The Ondo State governorship election, scheduled for October 20, 2012, would notonly be interesting but also redefine the political fortune of the candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party,PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN and the Labour Party, LP.
The three gladiators fielded by the leading political parties in the state are from the South, North and Central senatorial zones. Each of the candidates is holding tenaciously to his political base.
Instructively, the candidates of the PDP and ACN, Chief Olusola Oke and Oluwarotimi Akeredolu are from the Southern and Northern senatorial zones respectively, while the ruling LP candidate, Governor Olusegun Mimiko, hails from the Central zone.
Since the three parties picked their candidates at their various congresses held on the same day at different locations in Akure, political activities have picked up tremendously.
The trio of Mimiko, Akeredolu and Oke are easily the leading candidates as the others, so far, have little or nothing on ground to show that they are serious about the coming contest.
Among the frontrunners,Akeredolu is the newest entrant into the political arena because he has not contested for any political position in the past. But Mimiko and Oke are not new on the political turf, they have fought many electoral battles.
Although, ACN leaders’ choice of Akeredolu caused ripples intially, the party is gradually getting over the issue as many of the aspirants have teamed up with him, while others have defected to the PDP and LP. However,supporters of some disenchanted aspirants are believed to have remained in the party.
One of the aggrieved aspirants, Saka Lawal was picked as the running mate to Oke, while another aspirant, who was a former Defence Minister, Dr. OluAgunloye, has pitched his tent with the incumbent governor. The PDP leaders’ decision to give the deputy governorship slot to the ACN man was seen as a political strategy to garner some votes from the North where the ruling LP picked its deputy governorship candidate, Mr. Saka Lawal.
Christian/Christian ticket: However, the Christian-Christian ticket of the PDP has been described as a liability in some quarters, as other political parties have started using it against the party.
Also, none consideration of any of the aspirants for the deputy governorship slot, is believed to be generating mixed feelings among members.
Even the appointment of Dr. Dare Bada as the Director General of the party’s campaign committee to placate the people from the central zone, did not address the grievances of some aggrieved members.
However, it has been widely speculated that Bada may have been promised the position of the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, if the party emerges victorious at the polls.
Other members of the campaign team include a former governorship aspirant, Comrade Alaba Isijola and former Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mayowa Akinfolarin.
Political observers have argued that the PDP may have shot itself in the foot by picking Lawal, whose popularity appears to be in doubt.
Candidates at glance
Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was born to Reverend J. Ola Akeredolu of Akeredolu family in Owo and Evangelist Grace B. Akeredolu of Aderoyiju family of Igbotu, Ese Odo, on the 21st July, 1956 in Owo and started his primary education at Government School, Owo before he proceeded to Aquinas College, Akure, Loyola Colege, Ibadan and Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, for his secondary school education and Higher School Certificate, respectively.
Fondly called Aketi by his admirers, a nickname that he took from his secondary school days, Akeredolu went to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) to study Law.
At Ife where he graduated in 1977, he was elected as the Vice President, Students’ Union, for the 1975-1976 academic sessions. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.
Akeredolu was appointed Attorney General of Ondo State from 1997-1999 and was made a Senior Advocate of Nigeria,SAN,in1998.
As an activist, he served the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) at various levels starting as the Secretary General of the Ibadan branch in 1985 and has been a member of the National Executive Council of the Association since then.
He served as the Publicity Secretary during the regime of the late Alao Aka Bashorun, a period considered as the golden era of the Bar, 1988-1989. He was also a member of Legal Aid Council of Nigeria from 1989 to 1991 and became its Chairman in 2005.
He was a member of the Governing Council, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies between 2008 and 2010, a member of Council of Legal Education, a member of Council, International Bar Association and Pan African Lawyers Union during the same period. He currently serves as NBA representative in the National Judicial Council (NJC).
“I am concerned about the economic development of the state and the well-being of the people. I can see that in this state today the people are disillusioned and there is hardly anything anyone can point to as the gain of our venture in the past three years.
There is no economic activity or any substance that anyone can point to, and that has rendered the state comatose.
That is one of the driving forces. Another force that is driving me is that there is no judicious use of the economic resources of this state and so because of that, I believe there should be a change and I have the capacity to bring that change.”
Olusegun Mimiko was born on October 5, 1954 into the Famimikomi family of Ondo Town and had his primary education at Aponmu before attending St. Joseph’s College, Ondo from 1966 to 1970 and later Gboluji Grammar School, Ile Oluji, for his Higher School Certificate (HSC) between 1971 and1972.
He was admitted into the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo in 1972 where he got B.Sc. Health Sciences in 1976 and went on to earn the MB; CHB in 1980.
After his internship as House Officer in the then Ondo State Health Management Board at the General Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, he worked in two private establishments in Onne, Rivers State and Lagos, and returned to public service and by 1985 he started his own practice and established the Mona Clinic in Ondo.
He was involved in politics during the military period and in 1992, was made the State Commissioner for Health in the old Ondo State, a position he again occupied when the military left governance in 1999.
He resigned from the government of Chief Adebayo Adefarati and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) when he was schemed out of the party governorship primaries to pitch his tent with the PDP under which he was made the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) in 2003.
A vacancy in the slot of Ondo in the Federal Executive Council saw him being appointed as Minister for Housing and Urban Development in 2005, a position he held till the end of 2006 when he again, resigned from government and the PDP to float the LP under which he contested and won the April 14, 2007 governorship election.
It took him 22 months of legal tussle to reclaim the 2007 mandate from Dr Olusegun Agagu of the PDP and on February 23, he was inaugurated as the governor of the state.
Mimiko had promised to work for the people with renewed vigour towards a better Ondo. He pledged to consolidate on his administration’s seven-plan agenda.
“In 2007, we promised to work for you, we promised that your concern shall be our concern; that in all seasons, we will work for you; that we shall unleash our incredible creative ingenuity to develop the state.
In the last three and a half years, there are empirical facts on the ground that we have delivered on our promises and Ondo State is working again and we are happier. We have in place over 350 projects in all our rural communities dictated by our people themselves,” he stated at the flag off of his re-election campaign in Owo recently.
Mimiko further said, “I sincerely assure you that we shall continue to work for you with renewed vigour. We have been with you; we know your concerns and aspirations and we have been meeting. We know that you want your children to have quality education without you selling your properties. We will continue to work to make Ondo State a real place of pride in Nigeria. We will continue to develop Agriculture, build more roads, build more mega schools for our children, markets for our women, more hospitals, our cities shall be the best cities in Nigeria.”
Olusola Oke was born on April 7, 1956 at the little fishing settlement of Ilowo located on the Ilaje coastline of Ondo State and was admitted to UNA Primary School in the community in 1961. He enrolled at the then University of Ife and bagged LLB in 1986 and was called to the Nigerian Bar on October 22, 1987. Oke ventured into politics and was initially a member of the Ondo State Board of Internal Revenue in 1991 before he got elected into the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly as a representative of Ilaje/Ese-Odo Constituency in 1992 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
At the return of democracy in 1999, he became a member of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) representing Ondo State.
When the tenure of the board expired, Oke became the Chairman of the Ondo State Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), and in the 2003 general elections, he was denied the seat of Ondo South Senatorial District in controversial circumstances after getting his party’s (PDP) ticket and announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of the election. Oke was a member of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) in 2005 and had served as Chairman of the Boards of the Federal Polytechnic, Bida and the Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency, Kaduna as well as a member of the Technical Committee of the Federal Government on Niger Delta. He is the immediate past National Legal Adviser of the PDP.
While stating what he intends to do if elected governor, Oke said “I will complete the Akure Stadium that the PDP started but was abandoned by this government. The Owena dam which has been completed but requiring only reticulation before it was abandoned will be resuscitated to supply water to about six local government areas. We will ensure that we generate employment for our teeming youths who are now roaming the streets. We will do this by expanding the capacity of government to absorb some of them, set aside a fund where they can draw loans to engage in vocations.”
He also said, “We will also ensure that we encourage them to become petty contractors. There are many projects that don’t require expertise in execution. They will be encouraged to register companies and form partnerships to benefit from this. And finally some of them would be appointed to government positions and those that would require loan to trade, will be empowered. Of course by the time we open our forest and coastal resources, the processing companies that will spring up will also help in absorbing some of these youths.”
Other candidates include: Adept Taye, Allied Congress Party; Mr. Adeyemi Bolarinwa ANPP Better Nigeria Progressive Party; and Mr. Omoyele Olorunwa of Change Advocacy Party,CAP.
Others are Mr. Olusoji Ehinlanwo, Congress for Progressive Change,CPC; Mr. Oladipo Lawrence,National Conscience Party,NCP; Mr. Abikanlu Olusola , National Solidarity Democratic Party,NSP; Mr. Omoregha Olatunji, the Progressive People Alliance; and Mr. Victor Adetusin, People for Democratic Change, PDC.