Barely seven days to the governorship election slated for next Saturday in Ondo, palpable fears has enveloped the state as the two major political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are accusing each other of plotting to disrupt the electoral process.
LEADERSHIP Sunday checks showed that the residents of the state are jittery over the violence that might erupt from the poll following accusations and counter-accusations by the political parties.
Chairman of the APC, Ondo State chapter, Engr Ade Adetimehin, yesterday accused opposition parties of deliberately launching unprovoked attacks on members of the ruling party to create avoidable tension ahead of the gubernatorial election.
The APC particularly fingered PDP and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) as being responsible for the alleged plot to send wrong signals to the outside world.
Adetimehin further said that the APC-led government has perfected plans to invest massively in women and youth empowerment if re-elected.
The chairman, through the spokesman of the party, Alex Kalejaye, lamented that while the ruling party perceives other parties as partners in the democratic process, they have treated the ruling party as an enemy that must be annihilated at all cost.
He said, “The PDP and ZLP have attacked us repeatedly, while we have resisted the temptation to fight back. Our decision is not borne out of cowardice; we feel we are in a position to display maturity. We feel we should be more careful because we are better favoured to win the election.
“All they are doing is to create tension in the state and possibly discredit the process. We have resolved to continue to tolerate them; we won’t retaliate, irrespective of the degree of provocation.”
Adetimehin, however, appealed to members of the party to always report any act of aggression and provocation to security agencies for necessary intervention.
He said the APC was passionate about the development of the people, particularly the women and youth, even as he noted that this would form the core area of focus when re-elected.
He explained that the best form of empowerment for these critical segments of the society is gainful employment, adding that this compels the need to invest more in industrialisation.
Adetimehin continued: “Any government that targets overall development and social stability must not neglect the womenfolk and the youth. The two segments of our society would be given priority by the APC led administration in the second phase, when re-elected by the people of Ondo State.”
The party chieftain urged the people to disregard sentiments, pettiness and hollow arguments as they get ready to take a fresh decision on who governs the state for another four years.
He itemised what he called “the unbelievable gains” of Akeredolu-led government in less than four years, and appealed for his re-election in the best interest of the Sunshine State.
But in a swift reaction, the PDP described APC’s allegation as ‘a great irony’.
The party, in a statement by its publicity secretary, Mr Kennedy Peretei, alleged that in the last three weeks, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the PDP governorship candidate had been attacked twice by APC thugs.
He said, “It is a great irony for the All Progressives Congress (APC) to accuse the PDP of creating tension in the state.”
“There was an assassination attempt on Jegede’s life at Oba-Akoko. The thugs who were in APC branded vehicles wielded dangerous weapons in broad daylight.
“Our Campaign truck was burnt to ashes in Ipele only last week. Some of our party supporters are still on danger list at the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, from the injuries inflicted on them by APC thugs.
“Our petitions to the Inspector General and President Muhammadu Buhari on the subject of attack on our candidate and party supporters are yet to receive attention.
“The APC and its leadership should as a matter of decency chain all their thugs and approach the electorates with their scorecard in three and a half years instead of terrorising Ondo State people.”
Meanwhile, in less than seven days to the gubernatorial election in Ondo State, the APC on yesterday received thousands of African Democratic Congress (ADC) members to its fold.
The defectors from 10 local government areas were led by the state chairperson, Chief (Mrs) Tokunbo Adetoro, and other key players at both the state and local government levels.
The development followed the decision of a member of House of Representatives on the platform of ADC, Hon Abiola Makinde, to also defect and work for the ruling party ahead of the election.
The new members include ADC state women and youth leaders, who promised to work for the success of the APC in next Saturday’s gubernatorial poll.
Clad in attires to indicate their love for their new political party, with brooms, they pledged allegiance to the ruling party.
Receiving the new members into the APC fold, state chairman of APC, Engr Ade Adetimehin, commended the people for taking what he called “the right step in the right direction”.
He expressed confidence that their association with the APC would further boost the chances of the ruling party at the governorship poll.
Earlier, the former state chairperson of ADC, Mrs Tokunbo Adetoro, said the decision to collapse their structure into the ruling party was informed by the sterling performance of the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu-led government.
To ensure continuity of the good works, Adetoro, a prominent daughter of Akure Kingdom, promised to work for the success of the APC in Saturday’s election, saying Governor Akeredolu deserves a second term.
The new members also promised to mobilise support for Governor Akeredolu at their various local government.