Those sufficiently familiar with the antics of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will attest to their inelastic penchant for violence, thuggery and unbridled lies, if you like, unquenchable desperation. To them, the electoral victory amounts to everything. They have no qualms with confusing the electorate; where it is impossible to convince the determinants of winners or losers in a democratic contest.
Their perception of the rule of the game of politics lacks grace and elegance. Awkward. They believe in victory at all cost, and could go to any length to achieve this. Decency is alien to them; both in strategy and body language. All these played out in Akure, 24 hours to the much-celebrated flag off, when a sitting governor literally invaded the peaceful city, and willingly offered his security details to provide cover for both the imported and home-based political thugs to wantonly destroy billboards and posters sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC). The items were meant to educate, and inform the electorate on the crux of the APC campaigns. The thugs looked, and operated in a reckless manner. Emboldened by their masters, they were prepared to tackle even the security agents.
As a well-cultured party, with civilised political orientation, the members of the APC exercised uncommon restraints, with a high sense of responsibility to contain the induced provocation. We allowed reasons to prevail, so peace could be sustained.
The APC’s determination is to ensure, and promote the wellbeing of the people. The ruling party will never identify with acts and plots designed to inflict pains on the people, under the guise of playing politics. We detest playing politics with the lives, welfare and development of our people.
Violence and thuggery have no place in our schemes. The APC, therefore, encouraged the various security agents to perform their lawful duties. With much hullabaloo, ahead of their campaign flag off last weekend, the PDP presented an intimidating posture; pretending to be working on something spectacular. Many wondered what to expect from a party that has thus far exhibited poor judgements in criticising a glaringly performing government; a government that has prospered where the main opposition party recorded failures.
At last, the D-Day betrayed an empty, hollow, lackluster, and miserable chapter, ahead of the gubernatorial election. The event fell far below expectations; it lacked grandeur. As if they knew what would happen, governors and federal lawmakers of the fold jettisoned the idea of attending the flop-bound political jamboree.
A handful of “imported” super Masters of Ceremony tried to no avail, to salvage the situation. Those in attendance left the venue in different directions. Poor outing. Even before they were dispersed by the combination of a ruthless storm, and merciless downpour, speakers took turns to confess ignorance of the true picture of things in the Sunshine State; misapprehension of the simple facts on ground. The most pitiable of all was the party national Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus; a man credited to always come second in any political contest.
He mischievously said the APC-led government had failed the state in infrastructure development. What an unpalatable misgiving! Secondus said: “The APC government has done nothing for the people of Ondo State. Vote out Rotimi Akeredolu because he has personalised governance and turned it to family business. “Anybody who rigs the next governorship election in Ondo state will suffer the wrath of God. If you have the intention to rig the election you will surely suffer the consequences.”
For the records, the APC flag bearer, Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, came in at the nick of time to save the state from further sliding. He has helped in lifting, and restoring the glory and prestige of the State. He is here to give back to a state, whose development he is passionate about.
He asks for no personal gains. The current government has an unequal knack for infrastructure development, and has constructed over 400 kilometers of road across the state within three and a half years. The dualisation of Ikare Township Road is the first of it’s kind in that part of the state. It baffles road users, and indeed sincere observers, till date, how the Oke Alabojuto was brought low, and dualised. The number of lives that have since been saved by that singular act of ingenuity can not be quantified. The Ore fly over bridge is also the first of it’s kind in the state, and was completed in record time.
For the purpose of this reaction, I will take Akure, where the challenge was dropped, as a case study. Any visitor to the Sunshine State, particularly Akure, the state capital will be amazed how the government has succeeded in dualilising most of the roads, rather than carrying out repairs. The roads are solidly built.
The Gaga Community roads; the Oke Ogba Community roads; the dual carriageway from Oba Adesida (A-Division) to Oba Osupa (Hospital) Road to Oluwatuyi Roundabout; dualization of Oda Road are all done in Akure by the APC-led government, besides the Ijoka to Idanre Road. Besides, no government has lifted a finger to industrialise the state, since the days of Chief Micheal Adekunle Ajasin. Today, the Ore Industrial hub at Ore testifies to the unusual ingenuity of the white-bearded Senior Advocate of Nigeria to dismantle seeming impossible obstacles.
How about the unprecedented efforts to boost agriculture; the bitumen exploration, the unparalleled attention on deep-sea port and massive renovation of schools? These wonders would have been impossible with a financially reckless leader.
The Akeredolu led government has exhibited rare financial discipline; seeking maximum value for every Kobo expended, in the interest of all residents of the state. All the achievements are recorded at a time there is great shortfall in the revenue allocations to the state.
Mr. Governor deserves accolades for putting the interest of the people ahead of any other consideration. The Secondus-led PDP is not unaware that it would require the magic and strength of a Hercules for the party to make any meaningful impact in October.
The party hates to admit that dislodging a party that identifies with the people; their yearnings and aspirations, and has justified confidence reposed in it, will not be a feat for the feeble. Their hatred does not allow them reckon with reality. It is one thing to smell failure, but another to admit your opponent’s chances are far better and brighter. The APC has no intention to take the people for granted. The campaigns are ongoing; so also meetings with different segments of the populace, canvassing for their support ahead of the election. While we crave a rancour-free gubernatorial election, we urge other parties to embrace this civilised approach to seeking people’s votes and discard crude and undemocratic actions. The existing peace must not be deflated. If what Secondus meant was that the APC-led government in Ondo State has disappointed weak and dilapidated parties around, on account of performance, then he has our sympathy.
*Kalejaye is APC Publicity Secretary, Ondo State