Ondo 2024: Getting It Right, The Implications And Verdicts[PHOTOS]

As Ondo State gears up for the November governorship election, the anticipation is palpable, and the responsibility weighs heavily on the minds of its citizens. This election is not just about choosing a leader; it is about setting the course for the state’s future and reaffirming the principles of democracy in Nigeria.

The implications of this election are far-reaching. The wrong choice could worsen economic challenges, deepen infrastructural deficits, and stall the progress that Ondo State desperately needs. It is a time for reflection, action, and the exercise of a fundamental democratic right. A misstep could mean a continuation of economic stagnation, poor governance, and a weakening of the democratic fabric that holds society together.

Zebra News conducted a comprehensive survey to gather the opinions of numerous Ondo citizens and residents reflecting their sentiments on the upcoming election.

Lawrence Oluwaseun, an indigene of Akure and a Security Researcher, emphasizes the importance of voting as a fundamental right and a crucial way to have a say in the state’s direction. He says,

“No matter what happened in the last election, this coming election should be a great opportunity for us to let those who participated in the bungling of the last voting process know that voting remains our fundamental right and we will no longer give it up because it is a crucial way for us to have a say in the direction of our state and this nation.”

Prince Femi Michael, the Chief of staff to Arujale-Ojima of Okeluse Kingdom, believes that the state needs a governor who can change the narrative of governance and work closely with traditional rulers to protect the interests of the people. He asserts,

“I personally believe we need to get it right this time around, we need a governor who is going to change the narrative of governance in the state. A governor who would work hand in hand with our traditional rulers to protect the interests of the people.!”

Oluwatuyi Akindele, a Business development executive and an indigene of Ondo state, highlights the election’s significance against the backdrop of economic strife and civil service reliance. He states,

“2024 Governorship election in Ondo State holds significant importance, especially given the prevailing economic challenges and the state’s reliance on civil service. The outcome will profoundly impact the lives of the people, as they seek a government capable of navigating the economic downturn and fostering prosperity.”

The Lagos based Ondo indigene further reteriates  that given the state’s heavy reliance on the civil service for livelihood, the incoming government must prioritize job creation, timely salary payments, and the overall welfare of civil servants to maintain social and economic stability.  Additionally, with the national economic downturn, Ondo State needs a government that can

“provide innovative solutions to stimulate economic growth, attract investments, and diversify the economy beyond its traditional sectors through fostering an enabling business environment, supporting entrepreneurship, and investing in critical infrastructure”.

Abiodun Abiola Damilola, a Teacher and an indigene of Ilara offers a perspective on the electoral process, emphasizing the importance of the primary elections. He predicts,

“I think the experience of once being a deputy governor of the state and the power of incumbency will come into play making Lucky Ayedatiwa emerging victoriou.” …“For the state election, his relationship with the President and other APC bigwigs will give him the push he desires to ultimately win the election. Moreover, I don’t think the PDP or any other party has a foothold in the state”.

The Ondo State indigene further explains that the candidate’s relationship with the President and other influential members of the APC will give him an advantage in winning the election. He expresses doubt about the PDP or any other party having a significant presence or chance of winning in Ondo State.

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Ilawole Taiwo Samuel, the Deputy Director of New media and publicity Ibi giga Campaign Organization and a resident of Ondo state, praises the current leadership and calls for continuity. He says,

“We seek for the continuation of the current leadership we’re experiencing.” …“I must be very sincere, he has performed exceptionally well and shown leadership traits. Within less than 6 months, thousands of employment opportunities have been created for the teeming youth of Ondo, investment opportunities and Social interventions for the SME, Farmers and Artisan”

He cited the creation of thousands of employment opportunities and social interventions for SMEs, farmers, and artisans within less than six months as proof that the governor has shown exceptional leadership traits.

Otunba Vincent Ayobami Olukoya, a Fashion Professional in Akure, stresses the need for a leader who will prioritize the welfare of all citizens. He states,

“We need someone that can influence policies that will also favor everybody…I think something should just be done on this whole thing whoever will emerge, yes I have my candidates if I have the opportunity of joining in voting during the primary.”

The partly Ondo state indigene expresses his desire for a candidate who prioritizes the welfare of all citizens and focuses on areas such as education and overall state growth. Despite leaning towards a particular political party, he stresses the need for the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation, and expresses skepticism about the current opposition’s strength. He also mentions the positive example of a governor from Abia State and hopes for a similar leader in Ondo.

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Paul Okosun, the Pastor of Grace nation network, highlights the importance of electing a competent leader who can address poverty, unemployment, and other challenges facing the state. He emphasizes the importance of electing the right leader in Ondo State. He discusses the significance of competent leadership in addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and inflation. He stresses the need for leaders who prioritize the welfare of the people and understand the responsibility of the government to provide for its citizens.

The Ondo State based Pastor further suggests that voters should consider the total number of registered voters and their participation in the election to ensure a positive outcome.He emphasizes,

“So it’s very crucial that they vote for the right person. And the definition of the right person must be well clarified because the right person is not just a title, but like it is, what will I say now? It is, yes, competence.”

He also  highlights the responsibility of leaders to eradicate poverty, create jobs, and ensure a standard living for the citizens, including civil servants.

 “As the governor of the state  he must understand his responsibility in the sense that we all know that right now the responsibility that should fall on them is how to eradicate poverty, how to eradicate unemployment, creating a standard living to ensure that even an average man in the nation or probably someone in the civil service can afford as little as bread for his or family”….“They should understand that the primary reason is to feed the people”.

Commenting on why hunger should be tackled, he said

“when somebody is hungry he begins to look for a means to eat so whether legal, illegal or bad it does not really matter all he wants is that he wants to eat”

Ademola Taiwo, a Full stack developer, based in Akure, focuses on the APC primary election and the competition among contenders. He says,

“So other than that I feel the election will be fair, peaceful to the best it can be but whoever comes on top at the APC primary election would really be the determinant of the result of the general election.”

Faromika Olumide a staff at a microfinance bank believes that the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Ondo State will be successful, with people selecting candidates based on their merit rather than party affiliation.

“My take on this gubernatorial forthcoming election is that it will be a huge successful one. Our people are looking forward to select candidate of their choice irrespective the party affiliation”

Abidemi Olarenwaju Mary, A trader in Ondo State also shared her opinion on the upcoming elections. In the past, she was unable to vote due to a lack of a voter card. However, she expressed her desire for a candidate who will help address the security challenges being faced by some parts of Ondo State at the moment. Additionally, she mentioned the need for a governor who will tackle the issue of food scarcity and protect the people.

“we want a governor who will do many things to ensure that people have enough food, protection, and other necessities”.

Adewumi Oluwatope Emmanuel, an Internal Auditor at Lapo Lardi and a resident of Ondo State expresses his belief that the current governor will win the election. However, he also feels unconcerned about the outcome because he believes that the management of Nigeria is primarily from the national level (Abuja), implying that state leadership is perceived as less effective and less important.

“I see the present Governor to win the election. Nevertheless, I feel unbothered about who eventually wins because the management of Nigeria today is from National i.e Abuja and so state leadership is less effective and not important”

The sentiments expressed by these concerned citizens reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people of Ondo State, who are eager to choose a leader who will steer the state towards prosperity and good governance.

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As the election date draws near, the citizens of Ondo State are urged to reflect on the past and envision the future they desire. The power lies in their hands to reject those who seek to buy their conscience with money and to choose leaders who embody the values of integrity and service.

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