By Jasper Olusayero, Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governorship primaries in Ondo State is billed for 22nd & 23rd of July, 2020 by the National Secretariat of the party. This is barely days away having notify the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the out break of Corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
But this will not in any way affect the election after INEC has insisted that the governorship election will go as planned, which is why the electoral umpires has pasted three (3) months election notification to prepare the mind of our people towards the election in tandem to National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines on election. The COVID-19 pandemic will definitely affect the processes involved in the election, from electioneering campaign, politicking to proper elections vis-à-vis social distancing of electorates. But which ever way decisions go as time goes by, the electoral body still has the constitutional right to conduct the election not later than 30 days before the expiration of the current government in February 24th, 2021. Hence, the four (4) years term of the incumbent Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu (SAN) will surely come to an end on the 24th of February 2021.
This year’s governorship election in Ondo state will definitely be intriguing, fascinating and most enthralling among all the staggered gubernatorial elections in Nigeria, these are for obvious reasons. But interestingly, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries promises to be more intriguing and most challenging for the party leaders with the intellectual prowess and popularity of all the aspirants seeking the ticket of the party and most recently the defection of the state Deputy Governor and subsequent declaration of his interest to pick the PDP ticket.
As a responsible political party, who wants to put forward a formidable challenge and opposition with sole aim of winning the next election and take over the affairs of the state government from the present occupier, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must as a matter of sincerity and entreaty, look into the present political realities in Ondo State, which must be compelled first by the yearnings of the people across the state and also the need to ensure that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) does not exploit avoidable faulty choice of candidate on the part of PDP to lose the opportunity that is steering on the face of our Party. Hence, the choice of Hon. Agboola Alfred Ajayi as the candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo state. The recommendation of Hon. Agboola Alfred Ajayi out of the numerous eminently qualified Aspirants in our party as the Party’s best choice is based on our party’s quest to rescue the state from misrule and possible return of democracy and it’s dividends to the people and also the assessment of all the Aspirants who have declared interest in the plum job at Alagbaka and a deep consideration of subsisting political realities in the State.
In putting this piece together and appraising the political interest of the state in conformity with present day political realities, this write up has taken into serious consideration some criteria in which this my opinion is based. I have considered that there are some core areas in which an Aspirant must surpass and standout in order to bring credibility and formidable Candidature, to challenge the power of incumbency or Abuja ruling party anointed of the APC. Someone who can stand the challenges which the ruling APC is bound to pose and who can be outstanding in winning the confidence of the electorate in the state. Consideration of the high level of political consciousness of the people of Ondo state and some critical qualities they look up to in a future Governor, the current Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi who luckily has become a member of our party is equal to the task ahead.
In making this my humble recommendation, I will like to make it categorically clear that I recognise and acknowledge all the eminently qualified and experienced Aspirants in the PDP as true ambassadors of our state, and that they are very qualify in their own capacity to be the Governor of Ondo State. Our recommendation is clearly based on parameters which we considered of utmost importance to build on the love and desire of the people of Ondo state for our party, the PDP.
Firstly, the success of our party depends largely on the INTEGRITY of our standard bearer at the election. Many will agree with me that, Moral soundness (integrity) is the biggest virtue any leader must possess. Notwithstanding of whatever other primal qualities a leader may possess in sufficiency, lack of INTEGRITY will readily means lack of trustworthiness in clear terms. It is a veritable fact and reality that any leader who carries any moral burden of any kind stands a clear chance of losing the confidence and trust of the people and of his followers with serious quickness. It will spell doom for any political party should such a leader be elected into office before moral situation is discovered, the people will surely run into a fast conclusion that he/she has secured his/her mandate by ill deed, which will imply a total loss of confidence and trust in such person.
With a very sense of humility and utmost respect to all other Aspirants who are eminently qualified, I wish to make it absolutely clear that Hon. Agboola Alfred Ajayi is of high integrity, he is a man with no moral burden. After putting both his past and present activities as a Leader and follower to exact integrity test, surprisingly, his performance to this regard was excellently spectacular. His colleagues, associates, friends and independent respondents as well as politician speaks well of him and they all commended his level of integrity, they hold him to a high esteem.
Obviously, the high level of integrity of Hon. Agboola Alfred Ajayi puts him in a favourable position to key into the desire of the people of Ondo state and their quest for rescue from the present maladministration and corrupt leadership of the APC government.
Secondly, in any of our party Leaders and Delegates consideration for the ticket, the PDP must consider DISCIPLINE as a foremost character in any Aspirant. As we all know, discipline works together with integrity, if you point out a man with abundant integrity, he will surely be loaded with discipline vis-à-vis. Discipline is a very strong strategic quality a leader whose intentions to lead in a contemporary society like ours must have in abundance. The accompanies of an indiscipline leader will underscore the incalculable damage which an indiscipline person cum politician will do to both his society and Political Party if elected into any office, talk less of being a Governor.
Hon. Agboola Ajayi is a very discipline man, he always opined that your background cum up bringing speaks loud of how discipline a person is and he believe that the personality of any leader irrespective of where you are leading; self discipline, society discipline and party discipline must not be jeopardised. As a politician, if you are elected into any office on the platform of a Political Party, self discipline and Party discipline must be displayed. This is Hon. Agboola’s solemn opinion in handling Intra-Party crisis which poses real threat to our neophyte Democracy like ours.
Having served as a member of the House of Representative for four (4) years during which he was Chairman, House Committee on NDDC, and now Deputy Governor of Ondo state, Hon. Agboola Ajayi has utmost regard and faith in the Constitution of the PDP and Nigeria constitution. It is very clear that Hon. Agboola can’t be part in the slightest possible attempt to violate or undermine any provision of the PDP Constitution because of his high level of discipline. Based on character, Hon. Agboola Ajayi is such a loyal, humble and level-headed man, it is absolutely not in his person to snub constituted authorities.
Thirdly, Experience has they say, is the best teacher and it has been publicly proven that it (experience) can never be bought or can not be put up for sale in any market place around the world. In advertent to the above, for a person to do credibly well as a Governor in Ondo State, where the economic stance urgently required through speed up Industrialization, it has become fulgent pattern that can not be neglected, any Governor coming in at this time must be exceedingly experienced in facilitating Private Sector driven economic growth and foster high rate of Public Private Partnership (PPP) which as become world tested and best way of Sustainable Development of any nation.
Interestingly, Hon. Agboola Ajayi is an experienced Administrator, who has served in both public and private sector of Nigeria economy,he has both Executive and Legislative experience have served as a Deputy Governor, Executive Chairman of Ese-Odo LGA and member of the Federal House of Representative. He has an enviable capacity to bridge the gap between the Public and the Private Sector. His experience and across-the-board range of connections in the main sector of the Nigeria’s Economy stands out and has unequalled feature which Ondo State electorates will not for any reason want to push aside.
More also, any leader who lacks COURAGE is not a leader by any definition or description of any kind of word. It is courage that propels a leader to do that which is right at all times, in all situations, and to all manners of people. The present status and situation in our Party in Ondo State requires the attention of a courageous and large-hearted leader like Hon. Agboola Ajayi. The highly exalted office of a Governor is certain to throw up challenges which regularly call into question, the sense of courage of the Governor and how large-hearted he is. The man I recommend here is courageous and large-hearted enough to live up to such challenges.
Further more, in our quest for good and marketable candidacy, TOLERANCE AND BROADMINDEDNESS is another very important quality our leaders and delegates must sort in our would be candidate come 22nd-July. In a State like Ondo where there are people of diverse opinions and interest in terms of ethnic, religion and culture, a Governor that will govern our state should be tolerant and broadminded enough to accept the reality of unity in diversity. In this regard, Hon. Agboola Ajayi interacts freely with people from different cultural and religious backgrounds. It is glaringly not in Hon. Agboola Ajayi’s character to discriminate against people or group of persons on the basis of tribe, religion, culture or for any form or reasoning whatsoever.
Another criteria our leaders and delegates must look out for is ACCEPTABILITY of our would be candidate. Agboola Ajayi is already a trending household name in Ondo state politics, he has represented the State at different levels, from the grassroots, to the Local Government and from a Federal constituency to the State government.
Evidently, one factor that works favourably for Hon. Agboola Ajayi in a manner that readily makes him the best and rightful choice for the PDP as our Flagbearer in the October 10, 2020 Governorship Election in Ondo State is his acceptability which has a State-wide spread. His level of acceptability in all the Senatorial Districts of the State is so high and glaringly pronounced that he is undoubtedly the most preferred Aspirant in the PDP even with his membership still weeks old in the party. In this my very humble opinion, it is clearly not plausible to ignore Hon. Agboola Ajayi who has become household name even in places outside his Senatorial District, his acceptability cut across all political parties in the state as leaders in other side of politics are praying hard for the PDP to miss it in her choice of candidate.
Now that our Party Primaries are just days away, a mere mention of the name Hon. Agboola Ajayi has continued to send jitters down the spines of longer contenders including those at the opposition Party!
In addition to all the aforementioned, one very important criteria that must also be considered by our leaders and delegates is GEOGRAPHICAL APPRAISAL. Considering the most favoured geographical region out of the three Senatorial districts of Ondo South, Ondo Central and Ondo North, there is no gain saying that Ondo South is the most favoured Senatorial district at present, aside the fact that the PDP’s strength lies in the Southern Senatorial District, they have also had the least chance and opportunity is govern the state.
Our party must understand that the electorates have a natural and mutualists way of correcting failed zoning arrangements and current political realities of political parties in any given election. It is evidence in the 2016 Ondo State governorship election where electorates themselves swing their votes to the most favoured zone and our party lost out even though ex-Secretary to the State Government (SSG) confirmed during an interview recently the their party rigged the election in favour of the present APC government.
CONCLUSIVELY, our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must see and understand that Governorship elections in Ondo State is a game of strategies and tactics, confident and presumption. And the fundamental questions before a Political Party whose desire is victory depends largely on the capacity which the Political Party has for strategic and tactical THINKING vis-à-vis matured Candidacy.
Therefore, I don’t want to leave all the thinking and reasoning work in the box of our leaders and delegates, having acknowledged that buck of the job lies with them which is why in our own little way, we want to contribute to the strategical and tactical reasoning required by our party leaders and delegates to choose our flag bearer with the sole purpose of sailing to victory.
Apparently, we want to believe our party will not make same mistake of time past in the choice of our candidate which cost us luxury of power in the last governorship election in the state. Sincerely our party has an edge taking from the last general elections which saw the PDP coasting to its fold two (2) Senatorial Districts and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar winning the presidential election, it is clear to the blind that the people of Ondo state loved and enjoyed the leadership styles of the PDP and are willing to support the party all the time provided we present the best and rightful candidate to them. In reality to political stands today in the PDP and Ondo state, and as clarified severally in this my humble submission, Hon. Agboola Ajayi remains the most integrally positioned Aspirant our Party can present to determine the win of confidence of the electorates in Ondo state and for massive scale success.
Finally, I wish to make it abundantly clear that my determination to make this humble opinion is completely in its entirety without the knowledge of Hon. Agboola Ajayi, which imply that the action and research is not at his prompting and influence. I therefore take full responsibility in my position on this piece to help our party leaders make the right choice.
Thank you all for your time.
Dr. Jasper Adeleye Olusayero, an Abuja based Mortgage Broker, Public Affairs Analyst and member of Ondo state PDP, Idanre wrote this piece