Photo: President Goodluck Jonathan
By Clifford Ndujihe & Dapo Akinrefon
With states like Ekiti (E), Lagos (L), Ogun (O), Ondo (O), Osun (O) and Oyo (O), the six South-West states can also be described as ELOOOO states. The word elo in Yoruba, the indigenous language of South-westerners, means how much.
The issue of elo or how much will play crucial roles in 2015 general polls in the zone especially the February 14 presidential election where the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is hammering out strategies to beat the All Progressives Congress, APC, the dominant party in the region.
Currently, President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP and his APC rival, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) are not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that they emerge victorious in ELOOOO states. They are mobilising funds, men and resources to get the upper hand in the polls. But will ELOOOO states go for the highest bidder or the best candidate? If for the highest bidder at what cost?
On Wednesday, the APC Vice Presidential Candidate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, who hails for Ogun State led Nigerians in a road procession in Osun State tagged: ‘’Nigerians Walk for Change.’’
And yesterday, President Jonathan flagged off his re-election campaign at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.
As of now, the APC has four governors (Lagos, Ogun, Osun and Oyo) while the PDP has two (Ekiti and Ondo).
In the 2011 presidential polls, the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, one of the three parties that merged to form the APC was in control of three states (Lagos, Ekiti and Osun), the PDP had Ogun and Oyo while the Labour Party had Ondo.
In that year’s presidential election, Jonathan won in five of the six states apart from Osun, which went to the ACN Candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu.
Interestingly, the duo of Jonathan and Buhari participated in the 2011 presidential polls. Jonathan polled 2,786,417 votes in the South-West; Ribadu scored 1,469,943 votes, while Buhari had 321,609 votes.
Buhari had contested on the platform of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
With the elections around the corner, the two contestants have begun canvassing for votes from every nook and cranny of the country.
However, in the South West, Jonathan would need his good luck and the bulk votes to stand a chance of winning next month’s election.
The zone is probably the only part of the south where they would experience an uphill task in his bid to secure a second term.
Against this background, Jonathan and the PDP have been making frantic efforts to woo the people of the region.
Indeed, the PDP and its strategists in the Presidency are believed to be jittery over the realisation that losing the South-West might cost them the presidential election.
For the PDP, the coming on board of Governor Olusegun Mimko of Ondo state has boosted the chances of the president in the region considering the fact that Ondo is an oil-producing state.
During the June 21, 2014 governorship election held in Ekiti State, the APC failed to retain the state, which it lost to PDP.
The issue of religion will also play up as Jonathan and Buhari belong to the two prominent religions – Christianity and Islam.
In the South-West, Christianity and Islam play prominent roles in the socio-political lives of the people.
Though Jonathan may be banking on his Christian background, Buhari’s choice of Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate may give the APC an edge.
George makes case for Jonathan
In an attempt to make a case for the president, former Deputy National Chairman (South) of the PDP, Chief Olabode George urged the region to vote for President Jonathan “massively because he has kept faith and strengthened the bonds of our national unity despite grave provocations.
Let us re-elect our president for sustaining harmony among our ethnic divides and for the significant growth in the fields of commerce, aviation, power and transportation. The good people must stand together now to protect this democracy.”
Photo: President Goodluck Jonathan