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Dispatch from the Diaspora: Ondo South Must Tread Carefully

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Dear compatriots of Ondo South Senatorial District, it has become pertinent to address crucial issues in the buildup to the governorship election in our dear state, Ondo State in September 2024.

We wish to state that the demise of Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu indeed created a vacuum in the political landscape in Ondo state. The unfortunate incident left a hole in our hearts, and our prayers are with the families he left behind. We commiserate with the entire people of Ondo State even as we pray for God to heal our hearts over this unquantifiable loss.

Given the prevailing circumstances that brought to power, His Excellency Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as the executive governor of Ondo state, some pertinent questions on the distribution of political power among the three senatorial zones in the state have come up.

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is from our Ondo South Senatorial District, completing the term of the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu. By implication, he would not be eligible to contest two terms. The closest Ondo South has got was five years and 270 days during the tenure of the late Olusegun Agagu. Mr Agagu was Ondo’s governor from 2003 to 2009 when the Court of Appeal sacked him after his 2007 re-election was overturned. Olusegun Mimiko was declared the winner—this truncated Ondo South’s political journey in the state’s political equation.

It is instructive to state that afterwards, Ondo South did not have a chance at governance in the state until the emergence of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa upon the death of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

The implication is that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is expected to complete the tenure of the late Rotimi Akeredolu in line with constitutional provisions. This has again thrown up a constitutional matter that must be evaluated critically given the constitutional provision that an individual cannot take the oath of office thrice under the constitution. So, the few months that His Excellency Ayiedatiwa is spending to complete the late Governor Akeredolu’s tenure would be counted as he took the oath of office to assume office.

Should Ondo South put forward Governor Lucky Aiyedaitiwa and he is reelected in September, he would be expected to spend a tenure of four years, by which time he would have been sworn in as governor twice. This would shortchange Ondo South Senatorial District. The power of incumbency that should have made us rout for Governor Aiyedatiwa would eventually be our albatross if we tread that path.

It would indeed be a strategic move from Ondo South because if Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa is given the mandate, it would translate to a political shortchange denying Ondo South an eight-year tenure. The position of the law is clear that a governor cannot take the oath of office thrice.

On the heels of the above, the Ondo South Professionals in the Diaspora are advocating for a candidate from Ondo South with the required capacity and political relevance to vie for the governorship seat come September 2024.

We are conscious of the other competent persons who have stepped into the arena and indicated an interest in representing the interests of Ondo South in the context of who becomes the next state governor. We have consequently established certain parameters.
1. In terms of the balance of power, it is apparent that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) continues to hold the upper hand in the impending contest. While our group is apolitical, we find it prudent to focus our consideration on the array of aspirants in the APC and would only consider other political platforms if the interest of our district is not properly accommodated by the APC.
2. We have also zeroed in on a candidate who stands the chance of completing two tenures of four years, which unfortunately rules out our dear incumbent governor.
3. Furthermore, we would like to not recycle past aspirants and candidates. Those who have aspired in the past and failed to clinch the ticket or those who have contested before and didn’t win the election will come with baggage that we can ill afford.
4. We will focus on young, energetic, and dynamic politicians who can make Ondo South proud by propelling Ondo State to greatness. The candidate must have the political capital and network to tap into in promoting the interest of the state. Such a person would be able to meet the aspirations of all even as they satisfy the imperative of treating our district fairly.

These focal points were arrived at following the realisation that other senatorial zones in the state have had entire tenures, and the opportunity is before Ondo South to present a candidate with the relevant political clout to contest the gubernatorial election.

Without intending to de-market any of the aspirants that have indicated an interest in the race, hence our restraint from mentioning names, we have assessed the field of play. Consequently, the Ondo South Professionals in the Diaspora are using this medium to advocate for the candidature of political pedigree and verifiable contributions to the development of the state.

We strongly recommend that Ondo South go for a rounded politician from the District, someone with public service records replete with exceptional exploits that have elicited commendations from near and far.

The Ondo South Professionals in the Diaspora consider that Ondo South must tread carefully in advocating for an aspirant who will become an eventual APC candidate in the gubernatorial election. Such a person must have the requisite qualifications and experience to lead Ondo State. This position of Ondo South Professionals in the Diaspora is hinged on a critical analysis of the Ondo South Senatorial District, the various political actors, and their contributions to the state’s socioeconomic development.

Other factors were also considered, such as national and state spread in the political landscape. We have aspirants who fit the bill, hence our charge that our search should terminate at the doorstep of such a person, who would be a known political figure nationwide and in the state, a known advocate of good governance, transparency, and accountability with invaluable insights on national issues have been sought after in critical times in the country.

It must be considered that the overarching objective is to ensure Ondo South gets the privilege of contributing to the development of the state through a candidate who can complete two terms of eight years. The choice is before the people of Ondo South to take hold of the golden opportunity by supporting an aspirant who will uplift the state.

Ms Feyi Olowu, USA
Mr Bola Akiretan, United Kingdom
Dr  Festus Akinwale Canada.
MONDAY JANUARY 15, 2024
ONDO SOUTH PROFESSIONALS IN THE DIASPORA

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