By Olaoluwakitan Babatunde
Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, may emerge tops in next Saturday, November 26, 2016 governorship election in Ondo State, if the outcome of an independent opinion poll conducted in the state to determine the possible choice of the people is anything to go by.
In the opinion poll, Oke was followed by former Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim, the candidate of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in that order. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents across the state said they would prefer Oke to succeed Governor Olusegun Mimiko at the Alagbaka Government House while 22 per cent opted for Akeredolu.
Sixteen percent of respondents went for Ibrahim, Dr, Olu Agunloye of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) -14 per cent, while 11per cent said they were either undecided or indifferent. The questionnaires were designed around the aspirations of four candidates considered to be leading contenders in the battle to succeed Governor Mimiko. They are Oke of AD, Akeredolu of APC, Ibrahim of Sheriff-led PDP faction and Agunloye of SDP.
Former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General in the state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, Mimiko’s preferred candidate, who belongs to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi PDP faction, may have lost out in the governorship race as a result of the supremacy battle between the two PDP camps, which is still raging in court.
Jegede’s name was replaced by that of Ibrahim in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s List of Candidates for the poll, based on a court order.
In the opinion poll conducted across the three Senatorial districts in the state- Ondo Central, Ondo North and Ondo South- a total of 3000 respondents, many of whom are registered voters in the state, were sampled. Their ages range from 25 to 55 years.
They were randomly picked across major towns in the three districts, with 1,400, the highest, coming from Ondo Central, which constitutes about 50 per cent of the voting population in the state.
Oke’s leading points, according to the poll, emerged from the respondents’ view that he is a grassroots man with loads of integrity and one who can be trusted to deliver on his promise, indices on which some other candidates ranked low.
Prominent lawyer, Oke was formerly of APC, but he dumped the party and moved over to AD in protest against the APC gubernatorial primaries allegedly characterised by fraud and manipulation.
Four questions were asked each of the respondents. They are- (1) which of the four leading candidates would you trust with your vote? (2) Which of them has the best programme for the state? (3) Which political party do you think would be best for Ondo State? (4) Which of the candidate do you consider most grassroots–oriented?
Three thousand respondents were polled across the three Senatorial districts in the state. They were polled in Akure, Ondo and Idanre in Ondo Central; Okitipupa, Ilaje and Ese-Odo in Ondo South, and Owo, Ikare, Akoko North-west in Ondo North.
770 respondents were randomly picked and interviewed in Akure, 400 in Ondo Township and 230 in Idanre all in Odun Central. Responding to the question as to which of the candidate they would trust if they were voting on Saturday, over 50 percent of them mentioned Oke. He was closely followed by Akeredolu aka Aketi as a few others also picked him. Also, a total of 931 of the 1,400 respondents polled in Ondo Central district picked AD when they were asked which party would be best for the state.
In Ondo North, precisely in Aketi’s hometown of Owo, Akoko North-west and Ikare, where a total of 900 people were polled by the survey officials, a majority of the respondents also picked Oke as the most grassroots-oriented candidate, with some describing him as a ‘grassroots man’, ‘man of the people’ while some other candidates were seen as aloof, with a few respondents describing them as ‘Abuja politicians.’
The remaining 700 respondents were polled in Ondo South, where Oke and Ibrahim hail from.
The survey was administered by Poll Consult, which specialises in opinion poll and survey. It is based in Lagos with offices in state capitals in the South-west including Akure in Ondo State.