Ondo Guber Election:The winner offering 2 for the price of 1 By Femi Alafe-Aluko

The long awaited and anticipated Ondo Governorship election has been conducted and concluded.A winner in Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu SAN aka Aketi with a total of 292,830 votes or 52% of the valid votes cast has emerged.Eyitayo Jegede SAN of PDP garnered 195,751 or 35% of the votes.Agboola Ajayi of ZLP came a distant 3rd with 12% or 69,127 votes.A total of 17 political parties presented candidates for the 10th of October elections.With the results announced by the Chief Returning Officer Prof ldowu Olayinka the VC of the University of lbadan , the 14 other political parties polled just 1% of the total valid votes cast.Well those 14 contestants will go down in history as former gubernatorial candidates.Akeredolu won in 15 local governments and Jegede won the remaining 3.The 3 major contestants won their respective polling units.This shows they are fully on ground in their local areas.Aketi in Owo,Jegede in Akure and Ajayi in llaje.
In a post mortem analysis of the election ,one common factor that cannot be denied is the role of money in the elections especially on the election day.The 3 major political parties were guilty of vote buying.Poverty is now a weapon of mass destruction.Voter cards and conscience now have a cheap price.Bye bye to political leanings,Manifestoes,programs,plans,promises and policies.The electorate now go for immediate gratification.l bet many of them would have spent the token of between 5 and 10,000 naira dashed out on polling day.That is what many of the voters feel the next 4 years is worth to them.Mortgaging their tomorrow.What a myopic and parochial assessment of their future.                                                  .                                       Who are the winners and losers in this epic election?Starting with the winners.      INEC should be commended for conducting a relatively peaceful and transparent election.The people’s votes no matter how procured counted.The card readers did not malfunction.An improvement on the Edo election conducted 3 weeks earlier .   The security agencies gave a good account of themselves.They conducted themselves creditably.The police and other security organizations were professional and non biased.             Akeredolu had always topped the opinion polls.He was the front runner and candidate to beat.Like he voiced out when asked about his wife’s interference with governance on the Channels televised debate on Wednesday 7th of October.The Ondo people now have 2 governors for the price of 1.Maybe that is what the Ondo people voted for is left for prosperity.lncumbents hardly lose elections in Nigeria.Especially one that belongs to the ruling party at the center.Aketi stooped to conquer and reconciled with most of his political adversaries in the party after the gubernatorial primaries.Contestantants like Sola Oke,Kekemeke,lfe Oyedele and members of the Unity forum led by the former Deputy Governor Alhaji Ali Olanusi all collapsed their structures into the Governors own.This unity and solidarity went a long way to creating a formidable political structure for Aketi.The APC Governors Forum were solidly behind him as can be attested to by the attendance of 16 out of 19 APC Governors at his final rally on the 7th of October.As the incumbent Governor he clearly displayed that money was not a problem.lt was mobilized to devastating effect s in the Central and Southern senatorial districts.This are the strongholds of his major opponents.                   Another winner is the Deputy Governor elect Lucky Ayedatiwa and party members especially those from the South Senatorial zone.2024 might be their turn for the Governorship slot.A well behaved and loyal deputy stands a good chance.                 Lastly the winning Party APC.After the lose in Edo 3 weeks earlier.They can now heave a sign of relieve that they are back to winning ways.This victory will be a moral booster to party hierarchy in Abuja.                           .                                      The Losers.                The PDP allowed the momentum of the Edo victory to fizzle out.The last rally in Ondo town was a shadow of itself,only attended by 7 of it’s 16 governors while APC had 16 out of 19 governors.This was an event held on the same day.It didn’t seem the Chairman of the campaign committee Seyi Makinde of Oyo state was given enough support by his colleagues.Gov Diri of Bayelsa state was the only visible Governor from the SS region.Wike of the Edo campaign fame was missing in action.Newly reelected Godwin Obaseki was nowhere to be found.His attendance was most needed to boost the morale of the local PDP.The party of course could not match the financial fire power of the APC.        Eyitayo Jegede the runner up.Losing again consecutively to the same opponent is definitely not a palatable experience.It’s quite demoralizing.This might be his last chance at taking a shot at the Alagbaka seat.By 2024 the clamor that it’s the turn of the South will be too loud.Brilliant lawyer but politically naive.Unlike Aketi he alienated many party big wigs including his co contestants.Against all advice he refused to pick one the aspirants from the South as his running mate.Wadata plaza would have preferred Agboola Ajayi.His chosen running mate couldn’t even win his ward.He didn’t get the sort of support Obaseki got from the Governors and PDP headquarters in Abuja.The last minute reconciliation efforts initiated by former President Obasanjo with Segun Mimiko yielded nothing.             .                                    Agboola Ajayi the incumbent Deputy Governor was definitely overhyped.He could only garner 12% of the votes without ZLP winning a single local government.He came a distant third.l foresee him returning to the PDP possibly to try his luck again in 2024.Age is still on his side.                Dr Segun Mimiko of ZLP is the biggest loser.His political influence and empire is crumbling by the day.The invisibility he had where he single handedly defeated the big parties in 2008 and 2012 is all gone.ln 2019 he lost going into the Senate.On Saturday he came 3rd in his West Ondo local government.The former Governor is fast going into political irrelevance.                      Analysts believe the working combination of Mimiko,Jegede and Ajayi would have given Aketi some sleepless nights.                           Now that the election is over and the Ondo people have given Akeredolu a fresh 4 year mandate.lt is my sincere hope that he will be magnanimous in victory and l pray that the Almighty Lord will guide and guard him.

Chief Femi Alafe-Aluko.

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