Seventy governorship aspirants under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party have thrown their hats in the ring to contest the October 10 election in Ondo state.
But findings showed that only six or at most seven of them were serious contenders that can muster funds to purchase the party’s governorship form put at N25m while others are mere pretenders.
However, the number of the contenders may increase with the purported interest of the incumbent deputy governor, Hon Agboola Ajayi. Ajayi may soon defect to the opposition party to contest the July primary election.
Those eyeing the coveted seat include the National Vice Chairman (South West) of the party, Dr. Eddy Olafeso, the party’s candidate in the 2016 governorship election in state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, a former House of Representatives member, Hon. Bode Ayorinde, a former commissioner, Barrister Sola Ebiseni, a former information commissioner, Hon John Ola Mafo, former Senator Boluwaji Kunlere, former council chairman, Hon Banji Okunomo, Bamidele Akingboye, former state chairman of the NUJ and a Special Adviser on Labour Matters, Hon Dayo Fadahunsi, Engr. Ogunwa Omoniyi Oboli, Barr. Bimpe Olatemiju and host of others.
Seven contestants are from the South senatorial district of the state following the believe that it is the turn of senatorial district to produce the next governor after the two other districts, the Central and the North had produced governors at different times.
Olafeso, Ebiseni, Okunomo, Mafo Oboli, Omoniyi and Akingboye are from the South while Jegede and Ayorinde are the only aspirants from the Central and North respectively. Consequently, the politics of endorsement have set in amongst the aspirants in the South.
While Olafeso insisted that he had been endorsed to represent the Okitipupa axis, the likes of Kunlere and Akingboye have distanced themselves from such arrangement. Also, Okunomo battled Ebiseni and Mafo on his endorsement to represent the oil rich Ilaje axis in the same south.
The party, in its wisdom, recently inaugurated a screening and advisory committee headed by a member of the party’s Board of Trustee, BOT, to screen the over twenty aspirants in the primary election of the party fixed for July to a manageable number.
No zoning in our party—Ondo PDP
Reacting to how the array of aspirants in the party would not be another albatross, the party’s Media and Publicity Director, Zadok Akintoye said “Our party in Ondo State has never zoned its governorship seat and there is no history where you would find the party deliberately zoning its gubernatorial ticket. We will allow all contestants regardless of the zone they come from to contest in the election. The best of them will emerge in a free and fair election. Our job as a party is to ensure that there is freedom of choice by party members as to who would become the party’s candidate.”