Ahead of the November 26, 2016 governorship election in Ondo State, the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, has said the Peoples Democratic Party will pick its candidate based on competence and without considering the zone where such a candidate comes from.
Akinmade said there was no agitation for zoning in the party, stressing that the PDP in Ondo State had no history of picking its governorship candidates based on zoning.
A statement made available to our correspondent on Sunday quoted Akinmade as saying this in Akure at the weekend.
Going down memory lane, the commissioner recalled that what had always been important to the Ondo PDP was “the extraordinary quality in the personality of a candidate.”
He said, “If you go into history, between 1999 and 2012, all the candidates of the PDP in those elections had been coming from a particular zone and at that time we never thought of zoning.
“In 1999 when the late Adebayo Adefarati wanted to contest election, the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu contested against him; the people of Ondo State voted for Adefarati. They did not vote for Adefarati because he was from Akungba-Akoko in Ondo North senatorial district; they voted for him because he was central to the agitation for the emancipation of Nigeria from the military junta in Ondo State. He was a leader of the Afenifere in Ondo State. He was voted because he was vocal and was able to achieve a lot in galvanising the people towards a common goal.
“In 2003, he also stood for election with the late Dr. Olusegun Agagu from Ondo South. At that time, Dr. Agagu won the election. Dr. Agagu did not win the election because he was from the southern senatorial district of the state.
“He won the election because of the political structure of that time. In 2007, the same re-contested election with some other people from other zones.
“You will recall that Prince Ademola Adegoroye from Akure contested the election and Dr. Olusegun Mimiko from Ondo contested the election. It was not based on any primordial sentiment.
“At that election, Dr. Mimiko won and he was rigged out. But thank God, he got his mandate back through the judiciary. People voted for Dr. Mimiko in 2007 not because he is from Ondo, they voted for him because of what he has consistently stood for in terms of progressive politics. They voted for him because he has used the instrumentality of government to better the lot of the people of Ondo State. They voted for him because he has pedigree.”
Akinmade said the aim of the PDP in Ondo State was to present a candidate that would unify Ondo State rather than one with ethnic, linguistic or primordial sentiments.