AFTER THE PRIMARIES: WILL ACN GAIN FROM FENCE-MENDING LP, PDP IN ONDO?
BY DAYO JOHNSON
TWO months to the general elections, the two major political parties in Ondo State, Labour Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are battling to put their houses in order following the acrimony that attended their primaries.
The Action Congress of Nigeria is free of post primaries squabbles because it was not in contention in the polls until it started reaping from the post primaries crisis in the LP. Its fold started bubbling after the primaries of both the LP and PDP because aggrieved aspirants found solace in the party which hitherto lacked strong candidates with electoral value to match the LP and PDP.
Accusing their leaders of imposition, favoritism and other under-table maneuvering to install their lackeys, aggrieved aspirants sought greener pastures in other political parties while others decided to stay in the interest of the parties.
The primaries left sour taste and a wide gulf in the hitherto harmonious parties.
In the Labour Party, the likes of former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr Olu Agunloye, Hon Olufemi Adekanmbi were the major casualties of the ruling party. They were disenchanted by the way the primaries were conducted in their respective constituencies.
Agunloye was said to have initially agreed with the consensus agreement to field Prof. Ajayi Boroffice for the senatorial seat in the Northern area of the state, he however reneged barely 24 hours later by defecting to the ACN to pursue his ambition.
In an interview with Vanguard, Agunloye said he decided to jump ship ' to pursue his political aspiration and bring the needed change to the people of the area. It is not about dumping one party for another. It is about looking for where my own contribution toward this change can be realized.
The hierarchy of the party in order to stabilize itself required some sacrifices to be made. I am one of those sacrifices as demanded by the hierarchy of the LP to step down so that the consensus candidate can come up. It is an internal thing to reduce acrimony and crisis within the party.'
Agunloye believes that he can defeat both Prof Boroffice and the incumbent Senator Bode Olajumoke in the coming polls, which seem to be a straight fight between Prof Boroffice and Dr Olajumoke. He hopes to cash in on expected split in votes from Akoko where Boroffice and Agunloye hail from.
The talk in town is that Agunloye feels the governor Dr Olusegun Mimiko did not do enough to ensure his emergence as the LP candidate by publicly supporting him because of their closeness.
In the case of Adekanmbi, he was too sure of himself to win the House of Representatives election for the Owo/Ose Federal constituency. But the LP candidate, Eniolorunda Omosule, said to have suffered with the party while it was in the trenches was unanimously picked as the party's consensus candidate and this annoyed Adekanmbi who joined the LP less than a year ago. He had spent millions of naira to better the lots of people in the Owo/Ose Federal Constituency including provision of vehicles for the Police and amenities for the citizenry.
He was allegedly shut out because he 'hobnobs with the PDP at night and in the morning pretends to belong to the ruling LP.' Aside this, the party decides to reward the steadfastness of Omosule who had spent fortunes on the party when there was need. Adekanmbi said he left the Labour Party for the ACN to protest the injustice meted to him by the party leadership.
However, the ACN is having problems for dumping Olufemi Omosuwa, its sole candidate before the coming of Adekanmbi to the party. Omosuwa who had emerged the ACN candidate few days before the coming of Adekanmbi is kicking against the imposition of Adekanmbi by the party leadership in the state.
Omosuwa claimed that the party gave him the mandate three days before Adekanmbi lost the primaries in LP. But the State Chairman of the ACN Jumoke Anifowose said the party has resolved the crisis and settled for Adekanmbi. However, Adekanmbi would have to slug it out with Omosule and the second term House of Representative member Dr Lad Ojomo.
In the PDP, the primaries witnessed minor skirmishes which led to the defection of some of its leaders to the ruling LP and ACN .
The senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District, Hosea Ehinlanwo after losing the primaries to the former governor Olusegun Agagu defected to the ACN on the day the party was conducting its primaries. Ehinlanwo was again trashed by Paul Akintelure, a medical doctor. It was gathered that all the 180 delegates unanimously endorsed the candidature of Akintelure leaving Ehinlanwo in the cold.
In Okitipupa, the home town of former Agagu, hundreds of PDP members defected to LP accusing leaders of imposing candidates during the primaries. A former aide to Dr Agagu who was the state Chairman of Scholarship Board Dr Francis Igbasan left the party for LP accusing the leaders of imposing Albert Akintoye as the House of Representatives candidate for Okitipupa/Irele Federal constituency.
Other decampees include Aare Olajide Shedara, Chief Omoyanmola Dola, Mr Arikawe Adewale, Mr Abayomi Agagu, Mr Akinroloye Ademuwagun, Mrs Febisola Oripinye, Mr Ajibade Ogunyakin and Mr Adekunle Muyiwa. Chieftains of the PDP in Idanre Council area of the state also led thousands of their supporters to defect to the ruling LP.