As the October 10, 2020 date for the Ondo state governorship election draws near, a number of factors will influence the election, including the 2023 general election calculations, incumbency and zoning, National Daily has gathered.
Like Edo State, the battle for the ticket of the two major parties in Ondo State is not unconnected with the 2023 presidential race. Some of the major gladiators in the two major parties nursing presidential ambition in 2023 see the Ondo 2020 governorship election as a proxy battle.
It is going to be another face-off between two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) that dominated the 2016 contest, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi, who is flying the flag of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), is also trying to play the zoning card to upstage the candidates of the two major parties.
Each of the main candidates are from the three senatorial districts; Ondo North, Ondo Central and Ondo South respectively.
While the three main candidates hold sway at their respective Senatorial zones, zoning does not appear to be a strong factor in Ondo politics. Nevertheless, it is expected to influence the outcome of the election. In this regard, Akeredolu and to a lesser extent Ajayi has an edge over Jegede.
Having put in four years, Akeredolu is likely to benefit from the zoning sentiment because Ondo North under him has put in only four years and there is a clamour that he should be allowed to do a fresh tenure before power shifts to Ondo South. As a result, the governor has been advised to reconcile with all those he seems to have offended in the last four years, to prevent what happened in Oyo State in the last general elections from repeating itself.
This is the reason why Ondo South has suddenly become the beautiful bride in the search for running mates. Both Akeredolu and Jegede have chosen their running mates from there.
Jegede is from Ondo Central, which has about 40 per cent of registered voters. His mother is from Ipele, near Owo in Ondo North. So, he might be able to garner an appreciable amount of votes in the district. Conversely, being an incumbent governor, Akeredolu is also capable of doing the same in his domain. But, it is instructive to note that the PDP won both senatorial districts during the 2019 National Assembly elections.
While Akeredolu picked Lucky Aiyedatiwa, a native of Obe-Nla, an oil-bearing community in Ilaje as his running mate, Jegede picked a member of the House of Representatives, Gboluga Ikengbolu from Irele/Okitipupa, Ondo South as his running mate.
Ajayi, who is going to fly the flag of the ZLP, also believes he would garner enough votes from Ondo South, based on the zoning sentiment and in the two other districts to emerge as a third force in the race.
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