That the Ondo 2020 gubernatorial election is a fierce battle between three political parties is no more news, what is presently provoking thoughts amongst gladiators in the State is the possibility of a hitch-free contest.
In the last few weeks, the Ondo political atmosphere has been beclouded with different antics and shenanigans, making pundits to predict a chaotic poll.
Strictly speaking, the battle specifically centres among the incumbent, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, the flagbearer of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), and Eyitayo Jegede, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Meanwhile, analysts have projected a tight race among the trio, adding that none of the contenders can confidently boast of block votes from any of the senatorial districts.
Also, another serious constraint for political players in the State, as it played out in the newly concluded Edo election is the issue of Visa ban recently imposed on some politicians by the American Government, based on alleged electoral malpractices and violence.
Earlier, the United Kingdom had also threatened to ban politicians who resort to electoral violence, ahead of the Ondo and Edo governorship elections, which compelled politicians to do more in canvassing votes legitimately.
The embattled Deputy Governor of the State and the standard bearer on the platform of ZLP, Agboola Ajayi, who hails from Ondo South district has shown strength as a great factor in Ondo politics, for resisting all attempts by Akeredolu to decimate and remove him from office, as he makes waves in his domain, despite PDP dominance in the axis.
Recently, some of the supporters of Governor Akeredolu have decamped to the deputy governor’s camp. This development, coupled with the influence of the former governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, who has deployed all his political machinery towards Agboola’s candidacy have made political watchers in the State to start considering new political arithmetics that could throw up a third force.
Some of the indices to analyze the above thought is that Mimiko is from Ondo Central senatorial district, the zone with the largest number of votes, and where the candidate of PDP came from, which to a very large extent could make block votes practically impossible for the party.
Furthermore, some of the factors that played out in the Edo election have been rumoured to be certain factors of electoral determinant in Ondo, considering the affinity of the two political environments.
All things being equal, the ruling APC might suffer the same fate like that of Edo if some of the factors responsible for its loss in Edo present itself in Ondo, like the general resentment of the citizenry against the party at the Federal level, due to recent hike in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff, among others.
Also, many of the residents and political gladiators in the State, including members of the ruling APC have accused the governor of high-handedness and nepotism, saying he has reduced governance in the State to family business, aside from the fact that many people considered the strained relationship between the governor and his deputy as a sign of ingratitude to the latter, arguing that Agboola was the backbone and stabilising instrument of the administration.
All in all, the APC might experience the same of what befell it in Edo in the forthcoming gubernatorial election of October 10 in Ondo, if some of the issues raised are not addressed in the coming days, especially the political and speedy settlement of acrimony between the governor and his deputy, as well as with other stakeholders in the State.