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Tinubu’s cabinet: Major contenders jostling for Ondo Ministerial slot

As political gladiators, especially chieftains and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are awaiting May 29, 2023 swearing-in of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu…

As political gladiators, especially chieftains and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), are awaiting May 29, 2023 swearing-in of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President and his Vice, Senator Kashim Shettima, lobbying for the appointment to be ministers in the incoming administration’s cabinet has begun in earnest, especially in Ondo State.

Key contenders who should be considered for the ministerial slot for Ondo state are now being examined.

Stakeholders believe that the Sunshine State deserves a senior ministerial position since it delivered one of the highest percentage of votes for the President-elect during the February 25 presidential election. APC chieftains and members in the state are not happy with the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration because the state did not get deserving federal appointments and ministerial slots since 2015 despite contributing hugely to the emergence of Buhari in unseating Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

Political analysts are convinced that Ondo State will have a deserving ministerial portfolio under Tinubu, hence they are of the opinion that the following chieftains of the APC from the state should be considered:

A former Minority leader of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Pioneer Board Chairman of the National Examination Council (NECO), a former Ondo state Commissioner for Works, Lands and Housing, a former Secretary to the Ondo State Government (SSG), First Chairman of the APC in Ondo State and now the National Vice Chairman of the APC (Southwest Zone).

He served as the Vice Chairman of the Southwest APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) and worked tirelessly to ensure Tinubu had a very good outing in his home base during the polls. As pioneer Chairman of the APC (then as opposition party to the PDP) in Ondo State, he ensured that the progressives party won two out of three senatorial seats and 4 out of 9 House of Reps seats for the first time. His leadership qualities assisted the party to also win the governorship seat with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

Despite the fact that he could not get the governorship ticket of the APC, Kekemeke also worked hard to ensure Governor Akeredolu won his second term in 2020; no wonder that all the stakeholders compensated and rallied around Kekemeke to clinch the National Vice Chairman (Southwest zone) of the party during the last national convention.

With his loyalty, competence, cerebral as well as his closeness to the President-elect and Governor Akeredolu, it should not be hard for the APC stakeholders in the state to submit Kekemeke’s name for the ministerial slot of the sunshine state.

A very young industrialist and grassroots political mobilizer who is a key player in the political and economic evolution of Ondo State in more than two decades. He is one of the highest employers of labour in the state in recent years.

Ajipe, a traditional chief at Emure in Owo local government area of the state, has been a member of the progressives family since he joined politics over the years.

He has been Member, Alliance for Democracy, 1998 Party Agent, Alliance for Democracy, 1999; the Director General for Youth and Student Mobilization, Action Congress, 2006; Active member, Action Congress of Nigeria 2012; the Convener of the Sunshine Progressive Coalition, (APC Group in Ondo State), 2016; the Convener, Ibi Giga Ambassadors, (the most popular APC Group in Ondo State during the 2020 governorship polls); the Director General of the Civil Society and Support group of the Ondo State All Progressives Congress Campaign Council, 2020; a Member, National Campaign Council for Ondo State Gubernatorial election 2020; a Member, Finance Sub-Committee of the National Campaign Council Ondo 2020 Gubernatorial election and the Director, Humanitarian and Social Directorate of the APC, South-West, 2023.

He is the only APC bigwig from Ondo State who headed a Committee under the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council as the Director, Humanitarian and Social Directorate of the APC, South-West in the February 2023 general election.

Areas of Expertise are; Public Relations, Investor, Governance Policy Formulation and Documentation Programme, Development Public/Private Sector Partnerships Revenue Mobilization & Generation Leadership & Capacity Development and Youth Development

Ajipe has recorded accomplishments thus: Seats as Chairman and Director high profile foreign and Indigenous companies some of which are listed below: Chairman, Africa College of Agriculture, Vocational & Technical Studies (ACAVATS) Chairman, Rural Urban Integrated Projects Ltd Managing Director, Klick Konnect Networks Intl. Ltd Director, Alex & Bauer Gmbh, Germany. Director, Golden Coin Ltd. Pioneered the Ondo-Linyi Industrial Hub, an expansive hub of more than a dozen Medium Scale Industries including West Africa’s first MDF Factory, a Large scale Ethanol Production Factory, WinWin Textile Factory, an Automobile Factory, a Paper Processing factory, a dairy plant and other industries.

He has contributed to the growth of IGR in Ondo State by over 35% within two years; helped Ondo and Kano State Governments to create over 10,000 jobs over 5 years, especially through Foreign Direct Investment and Entrepreneurship; assisted with Increasing the revenue of states and helping to bring a lot of institutions and individuals into the tax net of Nigeria as confirmed by Federal Inland Revenue Service and States’ boards of Internal revenue; consulted for the Ondo State Ministry of Natural Resources as well as the Ondo State Ministry of Transport on Revenue Generation and achieving significant revenue appreciation in said ministries; while he also assisted on Policy Formulation with the States’ Ministries of transportation, the Ondo State Ministry of Sports, the Ondo State Ministry of Water Resources, and other Public Sector Institutions.

With his rich profile and accomplishments in private sector, public relations, political activities and some other critical sectors, Ajipe is well-positioned to clinch the ministerial slot for the state.

It is more pertinent to consider him since he is from Ondo North, and the ministers picked from Ondo state since 2015 had been from Ondo South and Ondo Central senatorial zones.

Although Ajipe is not a desperate politician considering the way he lost the Ondo North APC senatorial ticket to Pastor Jide Ipinsagba and still worked assiduously for the victory of the party at all levels during the just concluded general election.

Since the governorship seat is leaving Ondo North after Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s tenure, it will not be challenged politically to appoint someone like Ajipe from Ondo North as the Minister.

Prince Ademola Adegoroye, the outgoing Minister of State for Transportation under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is another personality who has represented Ondo State very effectively at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) since he was appointed.

It is on record that Adegoroye despite spending a very short period as a member of the FEC, is the most impactful minister from Ondo State since 2011. How he helped the state to fast-track the approval of the Ondo Deep Sea Port after years of agitations. His recent efforts in facilitating federal jobs for Ondo state indigenes will not be forgotten in decades to come.

Reappointing Adegoroye as the minister representing Ondo State under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will not be questioned by the stakeholders, as he also delivered votes for the APC during the last general election.

Adegoroye, a former State lawmaker, who hails from Akure South Local Government, is said to still enjoy the trust of the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, for the ministerial slot again.

Other chieftains of the APC who are jostling to be the Minister from Ondo state include; a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Victor Olabimtan; Dr Segun Abraham as well as Dr Paul Akintelure, who has been a silent political figure since he lost his bid to be the Deputy Governor of the state. Dr Akintelure who hails from Igbotako, in Okitipupa Local Government area of the state, is said to be interested in representing the state at the next FEC.

It is a known fact that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu played a vital role in the emergence of Tinubu from the APC primary election to the general election. Akeredolu enjoys the massive confidence of the President-elect. To this effect, the Governor will have a huge influence on who Tinubu will eventually pick as the minister from Ondo State.

Ade Adeleke writes from Akure

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