The road to 2019 general elections

By: Bisi Olominu
The 2019 general elections are gathering momentum in Ondo State as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has released the final list of candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives.

The list puts to an end the intrigues, agitations, cacophony among the party men and women jostling to be the candidates of their political parties in next year election. It is now time for action, time for the parties and their candidates to showcase what they have to offer the people of Ondo State.

The candidates are preparing to outdo one another, even before the whistle for campaign is blown, they are not taking any chance for granted. The candidates are doing everything to curry the favour of the electorate.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has disclosed that 37 candidates are jostling for the nine senatorial seats while 80 candidates are contesting for the House of Representatives slots.

Apart from the two leading parties, APC and PDP that will test their mights before the electorate, other parties like Action Democratic Party, Alliance for Social Democratic, Democratic Alternative, Mega Party of Nigeria, Zenith Labour Party, Movement for the Resolution and Defence of Democracy, National Conscience Party, National Rescue Movement, People Trust, Unity Party of Nigeria and Progressive People’s Alliance will also contest the coming election.

It is going to be a straight fight between the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, while other parties are just making up the numbers.

The All Progressives Congress being the ruling party  will like to show its supremacy. Since the governorship election is not coming up next year in the state, APC would like to concentrate its entire arsenal to win all the elections, while the PDP that has been in the cooler in the last three and half years would like to prove a point that the party is not dead after all.

The online and offline discussions on the political fortune of APC made it to give three automatic tickets to the Senators and some House of Representatives members in Ondo State. This singular action many are thinking will work against the party in 2019 elections. But the party has an enthralling pedigree of coming clean out of crisis. With increasing political awareness, access to information via WhatsApp, Facebook and other social media platform, the escalating poverty in the land will play an active roles in the electorate choosing whom to represent them at the National Assembly next year.

It was therefore for this reason that APC in the Ondo Central Senatorial District of the state worked tirelessly to ensure that Tayo Alasoaduro emerged the candidate of the party.

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However, it was not rosy for Prof. Ajayi Boroffice to emerge the candidate of APC for Ondo North Senatorial District as the party preferred Dr. Tunji Abayomi. But the National Central Committee of the party thought otherwise and gave Boroffice the ticket. Similar situation played out in Ondo South Senatorial District where  Senator, Yele Omogunwa was accused by his people of none performance, but his loyalty to APC  and not defecting to other parties gave him the ticket.

The Ondo Central Senatorial District is therefore a three horse race between the incumbent, Tayo Alasoaduro of APC, Ayo Akinyelure of PDP and Gboye Adegbenro of ZLP.

Alasoaduro, the Chairman on Petroleum (Downstream) will slug it out with the other two money for money and personality  for personality. If money is the criterion to win the election, then Alasoaduro will win for he has the financial muscle. Relying on money will be a huge miscalculation as the election will be tactical in nature as Akinyelure of PDP and Adegbenro of ZLP will rely on their goodwill to the people of the state when in power. Evidently, two variables (personality and party platform) will be a decisive factor on how the electorate would make their choices in the coming election.

In Ondo North Senatorial District, it will be a straight fight between Prof. Ajayi Boroffice of APC, Olusegun Phillips Alonge of PDP and Ipinsagba Emmanuel of ADC. In terms of money, Boroffice as a third term senator has the war chest to prosecute the election. He knows the nitty gritty of politics and as the ‘Asiwaju’ of Akokoland, he enjoys the support of all the traditional rulers in the area. But many have castigated him for not bringing dividends of democracy home, mostly on the deplorable roads in the area. Again, the way and manner he got the ticket has been the talk of the town, but APC will rather support him than loosing the slot to opposition party.

The candidate of PDP, Olusegun Phillips Alonge has the financial where withal but very new to politics. Money alone does not win an election, but pedigree and influence he deploy would count a lot in endearing him to the electorate. In the coming days, weeks and months, the involvement of the Akokos in choosing their senator will do a lot to either retain Boroffice or tilt the ticket towards the other two candidates.

The candidate of ADC, Emmanuel Ipinsagba is new to politics, but , can he use the coming election to up the ante?  He has been accused of being stingy and not helping his people.

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In Ondo South Senatorial District, it will be a two horse race between the incumbent senator, Yele Omogunwa of APC and Otunba Nicholas Tofowomo of PDP. Omogunwa got his party ticket through loyalty to the party, but according to his people has not done much to bring dividends of democracy  in the last three and half years. His opponent Tofowomo should not be defiance of this, the intimidating credentials, enthralling pedigrees and the population of Irele where Omogunwa comes from could make him to win the election again.

In the final analysis for the House of Representatives, the Akoko East/Akoko west ticket will be a great battle between Bakita Bello of ADC, Tunji Ojo Olubunmi of APC and Ogunleye Olawale Babatunde of PDP. Bakita Bello of ADC will have the problem of party structure and money to prosecute the election. The former Speaker will just fight, so also, the candidate of APC and PDP. What will work for the candidate of APC will be his personal integrity, money and party structure. So also his is manifestoes and support of party leadership which he enjoys tremendously.

In Akoko South/South west, it will be a four horse race between Dare Emiola Francis of ADC, Adeogun Adejoro of APC and Abiloye Martins Olutade of PDP. Emiola, the former Deputy Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly has been out of government for long, so, the money to prosecute the election may not be there. The APC candidate was a former director of State Security Service and The Hope learnt that he has done well for his people by employing their sons and daughters to the service. This the people said would work for him, while Olutade of PDP and Ogunbi Abiodun of Zenith Labour Party will struggle to make an impart.

For Akure North/South, it will be a great contest between two political heavy weight of Olowokere Ajisafe of APC and Omolafe Adebayo of PDP. Olowokere has done tremendously well for his people by building schools in Akure South/North, constructing new town hall for Akure tarring the inner roads in Oyemekun Grammar School and, empowering people of his constituency. Also Omolafe during his tenure as the Chairman of Akure South Local Government recorded achievements, so it is left for the electorate to judge the two.

For Idanre/Ifedore, it will be a three horse race between the incumbent, Babarinwa Samson Bamidele of APC, Kayode Akinmade of PDP and Akinyele Taye Oliya of ZLP. The former foot soldier of Olusegun Mimiko, Akinmade will contest against his mentor’s party, but have a nemesis in the APC candidate Babarinwa who has the money to prosecute the coming election. Since both Akinmade and Akinyede could not concede the slot to a single person, both will now split Idanre votes,thereby giving the edge to Babarinwa. Another thing that will work against the interest of Akinmade and Akinyede is that Idanre cannot produce both the senate and House of Representatives members at the same time.

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In Ile-Oluji/Okeigbo, it is Akinfolarin Mayowa Samuel of APC and other candidates. The incumbent Akinfolarin has the war chest to prosecute the election, but other candidates will make him to sweat for his re-election.

In Irele/Okitipupa, it will be a battle between Akintoye Albert of APC, Ikengbaye Gboluga Dele of PDP and Kolawole Temitope Gbenga of ADC, while other candidates making up the numbers. The election will revolve round performance, pedigree and what you have done for people in the constituency. Akintoye Albert was a former council Chairman in the local government, former National Assembly member, both will greatly work in his favour. His influence will be put to text in the coming election.

In Ondo East/Ondo West, Adeniyi Adeniji Femi of AAC, Abiola Peter Makinde of ADC, Ajibayo John Adeyele of APC and the incumbent Hon. Akinlaja Iranola Joseph of ZLP will contest for the single slot. Adeniyi has been the boy of Olusegun Mimiko for long, but now will contest against his master’s new party.

Many have accused Akinlaja of not bringing dividends of democracy to his constituency in the last 12 years he has been in the National Assembly. His waning popularity is another angle against him, but will the winning mentality of the former Governor work for him. It follows therefore that the forthcoming election is going to be form, size and shape, more about personality,performance and less about party platform.

Finally for Ose/Owo, it will be a three horse race between the incumbent, Dr. Bode Ayorinde of PDP, Adelegbe Oluwatimilehin of APC and Baderinwa Lawal Omoloja of ADC. The incumbent, Ayorinde will have to contend against the APC structure led by Governor Oluwatimilehin Akeredolu who will do everything for the victory of his party, APC.

Bode Ayorinde has a long way to go, mostly he has been alleged of not performance and converting the constituency projects to his personal use.

Will he win the coming election or will Adelegbe Oluwatimehin beat him to the ticket or will the former Permanent Secretary, Baderinwa Lawal Omoloja of the ADC come victorious? Only the electorate in the constituency will tell come next year.

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