THE decision by stakeholders operating under Akoko Elders Assembly, an umbrella body representing the interest of the Akoko people  in the All Progressives Congress, APC, to zone Ondo State  governorship ticket to Akoko North Federal Constituency is generating heat. The heat is   sequel to the belief  by other aspirants from Akoko that they have tactically being shut out of the race.

With the development, the elders have  pruned  the number of  aspirants   to four. The four aspirants  are Dr Olusegun  Abraham, from Ikare-Akoko; Tunji Abayomi, from Oke-Agbe Akoko;  Foluso Adefemi, from Afin Akoko; and Hon Gani Dauda, from Irun-Akoko.

It was learnt that the stakeholders had held consultations with the aspirants †from Akoko with a view to making them see reason  they needed to present “ a common  candidate that their delegates would vote for during the August   governorship primary  to avoid losing  out”.

The  decision, Sunday Vanguard learnt  was hinged on presenting a strong candidate, who is competent, loyal, and popular enough to  confront the ruling PDP candidate in the Ondo November 26 election.

In an interview, the Chairman of the Akoko Elders  Assembly, Chief Felix Aiyegbusi, told Sunday Vanguard that †the  decision to zone the APC  ticket  to Akoko North Federal Constituency was based purely on   “the order of equity and fairness to the Akoko-North East/ Akoko North West Federal Constituency”.  Aiyegbusi hinged this on the fact that “ the constituency has not been given the opportunity to take up any public position of substance  in the past years as compared to the other federal constituency in Akokoland and, by extension, the entire Ondo North.

“ We in  the APC Akoko Elders  Assembly have reached a decision at this stage  of the campaign towards the governorship election in Ondo to zone the candidacy to Akoko North Federal. Constituency,”he stated. “ The decision  made to maintain peace, unity, progress and statesmanship  in Akokoland as there is no reason to create confusion within ourselves when we can amicably come together, agree and take a position.

“ The decision is unanimous  and we have thrown the challenges back to the   Akoko North people and the governorship aspirants that hail from there to further consult within themselves and present one viable candidate of their own and present him to us. That one candidate  should be sure of our backing “.

Sunday Vanguard gathered that one critical factor that guided the elders was that Akoko has two federal constituencies: Akoko South and Akoko North.

At the moment, the senator representing Ondo North,  Ajayi Boroffice is from the Akoko South while  the  late  Governor Adebayo Adefarati, who served between 1999  and  2003, was also from Akoko South. Thus, in the natural order of fairness, the elders  mooted that Akoko North deserves the opportunity to produce the governor at  this time.

Expectedly,  many of the governorship  aspirants from the area have kicked against the zoning, describing it as unacceptable. Also, the leaders have been knocked for their decision to act “ unconstitutionally”.

Reacting on behalf of the other aspirants, a body, Ondo State Concerned Group called on the people of  Akoko  to “ totally disregard the action  of the elders and  the  purported decision on aspirants as it is against the spirit and constitution of the APC”.

It  argued that the party’s constitution only recognizes two ways through which a candidate can emerge: primary election or consensus. Out of the array of aspirants who hail from Akoko, three  are seen as strong contenders to flag the APC ticket:  Abraham, Boroffice and Olabimtan.

Some analysts say the adds  favour  Abraham.

By this same natural default of fairness and equity, not mere   ‘zoning’ as  the political observers said,  it is quite agreeable that the district to produce the next governor in the state is Ondo North. This is considering the fact that the incumbent  governor, Dr. Olusegun  Mimiko, is from Ondo Central  and his predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, from Ondo South. The elite  within the state, especially in  APC embrace this fact and actually working by it.

This fact  also  informed the decision of the Akoko elders to endorse  a process to present a singular gubernatorial aspirant from the area, who will enjoy uniform support from the entire Akokoland. Despite this, the elders, it was learnt,  have not overlooked the aspiration  of Boroffice but sources said that the elders had  concerns that Boroffice’s aspiration  could  jeopardize the chances of the zone because he is still a member of the Red Chamber.

Leaders in the areas are also said to be miffed that the senator having spent six years in the Red Chamber hasn’t brought adequate development to the constituency. Besides, Boroffice was said to have told  the people of Owo during his senatorial campaign that he won’t run for governorship  come 2016.

This, according to sources, made the Akoko elders  to advise him to simply focus on remaining in the Senate instead of eyeing the governorship seat. They pleaded with him to allow another  Akoko aspirant to be supported uniformly so that the opportunity would not elude  Akoko. Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, Abraham said his “mission is not a political ambition but  a godly mission to transform Ondo to a first  class state”.

Related posts