There is a gradual rise in the tempo of horse-trading in Ondo State, following the announcement of the date for the governorship election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), reports YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE
As political activities in Ondo State gather momentum in preparation for the gubernatorial election scheduled to hold later this year, there are diverse movements and politicking across groups, with pundits giving diverse analysis of events.
While some analysts have pontificated that the next few months would be characterised with more intense deft political activities more than ever witnessed in the state, others are of the belief that the contest will be a straight fight between the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and the major opposition in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
And expectedly, both parties are already witnessing a surge in activities and the number of aspirants appears to be on the increase daily as the state approaches the defining moment. If not for the crisis within the fold of the APC in the state, it is believed in many quarters that the incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, should have a smooth sail to clinching his second term ticket. But this appears an uphill task at the moment, as the party seems unable to come together on his candidacy for second term, creating more unforeseen in the political circuit.
Akeredolu hails from Owo in the North Senatorial district of the state and his local government incidentally, has the largest number of voters in the district. Interestingly too, a strong contender has emerged from that side in the person of Bukola Adetula, also from the ruling APC.
Adetula, who also hails from Owo, has expressed strong interest in Akeredolu’s job and seems to have endeared himself to the party leaders and members across the 18 local government areas of the state. He is not a new comer to the game however.
In 2016, the duo participated in the exercise that led to Akeredolu’s emergence as governor. Currently, three lines of convergence have been identified between the duo; both are from the same Owo kingdom, both are lawyers and are in the same ruling APC.
Adetula is a businessman that sits on the boards of a handful of international and domestic companies in the areas of oil and gas, media and training. He has international exposure having travelled to the United States where he received B.Sc. in Criminal Justice; B.A. and M.A. in Political Science and a Juris Doctor (J.D) in Law as an experienced Criminal Defense counsel with decades of professorial track records of several high profile feats across the United States after he finished from the prestigious Government College, Ibadan.
His exploits abroad did not make him forget home and over a decade ago, he returned to be actively involved in the trade that gave fame to his father and has equally amplified his name beyond the borders of Ondo State. Adetula is married to Dr Christiana Adetula (Nee Obebe) a medical practitioner from of IpotiEkiti, who specialises in the treatment of neck and back injuries.
And as he further steps into the shoes of his father, Chief ZOK Adetula, popularly known as ZOKA, one of the foremost political leaders of the progressive family in the state and a contemporary of Pa AdekunleAjasin and a protégé of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who represented Owo constituency at the House of Representatives between 1979 and 1983, he has been described as a chip off the old block. And as he aspires to take over the helms of affairs in the state like he tried in 2016, analysts continue to give him a fair chance as “the credible alternative” as his candidacy is creating a frenzy of excitement at the grassroots level where he is popularly seen as the hope of the people.
As the political cloud in state thickens, Adetula appears to stand tall among the frontline gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the APC with a strong affiliation to the Unity Forum.
Recently, he formerly declared his 2020 governorship aspiration, creating a buzz as the kinsman billed to take over from Akeredolu. He itemised his agenda as industrialisation and the resuscitation of the educational system in the state which he believes is more endowed with natural resources than Lagos State and has the capacity of becoming an industrial and commercial hub, given the right leadership. According to him, “it’s all about a yearning by the people for respect, humility and true leadership as against rulership.” Without a doubt, among all the aspirants, he is certainly the man to watch out for.
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