(EDITORIAL) Ondo 2016 elections- certainly not a war but a contest
The stage is perhaps set for one of the most keenly contested elections in the present political dispensation going by the intrigues and controversies leading up to the polls which has divided the two major parties in contention for the exalted Ondo governor’s office.
In recent months, the nation’s political space has been inundated with tales of internal and external wrangling in the highly volatile Ondo political landscape.
Perhaps to show the seriousness with which the government at the center is taking this election one may need to look at the preparedness of the two foremost security outfits tasked with maintaining law and order on that day.
The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu has directed the immediate deployment of 15,000 Personnel for the elections.
Aljazirahnews gathered that the Police is putting in place a much more massive deployment of men and related resources to ensure a peaceful process.
The Police authorities has approved the deployment of additional twenty-six thousand (26,000) conventional Police personnel (5 Policemen per polling unit), two thousand (2,000) Mobile Police Force (PMF), ten (10) cells of Counter Terrorism Unit, the Special Protection Unit, the Anti Bomb Squad (EOD), the Marine Police, Conventional Policemen, the Armament Units, personnel from FCIID and FIIB and the Sniffer dogs section and Mounted Troops.
In addition, twenty (20) Police Gunboats, three (3) Patrol Surveillance Helicopters, twelve (12) additional Armoured Personnel carriers and three hundred (300) Police patrol vehicles are being deployed throughout the State including the riverine areas and difficult terrains. Other security and safety agencies who are members of Inter Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the State are also deployed to complement the Police during the elections.
This is obviously an election the authorities feel emotions are high and resources must be massively deployed to ensure that there is no conflagration.
The recent upholding of Mr Eyitayo Jegede by the appellate court as the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), one of the frontline contenders in the race to the government house appears to have doused tension a bit.
The state had been thrown into crisis leading to violent protests in Akure, the state capital over the initial removal of his name and the replacement with that of business man, Jimoh Ibrahim.
While Jegede belongs to the Ahmed Makarfi led faction of the PDP, Ibrahim is a protégé of Ali Modu Sheriff who leads the other faction. Jegede also has the backing of the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko.
The show of strength by the two factional leaders has trickled down to the state party level, a situation that has further fractionalized the unity of the former ruling party.
It has not been all smiles though for the All Progressive Congress (APC). The choice of who represents it at the polls has seemingly widened the perceived rift between its two prominent leaders, President Muhammadu Buhari and National leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu.
Tinubu has never hidden his dislike for the emergence of Rotimi Akeredolu, a lawyer as the party’s candidate and was pointedly absent at the grand rally organized to support Akeredolu in which the President actively participated.
Aljazirahnews recalls that 50 politicians signified interest in the governorship position from the APC, out of which 25 eventually bought nomination forms.
One later opted out while four stepped down, leaving 20 others in the contest.
Eventually after the primaries, Akeredolu emerged as its candidate with 669 votes defeating others with, his closest rival Segun Abraham polling 635 votes.
The party has never remained the same ever since due to the controversies trailing the convention.
Aljazirahnews also knows that the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy, Olushola Oke, another key contestant is no pushover. He has massive grassroots support which is giving the two other prominent players sleepless nights.
There is equally the Young Democratic Party (YDP) which has a versatile journalist, Mr Wale Martins on its ticket, which is reported to be gaining massive support from critical stakeholders in the South West state.
Aljazirahnews believes that with notable unexpected political outcomes taking place around the world, of recent the US elections outcome, all the candidates have a fair chance of clinching the ultimate prize.
Aljazirahnews urges all the key players including the security outfits and the political referee, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to play by the rules to ensure peaceful polls.
Ondo state known historically to be a veritable flashpoint as far as politics is concerned cannot afford another round of bloodletting or violence of whatever form.
This election is certainly not a ‘do or die’ affair.
Whoever wins the elections has a lot of responsibilities on his hands no doubt to ensure the socio-economic development of the state.
In recent months, the governor has found it hard to pay salaries and entitlements of the workers, like many other Nigerian governors who rely on oil money for sustenance of policies.
For the incoming governor, generating alternative sources of internal revenue should top that list followed by social security.
Many believe that the insecurity pervading parts of the state due to attacks by robbers and criminal herdsmen should be addressed urgently.
We at Aljazirahnews wish the good people of the Sunshine state a successful outcome on Saturday.