The chairman of Ondo APC, Hon. Isaac Kekemeke has announced severally that the party will organise a primary election for its numerous governorship hopefuls. However, the election will not be about any aspirant mouthing his unfounded popularity or declaring that a fellow aspirant can never be governor of Ondo State, as if man is God.
Ahead of the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, I have found it essential to join the debate on the fuss surrounding the endorsement and anointment of governorship aspirants belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. At the same time, I must quickly confess that this article was triggered by a widely circulated piece, “Ondo Gubernatorial Polls: Waterloo Beckons at the Progressives Again”, recently written by Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, a former media aide to late Ex-Governor Olusegun Agagu.
Obviously, the writer was prompted to author the piece due to comments allegedly made by Senator Oluremi Tinubu during an encounter with Mr. Segun Abraham at the 50th birthday ceremony organised for Mr. Sunday Dare, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Chief of Staff in Lagos. An online magazine, The Capital, had reported a seemingly fictional story on the alleged comments. As admitted by the writer, the piece was also premised on the fear that since Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) was imposed as the governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2012, any likely imposition may spell doom for the APC in Ondo State. I quite agree with the writer that Akeredolu was somewhat imposed on the party in 2012 considering the fact that he got the governorship ticket as a greenhorn politician. However, I am bold to say the fear expressed is needless.
Furthermore, it is necessary to admit that I read the same story on the website of The Capital but dismissed it as one of the stories online bloggers love to write or fabricate as the case maybe, with a target to attract online traffic at high frequency. Olowolabi’s thought is however evidently different from mine on the same story. Through his article, he appears to be very concerned and passionate about the success of APC at the November 26 governorship poll. The question then arises: Is the writer now an accidental pro-democracy campaigner?
Undoubtedly, the writer has no record of remarkable activism and advocacy. Therefore, his recent article is surprising to me. He said Akeredolu was imposed in 2012 but before the imposition, it is not on record that Olowolabi ever warned about any looming waterloo. Did he underestimate the eventual waterloo the candidate suffered at the poll or he was simply satisfied with the process that produced Akeredolu as candidate?
Meanwhile, since Olowolabi himself aired doubt about the truism and credibility of the story published by the online magazine about the alleged comments made by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, going haywire to declare it as a suicidal mission and predicting that waterloo beckons is unjustifiable. The writer cannot put something on nothing and expect it to pass the intellectual test.
His claim that Senator Tinubu declared Senator Ajayi Boroffice as the “next Governor of Ondo State” and conclusion that “It speaks volumes of arrogance and malfeasance of provocative proportion” is an unprovoked attack. The writer even over-reached himself when he assumed the role of someone who could speak on behalf of the Ondo people when he said, “the statement offends the sensibility of our people.” Indeed, a fabricated tale cannot offend anyone.
Nobody or group has the powers to reserve the governorship ticket of Ondo State for anyone and Senator Oluremi Tinubu could not have made such remark on the reservation of the Ondo governorship ticket. If Olowolabi and others continue to drag Mrs. Tinubu into Ondo politics, it will become very unhealthy for Ondo APC. Caution is required, please!
To my mind, it appears Olowolabi has a limited understanding of why Rotimi Akeredolu failed and took a distant third position in the 2012 governorship election. It was not really about the process that produced him as guber candidate, it was largely about the happenstances that succeeded the process. The process was not the albatross, the candidate himself was. The questions are: in Akeredolu’s capacity as guber candidate, how did he manage other aspirants? I mean the aspirants who later defected, the aspirants who fled the state immediately after his emergence and the apirants who worked tirelessly for him at the poll. Were the resources of the party properly disbursed and channeled? Did the candidate do enough to convince the electorate despite the huge support from the party leadership? No matter how anyone attempts to answer the highlighted posers, it is quite clear that the candidate fired on while forgetting to exercise humility like those whose palm karnels had been cracked for them by a benevolent spirit. If he had heeded Late Professor Chinualumogu Achebe’s warning, I am confident the outcome of the 2012 governorship election would have been different.
To me, the defunct ACN did not lose the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State, Akeredolu did. Anyway, I pray the mistake of the past will not be repeated.
Meanwhile, if Senator Boroffice has indeed received the endorsement of his colleague, Senator Tinubu, it must have been a merited endorsement. Boroffice is not known to be a pretender or a desperate governorship aspirant.
As a matter of fact, all guber aspirants have lobbied influential party chieftains for endorsement. Some have reportedly paid handsomely while some have promised ‘heaven and earth’ in a bid to snatch endorsement. Infact, some aspirants like Mr. Segun Abraham have allegedly dropped the name of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu severally in order to sway and deceive delegates. Recently, Senator Boroffice featured on a live interactive programme at the Ilara-mokin based radio station, Adaba FM. The interviewer asked him who had endorsed him considering the fact that many aspirants have paraded themselves as anointed aspirants of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Chief Bisi Akande and other leaders of the party. “God,” he replied the interviewer. He appears to hold the strong belief that his guber aspiration is a divine arrangement.
Therefore, it doesn’t serve the interest of the party for the chosen ones in 2012 who have failed or are yet to get endorsement from influential quarters to mobilise and deploy towncriers and malleable writers to blackmail the favoured ones. It serves nobody any good when these guys come to town to raise false alarm. It is utterly counterproductive.
In addition, I don’t think the reported endorsement of Senator Boroffice by South-West leaders of the party and Senator Tinubu is his greatest strength as the APC prepares to pick its guber flagbearer. Senator Boroffice is contesting the election not as a greenhorn but as a grassroot politician and a formidable aspirant at that. He had soundly won senatorial elections twice in succession.
The chairman of Ondo APC, Hon. Isaac Kekemeke has announced severally that the party will organise a primary election for its numerous governorship hopefuls. However, the election will not be about any aspirant mouthing his unfounded popularity or declaring that a fellow aspirant can never be governor of Ondo State, as if man is God. That is nothing but sheer arrogance and absurdity taken too far.
Since Olowolabi indicated his preference for an aspirant through his article, may I will advise him to write about why the delegates should vote for the aspirant rather than expressing needless fear and crying wolf. I do accede that the writer has a constitutionally guaranteed right to support whoever he so wishes – that is peculiar to human beings as we all take sides. Afterall that was what motivated Canadian novelist, Robertson Davies to opine that, “The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend”.
Kayode Adeniyi writes from Akure, Ondo State.