ondo State governorship poll slated for 20 October, has shown that only three of the 12 political parties have so far exhibited the highest sense of seriousness and commitment with a view to winning the governorship seat.

The three contenders for the Alagbaka Government House are Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN,  Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and the Labour Party, LP, while others include Allied Congress Party, ACP, All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, Better Nigeria Progressive Party, BNPP, Change Advocacy Party, CAP, Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, National Conscience Party, NCP, National Solidarity Democratic Party, NSDP, People for Democratic Change, PDC and Progressive People Alliance, PPA.

Governor Olusegun Mimiko emerged as the candidate of the LP with Alhaji Ali Olanusi as his running mate, Chief Olusola Oke and Mr. Saka Lawal were cleared as the candidate and deputy of the PDP respectively while Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and the ACN secretary in the state, Mr. Olutope Adedipe, were named as candidate and running mate respectively, in the election.

The emergence of these candidates has shown that each of them was picked from areas where their parties appear to be strong and acceptable. For instance, a leader of the PDP, who was a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Alhaji Taofeek Abdulsalam, while justifying the choice of Oke as the party’s candidate, said it was because the party was convinced that it had overwhelming support and acceptability in the southern senatorial district of the state.

He added that Oke was in the National Assembly between 1991 and 1993 as a member, who represented the people of the Ilaje-Ese Odo federal constituency, adding that his rich credential and attitude toward the people eminently qualified him to emerge as the party’s candidate from the area.

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The popularity of the LP above others in the Central Senatorial district, where the bulk of the electorate are located, is incontestable. The LP obviously decided to field the incumbent governor as its candidate because of the acceptability of the party in the district and beyond. The political calculation is that if the LP could gather enough votes within the central senatorial district and deliver 25 per cent of the total votes cast in other 12 local government areas of the state, Mimiko will smile again to the Government House for a second term.

On the part of the ACN, however, the national leadership of the party took into consideration the political relevance and importance of Owo town to progressive democracy, which was embraced by the Yoruba since the era of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Chief Adekunle Ajasin and lately, the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, in picking the former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, Akeredolu, who is an indigene of the town as its candidate.

However, watchers of political developments in the state, who had anticipated that the ACN would pick the deputy governorship candidate from the southern senatorial district, where about 10 people were said to have shown interest, were surprised when the secretary of the party, who is an Akure indigene, Mr. Olutope Adedipe, was picked. The choice of Adedipe, some analysts argue, could be an attempt by the party to get the sympathy of the Akure people, who have yet to produce a governor since the state was created in 1976.

It is, however, expect that given a repeat of the feat achieved during the Edo State governorship election by the INEC and the security agencies, the most popular candidate would emerge victorious in the 20 October election.

—Yisa Jamiu