A Peep Into The Electorates’ Behaviour In The Forthcoming Ondo State Gubernatorial Election

By Olubunmi Akamo

As the tussle for the occupancy of the Alagbaka Government House becomes intense, recent studies have shown that the voting behaviour of the electorates could be largely predicted. Based on research findings, it can be predicted that the decision of the electorates in casting their votes and electing their favourite candidates would be based on two major factors namely the prospect of monetary gain and ethnicity. The prospect of monetary gain also known as vote buying is one of the major factors that influence electorate’s behaviour during election. However, despite the pronounced fight against vote buying, electorates have continued to see its eradication as a mirage due to poor governance and the desperation for power. As regards the Ondo state gubernatorial election that is scheduled to hold on Saturday, 10thOctober, 2020, there are subtle indications that point to the fact that political parties are already preparing to lure voters with monetary gains in order to influence their votes during the poll. To this effect, one can say that the just approved 148billion naira by the Federal Government through the national assembly to some states, in which 7billion naira go to Ondo State, for the refund of federal road projects might have hidden agenda, following the timing of its approval.

Asides this, history has also shown that there is a form of interplay between voters’ voting behaviour and ethnic affinity. This simply suggests that majority of the electorates hold the belief that once an elected governor is from a particular district or ethnic group, such a district or ethnic group will effectively feel the presence of the state government in terms of social amenities and development. This belief is lucidly expressed in the actions of past governors of the state such as Michael Adekunle Ajasin, the first executive governor of the state, who used his influence as a native of Owo town to establish a polytechnic (Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo), in his home town. Adebayo Adefarati, who orchestrated the establishment of Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba Akoko, his hometown. Olusegun Agagu, who facilitated the establishment of Ondo State University of Science and Technology Okitipupa, in his home town. And Olusegun Mimiko, who was reported to have commissioned different developmental projects in Ondo town, his home town.

However, now that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (a native of Owo) is at the helm of the state’s affairs, there are several agitations from other major communities for developmental projects. These communities believe that their agitations for developmental projects can only be heard if the seating governor is from their community or senatorial zone. Thus, the need to vote for the governorship candidate from their community or senatorial district is "patriotism". For instance, while addressing his supporters during his official decamp to Zenith Labour Party, the party’s governorship candidate, Agboola Ajayi, from Ilaje, Ondo South senatorial district reiterated his desire to contest for the governorship position following his people’s yearning for representative democracy. This is in tandem to his people’s desire to “produce” a governor as they have not been able to “produce” a seating governor since the court removal of Olusegun Agagu in 2007.

Having examined these factors and how they influence electorates’ behaviour , we would love to remind the good people of Ondo state of their primary responsibility in setting a remarkable template for credible voting - the one that will be devoid of monetary influence and nepotism- in Ondo state and in Nigeria at large.