As the dust settles from the Ondo elections, it is time to pick the winners and losers!
APC: Now, the ruling party has added Ondo to its kitty, bringing the number of governorships it controls to 23 out of 36 states. They also have 5 of 6 South-West states, and surely the Ekiti governorship is the next in their sights in 2018.
Rotimi Akeredolu: On his second attempt, the Owo-born lawyer has become governor. After his defeat in 2012, he strategized and got closer to the people he wanted to lead, built his networks and got the trust of the people. The result is a strong mandate to lead for the next four years.
Buhari: You can spin the win in Ondo and retaining the Edo governorship as indications that the President’s popularity is still strong, despite the poor state of the economy. The reality is of course, quite different, as all politics is local. However, expect a government media aide on a Twitter TL near you to cite those two elections as signs of the President’s popularity.
Ayo Fayose: Even though his party lost the election, there is an upside for Ayo Fayose. He is now unchallenged in his quest to lead what remains of the PDP in the South-West. His main challenge would have come in the shape of Olusegun Mimiko, but his failure to install Eyitayo Jegede is fatal to his political relevance.
PDP: Internal divisions in their party have made them unable to fully compete. Until a few days before the election, Jimoh Ibrahim, representing the Modu-Sheriff faction, was the flagbearer until successive rulings of the Appeal Court and Supreme Court. The result was that Eyitayo Jegede did not have the time necessary to fully campaign, and the party paid the price.
Olusola Oke: Olusola Oke has spent a long time seeking to govern his people in Ondo. He contested on the PDP ticket in 2012 and lost to the incumbent Olusegun Mimiko. Then he was forced out of the party by Mimiko who decamped to the PDP in 2014, and he joined APC in 2015. He contested in the primaries but lost out to Akeredolu. He went to the AD to contest and still lost. If he will try again is anyone’s guess.
Olusegun Mimiko: The mighty Iroko of Ondo politics has been felled by Akeredolu and the APC. Having failed to install his successor, unlike Adams Oshiomhole, he will now proceed into political irrelevance. Hindsight is 2020, but owing workers in his state for 9 months was a bad idea, and caused voters to abandon the PDP in droves.
Bola Tinubu: Asiwaju wanted Olusegun Abraham, but those against his candidate imposition removed then Ondo APC chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, and postponed the primaries twice, to ensure Tinubu’s man didn’t win. All the word on the street was that he was backing Olusola Oke, but Oke has also lost. After Akeredolu’s was declared the winner on Sunday, he released a statement congratulating him and called for party unity. Let’s see how long that will last.