As Ondo state prepares for a litmus primary election of the All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of the November governorship election, it would amount to an understatement saying that the political atmosphere in the state is tensely overheated.
Within the past few days, there have been allegations and counter allegations over who is and who isn’t responsible for crisis rocking the party.
The recent happenings in Ondo APC, among others was the state chairman of the party, Mr. Isaac Kekemeke suspended by two-third majority of party’s state Executive Committee members and his dogmatic refusal to quit office.
However, it is important to refresh the memory with the striking gen that over twenty candidates are fighting for a chance to become the party’s flag bearer at the wards, station across the 18 local government areas.
The most popular amongst them are: Tunji Abayomi, Samuel Abraham, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) who was a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Mr. Segun Abraham, Chief Olusola Oke, former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Olabimtan, Mr. Bode Ayorinde and Chief Bukola Adetula, Mr. Boye Oyewumi, Moyosola Niran-Oladunni, Niran-Sule Adesuyi, Foluso Adefemi, Dele Alade and Senator Tayo Alasoadura.
These calibers of men, contesting for the outstanding honour of representing the APC at state level makes it certainly not surprising to hear all sorts of name calling, backstabbing, mouth lashing promises and propaganda, especially, considering the staggering N5m paid for the nomination form and N500, 000 paid for expression of interest form by every aspirant before getting this far.
But, is the reason for the drama that played out between the National leader of All Progressive Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his former legal adviser, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, who upon declaring interest in Ondo governorship race stopped being in the good book of his former boss.
Many political analysts said that Tinubu’s refusal to endorse, let alone support Abayomi confirms the age long Italian axiom which says: ”In Politics there is no Permanent friendship, all there is, is Permanent interest”. Dr Abayomi on his part called the APC national leader names that suggest his distress over Tinubu’s cold shoulder attitude towards his political aspiration.
And in a similar fashion, Tinubu had plainly responded by saying Abayomi ”thinks highly of himself”.
All these bangs did not go down naturally the spines of citizens of the rural South-west state; raising thick clouds of culpable fear.
Not long after the Abayomi Tinubu imbroglio that the Ondo market women took to the street barely clothed just to tell Tinubu not to impose anybody on the party.
And in a space of days, the Muslim members of APC came out to openly declare their support for Segun Abraham, the anointed candidate of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Segun was also endorsed by the Conference of Ward Chairmen of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
In all, one question remains salient: Is it going to be an APC primary election or a referendum of godfathers and sons allegiance. Nevertheless, the crisis in the Ondo state of the APC had benefited some politicians who cashed into the situation to accentuate their popularity and publicized their hitherto unknown personality.
For instance, so many people didn’t known that there was anybody in the governorship race named Tunji Abayomi until his open letter to Tinubu and the corresponding reaction from Tinubu’s quarters. This in great measure advertised his candidacy more than any Television or radio campaign would have done. People both within and outside Ondo state now reasons and ponders on the Abayomi ideology.
Some of them are saying that a man who could boldly confront party national leader certainly will confront the enemies of the state, but whether they are right or wrong only time knows. Another issue worth taking note of before the Ondo state APC primaries is the reaction of other candidates to the crisis rocking the party.
Since politics thrives in either promise or propaganda, an aspirant is silent to his or her peril at the time of controversy. Because while crisis persist, candidates have an opportunity to clearly state the side of the divide they consider healthy for their campaign.
Yet, most of the candidate did not make good use of the crisis. Why? They either kept mute or took a no firm stand thus making them lose the authority to command follower-ship. Although rumor mill has it that delegates for the forthcoming primaries are in hiding to avoid being bought over by desperate politicians who are ready to give away any amount of money as long as it make them win.
It is shear disillusion to assume that Nigerians at this present age would vote someone simply because he gave them money. If it were so Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) would not have lost woefully to an opposition party during the 2015 general election.
By Wednesday, a lot of APC governorship aspirants would have learnt this painful but priceless political lesson—money cannot always do the work.
Remaining silent despite opponents blackmail can be a costly mistake that would dent a candidate’s reputation beyond redeemable repair. However, going back to Ondo state APC primaries slated for tomorrow, two candidates stand out in the entire scheme of things.
First is Abayomi for his ability to stoke up controversy and simultaneously cashing into it like courageous lion and second, Abraham who though a bit reserved became the fortunate person preferred by an extroverted, larger than life Political Calculator.
While this two remain in the forefront of the heat, the remaining set of aspirants are simply going to reflexively re-echo the decision of delegates to either vote for or against any of the aforementioned two.
But, looking at the professional accomplishments of Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as former President of Nigerian Bar Association, there is no doubt that he is a big threat to every other contestant as far as the primary election is concerned.