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ZLP well positioned to win Ondo 2020 governorship election – Akinlaja, State Chairman
The newly-elected Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in Ondo State, Hon Joseph Akinlaja, has revealed that the party is positioning itself and strategising ahead of the Ondo 2020 governorship election which holds later this year.
Akinlaja, a two-term former member of the House of Representatives who represented Ondo East/West Federal Constituency, said ZLP is coming to provide credible leadership and people-centered government to the people of the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to announce date for the state’s governorship election which is expected to hold this year.
The incumbent Governor Rotimi Akeredolu will mark three years in office on February 24, 2020, and would complete his first term in 2021.
According to the Electoral Act, an election must hold at least 90 days before the expiration of the term of the incumbent. Akeredolu whose tenure expires in February 2021 has also indicated interest to run for a second term in office.
Speaking exclusively with Triangle Magazine during his visit to the corporate head office of the Ondo-based media outfit, Akinlaja said following the ZLP’s performance in the 2019 general election, the party has gone back to the drawing board to restrategise on how to reposition it to contend and win the coming governorship election.
The former Federal lawmaker who expressed dissatisfaction in the performance of the Akeredolu-led administration said the people of the state have now seen clearly the difference between the government of the National Leader of ZLP, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and the incumbent.
Excerpts of Akinlja’s interview:
“ZLP is mapping out strategies with its pedigree especially from the national leader who everybody, across party lines from the APC to the PDP, acknowledges as a trailblazer. They all acknowledge the fact that some legacy of the Dr Olusegun Mimiko-led administration still speak for themselves and three years after there is still no basis for comparison.
“A Yoruba adage says if a woman does not marry two husbands she will not know which one is better, she will think the older one is the wicked one. When the people of Ondo State compare both and put them side by side, they now know that ZLP is going to be a very strong contender in the gubernatorial election coming up later this year and are yearning for a government like we had under Mimiko.”
“So the people of Ondo State have seen what is happening. It is not a matter of hearsay, the eyes have seen the ears have heard, what is left now is for their mouth to speak. Free healthcare for the poor, the democratization of access to quality education at the primary, secondary and tertiary institution level were some of the things Ondo enjoyed under Governor Mimiko.
“When Dr. Olusegun Mimiko rolled out his education policy which was encapsulated in the Caring Heart agenda that gave birth to mega schools, our party leader was building those children and preparing them to be globally competitive.
“Imagine those children who are used to computers in primary school to secondary school and now get to university with that knowledge and development, this has prepared them to be globally employable. So when we talk about the democratization of access to quality education, the greatest beneficiaries are the children of the poor who can access education in a conducive learning environment with 21st-century facilities at affordable rates.
“Look at Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, throughout the eight years of Dr Mimiko, students paid N25,000 as tuition fees, that does not mean that the government never needed money for other things, rather it was a matter of choice, the government prioritised the development of the young people through affordable education which plays a vital role in developing the society.
“Education makes people easy to govern but difficult to enslave, so we gave priority to education. We also understand that a healthy mind is to a healthy body, a man who is not healthy cannot go to work so we also gave priority to the health of the people. It is our belief that childbearing should not be a death sentence.
“You could see that even the World Health Organization acknowledged the programme of our party – the Abiye (Safe Motherhood) programme.”