PUSH NEWS 24 INTERNATIONAL : August 25th 2023
IS THIS THE ROAD TO ALAGBAKA 2024?
Dr. Akeredolu O.N.
Taking into consideration the antecedents of Hon. Bunmi Tunji Ojo, how he broke the jinx of securing a second-term ticket for the House of Representatives from his federal constituency, the father-to-son relationship between him and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the current Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, and the wide acceptability among the various youth groups in the state, coupled with his unquestionable political acumen, if the popular BTO decides to test his luck in the next 10 months under the APC for Ondo 2024, he may find success with God’s backing. After all, politics is about striking the iron when it’s hottest.
The recent political buzz in Ondo state is focused on the upcoming governorship election. As expected, a lot of dramas are unfolding, mirroring the situation in sister Edo State, where political manoeuvring has begun among the former associates of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the former national chairman of the APC. Mr Godwin Obaseki, the erstwhile political protégé of this NLC wizard who rode to power through his influence, turned against his benefactor alongside Comrade Philip Shuaibu, Oshiomhole’s former political godson and the current Edo State deputy governor. Together, they ensured their political godfather lost relevance for a season. As fate would have it, a battle of supremacy has erupted between Mr Obaseki and Shuaibu over the succession plan, while Oshiomhole has become the political belle of the ball.
The situation is not so different in the Sunshine State; numerous political heavyweights have expressed interest in succeeding Aketi. One such contender is the veteran gubernatorial aspirant and candidate, Chief Olusola Oke SAN, who remains in the fray. A former representative of Ondo State on the NDDC board and ex-OSOPADEC boss, he is prepared to give his best in pursuing the governorship aspiration that spans over a decade. For the sake of memory, he was the PDP candidate against Dr. Mimiko of the LP and Aketi of the ACN in 2012. He delivered an impressive performance during the widely observed campaign debate, showcasing exceptional oratory skills that won over many hearts. Despite this, he lost to the Labour Party of Iroko, which enjoyed covert federal government support. The 2016 election was a shock to most APC supporters when he joined their ranks after Dr Jonathan’s loss to President Buhari in 2015. He managed to come third in the highly competitive Ondo State gubernatorial primaries, ahead of Sen. Ajayi Boroffice and Sen. Tayo Alasoadura, who secured the fourth and fifth positions respectively.
Riding on his popularity, with assumed support from disgruntled APC leaders both within and outside the state, Chief Oke defected to the Alliance for Democracy to go head-to-head with Aketi. The latter was believed to have secured his position with the help of anti-Tinubu forces from the Southwest, led by Dr. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State. In the 2020 Aketi’s second-term bid, Despite most APC members preferring this Ilaje-born political figure through the Unity Forum, events favoured Aketi’s trajectory, securing his victory. Chief Oke is rekindling his efforts to make another substantial attempt, marking his fourth endeavour in this aspiration, reminiscent of President Muhammad Buhari’s journey. Additionally, Princes Oladuni Odu, one of the most accomplished female politicians from the Sunshine State, a Princess of Idepe in Okitipupa local government, a former commissioner during the military era, the longest-serving SUBEB chairman (though intermittently), and the current secretary to the Ondo State government, has signalled her interest in replacing Aketi.
Likewise, the richest man in Ondo State, a business mogul turned senator, and a scholarly billionaire, as our popular Mr. Lanre Tuigbiyile would describe him, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, is gaining momentum and widespread acceptability, as evidenced by the eagerness of the people to engage with him on major social media platforms. Given his recent adoption of a simpler lifestyle, he might succeed in capturing a significant percentage of political elites across various age groups. From my observations, many people who once criticized him for his pompous attitude, including those from his local government, are now rallying behind Araba. Some of them have even reached out to me—I mean the Ikales. Additionally, the current deputy governor, who is temporarily standing in for his boss in an acting capacity, H.E. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, might express interest depending on the outcome of his ongoing confrontation with the influential Owo cabal.
The longest-serving Commissioner for Finance, Mr Wale Akinterinwa, has signalled his interest. However, Mr. Yinka Salard, his elder brother, has been tarnishing the reputation of this Ile-Oluji-born financial wizard with his undemocratic tendency to attack any perceived potential opponent of his younger brother on social media. In one of the WhatsApp groups dedicated to professionals in politics, Mr. Yinka Salard attempted to ridicule Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, prompting Nigeria’s most educated billionaire to intervene. This situation has raised serious concerns among many citizens, who are left wondering about the behaviour Mr Yinka Salard might exhibit if his younger brother eventually wins and becomes the state’s topmost political office holder. This has certainly become a notable mark against Mr. Akinterinwa.
Although there’s a prevalent belief that our next governor should come from the southern senatorial district, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the laws governing the Sunshine State do not consider it an absolute or binding requirement. This implies that aspirants from either Ondo Central, which produced Aketi’s immediate predecessor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, or Ondo North, where the current governor, Arakunrin, hails from, can contest the election. The emergence of Hon. Bunmi Tunji Ojo as a federal minister in Emilokan’s cabinet speaks volumes in this regard. Even though he hails from one of the four local governments that comprise the Akokos of the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, who was the governor of Ondo State between 1999 and 2003, all efforts by illustrious sons like Dr. Segun Abraham, Dr. Olu Aguloye, Hon. Saka Lawal, Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, and others from this ethnic group to attain the state’s top political position have proven futile since that time.
Considering Hon. Bunmi Tunji Ojo’s track record, how he shattered the barrier of securing a second-term ticket for the House of Representatives in his federal constituency, his father-to-son connection with Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the current Chief of Staff to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, and his acceptance among various youth groups in the state, along with his unquestionable political savvy, if he chooses to take his chances in the coming 10 months under the APC for Ondo 2024, he may find success with divine support. After all, in politics, success often comes from striking when the iron is hottest.
Dr. Akeredolu O.N. Leader, Aketi Medical Team, 2016 Vice Chairman, Aketi-Aiyedatiwa Medical Committee, 2020.