The 2020 gubernatorial election in Ondo state ended up in defeat for the Peoples Democratic Party and its standard bearer, Eyitayo Jegede. But they didn’t see the drubbing they received from the contest as the end of the battle for the Alagbaka Government House. They rejected the victory of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress and headed for court.
The reason for the PDP and its candidate’s resort to litigation has nothing to do with the conduct of the election or its outcome. They only rely on the miracle of legal technicality to turn their defeat to victory. They claim Governor Akeredolu and his running mate, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, were not dully sponsored by their party, APC, because a wrong person signed their nomination.
The tribunal saw no indubitable basis for upturning the will of the people. It declared the petition unmeritable and threw it away. Still, the battle was not over for the petitioners. They approached the Court of Appeal. The appellate court also could not see any merit in their complaint. It tossed the appeal out.
Before the Appeal Court gave its judgment, the PDP had opted for a stratagem of mudslinging and blackmail. A social media report linked to the opposition party maliciously claimed Governor Akeredolu flew to Abuja to meet some judges with a view to influencing the verdict of the court.
At the time the report said the governor was in Abuja, he was actually attending the Annual Conference of the Section on Legal Practice of the Nigeria Bar Association in Uyo, the Akwa-Ibom state capital. It might be that the report was suggesting that Governor Akeredolu possessed the spiritual power to be at two places at the same time.
Not a few people considered the report as a subtle attack on the nation’s judiciary. It insolently implied that the judges handling the case were commodities that could be bought. The PDP was to latter accuse the Appeal Court of attempting to prevent it from accessing copies of the judgment. The process of obtaining the copies was characterised by theatricals aiming at painting the court black.
The Ondo PDP had hardly approached the Supreme Court to challenge the verdict of the Appeal Court when its Southwest chapter came out with an unthinking press statement. The statement alleged that Governor Akeredolu was planning to procure a favourable judgment from the Apex Court with the money meant for the salaries of the state workers.
The trash was ascribed to the PDP southwest publicity secretary, Sanya Atofarati. It was spewed on his behalf by a fellow who described himself as Atofarati’s Special Assistant (Ondo State). Surely, the publicity secretary will have S.As in other states in the region. What does this suggest about one of the PDP regional mouthpieces? Your guess is as good as mine.
Probably, the imbecilic statement was Atofarati’s first attempt at propaganda since he became the spokesperson of the opposition party in the Southwest. It went awry. Its thoughtlessness mirrors the smallness of the minds of those currently running the affairs of the PDP in the region. Its former spokesperson, Ayo Fadaka, couldn’t have descended this low and dragged the party through a putrid sewer of opprobrium.
The Ondo state publicity secretary, Kennedy Peretei, dissociated the state chapter from the mudslinging. Some say the dissociation is suggestive of a disagreement between the state chapter and the Southwest PDP. No, I disagree. It is an afterthought. Peretei had to come out and do the damage control when the nasty implications of the jejune statement dawned on them.
Peretei never admitted that the statement emanated from their Southwest chapter. He shifted the blame for the buffoonery to their imaginary adversaries. He was even said to have attributed it to the APC. If it did not stem from their dirty mind, why was it shared profusely by their known social media boys? Why has Atofarati or the fellow who spewed it on his behalf not come out to deny it.
One continues to wonder what they intended to achieve with the deservedly failed propaganda? Was it to cause an industrial crisis in the state? To achieve what? The election is over and the civil servants are not the ones that will determine the case at the Supreme Court. Why attempting to set them against the Akeredolu government? Or was it aimed at blackmailing the Supreme Court justices into giving them a favourable judgment? Why the insinuation of bribery and corruption?
The unfounded allegation of the PDP smacks of desperation to occupy the Alagbaka Government House. Instead of dragging the judiciary in the gutter and spewing all kinds of lies against the Akeredolu government, why don’t PDP members take the advice of Donald Ojogo, the State Commissioner for Information and Orientation.
“The PDP is, therefore, admonished to focus on its appeal at the Supreme Court and pursue same with the desired legal industry and zeal rather than this voyage of self-denial and blackmail,” Ojogo advised the opposition party in his reaction to the hogwash from the foul mouth of the Southwest PDP mouthpiece.
*** Oyewamide is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Akeredolu on Media and Publicity