Opinion: Ondo 2024: Is There Any Difference Between PDP And APC? By Bright Olorungbotemi

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As November 16th, 2024 Gubernatorial election in Ondo State approaches faster, it is necessary we begin to scrutinize who the main political actors are and what they offer.

In this matter of discussion, I will discuss on their personalities, chances of winning and their party strength, especially the two major contenders in the race with the broom in the hand of the Governor, Excellency Lucky Aiyedatiwa and the umbrella in the other hand of the leading opposition the former Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi.

Ondo state is unarguably now a defacto two-party state.

The APC and the PDP are the true mammoths of the state’s political landscape. As November 16th approaches fast, the question everyone is asking is, Is there any difference between the APC and the PDP? Aren’t both parties the same?

These questions are not without reason. I mean incidences of either parties members “defecting” everyday to the other has been easier than opening a sachet of noodles.

However from observation since the birth of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) in Nigeria, on 6th February, 2013, while in 2015 presidential election, the party takes over power from the People’s Democratic party PDP at the federal level, and also in the following year, 2016 the party has been the ruling party in Ondo state, till date.

Recalled three years after the APC was founded, in Ondo state, the late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu became first APC man to win in Ondo State as Governor, He won with 244, 842 votes defeating Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, who polled 150, 380, in the November 26th, 2016 Gubernatorial election, and the total number of votes cast was 580,887.

While, on April 19th, 2003, late Olusegun Agagu won election for a first tenure with 655,968 votes as a People’s Democratic party (PDP) Man, defeating AD Incumbent Governor, Adebayo Adefarati who picked 233,900 votes, while the total number of registered voters in the state was 1,504,181.

I have seen that both parties are not the same. They are neither better nor worse than each other, yet they are still not the same.

The key difference I see between both parties is in terms of their party structure and decision making process.

In the APC, we all agree that there are too many godfathers. And it’s safe to say that a higher caucus comprised of godfathers determine how decisions are taken at the APC; Bola Tinubu decides for the South West, even before he emerged as the number one citizen of the country, Nigeria and a whole lot of other shadow figures.

So, decision-making is less chaotic in the APC, but the case is totally different in Ondo state since 2016, Late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was never a product of the ‘godfather Tinubu’ both in his first and second term as governor under APC in the state.

But in the PDP, things are more chaotic. The PDP comprises of the most ambitious politicians Nigeria has ever seen.

And each has to vie for power or lose out to the others, from Atiku who claimed the Almighty Man in the PDP at National and Federal at the moment, and Wike who claimed the foundational and founding Chieftain of the party in the Southern Zone; also from Eyitayo Jegede(2016) to Eyitayo Jegede (2020), but again in this 2024 Gubernatorial election, the case is different in respect to the ‘traditional’ zoning arrangements with the birth of Agboola Ajayi, the PDP seems to be an easier ground for politicians to compete and grow. A former Deputy Governor under APC and former ZLP candidate, is now a key decider in the affairs of the Ondo PDP. This somewhat “zero-sum game” situation ensures that decision making in the PDP cannot easily be traced to godfather but can be hijacked by big personality.

Yet decisions are not being made easily. Decisions are made only after complex negotiations, and usually involve different power brokers. We’ve seen the PDP behave this way in the 2024 decides.

However, the deal making and negotiations in the APC has been a key reason why the party is in the fore front of the November 16th 2024 election. Too many cooks they say spoils the meal, as the party had picked the Incumbent Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who happened to be the most experienced incumbency candidate, a former Deputy Governor and a former acting Governor under the APC party, among all others.

And with the settling of the APC primary saga whereby, the all time governorship contestant Olusola Oke backs the Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa and order his structure to work for the APC candidate, unlike the two-time governorship candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede who didn’t participate in their party primary and he hasn’t officially or publicly collapsed his structure in the party for the PDP candidate Agboola Ajayi; Is Ondo PDP resorting to old ways again, where party members voted against their candidate in the 2020 governorship as their Flagbearer lost 15 out of the state’s 18 local government areas, as marriage of campaign and canvasing for votes and politicking tactics are ongoing.

C’mon, where else would the winner of the November 16th, 2024 poll comes from;
(A). The Incumbent who is the number one citizen of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa with less than six months in office and whose supporters are chanting “Ondo state Dirorun, Ondo state Datiwa”, or (A). Ex-candidate of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), Agboola Ajayi, with the chanting of “Agbo”, who came a distant third in 2020 governorship election by scoring 69,127 votes(12.1 percent), out of a total of 572,745 valid votes in the election.

Comrade Bright Olorungbotemi writes from Idale-Lemikan in Idanre Local Government area, Ondo State. Contact: tolorungbotemi.tuna@gmail.com

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of Precision Online Newspaper.

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