OPINION: Why Oil-Rich Region Should Produce Next Ondo Governor


Written by: Sunday Menukuro

I write to appeal to the good people of Ondo state concerning the forthcoming governorship election in the state. It is an open secret that the gladiators for the 2020 governorship election in Ondo state are already warming up from all the three Senatorial Districts of the state. And as long as each of them is a citizen of Nigeria by birth; attains the age of 35 years; member of any of the political parties; holds up to school certificate or its equivalent, then, he or she is qualified to contest, as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999(as amended).

These constitutional provisions may not support the argument that it must be zoned to a particular section of the state. Notwithstanding, I am aware that zoning is encouraged in the Constitution of the PDP for easy primaries.

I am equally aware that there is room for consensus arrangement in the party. But none of these supersedes primaries. I think the other ones are gentleman’s agreement, and in case there is no agreement, the next thing is to go to the field for primaries.

Having said this, I want to appeal to the good people of Ondo state, especially in the PDP, who will decide who becomes the flag bearer of the party, to consider Ondo South as the place where to pick the party’s candidate from.

My reason is not only because the senatorial district is the strongest home of PDP; not only because someone from the South has spent the least numbers of years as governor of the state among the three senatorial districts; not only that the South has been winning for PDP since 2003, but also that, the largest economic mainstay of the state comes from the area. And in spite of these, the people of these areas have not had enough opportunity of being compensated in terms of Infrastructural and human capital development for bearing the brunt of the enormous resources being tapped from the area.

It is on record that the first time the area was opened up for development was when one of the sons of the district, late Chief Olusegun Agagu was the governor of the state. This does not detract from the fact that both late Adebayo Adefarati and Dr Olusegun Mimiko did try their efforts.
Even at that, the plight of the people of the riverine areas of Ilaje and Ese Odo remains very pathetic.

At the core of the complaints of the people of these areas is that since these former governors are not from the area they didn’t find motivation to do enough to commensurate the huge resources/ revenues accruing to the state from the area.

Late Dr Olusegun Agagu, though, opened up the areas, as earlier mentioned, he was not from the riverine area; either Ilaje or Ese Odo.
He must have been spurred by his special affinity with these areas and a large dose of empathy for the marginalized people therein.

He probably would have done more to lift the vast majority of the people from the swamp and squalor they still contend with on a daily basis if he were to hail directly from the riverine environment.

The gift of knowing where the shoe pinches most is the exclusive preserve of the wearer, so goes the popular saying!

It is an irony of life that our people from these areas, especially places like Awoye, Odofado, Jirinwo, Ayetoro, Orioke Iwamimo and others, in Ilaje local government area, have always had to contend with sea incursions, oil spillage, fauna degradation and all environmental devastations only for successive Government in the Sate to do little or nothing to ameliorate their excruciating hardship.

I do therefore urge the good people of Ondo state, to empathize with the people of the riverine Communities and consider them for the governorship seat, come 2020. By this the money meant for the area in both OSOPADEC and NDDC could be monitored to be spent on the statutory purposes for which the bodies were established.

This will also go a long way to refrain them and shut their mouths forever, in case their own son fails to do the right thing after being governor for at least four years. And the argument that the areas were neglected and the money meant to develop them were diverted because none of the Governors hails from amongst them will no longer be plausible.

Beyond the foregoing, a genuine and sustainable industrial revolutionary development to rub off on the entire Ondo State must necessarily begin with unearthing the massive natural resources buried in the riverine areas and the Southern Senatorial belt generally.

It is just natural that a Governor of Ilaje extraction will pay much more attention to such long overdue economic breakthrough, that will benefit all and sundry across the State. We cannot continue the same old way, if we want prosperity for all in our dear State.

Conclusively, I like to posit that it’s really worth it for the area that lays the golden egg to have an opportunity to attain the Governorship of the State for the good for all.

Thank you all.

Sunday Menukuro writes from Akure, Ondo state.

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