No fewer than 28 governorship candidates are eyeing the Alagbaka House, the seat of Ondo State Government. The poll holds in November 26. Correspondent DAMISI OJO examines the contest for power in the Sunshine state.
In less than 40 days, the governorship election will be conducted in Ondo State. The winner will succeed Governor Olusegun Mimiko on February 24, next year.
No fewer than 28 candidates are participating in the exercise.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a total of 1,546,081 voters have been registered to partake in the November 26 poll.
The breakdown is as follows: Central Senatorial District-Akure South-248,953; Akure North, 53,000; Ifedore, 64,242; Ondo West, 150,0000; Ondo East, 37,000 and Idanre local government, 60,720 -Total Registered Voters (Central District) – 615,157 (39.78 percent).
North District: Akoko Northwest-68,061; Akoko Northeast, 62,451; Akoko Southeast, 29,773; Akoko Southwest, 86,155; Owo, 110,100; Ose, 62,386,Total Registered Voters (North District)-418,926 (27.10 percent).
South District: Ese-Odo, 57,255; Ilaje, 114,235; Ile-Oluji, 64,219; rele, 55,231; Okitipupa, 101,044; Odigbo, 120,014 -Total Registered Vote (South District) -511,998 (33.12 percent).
The candidates eyeing the Alagbaka Government House include Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) the All Progressives Congress (APC); Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy(AD); Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Olu Agunloye, Social Democratic Party (SDP); African Peoples Alliance (APA) Mrs Oluyi Folasade Helen; Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) Gbenga Arigbede; Labour Party (LP) Stephen Adeuti; Citizen Popular Party (CPP) Oyeleye Fasua; Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) Mrs Olagbegi Orunmoluyi and Democractic People Party (DPP) Mrs Falana Julianah.
Others are Democratic Peoples Congress (DPC) Adeeyo Matthew; New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) Oluwadare Bada; Hope Democratic Party (HDP) Odedeyi John; National Unity Party(NUP) Ayibiowu Ige; Better Nigeria Progressive Party (BNPP)Mrs Funmilayo Jenyo; Young Democratic Party (YDP) Adeniran Adeniyi; Accord Party (AP) Oladare Amuda; All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
Also on the list are Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) Akindele Egbuwalo; African Democratic Congress (ADC) Mrs Ojo Ogunyoku Magretta Modupe; Action Alliance (AA) Yinka Orokoto; Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) Bolarinwa Aidi; Independent Democrats (ID), Akogunrin Oluwatoyin; KOWA Party (KP) Oludare Ogungbemi; Peoples for Democratic Change (PDC) Olusegun Odidi; Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) Francis Ogunjumelo; United Democratic Party (UDP) Falaiye Olugbenga and National Conscience Party (NCP) Oluwasuyi Dare.
Akeredolu is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who became the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in 2008.
He was born on 21 July 1956 in Owo to Reverend Ola Akeredolu family and Lady Evangelist Grace Akeredolu of Aderoyiju family of Igbotu, Ese Odo, Ondo State. Akeredolu started his primary education at Government School, Owo. He proceeded to Aquinas College, Akure, Loyola College, Ibadan and Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro, for his secondary school education and Higher School Certificate, respectively. He attended the Loyola College in Ibadan and the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University ) to study Law, graduating in 1977. He was called to the Nigerian Bar 1978.
Akeredolu was the Attorney-General of Ondo State from 1997-1999. In 1998, he became a Senior Advocate of Nigeria
In November 2011, he was among the governorship aspirants of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) was eventually picked as the candidate for the 2012 elections.
On September 3, he was declared the candidate of the APC after the primary conducted by the election committee appointed by the national leadership of the party.
Akeredolu emerged winner with 699 votes, amid controvesy. There were allegations of padded delegates list.Three of his colleagues, Segun Abraham, Olusola Oke and Ajayi Boroffice petitioned the Appeal Committee on the irregularities.
However, the committee recommended a fresh shadow poll to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC, which was reportedly overturned by the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.
Akeredolu’s name was eventually submitted to the INEC, and that had caused a split in the party to th extend that APC National leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Oyegun and other stakeholders called for the resignation.
Already, one of the leading APC aspirants, Chief Olusola Oke, has joined the Alliance for Democracy (AD) as its candidate, while the first runner-up, Dr Segun Abraham, has gone to court to seek redress on the primary result.
However, 50-member powerful campaign committee has been inaugurated for Akeredolu. It consists of governors and ministers, with the aim of facilitating victory for the APC.
Observers believed that the post-primary acrimony may have adverse effect on the performance of the APC and its candidate, although, the campaign committee has constituted a reconciliation commitee. But, it sees time is running out.
Jegede (SAN) was born to the family of the late Chief Johnson Bosede, the Odopetu of Isinkan, Akure, and Mrs C.O Jegede (née Asokeji) from Ipele, near Owo, Ondo State.
Jegede attended Aquinas College, Akure for his Secondary Education. He had his Higher School Certificate Education at Christ School, Ado Ekiti and the University of Lagos, where he Law between 1980 and 1983. He was posted to Yola, Adamawa State for his National Youth Service Corps. There he started his career as a legal practitioner.
In 1984, Jegede qualified as a lawyer after the One Year mandatory programme at the Nigeria Law School, Victoria Island, Lagos.
In 1992, he was appointed a Notary Public by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and in less than 10 years, he was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). He was deeply and actively involved in political cases and election petition matters, an area of law where his practice is noted. He worked in the law firm of Murtala Aminu & Co. Yola.
After twelve years practice in the law firm, six years of which he was the Head of Chambers, he established his own law firm, Tayo Jegede & Co in 1996
He was heading his law firm before he took appointment as Chief Law Officer in Ondo State.
In May 2009, Mimiko appointed Jegede as the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice. Jegede is a former Chancellor of Anglican Communion of Jalingo, Taraba State. he was the Chancellor of the Anglican Dioceses of Yola and a member of Implementation Committee of American University, Yola, Adamawa State, and a member, Chairman Board of Governors, ABTI Academy International School.
Jegede emerged winner of the PDP factional primary by polling 760 votes to defeat his co-contestant, Saka Lawal.
However, his candidacy can not be absolutely confirmed for now because of the suit court by the other faction which has a business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim as its candidate.
Although, the INEC had earlier enlisted the name of Jegede the PDP’s candidate, the Federal High Court, Abuja gave another directive that Ibrahim should be the candidate of the PDP. INEC, however, stayed action till October 27 to determine the authentic candidate between Jegede and Ibrahim.
Ibrahim is from the Southern District, while Jegede hails from Central where his godfather hails from. Observers are of the belief that the PDP had jettisoned the zoning system, which may hinder its success at the poll.
The Akure agenda may work only in Akure and some local governments in the district.
Agunloye is a former Minister of Power and Steel and Minister of State for Defence (Navy).
He also served as the Chief Executive, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).
In 2016, he joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and became its governorship candidate.
Agunloye is a former member of the People’s Democratic Party and the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
He may garner votes mainly from Akoko Division because he is an indigene of the area. The fact that he is now the only Akoko son in the race may assist him because of the neglect of the area by the present government.
Secondly, Agunloye is the only candidate that picked a woman as his running mate.With the decision, he may receive the support of womenfolk in the state.
Oke is another strong politician and lawyer. Oke was born on April 7, 1956 in Ilowo, a coastal town in Ilaje Local government Area. His father was from Ilaje and his mother hailed from Imoru, Ose Local Government Area. He attended UNA Primary School, Ode-Ilowo between 1961-1963. At age seven, he dropped out of school in 1963 and became a professional fisherman, who lived and earned his living from the creek of Ilaje and its environs.
His quest for knowledge compelled him to abandon fishing to the amazement of his fishermen colleagues and returned to Methodist Primary School, Ilepete in 1973 to complete his primary education. He later proceeded to Methodist Secondary Modern School, Ilepete where he graduated in 1976. He attended Ilaje Grammar School, Atijere, Ilaje Local Government where he bagged his WASC in 1980. Oke taught briefly as an auxiliary Teacher at Happy City College Ayetero, Ilaje Local Government and Methodist High School, Okitipupa.
In October 1981, he was admitted to Ondo State School of Arts and Science, Ikare where he was, when the prestigious University of Ife offered him admission in 1982 to study law.
In 1986, he proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and was called to the bar in 1987.
Oke joined Olufemi Lanlehin and Co., a law firm in Ikeja, Lagos in 1987. From there, he moved to Okitipupa to establish Olusola Oke and Associates on July 14, 1988. His resolve to commence his law practice early enough was encouraged by his easy grasp of routines and outstanding delivery.
In 1996, he became the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Okitipupa Branch. Between 1997 and 2000, he was the chairman NBA, Okitipupa Branch. Also, between 1997 and 2000, he was a member of the National Executive Committee of NBA. His professional practice provided the platform that earned him the opportunity to blossom in politics.
He was the National Legal Adviser of the PDP between 2008 and 2012.
He was elected into the House of Representatives from representing Ilaje/Ese-odo Constituency in 1992. In 2000, he was appointed into the pioneer board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). At NDDC, his team executed over 250 projects. In 2004, he was appointed as the Executive Chairman of the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC).
In 2005, he served in the National Political Reform Conference and in 2007, he served as a member of the Presidential Technical Committee on Niger Delta.
Oke was a governorship candidate in the 2012 election.
He was a top contender for the APC ticket. He decamped to the AD after the APC primary.
As a grassroots politician, Oke picked another popular politician and former member of the House of Representatives, Ganny Dauda from Akoko Division, as his running.
He was the only candidate that considered the christian/muslim dichotomy, which had led to the resolve of the muslims to vote for the AD during the election. Oke has been trasversing the lenght and breadth of the state to woo many voters to his camp.
The legal luminary may spring suprises, considering the crisis within the two popular parties, the PDP and the APC. The rate at which people are joining the AD on daily basis is unprecedented. this may greatly help Oke’s aspiration to gain access to Alagbaka House.
A newbreed politician, Arigbede, an indigene of Ero, in Ifedore local government area, is into hotel business. He attended the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti and had his NYSC scheme at Jigawa State College of Education, Gumel where he served as an Assistant lecturer.
His interest in politics is hinged on the love to serve his people. Arigbede is a starter in politics and may not go far. He is from the same senatorial district with Jegede of the PDP.
Odidi was born over four decades ago to Chief R.A Odidi family in Igbotako, Okitipupa local government. He graduated from University of Ado-Ekiti, now Ekiti State University (EkSU). He is a media consultant and former member, PDP National Convention Commitee. He was part of federal government delegation to Brazil in 2014.
Bada is an accomplished medical practitioner and an indigene of Akure, the state capital. He was one of the PDP leaders before he left the party following the endorsement of Jegede his kinsman, as the PDP’s candidate.
Bada was born on April 9,1953. He attended Aquinas College, Akure and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) between 1972 and 1979. He was also a student of the famous Haggai Institute, Hawaii, USA.
He served as the youth leader of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in Akure Constituency, a caucus member of the National Republican Convention (NRC) and Gubernatorial Campaign Manager of the AD between 1998 and 1999.
Bada is a former gubernatorial aspirant of the PDP in 2003. He was also in aspirant of the ACN between 2005 and 2007. Bada served as the PDP National Delegate between 2008 and 2010. He was a member, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, between 2010 and 2011, a PDP governorship aspirant in 2012 and later, the Director-General, PDP Campaign Organisation in 2012.
He also served as the Commissioner for Health and Social Services between 1994 and 1995, Chairman, Health Management Board (HMB) and Executive Chairman, Hospitals Management Board from 2007 to 2009 in Ondo State.
Oladare (Accord Party)
Oladare, a Pastor, was born 55 years ago in Ogbagi-Akoko, Northern District. He is a product of the University of Ado-Ekiti, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) and National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
The politician is a Ph.D student of Public Administration.
Amuda was a Personal Assistant (PA) to the former governor the late Dr Olusegun Agagu between 2003 and 2009. He was an administrative officer in the state before his resignation on July 1, to contest on the platform of the Accord Party.
He has always been serving as a mobiliser and motivator during elections.
Amuda had helped in installing a number of local government chairmen in the North District and he was the brain behind the policies and laudable programmes of the Agagu administration.