A LIKELY picture of what the October 20 governorship election in Ondo State will be like has now emerged with the formal emergence of the governorship candidate of three major political Earties in a tripartite attle, setting the stage for an inter senatorial contest among the candidates.
The ruling Labour Party (LP), has nominated Dr Olusegun Mimiko from Ondo Central Senatorial district as its flag-bearer while the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (POP) elected Chief Olusola Oke from Ondo South Senatorial district as candidate. Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) selected Mr Rotimi Akere< lolu, SAN. from Ondo North Senatorial as its candidate.
The trio was picked in their parties congresses which were held in different locations in Akure, the state capital, last week. The choice of the candidates has now heightened the security situation in the state, while the political parties are on each other's throat over the plan to rig the forthcoming election.
At the LP congress which took place at Adegbemile Cultural Centre, Mimiko washanded the baton by members of the party to contest the poll on its platform. The early morning withdrawal from the race via a letter to the party leadership by his only challenger and Chartered Accountant from Okitipupa Local Government Area, Mr Ade Ogunjumelo, changed the scenario.
Ogunjumelo told the gathering that his withdrawal was as a result of his fervent belief in party supremacy. His words, "My withdrawal should not come as a surprise because of my belief in the overall interest of our great party. I am declaring to you all that I will die a Labour Party member".
Mimiko, who serves out his first term next February, was then overwhelmingly given the second term ticket through affirmation by party delegates from across the 18 local government areas of the state in an exercise conducted by the National Chairman, Dan Nwanyanwu and monitored by the Alhaji Ali Abacha-led INECElection Committee in the state capital, Akure.
Nwanyanwu told the gathering during the proceedings that "that we had two aspirants before now is an indication that we don't shut out people in Labour Party. We are transparent in our dealings and any member has the right to aspire to any position he or she desires. We are not surprised that while our action governor is performing in Ondo State, those that are not performing in their states are busy abusing us. I can say it that with divine support, Governor Mimiko will do another term in this state."
The exercise was witnessed by the LP National Secretary, Alhaji Salaam Barakin Paiko, members of the National Executive Committee; the State Chairman, Chief Olu Ogidan; his executive committee members, as well as the State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr Akin Orebiyi.
In his acceptance speech, the LP flagbearer who presented his Deputy, Alhaji Alii Olanusi, as his running mate, described the primaries as an exercise of purity worthy of adoption by other political parties in the country in the effort to ensure the sustenance of democracy. He said the achievements being hailed by all now will be a child's play compared to what his administration will do in its second term.
Members of the PDP at the congress held at Helena Hotel, elected Chief Oke, as their candidate. They equally voted the former ACN gubernatorial aspirant, Mr Saka Lawal as his running mate.
The exercise was conducted by the party's State Congress Committee from its national headquarters which has Senator Umaru Tsauru as its Chairman and Alhaji Ibrahim Bashir, Hajia Aisha Ibrahim Madina, Chief Chukwuemeka Ogbonnaya as members.
The event also had in attendance former aspirants of the party, the party's leaders among who are Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, Dr Bade Bada, Dr Ade Abitoye, Mrs Oladuni Odu among others. Also present are the former State Chairman of the LP, Dr Olaiya Oni; former Commissioner for Transport, Otunba Omoniyi Omodara.
While about 621 delegates from across the 18 Local Government of the state cast their votes for the sole candidate of the party, representatives of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ensured that the exercise conformed with electoral rules. Addressing the delegates, the state Chairman of the party, Mr Ebenezer Alabi, said, "due to the work, consultation among leaders of the party, coordination and understanding that have run through the length and breadth of the party, the party has been able to produce Olusola Oke as its candidate."
The party chairman said, "The constitution of the PDP says even if the party has only one candidate, there must be election ana if it is multiple candidates, the members must still vote to show that the majority of the members accept the candidate."
In his address to the delegates of the party before the election, the Chairman of the State Congress Committee, Senator Umaru Tsauru, lauded the orderly manner in which he said the members have resolved to rally round Olusola Oke and his running mate Saka Lawal as the candidates of the party. He noted that the national leadership has given recognition to Oke as the candidate of the party and that it would continue to support him towards ensuring that he wins the forthcoming election for the PDP.
He stated that it was about time PDP reclaimed the South-West and consequently put an end to the reign of the ACN and the LP in Ondo State. Tsaura said the forthcoming election was very critical to the PDP and that they would do everything within the purview of the law to make the state as yardstick to reclaiming the South-West.
In his address, a former Governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Agagu, expressed optimism that a PDP's governor would be sworn in come 2013. According to him, "The morning shows the day. There are a number of key factors that decides whether a party is going to
in the history of the PDP that we have a consensus candidate and this shows that we are not only a pacesetter but also trailblazer. The people of Ondo State will compare what PDP has done in the past for them with what LP has done. They will take a decision and we think if this is the basis for judgment, and there is one-man, one-vote, the PDP will win hands lose to his party. His words, "If Mimiko has seven strategies to win this election; I will tell him I have 14 strategies to bring him down. The good omen for me is that I have about 264 leaders across the 203 wards in Ondo State and out of these 264 leaders, just two of them that refused to follow me to PDP. I can tell you that 98 per cent of the people I mobilised in LP
clear to everybody in Ondo State that come October 20, 2012, the Peoples Democratic Party will win the election."
At the ACN congress which took place at SWAN Hotel, Akeredolu emerged as the governorship candidate of the dominant party in the southwest geopolitical zone.
The party announced Akeredolu as the duly local governments of the state. Announcing the result, the chairman of the congress committee. Mr. Olawale Osun. said that the total number of accredited delegates was 61,246 and 55.917 out of the accredited delegates voted in favour of Rotimi Akeredolu.
of the aspirants and also former chairman the party, Mr Sola Iji, moved the motion for the acceptance of the result. Another aspirant and a federal lawmaker, Mr Ifedayo Abegunde, seconded the motion. Akeredolu received his certificate of nomination. presented by the National vice chairman, south west, Senator James Kolawole. He said it was time for the garty to swing into action. peaking, Akeredolu after gubernatorial primary election which was witnessed by officials of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and representatives of security agents said it is certain that the party would emerge victorious in the election, stressing that he is ready for the task ahead. At the event were the ACN chairman in Ekiti state, Chief Jide Awe; National organising Secretary of the party, Alhaii Kareem; Osun State ACN chairman, Elder Adelowo Adebiyi and the Kogi State Chairman Alhaji Aji. Others were ; the Director General of the Campaign and former aspirant , Chief Tayo Alasoadura;other former aspirants ; Dr. Segun Abraham, Hon.Joseph Jayeola, Senator Omololu Meroyi, Mr Olayato Aribo, Messrs Wale Akinterinwa. Ayodele Adedipe and Atanlogun Igbenla^Besides, chieftains ot the party who were present included; Prince Olu Adegboro, Bola Ilori, Femi Adekanbi, Adegboyega Adefarati, a former lawmaker on the platform of Labour Party, Chief Ayodele Awodeyij Ayo Afolabi, Paul Akintelure, Folagbade Amodeni, Wale Amojuwa, Ade Adetimehin and Erelu Modupe Johnson.
The emergence of the three strong candidates has now promised a showdown among the three major political parties. And allegations and counter-allegationsover the election, which is three months away have began to come up. Still basking in euphoria of their successful congresses, supporters of ACN and LP clasned at the LP party secretariat at Oyemekun road, leaving vehicles vandalized, heads and limbs broken.
But the LP quickly shifted the blame on suspected thugs to the ACN. They said the suspected thugs in the convoy of the A C N governorship candidate, destroyed vehicles, scaring away LP faithful.
The ACN through its spokesperson, Mr Rotimi