With Akeredolu’s Reelection, The South Appears Closer To Throne

With Akeredolu’s reelection, the south appears closer to throne

By Debo Ikuesewo-Akinbami

As Ondo inches towards the phenomenal date- 10/10/ 2020, the political climate, expectedly, gets hotter, actuating new cells and reinvigorating the threadbare, each competing for space.The gubernatorial election underway daily breed daunting intrigues. Aspirants, at this rate, measure mileages while constituencies uneasily count their costs. The stakes become higher, the game gets fiercer. The battle to outwit one another rages on and parties are leaving nothing to chance.

The scene turns cloudier to the extent that each of the three senatorial districts in the state has a candidate aspiring to be governor, giving the artificial impression that each region owns his own. Meanwhile, inspite of this spurious configuration, what is truer is that, like a boxing ring, the field is summarily divided between two interests – those who want governor Akeredolu out and those who want him returned. However, unlike other disctricts, the southern belt of Ondo State holds a peculiar stake, which is why it is employing shrewd and tact in choosing its lawn.

The south truly has its peculiar challenges, purpose and pursuits. Good readers of her radar understand these peculiarities. And that is how correct the locution of Chief Alexander Olusola Oke is. Oke, at a recent political rally, has said no man from the central senatorial district will choose for the southern belt. Oke is correct, and perhaps meant more. Those at home with southern nuances should know that the issues are beyond ordinary diclination and aversion to having a central czar decide the lawn for southern denizens. Beyond it, the people are not forgetting easily how the same central personification of Oke’s reference deliberately underdeveloped the south for straight eight years.

While some players believe that this zone could be manipulated to achieve some backdoor political heights, truth is, the south knows her friends. The people are not so impressionable, they are adept at strategies too. It is not true that southern inhabitants are so impregnable as certain ideologues want the undiscerning to buy. Apart from the fact that the zone is expectedly suspicious of the strange affection being cooked by the former governor Mimiko and sending southward on the shoulders of aboriginal lieutenants, it has truly been taking her time to take stock and review its standing.

Whatever happens, the south would rather take independent political decision than subscribe to the one spreaheaded by a former governor whose regime demonstrated bareface loathing for southern emancipation, whose time saw and scorned the people in perpetual darkness while concentrating amenities and projects within his own domain at the expense of the suffering south. The facts are not obscure to them. They know that Olusegun Agagu University of Technology, the only higher institution in the south, has been in existence before the coming of governor Mimiko, who played the institution to the background and built another to apogee in his home town.

While it is taken for granted that candidates seeking her soul can well interpret these backgrounds, it is no surprise that the zone has thus tarried at the drawing board.
The way it is, the people are not easily falling to bait the second time. That is not to pretend that there are no dissent stances, however, the constituents are in united in certain fundamental respects, chief of which is the urgent need to develop this region. And this ubiquitous craving becomes even more pressing, so much that to think that the people can be divided in this front is to be delirious.

Here is a region surplusly rich in natural deposits, endowed with avalanche bitumen,​Oil & Gas, Quartz sand, Clay, among others. This part has creeks and coastlands that are recognised for richness in prawns and lobsters; her coastline is about the largest in the country with surplus reserve for stock fish and with great potentials for fishing industry. The inland river systems and lakes offer huge development potentialities. Her undoing, however, has been political. In her time, it produced a detribalised governor who insisted on spreading the wealth across board, but his successor demonstrated stoic concentration of government’s presence within his immediate constituency.

While the rude irony remains that the richest -southern – part of the state is the poorest in terms of basic amenities and other development indices, the sadder reality of moment is that those who led the stagnation of the south for virtually a decade are the same actors preaching peculiar preference to the people of the south. This has been variously described as a subtle insult on the southern psyche though, the constituents are not an inch swayed by the bait. Instead, the options are being critically weighed.

Such options as to either allow fall prey the second time to the ruse of central players and their southern lieutenants who seek to prosecute the emperor’s third time agenda through a southern appendage, or to trust a leader who has shown graphic interest in lifting the zone from its prostrate. To follow the same man who is presently injecting amenities and industries in the south, who has the understanding that a southern citizen should succeed him to consolidate these feats, or to enspouse another virtual decade of power retention at the central district.

In checking the options, also, the people should appreciate the interest Akeredolu is showing in the development of the south and his commitment to harnessing her deposits. Even now, these deposits are at different stages of prospecting, extracting and development. To maximize the advantage of having about the largest coastline in West Africa, the government is on plan to plant a Deep Seaport in the south. In the words of governor Akeredolu, “This port is very important to me, to the people of the state, Nigeria and indeed West Africa. We are going to pursue this dream with vigour”.

Before the port, construction of a muti-billion bridge that would link Ondo with Lagos enroute Ilaje was already in the plate, yet, one of the largest reserves of bitumen in the world which the southern part carries in its belly is recieving a front burner attention. The jinx of this rich endowment estimated to be about 42 billion barrels has finally been broken by the same Akeredolu’s government. Meanwhile, the deal government signed with the Linyi Municipal for the establishment of industries in the south of Ondo State is already yeilding results. The success story of Ondo-Linyi industrial hub is that seven industries are now fully operational, all in the south.

The university southward is now a university in its full stature and in the true sense of the name, only after the government of Akeredolu invested hugely in it. Lives are even more secured with the Redemption Bridge at Ore, south of Ondo State. Let those who reign for eight years and itches to return by bait tell southerners
the difference they made in their season. Let those merely professing sympathies for the south while ploughing to repeat another reign of eight over it stop the gainless game. The way it is, it is unlikely that the south would be so careless as to again prolong the chance already in proximity with Akeredolu.

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