Governorship Battle In Ondo: How Parties, Candidates Will Perform

Despite the call for postponement by some of the parties, the governorship election in Ondo State will hold on Saturday as scheduled. There is an increased tempo of campaigns and political activities by the various actors. The drumbeats of war are dying down. The candidates are reaching out. And as the Election Day draws near, the candidates and their parties are becoming even more conscious that the voter armed with his voter card is king.


So much has gone into preparations for the elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, said on Tuesday that all was set for the exercise. According to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, all the sensitive and non-sensitive materials are on ground for the election. “Ad-hoc staff have been trained, stakeholders have been sensitized and security has been mobilized.”
The race is now before the candidates, whose only goal is to win and become the next governor of Ondo State. Having emerged from their respective party primaries as victors, they are prepared to test their popularity among the electorates whose votes would determine their fate on Saturday.

About 28 political parties and their candidates are standing for the coming election. However, only four of the parties have shown seriousness in the race. This informed the invitation of only four candidates for the Ondo 2016 governorship debate which held in Akure on Monday. The candidates are Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress, APC; Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy, AD; Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party, SDP.

PARTY CONTROVERSIES
Three of the four parties, PDP APC and AD, had entered the race for Alagbaka from controversial primaries and prolonged litigations. While the APC and the AD appeared to have managed to quell the legal storms that rocked their political campaigns, the PDP’s troubles have failed to abate. The SDP, which held a modest primary, had Agunloye without any contention.
The September 3 primaries of the APC was destined for tribulations. It began its faulty march to the election with so many candidates showing interest in the ticket. Then came the endorsement of Olusegun Abraham, one of the aspirants, by a national leader, Bola Tinubu. The crisis started. It spilled over into the primaries and with allegations of fraud and doctoring of the delegates’ list, the APC was no longer a home at ease with itself. Mr. Abraham, the runner up, went to court and he is still in court, but Mr. Oke left for the AD. Ajayi Boroffice, who did not leave the party, had become withdrawn, after reaching a truce with Mr. Akeredolu to halt hostilities. But the decision of the party to have Mr. Akeredolu fly its flag stood.

Mr. Oke’s trip to the AD met with a legal backlash, as some of the old members of the party refused to recognize him as the party’s candidate. A youth group within the party protested his entrance and sudden emergence as the candidate of the party after replacing Akin Olowookere, who was earlier picked as the candidate. A youth group in the party questioned the decision of the leadership to circumvent the process of membership of the party in admitting Oke. The party’s legal adviser, Kehinde Aworele, went to court to seek the nullification of the candidature of Mr. Oke on the grounds that he was not properly elected as the flag bearer of the party. His sojourn in the courts came to an end recently when he was prevailed upon by the elders of the party to let peace rain. The legal adviser has since joined in the campaigns for the man he rejected initially.

The PDP is currently embroiled in legal intra party conflict which has distorted its hitherto smooth-sailing campaigns. Two factions of the party laid claims to the ticket to run for the office.


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