New Telegraph

Akeredolu ready to battle Jegede as Ajayi loses all


Following the outcome of the primaries of the two major political parties in Ondo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Party (APC), the battle is now set as the candidates are ready for a showdown in the October 20, 2020 governorship poll, writes ADEWALE MOMOH


With the conclusion of the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the political machinery ahead of the October 20, 2020 governorship election in Ondo State is now in full swing.


For the APC, the incumbent governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu emerged as the standard bearer of the party after defeating 11 other aspirants who contested the party’s ticket with him while within the PDP fold, the candidate of the party in 2016, Eyitayo Jegede was able to secure the ticket again.


During the primaries of the APC which was held on July 20, out of the 3,127 delegates who voted in the exercise which lasted about 10 hours, Akeredolu polled 2,725 votes to emerge the winner while his closest rival Olusola Oke garnered 262 votes to emerge the first runner-up.


Akeredolu, who polled the highest number of votes across the 18 local government areas of the state, was overwhelmingly voted for by the delegates ahead of other aspirants.


With 33 invalid votes recorded, Isaacs Kekemeke who was the former APC Chairman in the state came third with 19 votes while Nigerian Ambassador to Togo, Olusola Iji scored nine votes in the fourth position.


Fence mending


While the APC primaries had been predicted by political analysts to go the way of Akeredolu, the prediction on the PDP primaries had not been emphatic as the gladiators, particularly, Jegede, the Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi and the former Vice Chairman of the party (South West), Dr. Eddy Olafeso had proved to be the party’s potential candidate going by their political sagacity in the build-up to the primaries.



However, after the primaries, Jegede took the day in the primaries where Ajayi, Olafeso as well as six other aspirants who participated at the Dome, Akure, the state capital.


Out of the over 2100 delegates who voted in the primaries which lasted about eight hours, Jegede polled 888 votes to emerge the winner while his closest rival, Ajayi scored 657. With the outcome of the primaries, Jegede will slug it out with Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who won the APC primaries in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.



Jegede, a former Attorney General in the state was announced as the winner of the primaries by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi of Enugu State, who was the Chairman of the Governorship Primary Election Committee.


Olafeso came third in the contest with 175 votes while Bode Ayorinde polled 95 votes with Banji Okunomo, the former Publicity Secretary of the party scoring 90 votes. Senator Boluwaji Kunlere polled 33 votes and Godday Erewa, 14 votes. Following the emergence of Akeredolu as the APC’s standard bearer, he embarked on reconciliation process in the party, particularly amongst aggrieved members and leaders of the party.


Akeredolu in his acceptance speech shortly after he was declared the winner of the exercise, appealed to members, leaders as well as his co-aspirants to let go of the animosity against one another in the build-up to the primaries over the issue of direct and indirect mode of primary.


The governor who is seeking re-election said: “I salute the courage of my brother aspirants. They have enriched the contest, no doubt. I must say that I am particularly enamoured by the determination and the industry we all put into this endeavour.


“The campaigns preceding this day have been noticeably fraught with mixed feelings. This is more so that, all aspirants, including myself were either victims or indirectly responsible for such unpleasant circumstances. We must find spaces in our hearts to forgive one another.


Relationships in some cases may have been bruised and interests hurt. In other cases, methods deployed to run these campaigns may not have been pleasant. I plead with all us to leave these in the past and move on.”


Akeredolu added that a way of engendering unity of purpose and cohesion amongst all party men and women he said “in a matter of hours, I shall commence, in an inexorable manner, a process of reconciliation to heal all perceived wounds. We need one another more in the future than now. “Therefore, I find it delightful to say here and now, that we have all won together. Consider me as the custodian of your vision for the Sunshine State. Together, we shall the state forward. Under my watch, we shall witness a more robust, reassuring and rewarding relationship.”


Akeredolu added that as a way of engendering unity of purpose and cohesion amongst all party men and women, said “in a matter of hours, I shall commence, in an inexorable manner, a process of reconciliation to heal all perceived wounds. We need one another more in the future than now.”


Contrary to all expectation, the Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate and senator representing Ondo North Senatorial District, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice has felicitated with Governor Akeredolu on his emergence as the governorship candidate of the APC.


In a statement issued by his media aide, Kayode Fakuyi, the Senator said: “It is time for all APC members to come together, work together and win together” stating that after the intra party election, his utmost concern was the victory of the party in the October 10 governorship election.


“Though, I understand some stakeholders are enraged because the party appeared to have made reconciliation somewhat cumbersome with some of its past actions and inactions.


Nevertheless, I implore aggrieved stakeholders to open their doors for genuine reconciliation, profound peace and party cohesion.” He called on leaders and members of APC in Ondo State to embrace “our party’s governorship candidate.


This is the time to come together to work together and win together.” Similarly, Jegede has reached out to all his colleagues in the primaries, urging them to work with him in a move to win the election come October.


Like Akeredolu, he visited all the contenders and solicited their support. On his part, Olafeso congratulated Jegede in a message and charged PDP on equity, fairness.


He said: “A few hours ago, I sent a congratulatory message to Barr. Eyitayo Jegede who won the Ondo State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries. I wished him luck and offered my best wishes on the task ahead of him and us all.


He prayed that the flag bearer met the hopes and yearnings of “our people for sustainable economic policies and better life for each and every one of us as passed on by Baba Adekunle Ajasin. The need for a critical look at our educational and health sectors as bequeathed by Baba Adefarati and Dr. Mimiko is paramount.


“The future of our state is in limbo and except we enshrine integrity, character and intellectual capacity to create a vision for our people. To me that’s very important and we must not do anything to reduce it. We must ensure we engage our people,” he said.


After the primaries of both parties, political observers had been expressing observations on the outcome of the exercise on how the votes across the three senatorial districts will be shared between the two candidates.


With the unwritten zoning arrangement as regards governorship slot in the state, most observers had expected that for the PDP to be formidable during the October 20 election, an aspirant from the southern senatorial district ought to have emerged in order to give the APC a run for it money.


Ajayi loses all Although Agboola Ajayi, the estranged Deputy Governor of the state put up a strong fight in the PDP primaries, coming second behind Jegede with 657 votes, in the end, he lost all- the prospect of succeeding his boss in 2024 with his impeachment which was saved by constitutional provisions.


Equally interesting is the speculation that Jegede may not feature him as his running mate.


From the current permutation, his hold on the nine the lawmakers, alongside two cabinet members and the former Secretary to the State Government who were touted to join him if he had emerged as PDP candidate is said to be depleting. Even in the just-concluded primaries, the scores underscored Akeredolu’s strength in the Southern Senatorial district where he scored 87.94 per cent of votes in Ese-Odo.


Olusola Oke two per cent, Isaac Kekemeke about eight per cent and Sola Iji 2.85 per cent. Ese-Odo is the Local Government of two aspirants, Kekemeke and Sola Iji. Ese-Odo is also the local government of the estranged Deputy Governor, instrumental to the installation of over 80 per cent of the officials as executives at various levels.


But Akeredolu’s score in the area at the primaries affirmed that members of the party in Ese Odo still believe in him. As at yesterday, the next move of Ajayi, a former local government chairman and member of House of Representatives remained a mirage. Since the return to democracy in 1999, rotation of who becomes the governor had been maintained across the three senatorial districts.


Akeredolu who is from the northern senatorial district was elected as governor following the expiration of the tenure of his predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko who from the central senatorial district.


Analysts were of the view that it will amount to shortchanging the southern senatorial district following the emergence of Jegede from the central senatorial district amidst six aspirants from the southern senatorial district.


According to fillers, the people of the southern senatorial district, the homestead of Akeredolu’s mother, and a district where he secured overwhelming victory in the primaries, will be ready to support Akeredolu on his reelection bid and as well wait for another four years in order for them to produce a governor after Akeredolu’s tenure instead of supporting Jegede for another eight years before it gets to their turn.


The last time a southerner was elected governor in Ondo State was 12 years ago when late former Governor Agagu was at the helm of affairs in the state. With the primaries behind both parties, the next issue now is the choice of running mates and ahead of the main election scheduled for October.

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