The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has directed that the Ondo State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary should hold in Akure, the state capital, on July 20.
Aspirants have since intensified their consultations mobilisation and virtual meetings, ahead of the exercise.
The Unity Forum, a body of aggrieved stalwarts determined to oust Governor Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) by producing a consensus candidate that will slug it out with him, is glued to the drawing board
Contenders on platform are Akin Awodeyi Akinseyinwa, Olusola Oke, Jimi Odimayo, Jumoke Anifowose , Dapo Adelegan, Bukola Adetula, Olusegun Abraham, Kazeem Olanrewaju, Ife Oyedele and Olayide Adelami.
The task of choosing a consensus candidate by the leadership and the seven-man Committee of Unity Forum however, resulted in a big face-off. Allegations of corruption and other vices have destabilised the forum, leading to chaos.
However, analysts have x-rayed these aspirants. Five of them have prospects at the shadow poll, based on the premises of experience, prominence, visibility, commitment and other parameters.
Adelami is a 62 year old trained administrator and accomplished public servant. He retired meritoriously a few years ago as Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly. He is an Owo indigene like the incumbent, and even holds a traditional title. Before his expression of interest in the governorship seat, not much was known about his political engagements, but his campaign is gradually building inroads to the nooks and crannies of Ondo State. He is known for philanthropic activities among his people, thereby endearing him to them. He is married to an Ijebu woman. Though a deep pocked individual, he is perceived by analysts as a green horn in the politics of Ondo State, as well as perceived as a political neophyte and not yet visible enough. He is also alleged to have been in romance with the Akeredolu camp, making his intention doubtful.
Oyedele graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the prestigious University of Lagos in 1982. He is the Executive Director of Engineering and Technical Services at the Niger Delta Power Holding Company Limited. He hails from Okitipupa in the Southern Senatorial District of Ondo State. His campaign train moves around the State and he expresses his deep pocket lavishly. Despite his sense of entitlement to the political deposit of his father, analysts are of the view that if the governorship seat is hijacked by the South Senatorial District, it should not go to Ikaleland. Rumours about his intention to resign his current appointment to pursue his aspiration is all over Ondo State like wildfire.
Olusola Oke (SAN)
Oke’s childhood was spent in the riverine Ilaje area. Impressively, he was a fisherman whose vision propelled his struggle to read Law at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria. He is an experienced and influential politician in Ondo State and has a portfolio of various political offices. Twice, he has contested for the governorship seat in Ondo State without success, transversing several political parties. He has a modest law practice and enjoys a comfortable lifestyle. He is married to Nkem, a beautiful Igbo woman. His oscillation among different parties has not impressed many members.
Bukola Adetula is a Juris Doctor, who studied Criminal Justice in the United State of America. An Owo indigine, he also holds a Masters Degree in Political Science and is no green horn as he contested in 2016. Despite not winning, Adetula left a good impression on the minds of politicians and people in the State. He also enjoys the wealth of political ancestry as his father represented Ondo State in the House of Representatives and was a close ally of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. His philanthropy is veered towards education and health, while his political structure cuts across the State. Although he is perceived to be too ambitious and is not highly rated as a socialite, he is described as the most media friendly aspirant. 58 year old Adetula is married from Ipoti Ekiti and has a thriving law practice in the United States, with substantial investment in Oil and Gas.
Abraham is a Canada based Water Engineer, who holds additional doctorate degree in Theology that qualifies him to practice as a pastor. The billionaire businessman, politician and cleric hails from Ikare Akoko area of Ondo State. In the 2016 elections, he trailed Rotimi Akeredolu very closely at the primary that produced the latter as the APC glagbearer. The battle shifted to the tribunal. He was rumoured to have enjoyed the support of the party leader in 2016. Abraham is married to a beautiful Ekiti woman.
While political analysts keep watchful eyes on unfolding events, the people of Ondo State are also caught in the frenzy and are keeping close tabs on these big five.