By Babatunde Arinola
The seat of the Akure North/Akure South Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives has been empty since August 16, 2021 when its former occupier, Hon. Adedayo Omolafe (Expensive), suddenly died. The seat was formally declared vacant last month by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The declaration has paved way for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a by-election to fill the seat. The people of the federal constituency are now waiting for the commission to announce a date, expected not to be later than February 2022, for the exercise.
Several aspirants in both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have thrown their hats into the ring. But we are only concerned about those seeking the APC ticket to contest the by-election.
No fewer than 15 aspirants are said to be interested in flying the APC flag. The number shows how attractive the APC platform is. Among the aspirants are former members of the House of Representatives, a member of the State House of Assembly and those currently holding federal and state appointments.
Efforts have been made to prune the number and reduce the crowd. The APC leaders and elders in Akure South were said to have held a meeting with the contestants to discuss consensus possibility. But nothing significant seems to have come out of the parley. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has also met with them, assuring them of a level-playing field.
If service is the prime motivation for the desire to represent the federal constituency, we think it is time to allow reason to prevail. We, therefore, offer the following suggestions:
One, the former members of the House of Representatives seeking to return could be persuaded to step down. They gave their best when they were there and we appreciate their representation.
Apart from that, they don’t have the advantage of age. It is the dog of this time that can hunt for the rabbit of this time. That’s why other federal constituencies are sending vibrant youths to the National Assembly.
We know what the youthful ones among the House of Representatives members from Ondo have achieved for their constituencies in the last two and a half years. So, these leaders should be advised to go for higher positions.
Two, those among the aspirants holding federal and state appointments could also be persuaded to abandon their aspirations for now if they genuinely love Akure. If any of them secures the APC ticket and eventually the mandate of the people, another Akure person may not have the opportunity to fill the position he or she will be vacating. It will be a minus for Akure.
Also, what will the situation look like if a member of the State House of Assembly from Akure gets the APC ticket and is eventually elected? Are we not going to have two by-elections within a very short time? What if the electoral umpire decides not to conduct any by-election since general elections are approaching? Will that Akure seat not be vacant in the State House of Assembly till 2023? Who will then lose?
So, those who currently occupy one political office or the other should be persuaded to hold on to these offices till 2023. Who is going to the House of Representatives now will only spend one year and few months.
Three, APC should opt for a vibrant, brilliant and highly connected youth among the remaining aspirants. It must be one of those who participated in the 2019 primary. He must have enough resources to pursue his aspiration. His contributions to the party and the federal constituency must also be considered.
*Babatunde Arinola, a member of APC, writes from Akure on behalf of the Concerned APC Group
Disclaimer: This piece represents the opinion of the Writer not this medium CityMirrorNews
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