Ondo 2024: Olusola Oke, Propitious Voyage Toward April

By:…..Debo Akinbami

It’s no news that Ondo State is in the news. Its gubernatorial election is in season, scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for November, 2024. The political parties are consequently in heated preparations to name flag-bearers in April.

As the primary election draws close, the heat within the political ambience has also increased significantly. The tension becomes ubiquitous and obvious within the fold of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the same way it is with the opposition parties. Aspirants, across board, in fierce competition, deploy pranks and ploys- the sore and subtle.

For those jostling for the ruling party’s ticket, the battle seems to be more than a storm in a tea cup. This is because folks believe that the APC, being the party in control at the state and national levels, holds the longer end of the stick in inter-party election situation, and given this relative advantage, the game is understandably grim.

One of its chieftains and prominent aspirant, Chief Olusola Oke, appears to be at the center of the storm. Based on his pedigree and popularity, many believe he may be the man to beat in the struggle for the party’s ticket. He has been the issue in recent public debates; and, among other contestants, he is arguably the most pronounced, most experienced and the most prepared.

This astute lawyer has been around for awhile as active participant in virtually all the political tournaments since the nation’s return to democracy and fourth republic. He has previously contested comparable elections with brilliant performances and yet unceasing in his resolve to be the change that Ondo seeks. His political trajectory and unmatched mastery of the issues affecting the State may also explain his exceeding popularity.

His case typifies a fruit-bearing tree that will be stoned; yet, in strides he takes the hits, believing that it is in the nature of politics to sweep mundanities to significance to score political points. For want of consequential points against his person, he has been vainly dragged into needless and mundane themes, but he has refused to join issues. He chose to be focused, instead, while waiting for substantial debate on salient issues.

It is true that Olusola Oke, SAN, is an established political figure with formidable structure and a cult of following. It is also true that he needs no introduction to persons and places within the geographical space called Ondo State. As a brand, he towers above his co-contenders who are mostly green, and he is debatably the most popular person on the roll-call of aspirants for the gubernatorial position in Ondo State as at today.

Where others busy themselves with trading tirades, he tirelessly works for winning, gaining new grounds for the party and selling his plans to denizens. As he does this, his reach of influence daily enlarges among the teeming members and leaders of the party. And, in so doing, his chances of clinching the party’s ticket broadens by the day.

Through all these, I found as profound his stance: “I am often humbled by the public acknowledgement of my popularity. That, in itself, attracts all manners of attack from my opponents. My opponents cannot say I am not experienced; they cannot say I am not competent; they cannot say I am a new comer; they cannot call me a lilliputian in the race; hence, they must look for something to say about me.”

Amidst puerile impressions, Oke’s posture portrays him as one who has his eye fixed on the ball. He intently avoid whatever distracts, an attitude that gives him out as a serious contender for the party’s ticket in April. This outlook makes it safe to say his voyage is even more propitious.

*** ‘Debo Akinbami writes from IgboEgunrin, Ondo State.

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