By Dayo Johnson
Akure – Governor elect for Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, was unlucky during the 2012 governorship election when he contested against incumbent Olusegun Mimiko, a medical doctor by training but today fate has smiled on him as he against all odds has been elected as the 6th civilian governor of the Sunshine state.
He won in 14 out of the 18 Local government areas of the state beating the first runner up Eyitayo Jegede SAN, with over 94,000 votes.
His failure when he took the first shot at the prized position may have made the ruling government, when he finally emerged after the controversial primaries to underrate him .
Infact he was referred to as customer daadani meaning a known losing customer having lost the election in 2012 to the incumbent.
His journey from the governorship primaries conducted on September 3 till November 26 was dogged by controversies.
Akeredolu’s emergence as the party’s candidate divided the party’s leadership from the national to the state level while his final victory proved book makers wrong. He has always been put at the third position after Jegede and Oke by analysts and opinion polls conducted ahead of the election. To come from the rear was amazing to many within and outside the state.
It is not an understatement to say that his victory last Saturday may have demystified the revered national leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Infact the point that Abuja APC made is that power has changed hands in the South West. Ekiti is their next target to complete the takeover of the Western Region.
Now that Ondo is won, the moving train will after capturing Ekiti head towards Oyo and Osun in a bid to strip Tinubu of his dominance in the region.
The governors of these two states are Tinubu’s boy’s most especially Osun. The game plan is the total takeover of the South West from Tinubu and there seems to be no stopping them.
Sources said that the Solid Minerals Minister Kayode Fayemi was strategically picked to lead the onslaught in Ondo ahead of the Ekiti governorship slated for 2018 when he will re-contest for the governorship election in the state.
Regrettably, instrument used by the unseen hands in the Presidency are those “boys “ that went through the tutelage of the Jagaban Borgu. They are now “big boys” and need space and freedom.
If Akeredolu had failed to fly last Saturday despite the manoeuvring by five incumbent state governors and a serving minister, it would have amounted to a vote of no confidence in the change mantra of President Muhammad Buhari whose popularity is nose-diving daily.
Therefore the 2019 project embarked upon by the cabal in the Presidency led by Solid Minerals Minister, Kayode Fayemi and aided by the likes of Kaduna State governor EL- Rufai, Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun state, Works Minister Babatunde Fashola and others would have been Dead-On- Arrival DOA in the South West if Akeredolu had lost the election.
The game plan by these former Tinubu “boys” to shut out the authentic candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede through a “ Judas” Jimoh Ibrahim was well coordinated and they achieved their aim.
Jegede was only “ un-chained” barely two days to the governorship election and the INEC declined all entreaties to shift the election even for one week to allow him the same privileges other contestants have been enjoying while he was jumping from one court to the other to retrieve his “stolen” mandate.
The Federal might which saw the visiting governors- Simon Lalong of Plateau, Yahaya Bello of Kogi, El Rufai of Kaduna, Ibikunle Amosun Ogun and the Chairman of the APC governors forum Rochas Okorocha storming the state days before the poll was was tantamount over kill.
Their Presence in the state to give all the “support” to Akeredolu when the Party and the Presidency were not forthcoming with logistics turned the table.
The poverty across the country made the electorate in the state succumb to vote buying antics of politicians.
All the political parties alledgedly induced voters during the election but that of the APC was reportedly mouth watering and too attractive to civil servants owed five months salaries by the outgoing government of Mimiko to be ignored.
The catch phrase during the Saturday election was; “collect money and cook soup’ and the voters rushed to partake in their own stomach infrastructure across the state.
Reports had it that between N500,000 and N1million was deployed to the 3,009 units across the states by a particular political Party to induce voters aside rice, indomie, spaghetti, salt, food seasonings, ankara cloth distributed to voters.
The state government had before the election distributed free food as palliatives across the state to women to cushion the economic recession.
Over 100,000 women in all the 18 council areas irrespective of political affiliation benefited from the palliative programme otherwise known as “Eto Igbe Ayo”.
Vanguard reliably learnt from a source within one of the parties that a whopping N1billion must have been spent on stomach infrastructure during last Saturday’s election to ensure the state joined the mainstream at all costs.
Party leaders and members bombarded banks on Monday to deposit their loot after the Saturday election.
Except for the governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko who won the two local governments in his constituencies others including the deputy governor, commissioners, political appointees, Speaker and members of the House of Assembly, Chairmen of Boards and Parastatals were beaten black and blue in their constituencies by Akeredolu.
Even the state Party Chairman, Clement Faboyede was thrashed in his Ifedore council areas of the state while Jegede lost his two constituencies- Akure South and Akure North council areas and members of the ruling PDP are still licking their wounds.
Suffice it to say that governor , Mimiko had raised the alarm that the refusal of INEC to provide the parties a level playing field showed that it was acting a script that would produce a predetermined candidate.
He said that the electoral body had been compromised and that plans were underway to declare a pre-determined result.
The governor who lamented that the state was being treated as a conquered state said that it was “complete impunity and open rape of justice by INEC.”
According to him the party’s candidate was given the voters register just 48 hours before the election contrary to the Electoral Act which prescribed 30 days before the election while he is not sure who his party agents are.
Governor Mimiko wondered how the commission wanted the candidate to raise money within the short period and meet other urgent needs required by the Electoral Act before today’s election.
“We were expected to run a race with our hands tied behind our backs while INEC also goes ahead to foist a “wuruwuru to the answer” result.
“INEC is being forced to subvert its processes, and imperil the Ondo election”, he said.
Meanwhile, the camp of the Alliance for Democracy AD was worse hit as reports had it that many of their trusted leaders double dealed and sold out at the critical time. Many diverted the logistics meant for the electorate.
Trusted leaders in the Party who were planted as mole, worked for the APC candidate in the election .
Meanwhile, Jegede who came second was yet to congratulate Akeredolu. He said he was still studying the situation and would make his position on the outcome of the election known in due course.
Jegede however said that he was happy that he won the heart of the People of the state who stood by him during the trails.
“ I know we have won the heart of the people and I should thank our people for standing by us, for their show of love and for their steadfastness We are awaiting the the position of our party before we take any step,’’ he said.
Out going Governor Olusegun Mimiko, Alliance for Democracy candidate Olusola Oke and the Social Democratic Party candidate Dr Olu Agunloye have all reacted to the victory of Akeredolu.
While Dr Mimiko sent a congratulatory message to him, Oke not only did same but decried the process that led to his victory. Agunloye said he is waiting for the party before action on the result of the monetised election .
Mimiko has promised to provide the ambiance for a smooth and seamless transition process.
The governor in a congratulatory message sent to the Governor-Elect in Akure wishes Akeredolu success in facing the challenges ahead.
But Oke in his congratulatory message to the governor elect however decried the heavy monetisation of the election process.
Oke in a statement in Akure, regretted that “the open and free use of money to purchase votes during the election by the ruling parties remains a sad commentary on the nation’s electoral process.
“This development required the urgent intervention by government if the much publicized anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government must have meaning to Nigerians.
“ The consequence of it is to render the anti-corruption fight a farce.
“ We hope the incoming administration will address the problem of poverty so that the integrity of our electoral process will be restored.”
“From the observation of the people of Ondo State, they appear confused and unsure of what would follow the immediate satisfaction from the naira handout received in consideration of the votes cast,” the statement read.
Agunloye on his part lamented that the result of last Saturday’s election was not the true reflection of the wish of the people of the state.
He pointed out that reports from his agents across the state indicated that there was “distribution of money, cloth and other things at various polling station.”
According to him “some electorate were attacked and driven out of the voting centres while the security agents at the polling centres looked the other way.
“The figures released by INEC to me looked to be allocated by the electoral body in collaboration with APC but we will await the decision of the party before we take our next step.”