By Sola Olubunmi
If the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has any lifeline left to reclaim its lost territories that were swept away by the APC/Buhari bandwagon tsunami in 2015, then it must be ready to field competent and experienced candidates for all elective offices, especially for the National Assembly elections.
From all indications and the results of the PDP’s primaries, it is evident that the party seems to have put this into consideration and looks more serious to win the National Assembly elections in 2019, especially in Ondo Central.
In the district, the party is fielding former Senator Ayo Akinyelure, also as Allover. A ranking lawmaker who served in the 7th Senate, party members have described Akinyelure’s emergence as a masterstroke for the PDP.
Ondo Central swung dramatically towards the APC in 2015 when the APC candidate Tayo Alasoadura defeated Akinyelure, a result that has not stopped to amaze the people of the senatorial district and the state at large, with many questioning why a performer will be voted out for a new comer?
“Allover is perhaps the only one in the central senatorial district who have the record and the war chest to give the APC a run for their money and falling popularity in Ondo central” a PDP chieftain said.
During his one term at the Senate, Akinyelure was credited with many landmark achievements which left many in awe when he lost to the APC in 2015.
“We fell for the APC propaganda, there was no justification for voting out Allover in 2015, we just followed the Buhari bandwagon because of the hatred for then President. Allover performed well while he was in Senate; comparing him with the present senator, you’ll see the huge difference. It was a great mistake and I think many people have since realised this,” Ayotunde Adewale, a resident of Akure, said.
Mrs Oluwaseun Faleye, who resides in Ondo town, said, “Only a candidate with proven experience and capability can beat the APC candidate in the Central. The last thing Ondo Central voters want is another politician who does not know his onions and can’t offer effective representation for his people, this senatorial district is too sophisticated to vote an incompetent Senator.”
The 2019 elections won’t just be about promises of what to do, it is about what has been done, a case of candidates and parties showing their report card to the people and let them decide if they are truly worthy of their vote. Akinyelure is not just running on promises. As a senator, it is on record how he used his position to reduce unemployment in Ondo Central by helping many graduates to secure jobs at the Federal Civil Service. Over 348 graduates benefitted from this in 4-years.
Aside from his proven antecedents in politics, Allover brings to the table 30 years of active practice as a chartered accountant and a successful business owner who has thousands of people employed in his business.
He is the proprietor of Allover Polytechnic in Ogun State with another campus recently established in Akure, Ondo State. Since opening the polytechnic in Ondo, the institution has also taken many unemployed graduates off the streets.
“All over is a smart businessman who wants the best for Ondo Central and we cannot but support him and wish him good luck in his campaign for the Senate,” said Sola Adesida, the Coordinator of an Akure-based Youth Advocates for Good Governance.
On a more fundamental level, the Ondo Central race will be an important test case for the PDP to know whether it can still contend strongly in areas where it was once popular but lost in 2015.
A political analyst however said: “Allover will be a very tough candidate to beat no matter who the ruling APC fields against him, especially in a year when it doesn’t look like the ruling party is going to have a good outing at the general elections.”
*Olubunmi is an Akure based political commentator.