The governorship candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in Ondo State, Mr Olusola Oke has decried the heavy monetization of the election process which produced Mr Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as governor-elect.
Oke who addressed the Press in Akure on Monday, congratulated Mr Rotimi Akeredolu on his victory and commended both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agents deployed to the state for being fair in the handling of their duties.
He, however, regretted that the open and free use of money to purchase votes during the election by the ruling party remains a sad commentary on the nation’s electoral process.
This development, according to him, required the urgent intervention by government if the much publicized anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government must have meaning to Nigerians.
He said: “In the last seven years, the policy direction of the government of the day (in Ondo State) has resulted in the growth and circulation of poverty to our people.
“The resultant effect is the debilitating poverty that had made the people so vulnerable. Therefore, trading away dignity in the face of excruciating hunger during electioneering process requires little or no considerations for morals and values that defined us as a people.
“The open and free use of money to purchase votes, during the election by the ruling parties remains a sad commentary on our electoral process. This requires urgent intervention by government if the much publicized anti-corruption agenda of the Federal Government must have meaning to Nigerians.
“Offer of money for votes is worse than looting the government treasury. Apart from compromising the dignity of the people, it provides a fertile training ground for future looters of government treasury.
“The consequence of it is to render the anti-corruption fight a farce. There may be no economic matter more urgent, difficult to unravel and more sensitive to the pursuit of the average person in Ondo State than the current indignity foisted on the people by poverty, orchestrated by maladministration and priority misplacement by the current administration.
“We hope the incoming administration will address the problem of poverty so that the integrity of our electoral process will be restored.”
He noted that from the observation of the people of Ondo State, they appear confused and unsure of what would follow the immediate satisfaction from the naira handout received in consideration of the votes cast.
“They appear wondering whether the votes they delivered yesterday would restore light, revive dead industries, complete the uncompleted ones, give hundreds of thousands of unemployed graduates employment, pay arrears of salary to workers and guarantee regular payment of salary; whether their votes will make water to flow again in their unused and rusted water pipes, reduce dust on our roads, revive our education and health sectors and so on,” he stated.
Oke, who recalled the event leading to his and his followers’ movement to the AD, said that the movement was necessitated by the need for “us as democrats and conscience of the people to shun the in-built perfidy and organized deception in APC as revealed during its primary election.
“We moved to AD less than six weeks before the gubernatorial election. We knew it was a big challenge and the greatest challenge was time. But we were determined in the pursuit of our dream.
“We know how bad the situation is and we are aware that the art of governance is difficult and complex, especially during trying times. The steep reduction in global oil prices from over 120 dollars per barrel to roughly 30 dollars and the huge debt profile of Ondo State present a hard challenge that requires a prepared mind and experienced hands in the saddle. We are convinced that we can no longer afford past practices.
“That was the compelling re-occurring issue that defined our struggle. We thank the people of Ondo State who believed in the struggle of Alliance for Democracy and its candidate, Chief Olusola Oke.”
He went on to give recommendations to the incoming administration: “Ondo State requires economic re-engineering, creative reform, materially changing the substance of its economic policy as well as the objectives of that policy in a way that the economic well-being of the people will be restored again.
“Therein lies the essence of progressive democratic governance and that is what our party, the Alliance for Democracy stands for.
“The incoming government therefore must urgently address the issue of ravaging poverty in the state through: Industrialization; Job/Wealth Creation; Rural Integration; Infrastructural Development; Security.”
He gave the assurance that as members of the opposition, the AD shall continue to contribute to the process of governance and would not hesitate to point, in a civilized manner, the attention of the incoming government to any area where the masses seem not to have been considered in the policy framework of governance.
“We shall voice our opinion whenever we believe any member of the incoming government strayed from the progressive calling required of the administration,” he posited.
He congratulated the governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, and wished him success, praying to God to guide him as he directs the affairs of Ondo state.