Though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cleared 12 candidates for the October 20 Governorship elections in Ondo State, most people know only three of the candidates who have been tagged as the most serious contenders for the state’s number one position.
Apart from Governor Olusegun Mimiko who is flying the flag of the Labour Party, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Chief Olusola Oke of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who are well known, the other contenders are Taye Adeuti (Allied Congress Party), Omoregha Olatunji (Progressive Peoples Alliance), Victor Adetusin (People for Democratic Change), Adeyemi Bolarinwa (All Nigeria People’s Party), Ayodele Olusegun (Better Nigeria Progressive Party), Omoyele Olorunwa (Change Advocacy Party), Abikanlu Olusola (National Solidarity Democratic Party), Oladapo Lawrence (National Conscience Party) and Olusoji Ehinlanwo (Congress for Progressive Change).
Incidentally, serious politically activity seems to be more evident among the trio of Mimiko, Oke and Akeredolu. While campaigns are rounding off and the candidates have taken on one another in serious debates aired live on television, accusations and counter accusations have started flying across the political field. The political combat has also been taken to media houses in the state, especially the radio stations. The OSRC and Adaba FM, both in Akure have become avenues for launching political ballistic missiles. Both have been busy airing political jingles. While the projects and achievements of the Mimiko led government can be heard on OSRC, the Governor’s opponents seem to have found solace in Adaba FM and are firing from there.
The Labour Party recently warned voters to be conscious of events around them as some elements have embarked on the “exportation” of people from neighbouring states in order to “capture” Ondo State. The party has also embarked on a sensitization programme for its members ahead of the elections. Labour Party members have also been told not to hold or wear anything that has the logo of the party on Election Day. According to the party’s Publicity Secretary, “the Labour Party has uncovered plans by opponents who have made Labour Party T Shirts and face caps to foment trouble during the elections. They have perfected plans to wear those shirts and cause trouble on Election Day so that people would say Labour Party members were violent”.
Street Journal’s findings have revealed that violence and campaign during elections might be good grounds for seeking the nullification of election results.
Oke’s campaign organization too fired a salvo when it described the Ondo State Governor as a namedropper. Olusola Oke alleged that the Labour Party was making it look as if its candidate had the support of the Presidency. The PDP too has alleged that some people somewhere have made t-shirts with the inscription “PDP Supports Mimiko” which they plan to wear to political rallies in the state.
The ACN on the other hand has continually criticized the projects and achievements of the present administration. The party has continually told Ondo indigenes reasons for which they should align politically with their other neighbours in the South West.
Meanwhile, Street Journal’s findings have revealed that the Election Petition’s Tribunal will start sitting in Akure on Monday 22nd October, 2012 and will be headed by Justice Abdulkadir Pindiga, an indication that no matter which way the election goes, legal fireworks are expected to follow. Incidentally, the candidates of the ACN and PDP are tested lawyers. It is also worthy of note that in election matters in Nigeria, cases never stop at the court of first instance.
It will be recalled that Dr. Olusegun Mimiko had challenged the victory of Dr. Agagu in the April 2007 elections and the tribunal adjudged him the winner on 25th July, 2008. The Appeal Court also upheld the Tribunal’s verdict on February 23, 2009.