By SUNDAY ODIBASHI
The governorship candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Deputy Governor Ajayi Ayoola, has continued to consolidate his political forte in the buildup to the October 10, 2020, election in Ondo State. Strengthening his primary support base, Deputy Governor Ayoola dismantled the political machine of Olusola Oke, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Ondo south, taking control of the zone.
Oke had surrendered his political machine to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is seeking a second tenure. The deep penetration of Ayoola in Ondo south has generated overwhelming influence that has the potency of erasing the relevance of Oke in the politics of the zone, thus, threatening his assignment to deliver Ondo south to Akeredolu.
Ayoola, accordingly, developed a strong base and fertile political atmosphere to launch into the other parts of Ondo State – Ondo north where Governor Akeredolu represents, and Ondo central where the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Eyitayo Jegede SAN, represents.
National Daily investigation revealed that the people of Ondo south decided to abandon Oke, their political leader over the years, at this point because of their perception of the passive interest of Oke to support or attract development to the zone from the state government despite his closeness to the governor.
Some stakeholders in Ondo south who spoke to National Daily complained bitterly that a larger part of the zone has been cut off from electricity supply since the exit of late Governor Olusegun Agagu. They decried that several communities have been in perpetual darkness, noting that only few individuals who can afford generators and the ability to regularly buy petrol struggle to generate temporary electricity for a few hours daily.
From Irele to Okitipupa down to communities before Igbotako, people lament that the Ondo State government abandoned them to their plight. Igbotako only got reconnected, having electricity restored recently. Others are still groaning in pain at the government’s negligence.
Some of the stakeholders added that their most anger is that when the incumbent governor was approached to intervene and restore electricity to communities in Ondo south, his purported response was that electricity is the responsibility of the federal government and not the state. They decried that, now, he wants their votes after he had referred their needs to the federal government.
They also protested that the zone has also suffered negligence over infrastructure development since the exit of Agagu over 13 years ago. It was gathered that the road from Okitipupa to Irele was for years abandoned from the bridge end to Irele. Former Governor Olusegun Mimiko was said to have completed the road towards the end of his second tenure as an exit gift to the people.
Accordingly, the entire Ondo south stakeholders declared that they have thrown their weight behind Deputy Governor Ajayi Agboola in the October 10 governorship election in the state. Findings indicate that Oke will be having a herculean task in his effort to deliver Ondo south to the APC candidate, Governor Akeredolu, in the election.