By Kayode Samuel
Barring any last minute change(s), Hon. Ajayi Agboola, the governorship candidate of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP, will be officially unveiled and that will mark the beginning of a horse race that will be keenly contested for by the trio of Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Party, APC, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Agboola Ajayi of the Zenith Labour Party, ZLP come 10th October, 2020.
The outcome of the election will be determined largely by, but not limited to the following factors namely: public perception, financial strength, security, campaign strategies, efficient and effective political communication, sentiments and above all THE CHOICE OF RUNNING MATES.
While the other major political parties, APC and PDP have settled the matter of running mates, ZLP may have herculean task deciding who gets its deputy governorship slot because of interests occasioned by alignment and realignment of forces. But the party with its third force campaign mantra, cannot afford not to get it right, if it must be forceful in every sense of the word in the days ahead.
Frankly speaking, aside Ondo South Senatorial District where Agboola Ajayi hails from, interested candidates from the other two Senatorial Districts, namely, Central and North are eminently qualified to jostle for the exalted position. But not without serious consideration for the following fundamental attributes and factors. They are: antecedent, loyalty, voting strength of the LGA of the would-be running mate, financial wherewithal , political experience, intelligence, physical fitness, accessibility to mention but few.
Without sounding immodest, Dr. Joseph Iranola AKINLAJA, the current State Chairman of ZLP, and the immediate past Lawmaker, Ondo East/West Federal Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), former General Secretary of NUPENG, current Technical Consultant to Petroleum Tankers Drivers Association, PTDA and the Chairman, AKIAVIC Group of companies, fits perfectly into the picture.
Dr. Joseph AKINLAJA, an household name in Ondo Kingdom (Ondo East and West with almost 200, 000 thousand registered voters) is a committed and loyal party man, veteran unionist who can handle labour matters, successful businessman with proven integrity, a community conscious politician, accessible public servant with unrivaled social capital across Ondo State and beyond and a matured team player.
The choice of Dr. Joseph AKINLAJA as Agboola Ajayi’s running mate and the mercurial leadership of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko is the magic wand the leadership of the Zenith Labour needed to galvanize the Ekimogun block to garner massive votes come 10/10/2020 gubernatorial election.
Meanwhile, there are lots of other prominent and qualified members of the party ,who are also in the race for the Deputy Governor’s position . The likes of former commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Olanisimi Odunmbaku, from Akoko North East.
Former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Honourable, Taofeek Olawale Abdulsalam, from Akoko North East , Former commissioner for Works, Engineer Gboye Adegbenro , Ifedore Local Government and Mr Yekini Olanipekun the former commissioner for Sports from North West are all jostling and eminently qualified for the position.
While the trio of Odunmbaku, Abdulsalam and Olanipekun are from Akoko which comprises of four local governments . The questions begging for answers is can ZLP get the desire block votes from the axis?
The duo of Akinlaja and Gboye are from Ondo central senatorial district with largest voting strength in the state. Like Akokos, can the choice of Gboye translated to massive votes in the three Akure speaking LGs ? Considering the fact that one of their subjects are in the race for Alagbaka Government house .
As earlier opined, Akinlaja is from the same local government with the immediate past Governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko .
Ondo West local government has the largest voting strength behind Akure South LG; can the combination of Mimiko forces and Akinlaja political experience cum financial ability gave the party the needed result? Time will tell at the end.