BY ANDREW ESSIEN
A member of All Progressives Congress (APC) National Committee on Ondo State Gubernatorial Election, Mr Osita Okechukwu has dismissed fears that the alliance of 11 missionary political parties will stop the victory of the incumbent Governor and APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu in the Saturday, October 10, 2020 gubernatorial election in the State.
The APC Chieftain further said Akeredolu was sure of victory, not only because of his incumbency poles advantage, but going by his sterling performance in his first term.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Okechukwu, the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), stated that His Excellency Rotimi Akeredolu has within the limited resources of Ondo State, done well in the provision of physical infrastructure for the people, across the three senatorial zones in the state.
He explained that Akeredolu’s achievements extended across his Ondo North senatorial district, as well as that of his two co- contestants, Central Senatorial District of Eyitayo Jegede and Southern Senatorial District of Chief Agboola Ajayi, the Deputy Governor.
Ondo State people, Okechukwu said, were yearning for more and would vote for the APC candidate to consolidate on the numerous gains made so far, in his first tenure through prudent management of scarce Ondo state resources.
He assured that Akeredolu has a firm structure on ground, having diligently reconciled with all the other gubernatorial aspirants in the APC, thus going into Saturday’s election with the spirit of internal democracy advantage.
“The APC National Campaign Committee sent some of us to Ondo State for on the spot assessment of our chances, we spent seven days mingling with people of all classes and cadre. To be frank, without being immodest, Aketi’s chances of winning the election hover between 55-58 percent.” Take this to the bank and please permit me to name some projects executed and the ongoing ones.
“Infrastructure wise, he has performed creditably well in Akure, building roads, schools and hospitals amongst others. In road construction, he has completed 125 kilometres of roads and work is ongoing on 279 kilometres, to be completed in his second tenure. The Okitipupa road which was in a deplorable state, under previous governments, has been fully rehabilitated by the Rotimi Akeredolu government. He dualised the road in Akoko, Ondo South. He built roads in Irele. His target is to complete 700 kilometres of roads before the completion of his second tenure,” Okechukwu said.
“He built Ore Bridge in Ondo South senatorial district and that bridge not only serves the people of Ondo State and the South West as a whole, but has become a gateway to other parts of the country.”
In the industrial sector, Okechukwu noted that Akeredolu established the Ore industrial park, and has attracted not less than 10 industries to Ondo State, comprising of both foreign and local investors.
“Methinks that Akeredolu and Ondo State will benefit more from Mr. President’s move to exploit the huge Bitumen deposit in the State. And the people are conscious of hooking up to federal center. They cherish the immense infrastructural investment Mr. President has bequeathed to South West, like modern standard gauge railways,” he said.
“Akeredolu upgraded the University of Medical Sciences in Ondo State. He did not stop there. He built a teaching hospital and today, 15 of its courses have received accreditation. There is also the University in Okitipupa, upgraded by Akeredolu.”
“In the health sector, he devoted much attention, built primary health centers and two 200-bedded hospitals in Ondo and Akure. Added to his uncommon interest in the health sector is the Ondo State Health Insurance scheme, to guarantee adequate and affordable healthcare in the State. He is also building a school of medical health.”
“In Ondo South also, he reticulated water in Ilaje, built several primary schools.”
“Coming to security, which is very important and indispensable for development to thrive, the people believe strongly that Akeredolu will strengthen the Amotekun in his second tenure.”
Okechukwu said he does not harbour any fear that Akeredolu will lose the Ondo State governorship election for most of the time, despite the scant visible complaint of the people they interacted with, especially the elites, who “pointed out that he is tight fisted, which borders on what is euphemistically dubbed Stomach Infrastructure.”
According to him, what the people often vote for and indeed are yearning for, are good roads, improved health care services and quality education
“I told some people that Akeredolu shares a lot in common with his Edo State counterpart Governor Godwin Obaseki. One, they devoted much more resources in the past four years to physical infrastructural development than stomach infrastructure. This is why some elites are antagonistic to both. Secondly, both diligently reconciled with their fellow gubernatorial aspirants within their parties thus going into the election with the spirit of internal democracy advantage. Thirdly, they both defeated same candidates in 2016 and one does not see the danger naysayers are hyping. Fourthly, don’t forget that they are products of our great party, APC.”
Reminded that President Buhari has vowed to uphold the best tenets of free and fair election as the bedrock of democracy, making the use of the proverbial federal might a mirage, Okechukwu said,
“Yes, that’s a good omen for Nigerian democracy. Yes Mr. President’s position of non-interference and creation of level playing field is a good omen to our fledgling democracy and is in no matter particular hinderance to Akeredolu’s chances of winning the October 10, 2020 Ondo State gubernatorial election. Aketi, I know, has no damaging baggage and all the tendencies in APC are solidly behind him, unlike what happened in Edo State APC gubernatorial election.”
Informed of the warning of the gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), that Ondo State is not a conquered people or territory and anyone coming to rig should vanish such idea, Okechukwu quipped,
“Guess what, we will hear many stories like that as we approach the election. If Aketi didn’t keep his house in order, by diligently rallying the support of his former traducers like Distinguished Senators Ajayi Boroffice and Tayo Alasoadua, Engr Ife Oyedele, Chief Olusola Oke (SAN) and Co, one could have bordered about the said statement.”