Casting a furtive look at the kind of didactic forum of teachers in their thousands, this politician with the trademark cap of All Progressives Congress was crestfallen. He was particularly awed by the overwhelming reception that teachers in Owo, Ondo State, had given Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, the governorship candidate of the rival Peoples Democratic Party.
Markedly, Owo is the hometown of the APC governorship aspirant, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN. When given a close call, this distraught, lonely politician was heard jabbering at first, before he eventually managed to utter the words, “So this is the way things are going…I guess I will soon cross over to this Jegede party o!” Why is the inexplicable public affection for Jegede this pervasive?
Why is it even crazier in Owo, the hometown of Akeredolu? Or why are markets virtually closed anytime Jegede visits Ilaje communities, the supposed base of Olusola Oke, the flagbearer of sleepy Alliance for Democracy. The answers are not far-fetched.
Here is an urbane, simple but strict lawyer, whose passage through the corridors of power remains decent and result-oriented. These innate qualities find records in Jegede’s early life as a hardworking student at Aquinas College Akure, where he reached the pinnacle of honour among his peers by being appointed the Senior Prefect. In those days, to be appointed a prefect, much less a senior prefect, was akin to the proverbial needle-eye that a camel seeks to take as route.
In his chosen profession – Law, Jegede in far-away Adamawa State was elected chairman of the state’s chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA.
“Jegede is reticent, suave, urbane, cautious and highly reflective. Whereas, Mafo is outspoken, prickly as per an activist, tedious at work and impatient with slothfulness. With these variegated qualities respectively shared, Ondo State is in for a glorious era”
An ebullient Jegede comes to public service as a matador; determined to wrestle the bull of lingering socio-economic problems, bearing the panache of a goal-getter. Having served for seven and half years in the Governor Olusegun Mimiko administration, great potentials have been found in him, as even beyond his brief as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Jegede had been saddled with varying responsibilities, ranging from contract supervision to budget monitoring.
Mimiko, it was learnt, was shell-shocked at the level of commitment that Jegede had to the rural dwellers, that the latter virtually became the natural interventionist whenever any community was in some dire strait.
To wit, all these have reflected in the carriage and character of Jegede’s campaign machine. All over, he has been unfolding his agenda of how the state’s economy would be bolstered with the establishment of a power plant to energise industries that he intends to establish through a publicprivate partnership formula.
In tandem too, Jegede wants to float a gas plant that will feed the energy plant, which in turn will serve both industrial and domestic energy needs of the people of Ondo State.
“I’m always moved to see young, educated people loafing around the streets for want of what to do. I want to put an end to this by giving these promising youth good jobs for the benefit of themselves and the society at large,” an impassioned Jegede once said during a media interview.
Being an agrarian society too, Jegede has identified mechanised farming as the major road to salvation for Ondo State, especially in this era that the price of petrol keeps falling at the international market. To that extent, he is set to float an agric expansion policy that will cut across all the requisite locations in the state.
Now, the big news. Jegede’s party, the PDP, in its hoary wisdom, has found a suitable partner to assist Jegede in driving his vision. They went for Prince John Ola Mafo, a delectable achiever in public service, to become deputy governor.
Mafo was once the spokesman of the then University of Ife Students Union. A lawyer and graduate of English, Mafo, much loved in his Ilaje/ Ikale clan, and even among the Ijaw ethnic stock of Ondo State, had served meritoriously in various capacities to prepare him for this daunting task ahead. He was a Local Government Chairman and was at a time the Commissioner for Sports in Ondo State. Lately, he was in charge at the state’s football governing body.
Talking frankly, Jegede is reticent, suave, urbane, cautious and highly reflective. Whereas, Mafo is outspoken, prickly as per an activist, tedious at work and impatient with slothfulness. With these variegated qualities respectively shared, Ondo State is in for a glorious era.
As the people of Ondo State look on earnestly to the break of November 26, this year, when they hope to elect a new governor, the choice seems made, and perfectly too.