By Theophilus Bamidele
The gubernatorial elections in Ondo State are more than a month away (October 10), but the campaign flag-off rally for the incumbent Rotimi Akeredolu took place on 5th September with many top members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) present in the state capital Akure to support their candidate, who is running for re-election.
Vote, don’t fight
“Akeredolu has laid a good foundation…he has started very well on infrastructural renewal. He has started very well in education and rehabilitation of schools,” the party’s national leader and former governor of Lagos Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said just before he would commission the N800mn Internal Revenue Service office complex (Revenue House).
“All of you must work hard in this election – no power is served a la carte. We know PDP will want to try their best, but you must work hard to defeat them resoundingly. We want Akeredolu elected.”
He also said that the forthcoming election is not about Akeredolu but the future of Nigeria, encouraging party loyalists to not be just sing and dance but vote on Election Day.
“The fight is not only to ensure the re-election of Governor Akeredolu, but to establish a progressive government and we are capable of doing so,” Tinubu added. “They might insult you, but don’t fight.”
In a special report chronicling Akeredolu’s achievements in three-plus years to include, the State-owned newspaper, The Hope, praised the administration for its “mission to renew the allure in the state’s cities, towns and communities” by “ embarking on massive upgrades of road infrastructure”, renovating 500+ dilapidated primary school buildings, providing potable water and electricity.
The Enemy without
The previous afternoon (Friday 4th), the state chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), moved from garage to garage to mandate members to be present at the flag-off rally.
Inside a hall at the Ondo Garage in Akure, Chairman of the State Chapter of the union, Jacob Adebo (alias Idajo) addressed about 100 members.
“You will see that the unionism we are practicing now is different from what it was in the past. We should thank God for the good times, thanks to Aketi (Akeredolu’s alias),” he said. “This is not like the unionism we see in Lagos that brings crisis and confusion, almost like the havoc wreaked by Boko Haram.”
Members, who included women traders who sell within the garage, occasionally sang faith-based praise and worship to liven up the meeting. At some point, Adebo charged one of the women leaders to read portions from the Bible, particularly the book of Isaiah 41, a portion of which refers to the disgrace of enemies and opposition.
”Tomorrow, we will appoint special guards to watch everybody and report on your activities. You won’t know who is watching you,” Adebo said. “Even if any of our officials misbehave and get involved in any misconduct, we will suspend and replace them with one of their dependable lieutenants. If you choose to not cooperate the directives of the national Exco, we will take necessary action against you.”
The Akure Sports Stadium, venue of the rally, was packed full with excited supporters on D-Day, all chanting and singing and rejoicing.
Chairman national Campaign Council, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said: “Ondo State is receiving first-class governance. Ondo State is receiving a progressive mind that has brought about real development
“Four more years for Aketi is four more years of progress and four more years of development,” Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi told the gathering.
In his own remarks, Akeredolu urged his supporters to return to their units and wards and mobilise friends and family to vote him back into office, come 10 October.