Ondo Elections: PDP Crises Masterminded By Buhari

By Ikenga Chronicles October 31, 2016

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)Thursday last week published its final list of candidates vying for the governorship election in Ondo State. The list, which turned out to be a revised one after the earlier publication of a final list, saw the inclusion of Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP).

The development has continued to cause discomfort within the PDP and the state in general, as spontaneous violent protests greeted the development, suggesting that Jimoh may not be wanted not just by the PDP but also by the people of the state at large.

As a politician, Jimoh is known to have romanced with parties like the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party(ANPP) under which he sought to be the Ondo State governor in 2007 unsuccessfully. Curiously, he was in the ANPP the same year President Muhammadu Buhari had a failed attempt at the presidency under the same party.

After his stint with ANPP, he jumped to PDP before leaving again for Accord Party before the 2012 governorship election in the state because of his ambition to be governor. His return to the PDP has continued to be shrouded in controversy, as the state chapter of the party insists he is not a member as he has not officially returned.

The inclusion of Jimoh as PDP candidate on INEC’s list has thrown up conjectures that are hard to ignore, with the first being the belief in many quarters that his candidature is a masterstroke delivered by APC strategists to weaken the chances of the PDP and ensure a smoother ride for its candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, also a legal practitioner, and a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association. The Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, and a former minister of Transport, Ebenezer Babatope have both voiced this seeming plot by APC, which they describe as a masterstroke of pre-election rigging.

According to Babatope, “The disqualification of Jegede, the Ondo PDP candidate, is designed by President Buhari and the APC to electorally manipulate the Ondo State governorship election.”

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari must be prevented from destroying democracy in Nigeria. The recent declaration in Ondo State has Buhari’s connections”, he affirmed.

Though this has remained largely unsubstantiated, it is, however, worthy of note that the candidature of Jimoh on the platform of the PDP as a governorship candidate virtually translates to a walk over for the APC.

As it stands, Jimoh, with no structure is unlikely to get the full backing of Mimiko, whose relationship with Ibrahim over the years has been anything but cordial, as both men have seemingly engaged in a show of might over time,while putting up public shows of cordiality.

The second conjecture is the 2019 project. Analysts are of the opinion that the drama going on in Ondo State has the 2019 election as the target, as recent happenings in the polity, especially within the ruling APC show that a lot of realignment is going on and the Presidency is not left out in the scheming.

The Southwest, as usual, is the beautiful bride in which the Presidency is keen on having more than a foothold on, in the aftermath of reported breakdown in Buhari’s relationship with  Bola Tinubu. The theory is that with Akeredolu as governor of Ondo State, President Buhari’s camp in the APC would have expanded their sphere of influence landing themselves a key Southwest state than can be used to limit Tinubu’s influence come 2019 if he decides to spring surprises.

There are also suggestions in some quarters, that Ibrahim may just be playing the spoilers’ role to get a soft landing for the legal cases the government has instituted against him, and that it is not unlikely for him to dump the PDP, for the APC after the elections.

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