No doubt, Ondo State is among one of the states to watch out for on Saturday as Nigeria decides on who will pilot the affairs of the nation for the next four years from among the 73 presidential candidates.
The Sunshine State which has always been a tough battleground for votes in the country will not be an exception on Saturday as the two most visible political parties, the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP are not leaving any stone unturned at wooing prospective voters to their sides.
However, the crisis rocking the APC in the state would no doubt be a deciding factor during the polls, particularly as it affects its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari.
The crisis, brewed following the fallout of the party’s primary which produced the incumbent Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as the party’s standard-bearer in 2016.
This development has led to the emergence of various factions within the party which may have adverse effect on the result of the presidential election in the state.
The former chairman of the party in the state, Isaac Kekemeke, the former Deputy Governor, Ali Olanusi who is also a member of the party’s Board of Trustees, the South West coordinator of the Buhari/Osinbajo Campaign Council, Olusola Oke among others who all belong to various factions have at various fora stated that they will work for the re-election of Buhari.
They have, however, been silent on election of the party’s candidates for the state and National Assembly elections who have been campaigning on their own with the support of the party and the governor.
With series of rancour in the party, some members of the party have been accusing Akeredolu of anti-party activities, particularly for his alleged support for candidates and funding of Action Alliance, AA in the state which they said portend failure for the party (APC) at the polls.
DAILY POST gathered that after the indirect and the direct primaries brouhaha which further fueled the crisis rocking the party, the governor ordered his supporters to work for the election of AA candidates in the Ondo South and North Senatorial Districts, Dr. Tunji Abayomi and Dr Olatunji Felder.
With the dwindling chances of APC clinching victory at the polls, the recent cases of kidnappings in the state which has led to the death of some of the victims will also play out at the polls as residents have continually berated both the state and federal government of not doing enough at apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators of the crime who have been alleged to be armed Fulani herdsmen.
Also, another deciding factor at the polls will be the zero presence of APC-led Federal Government’s projects in the state for almost four years, which the people have been frowning at.
According to a political commentator, in the state, Bernard Akindolire, “The many crises of the APC in the state won’t take the party to anywhere during the election.
“The Governor thinks campaigning for buhari alone would do the magic, he doesn’t know that there’s no way one can eat his cake and have it.
“Now, he is not visibly campaigning for AA candidates and he not campaigning for those contesting on his party’s platform (APC).
“In all of this, one thing is certain, a house that is divided against itself would collapse.
With the stake to be hovering around 60 percent votes for Atiku and 40 percent for Buhari, the state chapter of PDP, has maintained that Atiku will come out victorious in the state, while the APC is also projecting that President Buhari is acceptable in the state.
Meanwhile, the tension in the state ahead of the election has been a bit calm, but not without pockets of violence at political rallies, with the security agencies assuring electorate of violence-free election across the state.