GOVERNOR Olusegun Mimiko, the incumbent governor of Ondo State and current governorship candidate of the
Labor Party in the state, was recently adopted by another party, the Social Democratic Mega Party, SDMP, as its preferred candidate in the October 20 governorship election in the state.
The party made its decision public following the recent conclusion of its state congress in Akure, the state capital, citing the achievements of the three and half-year old administration of Governor Mimiko as the motivation for its endorsement.
In addition to the endorsement, the party promised to work in order to ensure that Governor Mimiko re-emerges as governor following the completion of his successful first term in office. It also encouraged the governor’s Labor Party to work with the governor towards winning the forthcoming election.
At the congress witnessed by officials of the National Independent Electoral Commission were the national chairman of the party and former finance minister, Chief Olu Falae; the leader of the influential Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, and the party’s national secretary, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa.
A statement issued following the successful completion of the congress noted the “the rate of development in the state in the last three and half years,” and the “need to cooperate with the incumbent governor to ensure that the rate would not only continue but be improved upon.”
As the clock ticks towards the Election Day, the battle lines are drawn between the two main rivals in the election which include incumbent Governor Mimiko and the Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, Chief Rotimi Akeredolu.
The citizens of Ondo however appear ready to stand guard against a perceived recruitment of Ondo State into the vanguard of states controlled by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-dominated ACN, where they envision Akeredolu as just another ‘sole administrator’ who will take orders from Tinubu’s headquarters in Lagos.
Mr. Akeredolu, a former president of the Nigeria Bar Association, himself emerged as the ACN candidate under controversial circumstances that has threatened the cohesion of his party as the October election bares down on all.
Many of the influential people within the fold of the party felt that Akeredolu, a native of Owo whose ties to Ondo State has been described as fickle in many quarters, was imposed on the party by Mr. Tinubu. A lot of appeal and political horse-trading was done to pacify the mutinous rank of the party stalwart, with promises of juicy positions made to many of them if or when Mr. Akeredolu emerges as governor.
It remains doubtful that Mr. Akeredolu will defeat the incumbent governor in October, as Governor Mimiko appears to enjoy not only the popular support of the regular people of his state who feel he has done a lot in his nearly four years in office, but political bigwigs in Ondo State also appear to be falling in line to endorse him for a second-term as governor of the Sunshine State.