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Ondo guber poll turns to battle of two brothers

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Ondo guber poll turns to battle of two brothers

It is now certain that the real battle for the coming governorship election in Ondo state, in November this year would be between two brothers from the same area of Ilaje/EseOdo of the Ondo South Senatorial Districts.

With the Independent National Electoral Commission’s dead line of submission of candidates of the political parties in the race, which expired on Monday May 13, 2024, the two major contending political parties, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressive Congress (APC), have forwarded the names of their candidate, who apparently are from the same area.

Both the incumbent Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa of the APC and Chief Agboola Ajayi, of the PDP are brothers from the same Local government and ironically, they were deputy governors under the late governor of the state, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

While Agboola Ajayi served with Akeredolu in his first term, Lucky Aiyedatiwa served during the second tenure of Akorodolu until his death, after which he became the current governor of the state.

Although, there were other candidates from other registered political parties, who are ready to lock horns with the duo, they are not as weighty as the two brothers, whose political antecedents have had significant impacts on the people of Ondo State.

Going by what is currently on ground in the State, it is only Ajayi and Aiyedatiwa, who are making waves and determined to engage themselves in a fierce battle.

Already, a lot of intrigues and power play have been put into the game, by both the APC and the PDP candidates, while their supporters and political leaders have not gone to sleep as well.

In the coming November election, a lot of factors, would be put into consideration to determine, who would take the day between the PDP and the APC.

Some of these factors include, the candidates past political antecedents, experience in governance and administrative qualities, the strength of their parties and that of the leaderships, geographical and senatorial considerations, personalities, choice of their deputies and most significantly, how both of them emerged as the flag bearer of their political parties.

For instance, Aiyedatiwa is currently facing series of crisis with the way he emerged as the candidate of the APC. He contested with other 15 aspirants in what was called a direct Primary, which was described as shambolic by his co-contestants, who argued that there was no primary and that the Kogi State governor led primary Election committee, only wrote figures, which favoured Aiyedatiwa.

This issue is yet to be resolved by even the National body of the party and the Presidency, which was the last hope of those who kicked against the modus operandi of the primary was conducted.

Aspirants like Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, Barrister Olusola Oke, Professor Dayo Faduyile, Dr. Soji Ehinlanwo, Prince Diran Iyatan, Funmilayo Waheed-Adekola among others, took their grievances to the National

body of the APC, which consoled them to forget about it and work together with Aiyedatiwa for the victory of the APC.

As at the time the primary was conducted, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu was out of the country and the aggrieved, who believed that his intervention when he came back would change the tide, got disappointed as the president has since he came back, kept mute and not willing to dabble into the matter, as sources said he did not want to be seen as being partisan in the Ondo APC issues.

This situation was said to have angered the aggrieved candidates the more and they are still not at home with the outcome of the primary. As it is now, the APC is strongly divided and no genuine reconciliation has been noticed among the aspirants, who are big and as well very strong politically, in Ondo State.

Although, some of them have called for genuine reconciliation, the strong fear being expressed is that if nothing concrete is done between now and the election period, there are speculations that these groups of people may likely gang up against Ayeidatiwa, who people say, is not ready to back down and determined to fight the battle alone without the support of these strong politicians. This, it was argued, could be a serious doom for the APC.

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What people say Aiyedatiwa is backing on is the support of the Party leaders from both the Ondo North and the Central, especially, Akure.

But the fact remains that, the governor has been even known not to be that popular among the people. It was also argued that he has stepped on many toes during the period he was the Acting governor, when his principal Akeredolu, was indisposed. This was the period he made more enemies in the state.

Even right now, he is being accused of trying to clampdown on his opponents in the party and a clear example was the purported suspension of one of his hottest contenders in the primary, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, currently representing, the Ondo South Senatorial District in the Senate. Jimoh Ibrahim was suspended by his Igbotako Ward 2 and this was alleged to be the handiwork of Aiyedatiwa.

Sources hinted that this action was done to prevent the repeat of what Senator Jimoh Ibrahim did while he was in PDP against Eyitayo Jegede, when he went to court and this seriously affected the chances of Jegede against Akeredolu, in the last governorship election which gave Akeredolu a second term in office.

It was envisaged that should Ibrahim take the same step against Aiyedatiwa, he would have done so on the basis of a suspended member of the party.

This action itself has even sparked a serious crisis in the party as some members and leaders have kicked against it and even caused division in Igbotako Jimoh Ibrahim’s ward with the latest report of some prominent members and leaders dissociating themselves from what they described as kangaroo suspension of their leader.

Business Hallmark learnt that this has been the problem, which Aiyedatiwa would face is the choice of his deputy in the coming election. It was said that both him and Ajayi are banking on picking their deputies from the Central. The main issue with Aiyedatiwa on this is that he may dump the current Deputy from the North in favour of the son of the leader of Afenifere Pa Rubean Fasoranti, Kehinde Fasoranti, who is from Akure in the Ondo Central Senatorial District.

The purported choice of Kehinde Fasoranti was said to have made President Tinubu to be mute about the ticket of Aiyedatiwa as it was said that Pa Fasoranti and Chief Olu Falae, discussed this move with President Tinubu, who it was said decided not to do anything about the primary as expected by the aggrieved aspirants in the APC.

The people in the Senatorial zone, where Aiyedatiwa is from are not on the same page with him for the simple reason, that, the amended constitution says that no person can be sworn in as governor three times and since Aiyedatiwa, has been sworn in as governor, to complete Akeredolu’s term, he could only go for another one term, which the people of his area felt would deprive them of spending two terms in office.

It was also leant, that the people of Owo, where the present Deputy to Aiyedatiwa, Olayide Adelami comes from, are seriously watching if actually he would drop their son, who worked for his emergence in the primary. If he eventually dropped him, they may go against him in the election.

Some of these issues have indicated that there are many odds against Aiyedatiwa in the coming election.

What political analysts say could help him, is what happened to Akeredolu in his second term, when all the aggrieved aspirants against him were pacified by the party leaders and with Akeredolu paying back, all the money which the aspirants spent.

But it was argued that Aiyedatiwa, known for who he is, may not want to do that and most of the aspirants too, would not want to condescend that low or cheapen themselves, to collect such refunds from the governor, who they argued, may not handle that with the same maturity with which Akeredolu did.

With Agboola Ajayi of the PDP strongly in the race and battle ready for Aiyedatiwa, it was argued that he has so many things working in his favour, if he handles the situation very well.

Contrary to how Aiyedatiwa emerged as the candidate of the APC, he got his mandate on a clean and peaceful note. His emergence was based on his past antecedents, which were said to have benefitted the people of the state. He is described as a person, whose interactions cut across all segments of the state.

He is regarded as an experienced politician, who started politics at the local level, as the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, in the old Opoi ward 1 from 1988 to 1998.

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He later joined the PDP in 1998 and was appointed the secretary of the party in Ilaje EseOdo Local government from 1998 to 1999.

He was a former member of the House of Representatives and Chairman House Committee on NDDC from 2007 to 2010 He was in APC with Akeredolu as his Deputy and it was argued that his ability to deliver and good antecedents helped Akeredolu to win in his first term.

Though, he was a governorship candidate of a political party in the last governorship election, he lost to Akeredolu.

Just like Aiyedatiwa, the choice of his of Deputy and where he comes from, would matter too for him. It was, however, learnt that since the PDP is waxing very strong that would not be a problem as the leaders of the party are seriously working on that.

His home base, unlike Aiyedatiwa, is working in his favour because they are strongly clamouring for a person that would spend two terms, just like other zones, which Aiyedatiwa, if elected, would not have the opportunity of spending.

Even the governor of Oyo State Engineer Seyi Makinde and his counterpart in Osun State, Senator Ademola Adeleke, in the South West, are bent on ensuring that the PDP wins back the state.

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