The question on the minds of many politicians in Ondo State, be it in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party of Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the opposition is, where will the double standards of Chief Olusola Oke lead him in the on-going political campaign even as parties brace up for this year’s general elections? In recent times, Oke has made a career in attacking the person, leadership and efforts of Governor Olusegun Mimiko, who is a key strategist in the President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign efforts in the South-west.
Since his failed attempt to become the governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusola Oke has been very angry with the party that made him its governorship candidate in the October 20, 2012 governorship election in the state. We all recall how Dr. Olusegun Mimiko (then in Labour Party – LP) roundly defeated Oke alongside the then Action Congress of Nigeria’s (ACN) candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu in the election. Even when President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan congratulated Governor Mimiko after the election and the national leaders of PDP enjoined Oke to accept the election result and further advised him not to challenge it in the courts, Oke blatantly ignored his party leaders’ advice, brushed aside President Jonathan’s entreaties and headed for the courts to challenge the results of the election in apparent display of disdain for his party leadership. Of course, that attempt was another woeful failure for Oke.
Beaten and summarily embarrassed from the courts, Oke took a momentary retreat, but waited for another opportunity to prove his point against the party as can be seen from his recent actions and activities. When he heard news of Governor Mimiko’s imminent decampment from LP to PDP, Oke did everything to thwart that move. To confirm this, an old PDP member recalled how Oke was so devastated with the news of Governor Mimiko’s crossing over to the PDP and how he vowed to “frustrate it”. According to the member, Oke immediately began to recruit and galvanise the support of other persons with personal interests and began a vicious campaign of calumny against Governor Mimiko, claiming that the Governor is no longer popular. As laughable as this claim was, Oke and his co-travellers took their campaign to Abuja in the hope that they will demystify and diffuse the influence of Gov. Mimiko before the President and the national leadership of the party. Again, Oke’s lot in this venture ended up another woeful failure.
While Oke pretends before the whole world to be working for the PDP, he leads a trifling clan of anti-Mimiko group who are working against PDP’s interest in Ondo State under the pretence that they are protesting. As a political analyst puts it, the coming of Gov. Mimiko to PDP may have sealed not only Oke’s governorship ambition, but also his political patronage in the future. For instance, though no written agreement exists among the political zones in the state, the northern senatorial district is heavily favoured to produce the next governor after Mimiko in the next dispensation. This is easy to deduce. Incumbent Governor Mimiko, who will complete his second term, hails from the Ondo Central senatorial district while his predecessor, late Dr. Olusegun Agagu hailed from the Southern senatorial district where Oke comes from. The above political equation will obviously not help Oke’s calculations and ambition to be governor, hence his desperation which, directly and indirectly, is undermining the activities of the party in the state. However, his desperation is fast climbing an embarrassing height. Just recently, Oke organised a meeting of some so-called aggrieved PDP members where he enjoined his co-travellers to join him in rejecting the choice of Chief Adetokunbo Modupe, as Coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo re-election Campaign Committee in Ondo State.
Chief Modupe, a Public Relations expert, a strategist and a successful businessman is today known as one of Governor Mimiko’s trusted allies and loyalists. The same Chief Modupe, who has always been mindful of his own business as a politician, is now being hunted by Oke and his gang of political dissidents who claim to be old members of the PDP. What baffles many is that Oke and his cohorts are not saying that they are rejecting the choice of Chief Modupe for lack of ability to deliver. What then is their problem with the choice of Chief Modupe? Analysts asked. The answer is simple as it is obvious that Oke and his cohorts are determined to weaken the influence of the governor and inadvertently the performance of the party in the state.
With the way Oke and his group are conducting themselves and are attacking the activities of the party in the on-going campaign, there are indications that he and his group may have been hired by the opposition to frustrate the governor and the Chief Modupe-led PDP presidential campaign committee in the state. Though Oke claims to be working for the PDP, there are signs that he may have signed up with the opposition. To confirm this, many of Oke’s closest allies and associates have since decamped to the opposition while Oke tactically remainS in PDP, obviously to continue to fuel internal crisis in the PDP. It was for this reason that Oke in a recent interview on Sahara Reporters, claimed that the party was losing old members but failed to disclose that the few disgruntled members that left were his close associates. Again and unfortunately for Oke and his cohorts, their strategy has not worked. It was another woeful failure. The party has not only emerged stronger, but has moved forward beyond the comprehension of Oke and his group.
The aggressive campaign embarked upon by Governor Mimiko and the passion which the campaign coordinator, Chief Modupe has brought to the campaign efforts in the state is gradually positioning the party for success at this year’s polls.
The success of the recent presidential rally in Akure, the state capital, which has been described as the best and most organised in the series is a demonstration of Gov. Mimiko’s political clout in the state. The success recorded at the rally was said to have stunned many even in Oke’s camp who had attended the rally hoping it would be a failure in order to support their claim that Gov. Mimiko is no longer popular in the state and that the choice of Chief Modupe to lead the presidential campaign in the state was not well thought out. To prove their point, prior to the rally, Oke and his group surreptitiously embarked on a campaign of non-participation of their followers across the state. They tried desperately to dissuade members from coming to the campaign rally. The plan was for them to come there, pretend to be supporting President Goodluck Jonathan, but hoping that there would be low turn-out of members so as to use ‘poor turn-out’ as a bargaining point for relevance. Unfortunately for Oke and his group, the turn-out was not only impressive, but observers adjudged it overwhelming. Added to this, analysts agreed it was one of the best in terms of organisation so much so that Oke and his co-travellers had to quickly, but belatedly identify with the success even though they contributed nothing to it.
One would have expected that after all these failed attempts to bring the party that made him down that Oke will sheath his swords, retrace his steps and work himself back to relevance in the PDP. On the contrary, like the proverbial tortoise who said he would not return from the market until he has been disgraced; Oke has continued to be a distraction by waging war against the person of the State Coordinator of the Goodluck/Sambo re-election Campaign Committee, Chief Adetokunbo Modupe. In his recent interview with Sahara Reporters: Oke did not only accuse Governor Mimiko of what he termed “sinister” plot to side-line older leaders of the party from the process of selecting the committee, he also made a nameless associate of his to call Chief Modupe’s integrity to question without presenting facts. In their blind rage, another nameless associate of Oke told Sahara Reporters: “Governor Mimiko is only making a fool of himself for appointing Tokunbo Modupe as the director-general of President Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo campaign committee in Ondo state.” To further exhibit his all-out war against Chief Modupe, Oke who vowed to shun the campaigns organized by the Modupe committee and has not been seen in any of PDP campaign rallies claimed: “I have the mandate of a large section of our party and I speak on their behalf to reject the campaign council as inaugurated, especially the director-general. He is unacceptable …”
It is now clear that Oke and his cohorts are not only working for the opposition against the PDP in Ondo State, his pretensions that he is working towards the success of Mr. President at the pools is now fully exposed.
But how this will work for Oke and his anti-GEJ and anti-Mimiko co-travellers is yet to be seen.
***Adeyemo Ojalatan writes from Okitipupa, Ondo State