Ondo 2020: Battle between the Foxes and the Lions

By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye.

Legandary Italian Scholars, Geatano Mosca and Vifredo Pareto, in their contributions to the thought of Elitism, argued that while the tiny Elites, whom they described as the LIONS, due to their individual, intellectual and material superiorities, control and determine who get what, when and how in the society. However, the ultimate power to enthrone and dethrone, as enshrined in a constitutional democracy, lies in the hands of the people whom Pareto specially tagged as the FOXES.

Pareto, the Italian economist and sociologist, opined that while the power of the Lion is strong and looks unbreakable, a unity of purpose, diligence, tenacity and strong determination among the Foxes will defeat them with ease in a democracy. Pareto and Mosca argued that Elites are one and indivisible and they would always do everything by all means necessary to protect their hold on power. They posited that the only thing that binds the Elites together in the case of government is access to treasury and crass accumulation of wealth.

According to these two scholars, the Elites are always united against both visible and invisible threats to their interest and they would always capitalize on the gargantuan poverty, hunger and starvation rocking the rank and file of the Foxes, through the deployment of their wealth to ensure the foxes are never united to reason rationally to seize power. These Elites, whose orientation to systems and institutions, as postulated by another legendary social scientist, Robert Dahl, are alienating and non-cooperative. They are mean and dangerous in the pursuit of power and sustenance of their hegemony. Anyone considered as a threat, even within their midst, is treated like a leprous as currently evident in Ondo State, South West, Nigeria.

Barring all odds, the gubernatorial election slated for October 10th in the sunshine state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will hold. Activities concerning the election are already revving up. The gladiators and faux kingmakers are good to go so are the contenders and the pretenders. The whole political atmosphere in the Sunshine State is ramping to electrifying proportions.

As far as the election is concerned, it is going to be a two-horse race between the ruling All Progressives Congress(APC) and the People’s Democratic Party(PDP). Other fringe parties that may participate in the election won’t offer any disruption, just the way it was in the 2016 election.

As for the APC, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, holds the ace among the aspirants jostling to fly the party’s ticket to be reelected by the party delegates as the flagbearer of the party come July 20th either by direct or indirect primaries depending on which one the Mai Mala Buni- led Caretaker National Working Committee of the APC spells out.

The recent rumblings within the APC in the state regarding who will be the party’s candidate ahead of the October election are normal pre-election struggles anyone who’s conversant with party politics will easily discern. It’s a mere clash of interests which will peter out once the primary election is held. It is the same way the resignation of the immediate past Secretary to the State Governemnt, Hon. Ifedayo Abegunde, from the cabinet of Governor Akeredolu is nothing to fret about. Some will go, many more will come in. Since nature abhors vacuum, a replacement has been appointed. Government work must continue.

In fact, like he said in one of the interviews he granted shortly after his resignation, Hon Abegunde declared that he would be supporting Segun Abraham in the APC primary election. Akeredolu defeated Abraham in the 2016 primary election to the surpise of most pundits. The same thing will repeat itself in the coming days. As far as the Governor is concerned, it is a familiar terrain so long the people of the state are solidly behind him.

It has to be emphasized and restated again for those who may not be familiar with the politics of the state that the recent defection of the embattled Deputy Governor of the State, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, from the APC, is about his own personal gubernatorial ambition which he feels he can accomplish on the platform of the PDP, his aboriginal party. Good luck to him.

Luckily for Governor Akeredolu, none of the aforementioned characters or any other person hustling to defeat him either in the APC primaries or in the October election has ever accused him of non-performance in terms of meeting the collective yearnings and aspirations of the ordinary people of the state. This is a massive boost for the Governor.

It’s surprising that a sitting Governor seeking re-election for a second term in office is not accused of non-performance or owing workers’ salary as it was the norm before. It’s surprising, still, that no one is accusing the governor, with empirical evidence, of financial embezzlement or monopolization of the commonwealth of the people. Still, it is perplexing that no one is accusing the Governor of embarking on cosmetic projects that cannot stand the test of time.

What then could be the ‘sin’ of the Governor? The cardinal one, even amplified by the immediate past SSG, is that he has not been sharing the limited resources of the state with some stakeholders who see themselves as more important than the masses of the people who are the major beneficiaries of the all-round developmental programs and policies of the Akeredolu-led administration.

In the last three and half years of the administration, the Governor has constructed several top-notch roads across the three senatorial districts including the ongoing Araromi/Lekki High Way; Akure, the state capital, has been given a massive facelift through serious urban renewal projects; none of the four tertiary institutions in the state is deprived of its statutory subvention even in the face of economic meltdown; the industrialization efforts of the governemnt are beginning to yield tangible fruits. The industrial park in Ore, one of the commercial nerve centres of the state, is the first of its kind. The number of jobs it’s creating already directly or indirectly is massive in addition to its overall positive multiplier effect on the local economy of the state. The Ore Flyover Bridge, constructed by Akeredolu, has decongested the vehicular traffic and stopped accident that used to characterize that particular spot on the Lagos-Ore-Benin road in the past. Needless to even mention the Ondo Sea Port that is getting the desired attention from the Governor.

Without equivocation, the Akeredolu administration is one of the most fiscally prudent in the state, reminiscent of the frugal era of the late Michael Adekunle Ajasin in the Second Republic. Through deliberate financial reengineering and blockage of hitherto financial leakages, the internally generated revenue (IGR) of the state has now grown multiple folds from the pitiable and parlous state it was even during the oil boom of the not-too-distant past. Perhaps if the Governor had been sharing the rising IGR of the state with the so-called stakeholders rather than deploy it for the provision of social infrastructures to the people, or pay workers’ salary as at and when due, no one would be accusing him of committing any sin today.

The industrial harmony currently experienced in the state is not a product of happen stance. It’s a derivative of the Governor’s deliberate commitment to ensuring that he keeps to his own bargain of all matters of labor relations while the organized labour comprising the Nigerian Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress also keeps to own its side of the deal. Development can only happen in an atmosphere of peace. Knowing that the civil servants are the driver of government policies, the Governor does not joke with their welfare. That, again, is reflected in the inclusive growth and development ongoing in the state.

The Governor, in his characteristic bluntness, keeps telling whoever is willing to listen that he is out and out to serve the generality of the people and not the parochial interests of some principalities and powers who assume their personal interest is the interest of the commoners. You imagine if he had shared the resources among these principalities, how would his administration have succeeded in fixing over 800 public schools in the state via the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB)? The governemnt has begun the process of recruiting more teachers in the state. This is another plus to the administration. The health sector amidst the excruciating challenges posed by COVID-19 is not doing badly, too.

Head or tail, there is no way darkness will ever prevail over light. Not now, not tomorrow. Not even till the end of the world. Akeredolu has come to symbolize light as exemplified by the life-changing programs and policies of his administration and will therefore prevail over the forces of darkness represented by the tendencies who feel they should be cornering the resources of the state to feather their own nest because of their proximity to power.

The foxes in Ondo State, as postulated by Mosca and Pareto, should therefore see the October 10th 2020 governorship election as their battle. They should take advantage of the crack among the Elites to seize power through Akeredolu. God, in his unquestionable character, has redirected Akeredolu to work for the foxes, therefore, the people of Ondo State yearning for a New Reality in Leadership and governance must ensure this whitebearded man is not disgraced by his fellow Elites. The noise against his families and in-laws are mere sloganeering that lacks evidential value. Accordingly, it should be ignored.

The resources of the state should be for the development of the people. It’s only pertinent for the common people therefore to rise up to the challenge ahead and get Akeredolu reelected again come October so they can continue to benefit from continuous and sustainable development.

Adeleye sent this piece via maxwelladeleye@gmail.com.

Published by Wonderlady

Journalist, Educationist, Writer, Human Rights Advocate

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