Can APC bring change to Ondo State?
President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration came with a “change”, mantra, which seems to have become a synonym for the All Progressive Congress, APC. The Peoples Democratic Party’s 16 years rule was characterized with little or no meaningful development. Impunity in the polity and imposition of candidates were the two major factors that brought the PDP to its knees.
The “change” mantra of the APC which comes with a strong feeling of expectancy and a seemingly soothing comfort received a warmth embrace of the Nigerian populace, especially in the Southwest geopolitical zone where it controls all the states except Ondo State. That APC is struggling to find its feet in Ondo State is to state the obvious, and the reason is not far-fetched. The State governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko had calculatively ported from the PDP to the Labour party, where he clinched the ticket to rule the state. Thereafter, he ported back to the PDP, almost when the party was at the verge of losing its popularity to the APC
Now that Dr. Mimiko’s administration is coasting to an end, the million dollar question is; can APC bring in change to Ondo State? Ahead of the primaries, political activities have heightened and politicians in the two major parties —— the PDP and APC, are behaving as though politics is a do or die affair. A lot of defecting is going on especially from PDP to APC and many politicians have openly declared to run for the Ondo State top job. At my last count, over 30 aspirants have indicated interest to run the affairs of the sunshine state on the platform of the APC when Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s tenure expires. Politicians in the PDP are not folding their hands, as the governor is working assiduously to replace himself with his most cherished party member. All the aspirants have colorful resume and staggering profiles that can earn any of them the coveted post.
If the APC is to bring change to Ondo State, it must not allow its large number of aspirants to be a tool in the hands of its opponent, because too many cook, they say spoils the broth. The party leaders must find a way of downsizing the large number, possibly through the popular but unwritten rule of zoning. Zoning tends to bring equality and balance in the polity and also reduces the cry of marginalization. Political analysts have opined that the next governor of Ondo State should come from the Northern district. They based their analysis on the fact that the new era started with the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati, who hails from the Northern district, before power shifted to the Southern senatorial district with the late Dr Olusegun Agagu on the seat, until it finally came to the turn of the central district with the incumbent, Dr Olusegun Mimiko on the saddle. Equity and fairness requires that the central should not replace itself, rather, the power should shift possibly to where it started from. This rallying point of zoning will drastically reduce the number of aspirants to a sizeable figure of 10 aspirants.
Recently, the State chairman of the APC, Hon Isaac Kekemeke boasted that the party will win the forthcoming governorship election in the state. He also affirmed that the party has not chosen any candidate to fly the party’s flag. He said this when he received some PDP stalwarts and close associates of the governor Mimiko who defected to the APC. If the boast of the party chairman is anything that will yield fruit, the party must provide a level playing field for all the aspirants and forbid the imposition of candidates like a leper’s sores.
The implication of any aspirant trying to ride through the back of some influential party stalwarts or jump the fence of transparency in order to clinch the party flag is most likely to suffer a backlash in the forthcoming primaries. Given the PDP primaries in Delta Sate when the erstwhile governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan failed to impose his most cherished candidate on the party members, while Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa surprisingly shot himself to iconic excellence; anyone blind to the lessons of history will definitely repeat it.
The party leaders and the rank and file members who will make the list of the delegates to the APC primaries must not allow themselves to be bought over by the selfish and parochial money bags who may not represent the change the people yearn for. Ahead of the primaries, an experienced, mature, pragmatic, independently minded, intellectually tested and people oriented aspirant should be the choice of the electorate.
Osemeha, a public affairs Analyst wrote from Lagos.
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