Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
With almost a year to the 2020 governorship election in Ondo State, political gladiators have started intensifying efforts to contest the election.
This is even as supporters and loyalists of the incumbent governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, have started regrouping ahead of the election.
Akeredolu who reportedly returned to the state last week after a month trip overseas due to what many believe to be health challenges, was said to be allegedly funding various meetings held at his instance among politicians of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
Although the governor has not formally declared his intention to contest for a second term, it was gathered that he was nursing the ambition and making efforts to reconcile the party which is already polarized.
One of the key loyalists of Akeredolu who is also the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde, was said to have mobilised members of the APC in Akure South and Akure North Local Government Areas for the governor’s re-election bid.
Abegunde, who gathered the party members at his residence on Saturday, said the purpose of the meeting was to keep them abreast of happenings in the party and for progress of the party.
At the meeting held at his residence in Akure the SSG said: “This meeting was called to wake us up from slumber and to energise us. There must be regular meeting at least once every month because a meeting is the engine of any political party.
“This will enable us to be active and it will create a platform of baring our minds so that we can present our needs and concern to the governor.
“Election is coming next year and we, as drivers of the party, must get prepared for the party supporters outside there who rely on us. We are doing it in order to give full support to our governor.
“This meeting was called to awake us from slumber and to energise us for there must be regular meeting at least once every month because a meeting is the engine of any political party.
“This will enable us to be active and it will create a platform of baring our minds so that we can present our needs and concern to Mr Governor,” he said.
The SSG noted that Akeredolu had done well that would accord him second term in office.
“I, as an experienced politician who has worked with three different governors of the state, can boldly say we have never seen a governor being passionate about welfare of his people.
“He has performed very well. Infrastructural development is obvious across the state and the roads being done by this administration can stand the test of time. He has renovated public primary schools across the state as well. In fact, this is the first time that we are serious in the state about industrialisation.
“In Ore, the southern part of the state, an ethanol plant is already producing along with other industries there,” Abegunde added.
Pleading, Chief Olu Ojo, the Chairman of APC in Akure South Local Government Area, asked the party members to bring the party together, saying that love was needed to actualise the victory of Akeredolu come next year.
Ojo enjoined the party faithful to put behind all past issues and move the party forward towards actualising the re-election bid of the governor.
Others at the meeting included Hon. Simeon Borokini, a member of the state House of Assembly representing Akure Constituency 1, ward chairmen, women leaders and supervisory councillors in the two local governments.