Akeredolu is Ondo Governor-elect after polling more votes than the competition. Here are lessons from the contest
Aketi (as he's fondly called) won the election on the platform of the APC and will resume duties at Alagbaka Government House of Ondo State in a couple of weeks.
The Ondo election left us with a few political lessons. Here are eight to take home:
1. You don't need Godfathers to win you elections
Akeredolu went into last Saturday's election without the support of the most powerful political godfather in South West politics--Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Behind the scenes, Tinubu and his surrogates backed Olusola Oke of the AD.
It is testament to Aketi's doggedness that even when Governors of Lagos, Osun and Oyo went with Tinubu, he fought on and emerged winner--against all the odds.
ALSO READ: Tinubu congratulates Ondo governor-elect
Godfathers are a good thing, but last week, Aketi proved that you can do without them as well.
2. All politics is local
The APC may not be the most beloved political party when you flip open your smart-phone or read the Dailies, but it has managed to win two consecutive governorship elections in its regional stronghold--back to back.
In spite of all of its foibles on the economy; in spite of the inflation and recession in the land made worse by the plunge in the global price of oil, Ondo and Edo voters handed four more years to the party at the center.
In Ondo, eight years of the Labour Party and PDP, came to a humiliating end last weekend.
3. With friends like Jimoh Ibrahim, you don't need enemies
Billionaire businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim played the role of a destroyer so well within his adopted political camp of PDP.
Ibrahim engaged Eyitayo Jegede in a legal joust so emotional and energy sapping, by the time the courts ruled that Jegede should be the candidate of the PDP and not Ibrahim, APC's Aketi had one foot in Ondo government house.
On the eve of the election, Ibrahim urged his supporters to cast their ballots for the APC candidate and issued a press statement to congratulate Aketi as the figures poured in.
ALSO READ: Jimoh Ibrahim throws weight behind Akeredolu
On tape, Ibrahim was over the moon for successfully wasting the PDP's time.
He mocked Jegede and incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko and hailed Aketi hours later, as the numbers confirmed that his PDP had been routed.
May you never have someone like Ibrahim in your camp!
4. Buhari can still win you votes
He may have lost plenty of pre-election goodwill and capital, but President Muhammadu Buhari didn't take cover as Edo and Ondo came calling.
In Ondo, he went against the grain: Tinubu and a few South West Governors felt the primary election which threw up Aketi wasn't transparent. Buhari said it was transparent and held aloft Aketi's hands on the campaign trail.
The conventional wisdom in APC political circles was to keep Buhari away from voters who are writhing from the wrath of a faltering economy.
Buhari was regarded as the baggage you didn't want campaigning for and beside you.
But the President still flew to Akure and Edo, to show some federal support for candidates from his party.
Reports of the President's waning electoral value may just have been exaggerated.
5. Tinubu's political influence is waning
The godfather of politics in the South West region should consider the outcome of the Ondo governorship contest, a personal loss.
Tinubu wrote a vitriolic letter to APC Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun, disagreeing with the choice of Aketi.
The Jagaban's primary election candidate was Olusegun Abraham.
Oyegun stuck to his guns and Tinubu stayed away from APC campaign rallies in Ondo in protest.
On the evidence of last weekend, he wasn't missed.
Before Ondo, Tinubu backed James Faleke in Kogi.
Faleke lost the battle for Lord Lugard House to Yahaya Bello and Oyegun's faction of the APC.
Tinubu sued for party unity after the Ondo election. He'll need it to keep his political influence afloat.
6. PDP had its defeat coming
Eyitayo Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim sang from different hymn sheets in the same church.
Ahmed Makarfi and Ali-modu Sheriff still don't see eye-to-eye as factional Chairmen of the PDP.
The PDP couldn't resolve its internal squabbles with only days before Ondo headed to the ballot.
Jegede had barely 48 hours to solicit votes.
With defeat staring it in the face, PDP called for a postponement of the elections. It had been worn thin by legal battles of its own making.
Voters weren't going to pitch their tents with a divided house. PDP was left trailing the APC by close to a hundred thousand votes on Sunday.
Game over for the PDP and (maybe) lesson not learned.
7. INEC can still conclude elections
It was said of INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu that the electoral body he leads, can't conclude an election to save its life.
"Inconclusive" became a synonym for INEC after Attahiru Jega left the place, his head held high.
Yakubu has shut up a few critics of his, including loudmouth Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, with his performance thus far.
There may not have been flawless exercises, but Ondo and Edo are proofs that INEC can come good if it puts its heart to it.
Dear Wike, you can eat your heart out!
8. Cash-for-votes is here to stay
Like every election in Nigeria, the Ondo vote was a monetised affair.
Cash made the rounds in exchange for votes.
Stomach infrastructure was commonplace--bags of rice, beans and garri made their way around the communities before voting day.
Voters trooped out enmasse to receive recharge cards and branded sachets of all kinds of foodstuff.
All three major political parties--AD, APC and PDP--were guilty of voter inducement.
You can bash Fayose all you want, but the average Nigerian voter is stomach infrastructure wired.
This isn't about to go away; especially in a recession.