I’m in the race to win, says Ondo female governorship aspirant

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  • Ganduje inaugurates Uzodimma, five others APC zonal coordinators

A 40-year-old mechanical engineer, Funmi Waheed-Adekojo, on Wednesday, became the first Ondo aspirant to pick up the N10m expression of interest form to officially enter the race for the All Progressives Congress governorship ticket.

The ruling party has pegged the expression of interest form at N10m, while the nomination form goes for N40m.

However, female aspirants and persons with disabilities are given concession to only procure the expression of interest form while the nomination form is free.

Waheed-Adekojo, who is seeking to become the first female governor of the state, however, faces a daunting task in competing with the incumbent Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, business mogul and senator representing Ondo South district, Jimoh Ibrahim and a notable APC chieftain, Olusola Oke among others.

Speaking with newsmen after procuring her form at the APC national secretariat on Wednesday, she declared that she was not in any way intimidated by other aspirants in the race.

She also denied fronting for the governor, or some alleged political godfathers in the state.

She said, “I am not fronting for anybody. I have just picked an N10m form that is also not being paid for by any godfather. It was paid with my hard earned money through which I have also single handedly raised 15,000 women and youths in Akoko and Ondo State generally on skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.

“I am not in the race to represent or serve the interest of anybody. I am a woman of the people who is closer to those at the grassroots. As a mechanical engineer from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and a Fellow of the Society of Engineers, I am in this race to win and become the first female governor of Ondo State.

“I am not only representing myself. I am here to represent the women in the world, especially here in Africa, where we need to showcase what we can do. This is the era where women have to come on board to replace a lot of things that are missing in our society.”

Ganduje inaugurates Uzodimma, five others APC zonal coordinators

Also, the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress Abdullahi Ganduje has charged the six governors inaugurated on Wednesday as zonal Coordinators of the party in the six geopolitical zones of the country that it would not be business as usual as they March to change the narrative of party and politics in Nigeria.

The six governors appointed and subsequently inaugurated at the party national secretariat in Abuja are Governors Hope Uzodimma of Imo state who will serve as the coordinator of South East, Abdulrahman Abdulrazak of Kwara State for North Central, Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State for North East, Babajide Sanwolu of Lagos State for South West, Bassey Otu of Cross River State for South South and Ubah Sani of Kaduna State as the coordinator for North West.

In his inaugural speech, Ganduje recalled how he promised the party to an institution and an organization with identity adding that the time is now.

“Your Excellences, as you can recall, sometime in August last year, when the national secretary of the party and myself were approved and sworn in by the committee, we made some public announcements.

“First of all, we said business would not be as usual because a political party is an institution and as an institution is an organization with an identity.

“When we said business would not be as usual, we said usually especially in emerging countries political parties are just for election and after election they become dormant. We want to change the narrative, we want our political party to be active throughout the year. Therefore, all our offices must be physically operational, all our offices must be functionally operational. Right from the local government level, state level there must be activities throughout, but this cannot happen by chance.”

He said there must be some concerted efforts, the party needs to have a precise number of its party membership, not only given the number, but the demographic properties of their membership in terms of age, in terms of sex, in terms of profession, in terms of location, because sometimes in politics, you need to target a particular segment of society and you cannot do that through trying in error.

Ganduje insisted that the party must base its campaign on verifiable data, adding, “You must have the records, you must have the data so that you can target using technology, you can make your campaign easy. You can even project your success, to take your state considering the parameters of politics, the eventualities of politics in a particular geopolitical zone.

“All this cannot be done off ahead. We need data, just so we need education. That is why we are coming up with The Progressives Institute, so that we educate our members on the guidelines and regulations of political parties, on our manifesto, on our objectives and on our constitution.

“We need to educate our members, we need to have our own political party identity, because we must know where we are heading to. That is why it is easy for a politician to cross from one party to another just like that, because they like identity. So APC must have an identity.”

The former governor of Kano State also said that having an identity must be related with the party’s manifesto adding that political parties must be able to assess the executive so that “we can advise so that we can put ministers, so that they know what they’re doing in relation to the manifesto. So that they know what they’re doing within the timeframe, not business as usual.”

Ganduje maintained that political parties institution is interested in what they are doing, because they are two way traffic, saying, “We are here to mobilize the demand of the people, we have to mobilize what the people like, to form an agenda for the party and for the government and also we have to disseminate information on what the government is doing down to the people. So in order to do that we have narrowed down our activities to geopolitical zones.

“So in all this, there must be a governor that will oversee, that will motivate, encourage all within that zone, that is the only way that we can move forward quickly.

The governors were given seven terms of reference to ease their assignments which includes to coordinate the governors of the zones always identify and participate more on the activities of the party, Initiate periodic interface between the governors of the zones with the leadership of the party, liaise with the party to commence immediate process of genuine reconciliation of aggrieved party members in the geopolitical zone, Mobilize governors of the zones to effectively and physically participate in party activities in the zone, Consult with governor’s and resolves some issues that will further enhance the progress and unity of the party, Assist the party on resource mobilization in serving the party and participate in any other activity that may be assigned by the party.

Responding on behalf of the six Coordinating Governors, Uzodimma said they will contribute their quota to stimulate the activities of the party to dominate the political space in the six geopolitical zones.

While commending the National Chairman for the confidence reposed on them, Uzodimma said the governors will do their best to meet the expectations of the party.

“On behalf of the Coordinating Governors of the six geopolitical zones of our party, I thank you for finding us worthy to do this assignment. Doing this assignment we are almost certain the expectations will be met.

“We will do our best as progressive governor’s forum to support the government to ensure that the government is functional and effective, to encourage all inclusive programs in the government and to strengthen the reward system of the party in government”, he said.