Ahead of the release of the provisional list of House of Assembly candidates by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), palpable fear and tension have gripped the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State.
The Governor camp is said to be jittery over the possible alteration of the State Assembly candidates’ list which had been forwarded to the national leadership of the party for transmission to the INEC by some members of the party from factional camps in the state.
It was gathered that some leaders of the party in Abuja have shown more than a passing interest in the list of the state assembly candidates, the development which might lead to a sharing formula among the four main factional groups within the party in Ondo State.
The four groups which included the Akeredolu camp, Senator Ajayi Borofice, Segun Abraham and Olusola Oke camps, are seriously working to outwit one another to ensure their candidates make the final list which will be unveiled by INEC this week.
The fear of the Governor, according to a source from his camp, is that Akeredolu is worried about the sharing arrangement which might put him in the minority in the scheme of things within the Assembly. The development is coming on the heel of the renewed hostilities between the governor and APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
Meanwhile, The Politico learned that the APC senatorial candidate cleared by INEC for Ondo South senatorial district might not be supported by the people of the area and members of the party in the state as he was picked against the governor’s and party’s choice.
A source within the party said that the three House of Representative candidates from the South Senatorial district have distanced themselves from the incumbent Senator, Yele Omogunwa.
They are Donald Ojogo(Ilaje/Ese-Odo) Albert Akintoye( Irele/Okitipupa) and Mayowa Akinfolarin ( Ileoluji/Okeigbo)
The source further said that the three prospective House of Representatives members from the district have even devised means to separate their electioneering campaigns from Omogunwa’s on the ground that he was unpopular and might pose a threat to their chances of being elected.
The source blamed Governor Akeredolu for the crisis over his undiplomatic approach to the crisis that emanated over the choice of the party’s candidate
He said: “What I can tell you is that for now, the three candidates for the House of Representatives are just finding different means to adopt as campaign strategies because unlike their counterparts in the central and north who have a good ground to go round with their senatorial candidates, the situation in the south is a bit difficult.
“The funny aspect of it is that, while they can canvass for themselves and the President, a mention of the name Senator Omogunwa will scatter things because people don’t want him, it is as bad as that. The worst thing is that it is now the turn of Ileoluji Okeigbo local government to produce the Senator.
“Our fear is for this situation not to affect their chances and that of Mr President because the elections will take place the same day and you know what that means to the system.
“We would not have got to this level if not for the undiplomatic method the governor used by imposing people on the party in the initial stage.
“Don’t forget that he was not fighting Borofice alone, he wanted all the National and State Assembly seats so he imposed Lucky Ayedatiwa on us in the south as the Senatorial candidate and that was the beginning of the problem there as the APC National leadership now came in to also nullify his interests.
“As he imposed Ayedatiwa, it was difficult for Ilaje to have both Senate and Reps, so it went to Ese-Odo. But what about Okitipupa Irele as well as Ile Oluji /Okeigbo? He did what he liked in those places too. So it is as bad as that.
“The only way the APC can come out of this mess is to reverse itself and concede the senatorial slot to Ileoluji Okeigbo as the PDP has done. This because apart from the fact that Okitipupa Irele has done eight years, the candidature of Omogunwa is a bad market for the APC.”