BY DAPO AKINREFON
THE governorship election in Ondo State was one election that generated heat not only in the polity and more so in the south west.
It was a battle that looked beyond the credentials of the incumbent and brought into focus the ideological bent of some of the major candidates. Especially of interest was the crave by the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN for economic and political integration of the Southwest which the incumbent Labour Party, LP was seen as a major impediment to.
Given the tension that the major contenders stoked during the campaign the outcome of the polls has opened the way for an examination of the major winners and losers of the poll conducted last Saturday.
Despite the fact that he was the flagbearer of the ACN, Akeredolu’s emergence was weakened by the criticism of many of his fellow aspirants in the ACN who cited his emergence as irregular and undemocratic.
A former Attorney-General of the state and one time president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Akeredolu despite his strong showing will be seen as a major loser given his third position even below the crisis-ridden PDP.
Akredolu will perhaps return to the law profession to take stock of his future in politics.
Bola Tinubu and the ACN
The national leader of the ACN led the fight to integrate the Sunshinie State into the ranks of his fiefdom in the Southwest. With his failure last weekend, a major issue will now arise as to the viability of the Southwest integration project promoted by his party.
The ACN on its part, should however be commended for giving Mimiko a challenge during the electioneering campaigns. Having lost out, the party will lay to rest it plan to occupying Ondo state for another four years.
Olusola Oke and PDP
Olusola Oke, who was the immediate National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP failed in his bid to govern Ondo state due to infighting within his party.
Another factor that contributed to his failure at the polls was the paucity of funds. Though he received the public support of President Goodluck Jonathan, the support was largely seen as second to the support Iroko got from Abuja.
The second place showing of the PDP was also despite the crisis in the party that saw a substantial proportion of party members support Mimiko.
He came, he saw and he conquered all opposition thrown at him. Mimiko has broken the second term jinx against governors of Ondo State.
Neither the ACN nor the PDP wanted his return to Alagbaka House but with this feat, he has proved his critics wrong.
With his re-election, Governor Mimiko is expected to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far by his administration.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has through its conduct of the election again beefed up its credentials in the conduct of free and fair polls. Despite some criticisms concerning late arrival of voting materials, the poll has been hailed as relatively free and fair.
Having conducted elections relatively free and fair polls in Edo and now Ondo States, the commission has proved its critics wrong and INEC is now gradually gaining the confidence of Nigerians.
One major point President Goodluck Jonathan has continued to make is the promise to adhere to the rule of law.
The governorship election in Edo and Ondo states have assured Nigerians that the president is a man of his words and would not mind his party losing under free and fair conditions.
Aside this, the re-election of Governor Mimiko is sure to guarantee block votes from the Sunshine state when the president decides to declare his second term ambition.
The people of Ondo State have been known to be resilient people as far as elections are concerned.
Last Saturday the people braved the heavy security cordon in the State to vote and the relative peace around the state is indicative that the will of the people has prevailed.
The group of old Chieftains had been given up as politically irrelevant. However, the likes of Chief Olu Falae, Pa Reuben Fasoranti and others from the State who constitute would be jubiliant over the result which has stopped for now the momentum enjoyed by their rival, Asiwaju Tinubu.