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May 22, 2024
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Mimiko, Aketi & The game has come full circle; this season is for Olusola Oke

The game has come full circle; this season is for Olusola Oke

Written by: Debo Akinbami

Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has come to the deciding week. The political party will, by the end of the week, decide who gets its gubernatorial ticket and resultantly stands for general election in November. Last week, the party had assessed and approved the 16 aspirers on its platform, and, barring unplanned event (s), we expect all to wrestle for the banner on Saturday.

Before this season, a few, testy ordeals have happened to the party, with far-reaching implications. Of the several blows, the biggest was the death of the former governor and leader of the party, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON. The ailment and eventual death of governor Akeredolu did not only polarise the party, it also posed a dire leadership challenge from which it is yet to fully recover.

The absence of Arakunrin Akeredolu altered the shape of events, the same way his presence would have given this time a different shape. The scramble for the gubernatorial ticket, for instance, came about because Akeredolu died. His death, in fact, reordered the ranks; there are those who would not have asked for the party’s ticket if Aketi had lived up to this time.

While he was here, Aketi, through the party, did approve of specific elective positions for certain individuals, ahead of this time, so that the gubernatorial contest becomes more manageable when in season. Today, the man who saw tommorow is no longer with us and the beneficiaries of his plan, including those he handed national assembly tickets to, who as of last February were at the mercy of electorates for parliamentary mandates are singing a different song.

Aketi may not have been so categorical about his choice of successor, he held a clear stance to the extent that the southern district would have the slot after him. However, it is generally believed that the ticket goes to the south after the central and northern parts have had their turns. The issue is rather about who among the aspirants has requisite preparation, experience and intellect to advance the State.

Meanwhile, the rarely told truth is that, while the late governor Akeredolu was preferring most of today’s aspirants for the various elective positions they currently hold, Chief Alexander Olusola Oke was on hand to do the daunting groundworks towards their victories. From the incumbent governor Aiyedatiwa as deputy governorship candidate to Senator Jimoh Ibrahim and other layers of leadership. Oke did all for the love of the party.

Oke has paid his dues. On the political front, he has built men and women of consequence across board. Chief Olusola Oke, since the former governor Olusegun Agagu left the stage, has ably led the zone and representing the face of the south. He tirelessly defends and fights for the southern interest. He has serially contested for same gubernatorial position since 2012, when himself, governors Olusegun Mimiko and Rotimi Akeredolu wrestled for the top job; when most of today’s aspirants were yet to grow political muscles.

Oke can be safely regarded as the unofficial leader of other men struggling with him for the party’s ticket.
He wields preeminent political influence, and with him as governor, the avalanche human and natural deposits in the State would be put to good use. The surplus natural deposits, including bitumen, glass, granite and gemstones, the oil wells, gas and a coastline of 180km, arguably the longest in Nigeria, that are in the rich harbour of the south would translate to massive wealth for the State.

Chief Olusola Oke stands tall. He has come a long way. Against all odds, he has been focused, consistent and single-minded. And now that the game has come full circle, he deserves the ticket, even on compassionate grounds. Yet, his popularity, experience, competence, intellect and professional excellence towers above others’.

.….Debo Akinbami writes from Igboegunrin.

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