Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of leading online newspaper, SKYTREND NEWS, Mr Femi Adeoya has disclosed that the Saturday's victory of Mr. Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu (SAN) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has finally demystified the political godfatherism and clout of the National Leader of the party, Mr Ahmed Bola Tinubu in the South West.
Speaking in Lagos on Monday, Mr Adeoya said that the Ondo Governorship election was a test-run of the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari especially in the forthcoming 2019 election, adding that “for leading the ruling APC to victory, the President has shown that he and his party still command influence in the South West.
Mr Rotimi Akeredolu who is a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), was on Saturday elected as the sixth executive governor of Ondo State after a fairly and keenly contested election.
Akeredolu had 244,842 votes to emerge winner of the poll, after defeating 27 other candidates.
The APC candidate humiliated his closest rival in the contest, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, (SAN), by winning 14 out of the 18 local government areas in the state.
Jegede (SAN) of the PDP scored 150,380 while the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Olusola Oke scored 126,889. Also Dr. Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) had 10,149 votes. Both Jegede and Oke won two local governments each.
Mr Akereolu had defeated Mr Olusegun Abraham, the preferred candidate of the National Leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tunubu, by a whopping 669 votes in the party's primary election which held Saturday September 3rd, 2016.
Mr. Abraham, an international businessman and a one-time Chairman of Owena Motel under Governor Adefarati, scored 635 votes to place second in the race.
Akeredolu has said in an interview published by Punch Newspaper on September 3rd that the National Leader of the party, Tinubu would be “shocked” at the outcome of the primary results which he (Akeredolu) eventually won.
After Olusegun Abraham lost the primaries in September, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, had demanded the removal of the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, over what he called the latter’s anti-democratic handling of the party affairs.
In a statement he entitled, “Oyegun’s Ondo fraud: The violation of democracy in the APC,” released by the Tinubu Media Office back then, the party leader said the APC’s democratic credentials had been dealt a big blow by Odigie-Oyegun’s conduct, especially with his handling of the outcome of the Ondo State governorship primary.
He said the APC was a party borne out of the quest for democratic good governance, arguing that the ideology was currently under a critical threat by those who managed to be in the party but were never part of it.
Tinubu further said, “from the party’s inception, the principles of democratic fairness and justice are to guide the APC’s internal deliberations.”
Many political observers however thought Tinubu's alleged withdrawal from the Ondo State political campaign of the party would hurt Akeredolu's chances at the poll last Saturday.
Tinubu and many of the South West Governors were not in the Ondo State APC campaigns and had given one reason or the other for not attending. However Mr Adeoya is of the opinion Saturday's election victory for Akeredolu had finally consolidated President Buhari's grip of the party and established his foothold in the South West.
Many Nigerians on social media had expressed opinion that Ondo people would show their revolt against the Buhari's administration due the current recession and economic chaos Nigeria has been plunged into, by not voting for the APC candidate. This is moreso that Tinubu did not take part in the governorship campaign. However this permutation happened not to be the case.
President Buhari has indirectly indicated interest in the 2019 Presidential elections and establishing his ground in Ondo State, according to many political analysts, may actually be a proof of his subsisting popularity in the South West.