Ondo 2024: Whipping Up Ethnic Profiling Of Akeredolu’s Widow To Smear Olusola Oke

By: Kayode Owolabi

The aphorism, “wonders shall never end”, seems to have found a suitable reference point in the build-up to the imminent governorship election in Ondo State. Ahead of the Primary Election of the APC, politicians, obviously aware of the strength of their opponents, devise schemes and maneuvering as well as subterfuge to whittle down the influence of a leading candidate. In the case of Ondo State, such scheme has assumed an unconscionable machination. Ignorance of the people is being mischievously exploited by these politicians with a full doze of wicked manipulation. They use the social media as a tool of influence and deceit.

In this instance, the man at the centre of such attrition is Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, who, undoubtedly, is a foremost contender in the APC Primary Election. To achieve this calculated political denigration of Oke, these ostensibly livid politicians have taken solace in whipping up virulent ethnic profiling of the late Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s widow in a bid to smear the acceptability of Chief Olusola Oke, on the basis of his marriage to an Igbo lady, Chief Nkem Olusola-Oke, as second wife.

Undoubtedly, Ondo State, which has been known for its civilized, decent, humane, and hospitable status, has seen such commended virtues been mischievously assaulted with the deliberate promotion of the profiling of the Igbo nation, using Akeredolu’s widow as a reference point, notwithstanding that various sons and daughters of Ondo State find marital soul mates in inter-marriage between the Igbos and the Yorubas, as exemplified, besides Chief Olusola Oke, by Allen Sowore, (a covert image-maker of Aiyedatiwa that recently defected from the PDP to the APC) and Gbenga Edema (also an aspirant under the APC) whose second wife is an Igbo. The basis of the sardonic ethnic profiling is that the former first lady of the state, Chief Betty Anyanwu, was overtly assertive in the government led by her husband, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN (of blessed memory).

Sadly, in entrenching and escalating the horrendous ethnic profiling of Akeredolu’s widow in a bid to smear Oke, our findings revealed, rather egregiously, that two prominent aspirants of the Southern part of Ondo State have launched a political onslaught against Oke using the promoted ethnic profiling of Akeredolu’s widow. While one, who currently holds the State purse, has engaged over 500 media propagandists, including print media, spread across social media with their remuneration ranging from 50,000 to 300,000, the second, a sitting Senator, has found comfort in the bosom of Adekanle, popularly called JAF, a bitter loser of the last House of Representatives election to Jimi Odimayo. Adekanle, desperate for his pound of flesh from Akeredolu’s widow for purportedly supporting Odimayo, is ferociously and cunningly coordinated by the said sitting Senator, egging on Adekanle to use the existing no-love-lost relationship with the former first lady as evidentiary media war on Oke. The objective is sole: bring Oke popularity to the lowest ebb of political reckoning.

Instructively and globally, inter-ethnic and regional marriages are encouraged as a way of fostering cohesion, brotherliness, peace and tolerance across ethnic divides. In appreciation of this altruistic objective, the Nigerian Constitution, section 15(1, 2 and 3) (c) thereof provides:
“Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited”
“For the purpose of promoting national integration, it shall be the duty of the state to:
“encourage inter-marriage among persons from different places of origins, or different religious, ethnic or linguistic association or ties;.” Emphasis supplied.

In a clear solemn acknowledgement and commendation of the above Constitutional provision, many Nigerians have contracted marriages across ethnic and regional ties. In Ondo State, analyzed marital statistics shows that over 40% percent of marriages are inter-ethnic with over 60% percent of the 40% being marital unions between Ondo State indigenes and the Igbos.

It is in the irresistible circumstance that Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, must have married his Igbo wife, whom he had described, like his first wife, as a virtuous woman and jewel of inestimable value. Despite the above solace, provided by the Nigeria Constitution, 1999, (as amended), and the growing bond of amity among ethnic groups in Nigeria, these dark forces with stone-age mentality and dubious personality are cascading the political landscape of Ondo State, fanning the ember of disunity, hate and aggressive ethnic profiling of the Igbos for personal political gain. This must be rejected by all well-meaning Ondo State indigenes and political stakeholders. The good brotherliness that made our forebears to preserve humanity during the war is being trashed for pecuniary political gains.

Instructively, a cursory examination of this narrative shows that the resson for the needless attacks on the Okes by these crude politicians is the giant political posture of Olusola Oke, and his wide acceptance across Ondo State, as the one eagerly awaited to provide a unifying and truly progressive leadership for the State and the APC family.

Regrettably, to them, in their desperate bid to achieve the above sinister motive, the mischief-makers deliberately omitted and or down-played the marital status of Chief Oke as a polygamist, who is married to two women – older Yoruba wife of Ilaje extraction, Chief Dr. Daisi Oke and Chief Nkem Oke, younger Igbo wife.

Commendably, Chief Dr. Daisi Oke has been married to Chief Oke for over 41 years and the marriage has been gracefully successful with two reputable medical doctors, an engineer and a lawyer. Chief Dr. Daisi Oke served as Olympic medalist in swimming for the old Ondo State and taught and retired as a government school principal in Ondo State. She is an epitome of the Yoruba Omoluwabi culture.

In conclusion, the Nigerian Governance structure, rigidly predicated on constitutional democracy, can only achieve the utilitarian objectives embedded in the Constitution, when competence, trust and character are inclusive parameters for electing leaders. Clearly, therefore, desperate politicians who lack democratic credentials have searched Chief Oke inside and out and found nothing against him.

Oke’s sowering popularity and wide acceptance are intimidating to them. These hypocrites have laboured had unsuccessfully to drag Oke into their sinking boat, as the erudite Senior Advocate has managed his home well, by all standards, for decades. Admittedly by their act: Oke is the best among all and one who can confidently assert the Tinubu’s Cliché “Emi lokan”.

Kayode Owolabi writes from Ikare-Akoko

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