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Don't See Yourself as Osun APC Minister, PDP Advises Adewole

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AKINTUNDE RICHARD, OSOGBO - Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged the newly appointed Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, not to see himself as minister of Osun APC, but as a professional chosen to salvage the nation's health sector.

Which zone will produce the next Governor of Ondo State?

 

By OLUSEGUN ADEDOKUN - Year 2016 will be another opportunity for Ondo State to decide on a new Governor for the state. The election of 2012 which brought in Dr. Olusegun Mimiko for a second term in office was very historic. The election had thirteen contestants from thirteen parties and saw for the first time an incumbent winning for a second time in office. The Olusegun Agagu victory in 2007 would have been a straight record but for the annulment by the Election Tribunal that truncated the record.
The Olusegun Mimiko-led administration will be over in 2017, the state is waiting to hear the announcement of his anointed political son or through the regional zone in picking a gubernatorial candidate. This of course would be the incumbent Governor’s headache.
Ondo South, Ondo North and Ondo Central are equally getting prepared to produce the governor. The immediate past governor, late Olusegun Agagu came from the South zone while the present governor is from the central zone. If zoning is anything to go by, then the Northern zones will be hoping to produce the next governor of the state. Usually, when issues are down, the issues of zoning becomes difficult to follow because desperate candidates will see it as a cog to move forward and sometimes, money politics will rear its ugly heads, morals will give way and all sorts of political atrocities will come into play.
The Ondo South zone consists of the Ilajes , Ikales, and the ijaw in the riverside area, the North zones consists of Owo/Ose and the Akoko while the central zone consist of the Ondo, Idanre, Akure and Akure allies. The question is: which of the zones is ready to compromise? While the North is of the opinion that it is their turn to produce the governor by reason of zoning, the Akure in the central despite being the state capital has never produced the governor of the state through election and at the same time, the southern people will want to say the governor should come from their zone by the simple reason of always having majority figure coming from them even though other zones are more populated by their number of people.
Now let us do some political analysis of Ondo State to see where the next governor may likely come from. We talk about zoning and if it will be the formular, the zone to produce the governor will definitely be Ondo North. Within Ondo North, we have the Owo/Ose and the Akokos. The last time the governor came from the zone, it came from Akoko and if the zone has the chance now, the Akokos should not be contenders. The crux of the matter is Owo people are clamouring for the seat laying claim on history with their strong belief that Akoko recently produced a governor from the zone which was Late Chief Adefarati taking into recognition political events in the present republic that started in 1999. Presently, the senator representing the zone is from them and the deputy governor of the state is from Akoko.
Records of who is who in Owo/Ose politicians who could do the zone proud, we have the likes of Senator Remi Okurinboye: he was a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and among the group of senators whose tenure was aborted by the Abacha’s coup of 1993 that truncated the Third Republic. Okunrinboye was the actual brain behind the NADECO group that fought for democracy during the military junta of Abacha, but the most unfortunate is that the same Okunrinboye abandoned the group and joined support for Abacha. This single act has undermined his political rating since the death of Abacha. He was a governorship aspirant under the PDP but lost to other contestants. Alaba Isijola also contested the PDP primaries, although lost, but played prominent roles in the party during the 2012 governorship election. The likes of Ekungba and Iji also shown interest in the governorship seat during the 2012 election under the ACN, but the party gave the ticket to Rotimi Akeredolu and became the ACN party flag bearer during the 2012 election. He is a prominent member of the ruling APC. He has not being seen within Owo after the 2012 election, although, he plays national roles for the APC. If he has been picked as one of the ministers in the current Government, he might have played down his interest in the governorship race.
Olusola Abikanlu is another figure in the political history of Owo. He contested the governorship election with the incumbent governor in 2012 under the platform of (NSDP)

Hon Ifedayo Abegunde: My removal from National Assembly, a sacrifice for progressive politics

Hon Ifedayo Abegunde

Ifedayo Abegunde (Abena) served as a two-term member of the House of Representatives for Akure North/South Federal Constituency. He vacated the office few weeks to the expiration of the seventh Assembly via Supreme Court judgment for defecting from Labour Party (LP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In this interview, he tells TEMITOPE ADEDEJI about the intricacies of Ondo politics and other related issues…


How has it been with you since the Supreme Court ordered you to vacate your seat at the National Assembly for defecting from LP to ACN?
Well!!! I thank God I was elected twice into the National Assembly 2003-2007 and 2011-2015. In 2007, I contested, I was rigged out by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the lower tribunal nullified the election. However, the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin upheld the election for PDP because the lawyers filed my case late. The opportunity came for me to return to the National Assembly in 2011 and I was voted again by my people. I don’t have any regret at all, and I want to say that I feel proud for many reasons. To God be the Glory

You said you feel proud despite the fact that Supreme Court ordered you to vacate your seat. What does that imply?
Honestly, I feel proud and honoured. I left LP on principle and as a result of lingering crises within the party. Not only that, the governor seemed confused about his policy. Attempts to talk and advise him proved abortive as he had made up his mind to rule and govern the state as a sole administrator. After I left, and wanted to use Akure Town Hall for my declaration, I applied and paid for the use of the community hall, but the governor used the instrument of his office to ensure that I did not use the hall. As a peace loving person, I looked for alternative and left the party for ACN. I joined the progressive’s family ACN in 2012. I promised my people that I would not go back to
LP once I bid the party goodbye. The governor made overture to me to return to the party through eminent citizens of the state including the late Deji of Akureland, Oba Adebiyi Adesida.
The governor resulted to persecution and intimidation of my party loyalists in his government. He sacked some, while few resigned to join me in ACN. At a point, my life was in danger as I narrowly
escaped an assassination attempt along AKure/Owo express road on my way to Abuja.
Consequently, I wrote letters to the Inspector general of police (IGP) and eminent personalities in this country, including Dr. Mimiko himself to save my life. My brother during this period under review, I saw hell but I am happy that people have now seen what I saw in Governor Mimiko in 2012 which prompted me to leave the then ruling party in the state.
Some politicians that left LP for ACN at that period also quit the party shortly.
That is correct but some of us also remained. I left LP for ACN on principle. I left because I wanted to be part of the Progressives’ family. Some of my colleagues that came from LP left when they could not secure the ticket of the party during the governorship primary election. I contested too, but as a democrat once the leadership of the party had spoken, I moved on to congratulate the candidate and returned to the field to work for the party. I did not protest nor challenge the decision of the leaders because we had agreed to abide by the decision of the leaders to pick one of us. As such, I embraced the candidate and worked with him but unfortunately our party lost the election due to antics of the incumbent governor and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

 

You are a leader in APC and the party seems not on ground in Ondo State. Can you please shed more light on this?
I disagree with you totally that the party is not on ground. When APC was formed, we went for party congress to select party executives. We took the campaigns to the people at the grassroots, I ensured that party meetings were going on regularly in the 23 wards of Akure North/South by given out N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) per ward since we lost election 2012 to the time we went for party congress around April, 2014. We mobilized our people and we took the registration exercise to unit level. Our acceptance was confirmed during the presidential and National Assembly Election when our party won the election for the president, two senate seats and Five House of Representatives seats. I am duty-bound to ensure that party meetings hold regularly in my constituency as elected member in the party.
However, we lost the House of Assembly due to our negligence and the “see and buy” attitude of Governor Mimiko backed by the security Agencies. The Governor capitalized on the poverty level of our people and he had his way. However, we won five seats and others are now being contested at the election Tribunal. The party is on ground. We are putting our house in order for next year’s election. In recent times, more people had defected to APC from PDP, notable people such as Chief Olusola Oke, PDP governorship candidate in 2012 election, Mr. Femi Agagu, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Senator Gbenga Ogunniya, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, the immediate past deputy governor of Dr. Mimiko. Some House of Representatives members who were my colleagues later joined the party and many others.

You lost the keenly contested Senatorial ticket in a controversial manner despite your popularity and financial contributions to the party.
It is a matter of the past and the whole scenario is behind me. I accepted the result but history will judge that I lost the election in a controversial manner. The votes were recounted at the National Secretariat Abuja and I learnt I lost by seven votes, I wished the winner good luck. I hosted him and our party members in my house during the campaign tour of Akure South Local Government. During the election, the local government recorded, 52,000 votes, the highest votes in Ondo State for APC as against the less than 20,000 votes recorded by PDP. I am glad that I have moved on. I am hoping the party will recognize my contributions.

 

What are you doing presently?
I am here in Akure back home to put the party together not minding my initial contributions and the loss of the senatorial ticket; I see a challenge to strengthen the party along with other stake holders. I met with the state chairman of the party and other leaders so as to unite the party ahead of 2016 governorship election.

 

Are you contesting the election?
No. Politics is not about contesting all the time. All I want to do is to ensure that APC wins the next election to make my dream a reality. I am happy my party won the presidential election. I feel proud but that is not enough. The goal is to ensure that APC produce the next governor/government in Ondo State. It is going to be a total change.

 

How was the legal battle to retain your seat at the House of Representatives from High Court t Supreme Court?
It was a struggle to go through this legal tussle from 2012 to 2015 from lower court to Supreme Court. When Mimiko threatened my seat with a recall and wanted to use the party apparatus against me, I approached the court to protect my seat with the interpretation of Section 68 of Nigeria Constitution. There were crises in Labour Party which had two factional chairmen at the state level and in AKure North Local Government, my constituency. Dr. Mimiko used the judiciary against me as I witnessed and experiences many funny things in our judicial system. The incumbent Vice president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was my lead counsel. However, I lost the case and lost my seat and this became a legal precedent in Nigeria judiciary. I took the Supreme Court judgment in good faith coming few days after I lost my bid to secure the senatorial ticket of our party. I told my supporters that we did not lose anything but rather to work hard for the victory of our party. Today, I am happy that my party won the presidential election as such my sacrifices were not in vain.

 

How will you rate the government of President Mohammadu Buhari?
The president is moving the country forward better than he met it. You can see that things are better now. Soon, our country shall be a pride to all of us.

 

The National leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, seems not happy with some members of APC who ignored the directive of the party during the National Assembly election, what is your take on this?
The party is supreme and party members who did not abide by the decision of the party are on their own. As far as I am concerned, the president and the National leadership of the party had spoken and it is on that note I stand as a loyal party man.
As the Chairman, House Committee on Emergency and Disaster preparedness during the seventh National Assembly, explain your role and that of your committee.
Our role is principally to oversee NEMA. In doing this we ensured that more money is appropriated to it during budgeting process so that it could perform efficiently. Visitations are made to IDP and disaster centres to ensure that NEMA does all that are expected. I was privileged to have attended several seminars and trainings in Geneva.

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