The battle for the Ondo North senatorial seat in the 2023 general elections has begun. Some gladiators are already eyeing the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Ondo North is regarded as a no-go area for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu won in all the six local government areas that made up the senatorial in last year’s election with a wide margin. The seat is currently occupied by Senator Ajayi Boroffice, who is currently the longest serving Senator in Ondo State. Boroffic, who is a Professor turned – politician was first elected to the Senate in 2011 under the Labour Party (LP). He defected to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria in 2012 where he got re-elected again in 2015. In 2019, Boroffice met stiff opposition as Akeredolu supported Tunji Abayomi who contested on the platform of the Action Alliance (AA), but emerged victorious at the polls.
Close aides, however, said Boroffice, the Asiwaju Akoko, is eyeing another slot at the Senate in 2023, but there are other APC chieftains already eyeing his seat.
Ondo North comprises six local government areas. The six local government are divided into the Owo/Ose axis with two local government and the Akoko axis having four local government areas. Senator Boroffice hails from Oka Akoko. There has been political understanding since 1979 between politicians from the Owo/Ose axis and the Akoko axis on sharing political offices especially the governorship and the senatorial seat.
If a governor hails from the Owo/Ose axis, the Akoko axis is expected to produce the senator. When former Governor Adekunle Ajasin got the governorship ticket in 1979, the senatorial seat was zoned to the Akoko axis which saw the election of late Kayode Ogunleye.
In 1999, Chief Adebayo Adefarati from Akoko axis was governor. Ayo Lawreñce from Ose/Owo was the senator representing the zone. Besides Lawrence, the Ose/Owo zone also produced Titus Olupitan and Bode Olajumoke between 1999 and 2011. It was in 2011 that Boroffice broke the jinx, now making him the longest serving Senator in Ondo North.
Akeredolu hails from the Owo/Ose axis. His second term victory has cleared the path for the Akoko axis to produce the next Senator in 2023. Some political pundits are of the view that Senator Boroffice backed Akeredolu second term to pave easy victory for him in 2023.
Analysts are however of the view that Senator Boroffice might not have a easy way back to the Senate in 2023. Those fingered to be eyeing his seat in the ruling APC are a former Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Hon Victor Olabitan, two members of the House of Representatives including Hon Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo representing Akoko North West/North East Federal constituency and Tunji Abayomi. It is also not clear whether any politician from the Ose/Owo axis would refused to respect the political understanding between the Ose/Owo axis and the Akoko axis.
But, Tunji-Ojo, in a recent visit to Senator Boroffice, denied nursing any ambition to contest for the senatorial seat in the 2023 general election.
He said: “I have no interest in contesting for any senatorial position as I am only committed to my primary duty which is to represent my (federal) constituency.
Boroffice, on his part, assured Tunji-Ojo of a renewed mandate to the House of Representatives.
“What you have done so far is impressive and we must ensure the continuity of your mandate as you represent a beacon of hope and good tidings for our people”.
Last week, the Ondo North Frontiers (ONF) accused Boroffice, of marginalising the Owo/Ose axis of the district by concentrating constituency projects in the Akoko axis where he hails from and neglected the Owo/Ose axis.
Spokesman for the group, Comrade Taiwo Arolowo, in a statement issued in Akure, said the Owo/Ose axis could only boast of two water projects, a skill acquisition centre and two primary schools from Senator Boroffice since he was elected in 2011.