As the Ondo State gubernatorial election holds this Saturday, research has revealed that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Rotimi Akeredolu, will win clearly in a minimum of 12 Local Governments and may most likely emerge winner despite all the dynamics and the unpredictability of the Ondo State election.
The poll was conducted by Ondo Civil Rights Alliance. Details below:
Ese Odo LGA: The running mate of Akeredolu, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, is from Kiribo town in Ese Odo Local Government Area. This is the first time that a minority will occupy such a position. So this may be a crucial factor. Apart from being a former Chairman, he has been a member of the House of Representatives representing Ilaje Ese Odo Federal Constituency. He is generally loved. Akeredolu’s mother is from Igbo-Otun, where most leaders in the area have sworn to vote for him. Akeredolu will win this Local Government.
Irele LGA – the only Senator in the Peoples Democratic Party, Yele Omogunwa, who just defected to the APC, is the godfather of the LG. Long before his defection, all his foot soldiers had defected to the APC. There is a young upward mobile man, Jimi Odimayo, a successful businessman from the famous Odimayo family, who has deployed bulldozers to grade all rural roads in that area on behalf of Akeredolu, popularly known as Aketi. Though PDP’s Attorney General, Remi Olatubora, will have his own share of the votes, while Abayomi Sheba of the Alliance for Democracy will have his own share, the APC will surely win there. The Senator combined with Jimi will overwhelm Oke and Jegede in this local government.
Odigbo LGA: In Odigbo, Akeredolu will do well, but it is going to be a battleground though it is APC’s stronghold because 70 per cent of inhabitants are of other tribes and that is where AD’s backers are deploying resources.
Ile Oluji/ Okeigbo LGA: APC will win clearly here because the major gladiators, Wale Akintehinwa and Pius Osunyikanmi, are working hard for APC in the LGA. Gboye Adegbemisoye is leading AD with a very weak crowd. The PDP largely depends on the current Commissioner for Transport, Nicholas Tofowoma, and Bimbo Fajolu, Member, House of Assembly, who are arrowheads of the PDP. But they are too weak to compete with the combination of Osunyikanmi and Akintehinwa. Aketi will win in this local government.
Ilaje LGA: This will be a major battlefield between AD and PDP. APC may not do very well in Ilaje because Oke and PDP’s deputy governorship candidate, John Ola Mafo, are from this local government.
Okitipupa LGA: This is also Oke’s stronghold because that is the political base of his godfather, Olusegun Agagu, and Oke also lives in Okitipupa. But all the Agagu boys are with Aketi, including Oladunni Odu and Mimiko’s Agric Commissioner, who just resigned last week, Segun Ayerin, to join APC. The Deputy Director General of Aketi Campaign Platform, South, Diran Iyantan, who is younger brother of the late Deputy Governor, will also add some value to the performance of APC. The APC will have a good showing in this local government.
Ondo West LGA: This will go the way of PDP because the incumbent Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, but APC will do well. This is Mimiko’s LGA so he will win there.
Ondo East LGA: This will also go to PDP though Bola Ilori, DG of Oke, is from here. Mimiko will still win as Ilori is not on ground at home.
Akure South LGA: This will be a battlefield. The Akure agenda thing may not bring the expected vote for the candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, as majority of the people living there are non-indigenes, especially civil servants from different parts of Ondo State, so PDP may not have an easy ride as erroneously envisaged.
Akure North LGA: With the influence of Senator Tayo Alasoadura and other strong political figures, Aketi will coast home to victory. The Hausa community are sizeable here and they’re mainly for APC. The Hausa community is always reliable for their block votes.
Idanre LGA: Aketi will win convincingly in Idanre Local Government Area because APC is the strongest political party on ground there despite the presence of Mimiko’s Commissioner for Information, Chief of Staff and a host of other political appointees, but the APC will still win as people have parted ways with Mimiko a long time ago.
Ifedore LGA: This also looks good for Aketi. Barring any major unexpected development, Aketi will win Ifedore.
Akoko NorthWest-LGA: This is where Olusola Oke’s Deputy, Gani Dauda, comes from, but he is not a strong factor in the politics of that area as he does not have much strength even though he has served as former LGA chairman and former House of Reps member. He is a minority from Irun Akoko. With all the calculations, Aketi will win clearly in this local government.
Akoko North East LGA: Abraham is from here but his nemesis is Stephen Olemija, member of the House of Representatives. During the APC primary, he took all the delegates and gave them to Alasoadura. As a former LG chairman, he is very strong here. Apart from Olemija, there are politicians such as Gbenga Elegbeleye, former Director-General of the National Sports Commision, Jide Ipinsagba, Muyiwa Ogunyemi and a host of other influential political leaders. Aketi has the most imposing presence in the LGA.
AKOKO South West LGA: This looks good for Aketi notwithstanding the negative role being played by Senator Ajayi Borrofice who is working for Oke’s AD. Despite this, Akeredolu will win for the following reasons: There are three major towns in which the local government is divided: 1. Oka -Akoko, 2. Akungba -Akoko and 3. Supare -Akoko.
In Supare, APC has absolute control because the immediate past Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, who is the political warhorse of the LGA. He is from Supare-Akoko and the Director-General of Akeredolu Campaign Platform, Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan, is also from there. Akungba is totally for APC on the strength of the influence of former Governor of the State, Adebayo Adefarati who brought the University of Akungba to the community. His first son, Gboyega Adefarati, holds sway in the area and working seriously for Aketi.
In Oka, despite Senator Ajayi Borrofice’s presence, most Oka indigenes, in fact more than 60 percent of them, farm in Owo town. There is an undercurrent whereby the traditional institutions are insisting and appealing they have to vote Aketi because they farm on Owo land where Aketi hails from. Aketi won the LGA in 2012 despite the fact that Borrofice worked against him as he is doing now.
AKOKO South East LGA: APC will win clearly in this local government even though Borrofice’s former PA and current Member, House of Representatives, Babatunde Kolawole, alias Amechi, is from there and working for Oke’s AD. This will not stop APC victory. Aketi win will in Akoko South East.
OSE LGA: This is another battleground but Aketi will win. PDP is virtually non-existent there. The remnants of PDP there, led by Senator Bode Olajumoke of the famous Imeri Group in the days of military dictatorship of late General Sani Abacha, pledged loyalty for Aketi, but feelers show he is working for Oke who cannot win Ose. Neither will PDP.
Owo LGA: This is a no go area for anybody as Aketi will sweep about 80 per cent of the votes there.
Altogether, Aketi will win clearly in at least 12 LGAS and have a good showing in three others. If we go by the result of the Presidential and National Assembly elections in 2015 where APC secured two of the three senatorial seats – the Central and the North – while PDP had one Senator in the South who defected to the APC last week, the odds favour Aketi of the APC to carry the day.
One other factor that may favour Akeredolu is that of all the candidates, he is the only one that may have the luxury of bloc votes. There is a bitter acrimony between Jimoh Ibrahim who until this week Thursday was the candidate of the PDP and the newly pronounced candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, who initially was the factional candidate of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi/Mimiko faction. Olusola Oke is contending with some AD members who are not happy that Oke, whom they considered a stranger, came and hijacked the gubernatorial ticket of the AD and as a result many of his party members are aggrieved and even took him to court. This will certainly affect his votes negatively. Olusola Oke is also seen by many as too desperate having left the PDP for APC, to APGA, to Action Alliance before finally settling for the AD on which platform he is contesting now.
One other disadvantage Oke will grapple with is that the AD as presently constituted has no known structure in the grassroots with which to prosecute an election of this magnitude and importance. Oke is also seen as a surrogate of Lagos and Osun States political merchants who have already ceded Ondo State to his Lagos and Osun States backers. Oke as a governor will not be his own man unlike Akeredolu who is largely seen as an independent-minded candidate who is not tied to the apron strings of satellite political merchants.
As for Eyitayo Jegede, the initial popularity he enjoyed among Akure indigenes has waned as a result of the court judgment which nullified his candidacy before he was restored at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday. Even at that, his popularity is mainly among Akure indigenes, especially Akure South.
Another albatross for Eyitayo is the perception that he is Mimiko’s stooge who will be installed to cover his tracks after leaving office. Ondo State people are tired of Mimiko, so Eyitayo’s candidacy is seen as Mimiko’s third term by proxy. The civil servants may not vote for him because of transferred aggression against Mimiko.
If there is any doubt about the transparency of the election that produced Akeredolu, this was removed by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 19, 2016 during APC Mega Rally when the President said the primary election that produced Akeredolu was fair and transparent. The President also secured the assurance of the Akure traditional institution when he visited the monarch, Deji of Akure, who assured him that Akure will support Aketi in exchange for the appointments of Akure indigenes and the development of the town by the Federal Government.
This assurance may no longer hold as Eyitayo Jegede who hails from Akure has now regained his candidature. Akure people are likely to vote their son but this may not be enough for Eyitayo to win the race.
Akeredolu may be the surprise candidate of this election because nobody gave him any chance in the primary of the APC but he came out tops despite the preponderance of stronger candidates with more money to spend on delegates.
The Bourdillon factor (Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu factor) is also worthy of mention as the national leader of the APC is not so happy about the emergence of Akeredolu at the primary of the APC at the expense of his preferred candidate, Segun Abraham. Tinubu recently issued a statement that he supports the APC and stands with the President, political observers have their doubts considering the lukewarm attitude of the national leader to the activities of the party concerning Akeredolu. Tinubu was absent at the two rallies for the candidate and there are loud murmurs that Tinubu and the Lagos State government had deployed heavy resources to back up the gubernatorial candidate of the AD, Olusola Oke. This may seriously deplete the votes of Akeredolu.
In spite of the uncertain political atmosphere characterised with horse trading, alignments and realignments, the odds still favour Akeredolu to win with a slim margin.