Ondo - Supporters of the two main opposition parties in Ondo State in the October 20 governorship election in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Tuesday defied the heavy downpour in Akure, the state capital and Ikare, the headquarters of Akoko North East Local Government Area to welcome their national leaders, who came to campaign for their candidates for the election.
But, the Mimiko Campaign Organisation Tuesday stated that both the candidates of the ACN and the PDP would fail woefully in the election in the state.
However, the Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, who led other leaders of the PDP, including the National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; National Vice-President of the party, South-west, Mr. Segun Oni; National Secretary of the party, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu; and the National Working Committee (NWC) for the campaign of Chief Olusola Oke.
The PDP crowd had defied the downpour in Akure, to witness the rally which saw the return of Senator Hosea Ehinlanwo, whose son is contesting the governorship election under the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to the PDP.
Also, the immediate past commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mr Akin Akingbesote, also defected to the PDP during the rally.
Speaking at the rally, Sambo said President Goodluck Jonathan’s intention was to ensure a free and fair election in all parts of the country.
He said if the one-man-one- vote policy was adhered to, Oke would win the election.
Sambo told the PDP supporters not to fret but ensure that they vote where they see the umbrella symbol of the PDP.
In his speech, Tukur asked the people of the state to throw their weight behind the candidate of the PDP. He said it is only the party that has the blue print for the development of the state.
Oyinlola also said since the people of the state know the value of the good jobs did during the tenure of the PDP’s administration, they should endeavour to return the state to the mainstream politics of the country.
The Director General of Oke Campaign Organisation, Dr. Dare Bada, said the presence of national leaders of the PDP and the Presidency showed that the party in the state is not an orphan as being speculated in some quarters.
Agagu also told the party supporters not to fight with members of the opposition but preach to them on the need to vote for good governance.
Meanwhile, in Ikare, the National Leader of the ACN, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu led the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande; the governor of Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola; the former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba; and others to tell the people why they should vote for the ACN candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu.
The ACN leaders, who spoke one after the other harped on the need for the state to join others in enjoying the dividends of democracy by voting for the ACN candidate in the election.
The ACN supporters, who started gathering at the Cenotaph area of the town with bunches of brooms burst into jubilation when they saw the helicopter that brought the national leaders hovering around the town.
Aregbesola, in his characteristic manner, set the tempo of the campaign with songs in praise of Tinubu, Akande and other national leaders, telling the people to reject the Labour Party (LP) governorship candidate and incumbent governor of the state, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, in the election.
The speakers including Akande, Osoba and others also urged the electorate to come out early on the day of election, cast their votes for Akeredolu and wait till their votes were counted before going home.
Tinubu, who betrayed emotion in his speech, disclosed all that he did to ensure that Mimiko got his mandate after he was cheated during election.
He, however, expressed disappointment that despite all he did for Mimiko, he never show appreciation to the people that helped him including Akeredolu.
The ACN leader said if Ondo State joined other South-west states in installing and ACN government, the states can collaborate to establish refinery, build railway line and do many other things for common interest.
He stated that installing Akeredolu meant liberation for the South-west, stating that nobody should be allowed to draw them back.
The atmosphere became more frenzied with the appearance of some aspirants of the ACN, who were earlier aggrieved over the choice of Akeredolu on the podium to promise their support for the candidate.
The aspirants including Dr. Tunji Abayomi, and the Mrs Jumoke Anifowose, promised to work for the party in the election and commended their leaders for commitment to the course of the South-west.
Meanwhile, the Director of Publicity of the MCO, Mr Kolawole Olabis stated this in a statement on the rallies of the two political parties that want Governor Olusegun Mimimo out of Government House.
Olabisi stated that no amount of mega rallies; bad mouthing and grandstanding against the candidature and person of Mimiko of the ruling Labour Party (LP) could sway the people of the State into voting for them.
He said it was sad that parties which are laying claim to the state could not even mobilise their members but had to rent and import people from neighbouring states in order to create a semblance of being popular.
The organisation thanked Sambo for reiterating Federal Government’s resolve to ensure a free and fair election in the state.
According to him, the October 20 governorship election in the state would be on the basis of one-man-one-vote and no matter the level of desperation from the opposition parties would make them change a performing governor.
“Even nature rejects the PDP and ACN as the heavens opened up and disrupted their rallies at Akure and Ikare simultaneously, a pointer to the fact that God does not side with the haughty.
“It is sad that the PDP could be preaching for the continuation of the Olusegun Agagu era in Ondo State when people were given surface-dressed roads that didn’t outlast one rainy season; the era of drinking of water only on the screens of television sets or the era of phantom projects like the Adagbakuja New Town for which N6.7 billion was siphoned with nothing to show for it among others. Never again will those terrible days be our portion in Ondo State.”
“Or is it the unprovoked open abuse and castigation of the person of Dr Olusegun Mimiko by leaders of the ACN, people who profess to be leaders just because Mimiko refused to be part of their plans to hold the South West to a phantom integration when in reality it was a plan to pocket the State and annex its treasure into their empire.
“But we can assure them that the people of Ondo State will shock them with their vote and we are grateful that Mr Vice President today at the rally of his party re-assured Nigerians that there will be level playing ground in Ondo State. That the election would be on the basis of one man, one vote and in a secured environment too; this is what we require,” Olabisi stated.