By Kennedy Ikantu Peretei.
In what appeared like a final quit notice to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, two events simultaneously held in Okitipupa and Ikare-Akoko by the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) that shook the state to its foundation.
Saturday, 21st January, 2023 will go down into Political History books, as the day the people in Ondo State removed the rug from the feet of the Buhari and Akeredolu APC-led administrations. It came at a time when the people groan under a hard-biting fuel scarcity. PDP supporters defied N320 per litre petrol to attend the ground breaking PDP Ondo South Senatorial Campaign Flag Off, at opposite New Garage, Okitipupa.
The campaign rally witnessed a turn out that practically grounded movement on Broad street, especially between 19 Army Battalion, Barracks and Stella Maris College, Okitipupa. There were both vehicular and human gridlock as all the six Local Government Areas in the Southern Senatorial District, mobilised heavily to the event.
The campaign rally was attended by Olorogun Eddy Olafeso, Ph.D., South West Coordinator of Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Organisation, Basorun Tola Alabere, State Deputy Chairman, who represented the State Chairman, Hon. Fatai Adams, Prince John Ola Mafo, Chairman, Ondo South Senatorial Campaign Council, Director General of the Campaign, Engr. Raphael Ademulegun and other officials of the Senatorial Campaign, PDP State Executive Committee members from the South led by Senatorial Chairman, Elder Amos Fadope left nothing to chance, as they took advantage of the charged crowd to nail the coffin of the APC.
The PDP Senatorial Candidate, His Excellency Agboola Ajayi, all the House of Representatives Candidates, Hon. Kolade Akinjo, Hon. Gboluga Ikengboju and Hon Olatunji Felder spoke one after another on why Ondo South should reject the APC. All nine Ondo State House of the Assembly Candidates charged the people to vote Atiku/Okowa from presidency to the State Assembly.
Since the advent of the present democratic dispensation in 1999, the PDP has occupied the Ondo South Senatorial seat from 2003 to date. The party supporters who attended the rally resolved that, they will never relinquish the seat to a party that cannot boast of any meaningful project anywhere except misery and poverty.
If the declaration and determination of attendees at the rally, is anything to go by, it is clear that come February 25 and March 11, 2023, the APC will surely meet its Waterloo.
Other distinguished leaders present at the rally were; Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, former Minority Leader of the Old Ondo State House of Assembly (1983) Hon. S.E Yayu, former State Commissioners, Mrs Kehinde Momoh, Chief Lebi Adepiti, Hon. Bekekhimi Idhiarhi. Others were Chief Tunde Akindehin, B.O Omidougha, Hon. Niyi Adebusuyi, Hon. Nasir Akinromade, Hon.(Chief) Folagbade Bamigbade amongst others.
Looking at the array of political actors, all working together for the PDP, the APC does not stand any chance in 2023, especially against the background that, in nearly 8years, the APC has nothing to show for being in government.
While Biripo maestro Omotola held the people spellbound, the performance of “Small Doctor” electrified the audience. It was more of a carnival than a political rally.
The story was not different at the Cenotaph Ikare-Akoko where former House of Representatives member, Hon. Stephen Olemija, Engr.Steve Giwa, former Chairman, Ondo State Water Corporation and Hon. Samuel Obanla, a former Supervisory Councilor and hundreds of their supporters dumped the APC to join the PDP. The decampees were received in Ikare at a very colourful ceremony by the PDP State Chairman, Hon. Fatai Adams and other leaders of the PDP, National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, Chairman of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Campaign Council, Ambassador Roland Omowa, PDP Governorship Candidate Ondo 2020, Balogun Eyitayo Jegede SAN, Chairman, PDP Caretaker Committee, Ekiti State, Arc. Sodiq Obanoye, PDP Ondo North Senatorial Candidate, Akogun Tokunbo Modupe.
In his speech, Hon Olemija said, he will have no regret for dumping the APC and he has merely returned home to PDP, a party under which platform he was elected Chairman of Akoko North East Local Government Area.
The APC candidate for Ondo North Jide Ipinsagba, is from Ikare-Akoko, and this earth-shaking event took place just behind his house. This is a pointer to the effect that, the PDP will walk away with the trophy leisurely.
Perhaps the biggest calamity for this development will be the APC candidate for Akoko North East/ Akoko North West who is seeking a second term against the run of standing rotational arrangement between Akoko North West and Akoko North East. The combination of Stephen Olemija and Giwa working together with leaders of the PDP in the Federal Constituency will surely send the APC and their candidate to political Golgotha.
In 2019, in spite of the fact that General Muhammad Buhari was the APC presidential candidate as a sitting president, and Rotimi Akeredolu sitting Governor, the APC scored 241,769 votes to PDP’s 275,901 votes for Atiku Abubakar. The combined lackluster performance of Buhari and Akeredolu added to the movement of major players in the APC, joining the PDP, it is apparent that 2023 is a tightrope for the APC.