By Chief Ralphs Okey Nwosu (National Chairman, ADC)

Happy new year to all our members in Ondo State. 2020 is here and the 2020 governorship election beckons 9 months from now. Our party, the African Democratic Congress (ADC) was virtually unknown in Ondo until the 10th of May 2018.

By December, without any godfathers, ADC became the number one party of the state, riding on the power of the people and leaders that borders on inclusion, equity, commitment and conviction. It is as if ADC's motto: "Arise and Shine" was registered with the Sunshine state in mind. Today, not minding the decadent systemic corruption and authoritarianism in the country, your authentic and alternative voice for national rejuvenation sounds loud and clear at the National Assembly.

In a complicated and complex system like ours, Change is very difficult because of many entrenched interests, corruption and the willy-dilly therein. But it will amount to leadership failure and a doomed future if leaders fail to persevere when their efforts tend to hit Rocky resistance. Effective leaders actually anticipate the resistance and persons who are genuine in their pursuit never give up. No one can climb a rocky mountain and not expect to sweat or get into a jungle and not expect a sting or insect bite. So it is with leading change.

ADC state leaders have been accused, bullied, scandalized and tormented. Earlier, the senatorial candidate, state Chairman, woman leader and others were kidnapped. Further, they burnt and vandalized the factory and offices of the state Chairman, and tried to disrupt all ADC’s and their candidates programs. They tried to frustrate the daring and ambitious empowerment programs initiated by some of our youthful Diaspora candidates.

They unleashed thugs on the election days to intimidate the people. Yet the powers that be could not break the synergy the party built with the people of Ondo state; the people came out to give ADC its biggest triumph. On the day of the election, two senate seats for the ADC were sure banker. More than half of the other national and state assemblies seats were going for our members. Unfortunately, the systems operators within the state and national conspired to deny our candidates their victories and our party ADC its win. To the glory of God and the courage of the Ondo people, the overwhelming support given to the Rt. Hon. Dr Abiola Peter Makinde, awed the vodoo and most vicious gang-up.

May God's name be praised; today, Hon Makinde represents Ondo East and West Federal Constituency and stands out as a stellar Parliamentarian in Nigeria’s Green Chamber. For Ondo, we should not forget so soon. The memories live and remain historic. The people don't blink when confronted with overbearing federal powers, fascist regimes and toxic leaders. Remember Pa Micheal Adekunle Ajasin of blessed memory. It happened in the 1983 elections. Again in 2007, the people teamed up with Dr Olusegun Mimiko to oust an incumbent governor then (Chief Olusegun Agagu).

Even the present Governor came to be four years ago following the peoples resolve not to take orders from Lagos and Abuja. Why should anyone believe that the same Ondo people want to be associated with the most authoritarian regime ever in Nigeria. The Ondo people have all the reasons to be lumped with the two parties that have played prominent roles in Ondo state politics, removing the short-lived forays of two others. Within the time these parties were in control of government, they spent over N7.0 trillion of the people's tax money from federal allocations, excess crude account shares, internally generated revenues and forced land acquisitions and local and foreign loans.

This does not include the CBN funds for Agric-investment, industrialization and infrastructure to the state via private investors and millions of dollars from NGOs and foreign Donors programs. The LGAs in Ondo state have also collected a lot more.

Each of the local government council has in its kitty about 250million monthly from federal sources, internally generated revenues, levies and markets. The federal law makers are supposed to attract investments and developmental projects and opportunities from the federal government and its numerous agencies. All these combined with the statutory federal obligations to the state in terms of infrastructural developments, empowerment and poverty alleviation programs, the wastage is humongous. For 20years the governments have squandered the resources and the citizens live in penury, tragic deficit of infrastructural and industrial development, Education, health and Healthcare and all the human development index. Wasted years, wasted opportunities and billions in the pockets of a few with estates in Abuja, Lagos and in foreign lands. The people of Ondo have shown capacity and readiness to follow determined and progressive leaders before and now.

They did that when they used the Labour party to stop the powerful PDP, AD, and ACN. Their mentality in adopting ADC has again spoken the obvious. As leaders, we should learn to understand our people, listen to them and remain accountable to them always. The people love humble and transparent leaders. We may not get it right all the times. Leaders are not infallible. It is ennobling to share our challenges, failures and even the guilt we feel.

The people deserve our humble acceptance and apologies.

They will understand.

They can forgive.

But they don't want quitters or persons who would easily transit to the power-players-domain climbing on their back.

They will spite opportunists who used them as canon fodders.

It is only a matter of time.

Leaders must be authentic and must be able to assure their people that the compass of their trajectories are in order and are being controlled with due diligence. In this 2020 and beyond, ADC has the duty to provide the leadership for Ondo renaissance. The transducers, corrupted systems and the devouring hawks will always conspire to thwart things as they did in 2019. But with a clear strategy, well coordination action and leadership resolve, Ondo will continuously arise and shine from hence. It is not by accident that Ondo is the sunshine state; Almighty liveth and does not reward evil. I hear that the entrenched interests have put the budget of a governorship run at ₦20 billion minimum.

That budget is a vodoo gameplay for scavengers, egomaniacs and political mercenaries. When the people rallied for Mimiko, neither the state nor the federal supported him. He did not spend anything close to one month allocation of one local government council to be victorious. If one is ready to govern based on ADC DNA, disciplined and responsible engagement with the people, and radical transparency, trust the people to go the extra miles of raising the millions by donating ₦100, 200, 500, 1000, and 10k, volunteerism and their unalloyed support.

The wise people will rather invest 1k than lose more in trillions of Naira, and wasted years that should be channeled into productivity, development, security and prosperity for the people and the state. You made ADC number one party in Ondo state in 6 months without a counselor. We may be down, angry and a bit confused.

But we have the people and we have nine months to stop the bazaar of looting and desecration of our values. It is all in our hands. Our brand is strong, yes very strong! The campaign will be easier, especially where nothing can be said of the trillions of naira wasted, the current state and national debt profile, worsening security situation, poverty and fascism that the party in power has enthroned in place of the democracy we fought the military for.

ADC arise and shine in the Sunshine State.During the 2019 general election regime, Ondo people spoke loud that they stand with ADC.

They rejected the dirty money and rebuffed all the threats and voted with their heart and head intact. It is all in our hands. We must not renege on this SOS duty. I remain yours truly, Ralphs Okey Nwosu, the National Chairman of ADC.

....Chief Ralph Okey Nwosu (Ikolo Awka), is the National Chairman of the African Democratic Congress, ADC.

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