ALL Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain Princess Omowumi Olatunji has said the people of Ondo State are warming up for the governorship election, adding that the carrot of council poll dangled at them by Governor Olusegun Mimiko is a distraction.
She faulted the decision to conduct the local government elections by the Mimiko administration, which she said, had rejected the agitation for the exercise in the last seven years.
Olatunji, a former member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, said that it is curious that the governor who had refused to conduct the elections has suddenly turned around to release its timetable at a time people are preparing for the governorship poll.
Describing the council election as a trap and distraction, she said many stakeholders are of the view that the poll should be conducted by the next administration.
Olatunji said: “The state is ready for the governorship election. It is going to be an election with a difference. The people of Ondo State are yearning for change. The APC is now their party of choice. We need to probe for the motivation for planning for the local government elections by the same government that has refused to hold it in the past seven years. The priority of the stakeholders now is the governorship election.”
The politician, who spoke with reporters in Akure, the state capital, on her empowerment programme for women and youths, applauded the opposition political parties for their decision to boycott the council polls. She said the boycott will herald a credibility problem for the local electoral process.
Olatunji, who chided the government for its inability to pay salaries of workers regularly, urged the people to endure the hardship, assuring that help is on the way.
She added: “I think everything is set for the APC and we have to leverage on the inability of the current government to discharge its duties. I won’t lie to you. People are not happy with the Mimko administration. I think it has really lost its popularity. Many things have gone wrong. So, you cannot repair a broken wall overnight.
“The Buhari administration just got into office less than a year. We are not going to expect so much. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. So, for any administration that is still flowing from the PDP, it will be rejected. They do not have the interest of people at heart.
Olatunji reflected on the succession struggle in the Sunshine state, saying that the large number of aspirants on the platform of the APC will not constitute any problem for the main opposition party. She said: “ I believe the leadership is looking into that and at the end of the day, the number would be pruned down. So, I see that number reducing before the primary. We cannot have that large number; it doesn’t make sense, it does add up to have 25 people going for the shadow poll. I think the party is looking towards that direction to prune down the number of aspirants.”
Exuding confidence over the proposed governorship poll, the former lawmaker said the gale of defections from the PDP to the APC have attested to the public disillusionment about the Mimiko’s government.
She said if voted at the poll, the next APC governor will advance the cause of change and progress and restore the lost glory of Ondo State.
Olatunji stressed: “The APC is a government that believes in accountability and that is what we are saying and in whatever we are doing, we are very consistent; we believe in continuity. Anything that we do, we sustain it and that is what we are selling-consistency in governance. We don’t believe in duplication and wasting money. Anything that we are doing and is affecting people positively, we sustain it. Also, in what we do, transparency is important. You must be seen not to only say you are transparent. You must be seen to be transparent.”
On the empowerment programme set up in memory of her mother, she said: With the empowerment that I have introduced, it is going to capture a large number of people. On individual basis, I have been doing that, paying school fees for people and all that. It is what I am used to. You get to hear this family has problem, that one is sick in the hospital. I do that periodically; sometimes on a weekly basis, on a daily basis. So, I touch their lives. But, I want to look at a larger percentage of the people of Ondo State. That is why I am sponsoring an empowerment programme that will cut across the entire state to touch a thousand people-youths, women, old people, widows, orphans.