By Femi Salako
There seems to be no better time to comfortably talk about the need for a change of baton and substitution of representative for the people of Ondo South Senatorial District than now.
Though it all seems like nobody wants to be caught publicly speculating about a need for replacement of the present henchman from the district, given the fact that the incumbent is also a member of the ruling APC, truth is sacrosanct, it must be told no matter whose ox is gored.
Political stakeholders and the electorate, APC members and opposition figures from the South have argued that the zone deserves better and the appropriate time to commence the conversation for the better alternative is now that the 2019 general elections are about five months away.
“The truth,” as one prominent APC member from the Southern senatorial district said, is there is a need for the party “to field a better successor if we want to retain the South in 2019”.
The most notable thing about the conversation is that the majority voice calls for a change of baton. And the consensus voice has been tilting towards the cerebral and eloquent legal practitioner from Irele Local Government, Barr Morayo Lebi.
Lebi was the APC flagbearer in Ondo South Senatorial District in the 2015 elections, but he lost to the PDP candidate who had since defected to the APC.
From Akotogbo community in Irele, Lebi is a huge departure from the regular political players; he stands tall as one of the actors with a touch of wholesale difference.
He is one aspirant that the electorate have so much confidence in as an individual with full grasp of the grassroots and the pulse of the people.
From his true nature as a philanthropist, he has taken it upon himself to continuously replace the tears of the needy, downtrodden and elderly with smiles, making a point of duty for himself over the years to give hope to the hopeless and restore health to those in critical health needs. These have been the consistent but unheralded philanthropic gestures of Morayo Lebi in advancing the cause of humanity.
This is evident in his philanthropic gesture of placing over 100 elders (from 65 years and above) of his constituency on a monthly stipend of N5,000, with plans at top gear to replicate the gesture in other local government areas in the South Senatorial district.
After constituent labour and sacrifice to help nurture the party, he was part of as a foundation member, to grow in leaps and bounds across the state, Lebi is taking another shot at the Senate.
If for nothing else, his 25 years of active practise as a legal practitioner is enough to consider him as the best alternative for the plum job. Eloquence and his vociferous nature is aptly needed at this time to speak up for his people and draw the needed government attention.
As the 2019 elections and party primaries approach, no one is hoping that the ruling APC will have to make the mistake of trading competence, loyalty and capability as exemplified by Lebi, for unnecessary politicking or anything else. His candidature will no doubt change the terrain of the southern senatorial district very quickly from a land of deficit of representation to effective representation and leadership.
*Salako, a public affairs commentator, is based in Akure