With the peaceful Congress of the Ondo State Peoples Democratic Party held recently, Governor Olusegun Mimiko has predicted victory for the party in future elections, writes James Sowole
The atmosphere was unusual for the type of event. The venue was conducive and participants were excited and orderly even with relaxed security arrangement contrary to the nature of the event. The joy of the Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, and other leaders of the party hold no bound as songs flow freely and banters exchanged freely.
This was the situation at the new Ondo State multibillion naira event centre ,christened ‘The Dome” located on Igbatoro Road, which hosted the Quadrennial State Congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ondo State.
Interestingly, this is the first State Congress of the party after the governor defected from the Labour Party (LP) prior to the last year general election.
The event, where officers that would run the affairs of the ruling party in the Sunshine State were elected became interesting as it was devoid of the usual political mudslinging, pronounced accusations and counter accusations that usually characterised political event of that nature.
The orderly and friendly manner in which the programme was executed indicated that a lot of homework had been done while what took place was just in fulfillment of the provisions of the constitution of the PDP.
However, despite the seemingly simple process of the event, it was described as totally in compliance with the requirements of the laid down rules. The event was supervised by officers selected by the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Ondo State, Mr Segun Agbaje, led the team from the commission to the event and expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the congress.
While the leader of the PDP in the state, Governor Mimiko, described the peaceful and friendly atmosphere at the event as the product of sacrifices and the visible demonstration of the principle of give and take, some people who belong to the opposing All Progressives Congress (APC) described the event as a manifestation of the “one man show” that characterised the PDP in recent time.
To Mimiko, the cooperation of relevant stakeholders, particularly, members of the party, to the success of the event was a demonstration of the resolution of members to put all that happened in the past behind them and their determination to work as a team and win future elections in the state irrespective of insinuations in the state.
Though, the congress, which was the climax of the process of electing officers of the party, was scheduled for 12.00pm, delegates from the 18 local government areas started arriving as early as 9.00am. As expected, there were minor complaints of substitution of names during the accreditation of delegates of some local governments but the matters were subsequently resolved by stakeholders.
The programme proper started with the arrival of Mimiko at 1:45pm with delegate congress officials from National Secretariat led by Hon Mohammed Imam from Borno State while Hon Yusuf Modibo was the secretary.
Other officials were Senator Abubakar Ahmed from Adamawas State, Mrs Adenike Soboyejo from Lagos State and Hon Aminu Adama.
Directing the processes, the leader of the PDP National Delegation read the procedure and the positions to be contested for in line with the party’s constitution.
Though, election of all officers were painstakingly done by voice vote as there were no counter nominations that would have led to real voting, the umpire provided opportunities for delegates to make counter nomination if there was any. In all the filled positions, there were no counter nominations which made the process less cumbersome.
At the end of the exercise, there were two ex-officio members for each of the three senatorial districts, with Mrs Iyabo Olumowo and Mrs Orungbemi Foluke for the South, Mr A.O Odobe and Mrs Ojo CF for the North while Hon Olufemi Ofakunrin and Mrs Iyaboo Akinkuotu were returned for Ondo Central.
Other officers are Abayomi Adebayo (Youth Leader), Mrs Esther Ebiwonjuni (Women Leader), Smart Aribigbola (Assistant Auditor), Yusuf Hamzat (Auditor), Moses Awofade (Asst Legal Adviser) and Abayomi Akinfemiwa (Legal Adviser).
Also elected were Banji Okunomo (Publicity Secretary), Patrick Sekoni (Asst Publicity Secretary), Kehinde Asunmo (Asst Financial Secretary), Ganiyu Ogbeha (Financial Secretary), Kunle Akintan (Organising Secretary), Sunday Adeniyi (Treasurer).
The party also elected one assistant secretary and vice chairman for each of the three senatorial districts.
The Vice chairmen are Adebowale Ajimuda (South), Adeduro Charles (Central) and Lanre Adeleye (North) while the State Deputy Chairman is Fatai Adams.
In the concluding part of the election, Chief Oyedele Ibine was returned as the State Secretary while Chief Clement Faboyede was returned as the State Chairman.
Impressed by the process and the comportment of the delegates, the chairman of the PDP delegation from the National Secretariat, Hon Ibrahim Imam, expressed excitement on the success of the conference, which he said would remain memorable in the history of his political assignments.
He said the conduct of the delegates demonstrate the resolution of all to work with the leader of the party in the state to ensure that the party wins future elections in the state.
The INEC REC for Ondo State, Mr Segun Agbaje, commended the organisers and members of the party for the peaceful manner in which the conference was conducted.
Agbaje in an interview described the conference as very successful and well organised.
In his remark, Mimiko, who expressed delight in the way and manner the conference was conducted tasked the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Government on the need to put in place process for free and transparent election in the country saying “the greatest thing the current administration can give to Nigeria is credible election”.
The governor said once democracy is entrenched in the country through credible, free and transparent electoral processes, Nigeria would be great.
Noting that one of the greatest legacies bequeathed to Nigeria by the immediate past Federal Government was credible electoral processes and which was appreciated by everybody in the country and outside world.
“Credible election is the key to Nigeria’s greatness irrespective of the various challenges confronting the country. Once democracy can be entrenched through the principle of one man one vote, all the problems confronting Nigeria shall be a thing of the past”, he said.
He therefore tasked President Mohammadu Buhari to do all within his power to create enabling environment for credible election.
Mimiko said the outcome of the conference conducted without any rancour showed that members had put all that happened in the past behind them and that PDP in Ondo State was now a united family. He said with the success the conference achieved through sacrifices, give and take principle, victory is sure for the party during future elections in the state.
“It is only PDP that can defeat PDP in Ondo State. Once the PDP is united and remain one, no party can defeat it in any election.
Mimiko, who highlighted some of the major achievements of his administration and which he said shall be laid on the table when the time comes, said he would do all that were necessary to ensure that elections are violent- free and credible in Ondo State.