By Adekola Afolabi
As preparations for the March 9, 2019 House of Assembly election in Ondo State get to dizzying heights, 17 current lawmakers in the hallowed chambers would not return to the House after the expiration of their tenure as members of the 8th Assembly, investigation by The Hope has revealed.
The current 8th Assembly expires on June 1, 2019, when the 9th Assembly is expected to be inaugurated.
The Assembly is dominated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) with 19 out of 26 legislators. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) produced seven members.
In all, only nine lawmakers eventually made the final list of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the 2019 House of Assembly election. All the lucky ones are members of the APC.
The remaining 10 APC legislators and the seven PDP colleagues would not be contesting the state assembly poll due to various reasons.
A sizeable number of the lawmakers lost in their bid to secure their respective parties’ return tickets, just as many others willingly withdrew to give others the opportunity to come in, due to zoning arrangement, among other factors.
Prominent among the serving APC lawmakers who would not return to the hallowed chambers are, the incumbent Majority Leader, Olugbenga Araoyinbo, Akoko North-West State Constituency 2; Deputy Majority Leader, Olusegun Ajimotokin, Irele State Constituency; Assistant Parliamentary Secretary, Fasogbon Akinyele, Odigbo 2; Whip, Akintimehin Tuyi, Idanre Constituency and former Deputy Speaker of the House, Samuel Arowele, representing Owo Constituency 1.
Others include former Speaker, Malachi Coker, Ilaje Constituency 2; Dr. Kaseem Suleiman, Akoko South-West 1; Abimbola Fajolu, Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo Constituency; Musa Mukaila, Owo 2; and Olamide George, Akure North Constituency.
Some of them lost their return tickets because of the unresolved problems they had in their various constituencies, while others would not return because the zoning arrangements was against their come back bid.
The nine APC lawmakers who were lucky to secure the party’s return tickets are the current Speaker of the Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, Ifedore; his deputy, Ogundeji Iroju, Odigbo Constituency 1; former Deputy Speaker, Fatai Olotu, Akoko North-East; and Chief Whip, Oluyede Feyide, representing Ose.
The rest are the Parliamentary Secretary, Jamiu Maito, representing Akoko North-West 1; Felemu-Gudu Bankole, Akoko South-West 2; Kuti Towase, Akoko South-East; Prince Abayomi Akinruntan, Ilaje 1 and Sunday Olajide, Akure South 2.
Similarly, none of the incumbent seven PDP legislators would be part of the next 9th Assembly.
The PDP lawmakers are former Speaker, Princess Jumoke Akindele, Okitipupa 2; Minority Whip, Olusiji Akindiose, Ondo East; former Majority Leader, Olugbenga Akinsoyinu, Ondo West 2; Vincent Obadiah, Ese-Odo; Minority Leader, Sola Ebiwonjumi, Okitipupa Constituency 1; Deputy Minority Leader, Kemisola Adesanya, Akure South 1 and Ade Adeniyi, representing Ondo West State Constituency 1.
The reason is not far fetched. The hope of some of them returning to the hallowed chambers was dashed as they lost out during the party primaries earlier held in the year.
Also, some few others including Kemisola Adesanya, representing Akure South State Constituency 1, who sought to clinch the PDP House of Representatives ticket lost in the shadow election.
Others like former Speaker, Princess Jumoke Akindele, representing Okitipupa Constituency 2 and Vincent Obadiah, Ese-Odo did not even bother to seek re-election.
Akinsoyinu and Adeniyi equally contested for House of Representatives tickets on the platforms of ZLP and AAC respectively but lost.
However, the ‘chosen’ nine who would be part of the 9th Assembly would still slug it out with other opponents from other participating political parties in the next week Saturday election.
No fewer than 325 candidates were fielded by 32 political parties for the election in the state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC) are the only political parties that fielded candidates in all the 26 constituencies.
For Akoko Northeast Constituency, 19 candidates will contest for a seat, Akoko Northwest 1has 13 contestants, while in Akoko Northwest 2, 11 candidates were fielded by various political parties to contest for the election.
Akoko Southwest 1and 2 and Akoko Southeast constituencies have 12, 9 and 9 candidates to slug it out in the poll respectively.
In Akure South 1and 2 and Akure North constituencies, there are 19, 11 and 15 contenders to contest for a seat in each constituency respectively.
According to the list, ldanre Constituency has 16 candidates, in lfedore 12 are jostling for a seat, while Ondo West 1 and 2 and Ondo East have 17, 13 and 14 candidates fielded by political parties to slug it out with themselves in the poll respectively.
Also in the list, Owo Constituency 1 and 2 have nine and 11 candidates to contest for the election, while Ose constituency has 10 contestants as released by INEC for the poll respectively.
Also, Odigbo Constituency 1 has 12 candidates fielded for the poll, while Odigbo Constituency 2 has10 candidates to contest in the constituency.
lle-Oluji/Okeigbo Constituency has 12 candidates fielded by political parties for the election.
The list further revealed that Okitipupa Constituencies 1 and 2, llaje 1, lrele and Ese-Odo have 12 candidates to contest in each constituency,while llaje Constituency 2 has 11 candidates to contest in the poll.
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