By James Sowole
The campaign by Chief Olusola Oke for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for October 10, 2020, governorship election of Ondo State at the weekend received a boost as some members of the party’s Unity Forum and other interest groups presented a cheque of N22.5 million to the aspirant to purchase his nomination form.
The cheque was presented to Oke by the Chairman of the Unity Forum and former Deputy Governor of the state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, at the aspirant’s campaign office in Akure.
Olanusi, who was represented by a former member of House of Representatives, Afe Olowokere, said the donation was made to re-enact the traditional method of supporting its flag-bearer by making financial contributions to the electioneering expenses of candidate.
Describing the practice as a deliberate attempt to engender a sense of belonging by all party members, Olanusi said the step would also remove the inimical yoga of “winner takes all” from the governor when elected.
Oke was reportedly adopted by the seven-man screening committee as the aspirant to represent the Unity Forum at the July 20 primary of the APC to stop the incumbent Governor, Oluwatotimi Akeredolu, from securing ticket to run for second term.
However, the choice of Oke generated controversies among some aspirants who are members of Unity Forum.
Speaking on the choice of Oke, an aspirant under the umbrella of Unity Forum, Alhaji Olanrewaju Kazeem, said members of the screening committee decided to express their preferences for the aspirants one after the other when they could not agree among themselves on who should represent the forum at the primary.
According to him, four members of the screening committee out of six present chose Oke, while one member chose Mrs. Jumoke Anifowose and another member chose one other aspirant.
Receiving the donation, Oke said his desire to contest the election was to ensure that the APC does not slide into opposition in Ondo State.
“Our experience in the last election showed that something must be done to rescue APC in Ondo State.
“Our people are hungry and angry. Our people are tired of government that is not sensitive to their needs.
“People are tired of capital flight out of the state. People are tired of the government that does not respect party leaders.
“People are tired of commercialisation of education; they are tired of commercialisation of health services, and the people of the state need a new face of APC in the state.
“I want to bring back the good old days in governance. I want to ring back the days when leaders of the party are respected and not bullied,” Oke said.
He, therefore, called on all other aspirants to come together to fight a common enemy in the interest of all people of the state.