WHY LABOUR PARTY REMAINS DOMINANT IN ONDO
Now that the elections have come and gone, we turn our searchlight and focus on Ondo State, where the Labour Party (LP) has continued to 'rule the roost' and has now taken over from the PDP as the dominant party in the state by flooring both the PDP and the Action Congress (ACN) in both the National and State House of Assembly elections, thereby consolidating its firm foothold on political power in the Sunshine State which was triggered off in 2009, when the courts declared Governor Segun Mimiko winner of the gubernatorial polls of 2007.
LP state chairman Chief Olaiya Oni who was a former Secretary to the state government (SSG) who is versed and renowned for his versatility and knowledge of the inner dynamics and workings of government, recently postulated on reasons why other parties particularly the PDP, have continued to lag behind and failed badly at the recent polls.
First, is the continuing in-fighting and back-biting leading to a surreptiously damaging battle for supremacy within the PDP which was most visible and notable throughout the last polls and played into LP's hands and worked in LP's favor.
Second, the very negative and irrational attitude of the former governor who still believes he possesses the clout and personality to lord it over the party but whose negative persona and image was a major downturn which rubbed off most negatively on the electorate during last April's elections.
His resort to playing the politics of exclusiveness which has alienated the majority of the key stakeholders and thousands of their numerous supporters
In effect, the party's preparedness for the polls was at best, totally disjointed, disoriented, disorganized and dismembered as Agagu and his intemperate supporters, in his desperate bid to return to power albeit as a senator, eroded the unity, concord and oneness of the leadership at could have been the lot of the party.
His intemperate language and imperial attitude which was worsened as always, was one of the reasons Ondo people turned away from the PDP in 2007, resurfaced prior to last month's elections and as expected, the same results were obtained.
Third, the PDP has an image problem that has remained and constituted a major drawback and hindrance that negatively impacted and affected the PDP's fortunes in the last elections. This issue was accentuated in the April polls by the PDP imposing unpopular and politically weightless candidates as candidates on the party even when it was common knowledge that such candidates were either unknown or had been rejected for a previous malsfeance in the constituency, but the PDP still went ahead and foisted such rejected candidates on the people.
Fourth was the impression amongst the Ondo people that the PDP was carrying on like 'it still carried on as if it had a chip on its shoulder,' totally impervious to the happenings and developments around them, haughty, proud and imperious, not displaying any form of humility or empathy toward the people.
Fifth, there seemed to be a no defining strategy or masterplan by the PDP to genuinely win and woo back the party faithful and supporters who had brought the party to victory in 2003.
Sixth and most debilitating and repulsive was the glaring mismanagement of party and campaign funds by the party executives and their collaborators who diverted and converted campaign funds to personal use ensuring that campaign funds, in some cases, never reached the candidates and many of them lacked the finance to compete and campaign effectively against the LP candidates.
That aptly sums up the state in which the PDP finds itself at the moment in Ondo State and a major surgical operation leading to a return to the basic party principles enshrined in its slogan, 'power to the people' would be required to bring Ondo PDP from the doldrums, and back to its pre-2003 day, when it was at the zenith of its powers.
The work must begin in earnest and time for commencement is now, especially gubernatorial elections are slated for 2013, and the LP would not relinquish power without a major struggle, and that, the PDP must be ready for, and must quickly put its house in order to prepare for 'one helluva battle' with the LP.
•Justin Olu Fasoranti
Ore, May 2011