Arogbofa canvasses support for President
FOLLOWING the defection of prominent politicians from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) particularly from the Akoko-speaking area of Ondo State into the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC), several indigenes of the area have begun moves to strengthen the chances of President Goodluck Jonathan in next month’s election.
In the much-publicized defections, which were formally declared at the APC presidential campaign rally in Akure, the state capital last Saturday, two former Speakers of the State House of Assembly from the area, Taofeek Abdusalaam and Victor Olabimtan left the PDP.
While Abdusalaam, a member of last year’s National Conference that represented formers speakers in Nigeria was the coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo campaign in the state in 2011, Olabimtan who until recently was a member of the Federal Civil Service Commission, had earlier been named as a member of the 2015 Jonathan presidential campaign team.
Worried by this development, leaders from the Akoko axis of the state, which covers four out of the six local councils in the state’s northern senatorial district, are said to be strategizing on how to ensure the victory of Jonathan in the srea despite the defections.
Chief of Staff to the President, Brigadier-General Dehinde Arogbofa (rtd) who is the arrowhead of the new political initiative, is said to be leading a mobilization and contact team to woo all the sectors of the Akoko communities to the side of the president.
Arogbofa who has a strong ally in the Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC), Gbenga Elegbeleye, a grassroots politician of note, is said to be relying on the dividends of democracy that the Jonathan administration has delivered to the people of the area as the strongest instrument to convince the electorate.
Although not a politician in the mould of Elegbeleye a major financier of the PDP who already has a statewide platform nurtured since the time he was a member of the House of Representatives, Arogbofa is the rallying figure for politicians and non-politicians alike.
The retired officer is also said to be using his wide contacts in the private sector and among senior citizens including traditional rulers, to drum support for the Jonathan candidacy in the coming electoral contest.
Specifically, prominent citizens of the state, are said to be using the opportunity of the election to show gratitude to the president for the appointment of Arogbofa as the COS, a position that they said was already yielding a lot of fruits for the people of the area.
At a function organized by the Ondo Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) where he was recognized as an icon in the state, Arogbofa said ‘the transformation agenda must be allowed to run its full course so that Nigeria can reap the full benefits that are already manifesting in the country.”