Like one of the Nollywood action thrillers, the battle for the seat of Ugbo-Ilaje Constituency 1 to the Ondo State House of Assembly is gaining momentum with all kinds of intrigues and wits. As the two cousin’ princes lurk horn together on who occupy the seat in 2023.

The oil rich Ilaje Constituency 1 comprise of 6 wards, predominantly occupy by Ugbo people with acclaimed history as the founders of ancient civilisation in Ile-Ife. Ugbo Constituency 1 is endowed with the greatest fishing, marine and port facility capacity in Nigeria. The people had the early contact with the Europeans who berthed at the ports of Erunona, for Trade and Commerce. And later signed Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Commerce with the British dates back to 1884.

In the same vein, Ugboland, adjudged consistently as the most peaceful part of the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria with crude oil in larger commercial quantity which qualified Ondo State as member of Niger-Delta. Aside the fact that Ugboland has the largest fresh and salt water fishing, is as well phenomenal offshore and onshore crude oil deposits. Constituency 1 has the highest marine and port facility capability in Nigeria and beautiful beaches and ecosystem for tourism.

Inspite of all these enormous resources and opportunities abound in the area with government intervention agencies such as OSOPADEC AND NDDC , the constituency and entire Ilaje is abysmally backward in every developmental indexes. Most of the funds meant for the development of the area ended up in individual pockets while the larger majority are wallowing in poverty and misery.

However, as the 2023 election is fast approaching, the people of the constituency are more battle ready to put their destinies in their own hands by voting for the candidate of their choice. And the battle is a straight fight between Hon. Prince Abayomi Akinruntan fly APC flag and Prince Oluwakayode Ehinlanwo represens PDP. Both are prominent and formidable names need no introduction in the constituency.

Prince Abayomi Babatunde Akinruntan, a businessman and politician is the incumbent member and parliamentary secretary of the Ondo State House of Assembly representing Ilaje constituency 1. The son of the Oba Fredrick Akinruntan, the Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom.

Prince Olukayode Olusola Ehinlanwo is the holder of the prestigious Candidatus Scientiarum Socialium (Cand. Scient. Soc.) in International Relations and Development Studies from Aalborg University in Denmark, a Masters degree (MSc) in Environment and Development from Roskilde University in Denmark and a Masters in Business Administration from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) Nigeria. A businessman, human capacity consultant, public affairs analyst and politican with international connection. Is a son to the late Senator Hosea Ehinlanwo – a respected elder in the Okwarajiga and Yasere families of Ugboland.

Notwithstanding the political gladiators APC parades in Ugbo-Ilaje Constituency 1; the Dep. Governor, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa, OSOPADEC Chairman Sam Erejuwa, Chief Olusola Oke and host of others. The issue of who represent them has nothing to do with party affiliation or primordial consideration. The people who have been deprived of social amenities and funds meant for such development; which went to private pockets want representative that have the capacity to fight for their interest at state House of Assembly. A legislator whose leadership skill is imaginative, creative and proactive.

It is wrong for the people to expect, for instance a legislator of state house of assembly member to provide major infrastructure when his only duty is to appropriate budget for and carry out oversight function while lobbying for their constituents to get amenities needed for a better more productive life.

What really are the expectations of Ugbo- Ilaje Constituency 1? They want a leader who can give the constituency a robust representation and ensure the OSOPADEC is domicile in the local government as promised by APC in the last election but failed to materialize. They want legislator who can change the leadership narrative and ignite the engines of growth of the area. They have tired of failed promises and stagnant representative.

It is only in a rear occurrence for a constituency to resolve amongst themselves and formed a CONSENSUS arround particular subject matter. Prince Kayode Ehinlanwo is amongst the few ones who enjoys this rear privilege. Though, the belief is that he enjoys the good deeds and reputation his late father, Senator H. O Ehinlanwo had built in the past in the constituency.

Femi Adeniyi

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