Less than 24 hours to the beginning of the National Assembly primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), there are fresh intrigues and new twists to the race in Ondo State.
With several aspirants putting finishing touches to their plans, the hottest flashpoints appear to be the North and South senatorial districts.
Worst hit is the North, where a former House of Assembly Speaker, who just left the State Executive Council (Exco) as an adviser, Victor Olabimtan, has rejected entreaties from Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu not to run and support rights lawyer, Dr Tunji Abayomi.
In the South, Lagos-based businessman, Dr Olatunji Timothy Felder, is slogging it out with four others, including the incumbent, Senator Yele Omogunwa, for the senatorial ticket.
Also, a top flight journalist and the immediate past Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Donald Ojogo, is facing seven others for the party’s ticket for Ilaje/Ese-Odo Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives race.
Ojogo is the only aspirant from Ese-Odo Local Government Area running against Banji Ajaka, Tayo Shadare, Taiwo Orisabinone, Oyebo Aladetan, Mrs Abosede Ehuwa, Felix Ojakomo and Lawson Akintogun, who are all from Ilaje Local Government Area.
He has also been adopted by the leaders of Ese-Odo as their consensus candidate for the race.
It was gathered that disturbed by the multiple aspirants from Ilaje, as against one from Ese-Odo, leaders of Ijaw Local Government Area, led by the Commissioner for Environment, Funso Esan, and the Chairman of Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Gbenga Edema, made fruitless attempts to prune the number of aspirants to one or two.
Ojogo is also believed to be having the backing of some grassroots politicians from Ilaje who believe that equity demands that Ese-Odo, particularly the Arogbo Ijaw, produce the next member of the House of Representatives.
The flowing is the list of House of Representatives since 1979 till date.
- Olusola Omonira (Rep, 1979-1983, Ilaje);
- Chief Agbudeloye (Rep, October to December 1983, Ilaje;
- Chief Olusola Oke (Rep, 1991, Ilaje);
- Chief Olu Mafo (Rep, 1999 to 2003, Ilaje);
- Chief Z. O. Obolo (Rep, 2003 to 2007, Apoi);
- Agboola Ajayi (Rep, 2007 to 2011, Apoi);
- Raphael Nomiye (Rep, 2011 to 2013, Ilaje):
- 2013 to 2015 was period of interregnum;
- Kolade Akinjo (Rep, 2015 till date).
Among the senatorial aspirants in the South, aside Felder, are: Lucky Ayedatiwa (from Ilaje); Ayo Akinrinsola, Mrs Janet Febi Adeyemi (Ileoluji Okeigbo); Senator Omogunwa and Moratorium Lebi (Irele).
Of all, Ilaje had done eight years before Senator Boluwaji Kunlere and incumbent Omogunwa (all from Ikale) took it back to back.
But what appears to be the most move is coming from the North Senatorial District where the governor hails from.
Although the governor, three weeks ago, insisted openly to stop the incumbent, Senator Ajayi Borofice, using Dr Abayomi, there are still several other aspirants.
One of whom is Olabimtan, who has rebuffed efforts to allow the governor’s preferred choice.
The former Speaker insists on running.