Although it is still a year to go before any election will take place in Ondo South senatorial district, other things being equal, politicians in the zone who know their worth and how the game is played understand essentially that they have to put in the background work to be politically viable in 2023 when the elections will happen.
On one hand, incumbent members of the House of Representatives and Senate seeking reelection have started moving around, reactivating and consolidating old alliances while also trying to build new ones that will offer them a bigger latitude to coast home to victory either at the primaries of their respective political parties or in the general elections. The ones who disappeared as soon as they won their elections in 2019 have suddenly become visible and affable; it’s all about 2023. It’s time for a political reckoning. The party delegates are waiting for them and so are the electorates.
On the other hand, newbies who feel they can unseat the incumbents have also started trooping out in the two dominant political parties in the district – The All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party. Typical of those just joining the slippery terrain, all of them have been offering good tidings of hope, redemption, change, paradise and whatnots, which are mere catchphrases to warm themselves into the political consciousness of the people in the zone.
The aspirants – contenders and pretenders alike- and their foot soldiers most especially within the Ondo South social media ecosystem, have started throwing up all kinds of primordial sentiments and emotions essentially bordering on the need for continuity, which is for the incumbents who want to retain their seats and zoning. The latter is for aspirants who believe it’s the turn of their ethnic stock or kingdom or local government to produce either the next House of Representatives member or the Senate.
On the surface, all the arguments for zoning and continuity seem to be plausible and valid for those canvassing such but it’s quite lamentable that in all of these arguments, no one has factored in competence as the main metric to be used for deciding who to represent the people of Ondo South in the National Assembly come 2023.
It’s beyond debate that competence is key to achieving results in any sector whether at the national or subnational level. The job of lawmaking at the highest level is not for below-average thinkers and Class D aspirants who are hiding under the guise of zoning and continuity to mask their rank incompetence, deficient mental capital and poor ethical standards to sell their candidacy.
One major reason Nigeria has not made much progress since the return of democracy in 1999 is that the electorates keep voting in incompetent lots to manage their national affairs either at the executive or legislative level while those who have the requisite capacity either stay away or are shunted out. It’s the same thing with the sort of people who have represented the district since 1999 save for one or two occasions where competence trumped every other primordial consideration.
Competence aside, whoever is conversant with the political history of Ondo State since 1999 in general and Ondo South in particular will know that although little minds and aspirants who have nothing to offer often hide behind zoning to project their aspirations every election cycle, the reality is that the contest for political power in the state has never been about zoning. It’s always been about those who can mobilize the most.
The late Dr Olusegun Agagu of the PDP from Ondo South contested against the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati of the AD from Ondo North in 1999. The latter won the election. Dr Agagu, however, defeated Adefarati in 2003 when the table turned. Dr Olusegun Mimiko from Ondo Central decided to contest against Agagu in 2007. Although INEC initially gave victory to Agagu in the election, the courts however upturned it and handed it over to Mimiko who went on to win his reelection in 2012 even though there were strong contestants from Ondo North and South in persons of Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN and Olusola Oke, SAN. Akeredolu won the contest in 2016 with strong contenders from Ondo Central and South. The same thing repeated itself in 2020.
As posited by development experts and policy analysts, the quality of legislation made by the parliament/national assembly has a direct relationship with the sort of governance the executive arm will offer the country in a democratic government, assuming all other allied factors are constant. That’s, good governance is predicated on sound legislations and good policies. Only competent hands can offer good policies and sound legislation. This should be the focus of Ondo South as the race to the 2023 elections gathers momentum.
As the preparations for the 2023 national assembly elections begin to gather momentum, it’s imperative to, once again, remind the people of Ondo South that they need to elect a man of competence and brilliance with proven records of high-flying performance, be it in the private or public sector, as the senator representing the district. It’s high time the electorates in the district jettisoned recycling the regulars who don’t have any other means of survival than politics. We need a man of sound mind and capable hand in the senate to represent Ondo South.
Most importantly, the zone needs a senator who will leverage his vast network of contacts to expedite industrialization of the district and turn it into an investment haven going by the abundance of material and human resources in the district. If you ask me who that could be, I would not hesitate a second to present to the district, Boye Oyewumi, the chief executive officer of Ondo State Development and Investment Promotion Agency (ONDIPA), as the best fit for the job. Again, if you ask what about him? The simplest answer is: check what ONDIPA has done in the last couple of years. He will do much more than that if given the chance in 2023. Well, Ondo South: the ball is in your court.
Kehinde Onawumi wrote this piece from Ondo State.