Moves to tame violence as, APC, PDP battle shifts to Ondo
Dayo Johnson, Akure
The supremacy battle between the two major political parties has shifted to Ondo State after last weekend governorship election in Edo State which Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won. Obaseki secured reelection by beating Pastor Osagie Ize Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC). 17 political parties are fielding candidates for the Ondo election on October 10. The contest was previously between PDP and APC. However, the emergence of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) as the third force has changed the arrangement into a three horse race. The ZLP was not visible in the Edo election but is now a force in the Ondo election courtesy of the influence of the immediate past governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, who is the national leader of the party. All eyes are on Ondo as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, makes last-minute preparations. Incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, is the flag bearer of the APC, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the candidate of the PDP while Akeredolu’s estranged deputy, Hon Agboola Ajayi, be on the ballot for ZLP. Recall that the two SANs slugged it out four years ago and Akeredolu defeated Jegede with over 150, 000 votes. Jegede then was hampered by judicial hurdles which took him away from the campaigns until few days to the election.The two gladiators have rolled up their sleeves for another political battle on October 10. But the emergence of Ajayi has changed permutations as to where the pendulum will swing on Election Day. The three candidates interestingly represent the three senatorial district areas of Ondo with each holding tenaciously to his zone. Akeredolu is from Ondo North, Jegede, Ondo Central while Ajayi is from Ondo South. Meanwhile, violence is trailing the campaigns ahead of the election and this has attracted condemnation from the National Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who was in the state on a working visit. Yakubu, who expressed concern over the spate of violence, said that all the governorship candidates participating in the election would sign a peace accord on Tuesday. He said, “We are aware of the violence involving supporters of political parties. We will meet with traditional rulers and political parties over the issue of violence. “I am also glad that the National Peace Committee under the leadership of our former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd.), is going to intervene by organising the signing of the peace accord, similar to what we did in Edo”.