Ahead of the November 26 governorship election in Ondo state, the political temperature of the state is getting to a feverish level as political gladiators and their grassroots mobilizers are working round the clock to ensure that their candidate picks the ticket of the party. Within the political fold of the All Progressives Congress, APC, no fewer than 30 aspirants have indicated interest in governing the platform of the APC. And putting into consideration the caliber of aspirants battling to pick the party’s ticket shows that the battle will be fiercely contested as many of them have commenced serious mobilisation, with various political caucuses springing up and each camp weighing its options.MIMIKO
The list of APC members that have either shown interest in the race or have publicly declared their intention include the Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, and senator representing North senatorial district, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice (OON) ,the lawmaker representing Owo/ Ose federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Honourable Bode Ayorinde; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Victor Olabimtan; member of the APC Board of Trustee (BoT), Jamiu Ekungba and Segun Abraham.
The candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the last governorship poll in the state, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN); lawmaker representing Ondo Central districts, Senator Tayo Alasoadura and former chairman of the party in the state and daughter of the first governor of the state, late Adekunle Ajasin, Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, as well as Derin Adesida, Ademola Adegoroye and Foluso Adefemi are in the rcae.
Others include the PDP governorship candidate in the 2012 governorship election in the state, Chief Olusola Oke; Awodeyi Akinola; Niran-Sule Adesuyi; Bukola Adetula; Pius Osunyinkami; son of a former Secretary to the State Government, late Chief Wumi Adegbonmire, Adeniyi Adegbonmire; Tunji Ariyomo; Dapo Adelegan; Ganny Dauda; Muyiwa Ogunleye; Wale Akingbade, among others.
It is widely being observed that out of all the aspirants, at least 10 hail from the North Senatorial districts of the state, while seven are from the ancient city of Owo, which many regarded as the cradle of democracy in the South-West, and three of these aspirants are of the Akoko extraction.The large number of aspirants from these zone it can be safely argued is based on a working political understanding to zone the governorship back to the zone it began from.
Aside this,it is generally agreed that power should shift to the North at the end of Mimiko’s tenure. This argument was based on the fact that each of the three zones in the state has had its turn in the corridors of power since the beginning of the present dispensation. It is reasoned that power should return to the North, where it started when late Chief Adebayo Adefarati governed the state between 1999 and 2003. And since then, power has gone round all the other districts in the state.
But, the State publicity director of the party, Steve Otaloro, rather is urging all interested APC member across the zones to embark on their campaign. Otaloro said: “Let me say with all sense of responsibility that APC has not in any way zoned its gubernatorial ticket in Ondo State to any area in particular. The party leadership has however been advising whoever wants to be governor to go round the state and campaign vigorously for the primary election that has not yet been fix.
“However, it is incumbent on the leadership of the party in the state under the leadership of Honourable Isaac Kekemeke to receive whoever is vying for this position at the party secretariat as a way of encouraging them and to trigger political activities within the party in the state so as to drive publicity for the party towards the coming governorship election next year.”
Another problem the party might encounter is that of perceived maginalisation of PDP defectors to the APC. Also, investigations also show that many of the aspirants are said to be dropping names of some party chieftains and claiming to have been anointed by the party national leadership. But a source close to the party secretariat denied any anointed candidate,“This is a new APC, where imposition is alien to our system. We embrace internal democracy and since the merger of leading opposition parties in the country to form a mega party, our candidates usually emerge through free and fair primary elections. We are not going to deviate from that position and principle,” the leader stated.
However, three of the aspirants who are defectors from the PDP, Victor Olabimtan, Oke and Osunyikanmi have also shown keen interest in the APC ticket. While Olabimtan hails from the Northern Senatorial district, Oke and Osunyikanmi are from the South.
However, as the political drama continues to unfold the camp of the PDP seems quiet as most of the would-be aspirants are reading the body language of Mimiko. Many believe the incumbent governor; Dr Olusegun Mimiko holds the ace. The studied silence in the PDP is seen as part of the party’s strategy of consolidation. Thus, political observers have noted that it would be naïve for the APC to assume that the unusual calmness in PDP camp was a sign of being clueless in retaining power in the November election.
Also, political pundits are of the view that some politicians have tactically avoided the power play in the major parties by propping up seemingly less popular parties in the state to realise their political ambition. They believe that with their clout, whatever party they join will have its rank swelled dramatically. Some of such people are the business mogul, Dr Jimoh Ibrahim and Dr Olu Agunloye. While the former is said to be working across the state mobilising support for Accord Party,AP, the latter has concluded arrangements to fly the flag of the Social Democratic Party ,SDP.
Many observers believe that anyone of the politicians outside of the dominant parties might spring up surprises, while their coming has been hailed in certain circles not only because it will further make the election competitive, but also help to put the two main political parties on their toes as well as having an expanded political participation away from the two-party show in the state.

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