BreakingNews 16/11/16 - Elite Political Culture and Voting Patterns: Analyzing the 2016 Ondo Gubernatorial Election

[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Introduction: In his book Political Culture and Political Development, Lucian Pye distinguishes the developments in democratic political systems using the theory of political culture. He sought to know if there were certain cultures that promote political development and democratic values. He observes that political culture is simply a combination of sociological factors and views the political system as consisting of two distinct tendencies which are: individual orientations and structural rules. Although Pye sees culture as innate at the individual level, his research observed the patterns at the aggregate level which make up culture. Based on the observed distinctness in and among cultures, Pye suggests that there is no single pattern in political culture that is universal. He then stresses that all political systems have distinct culture consisting of norms, values and beliefs (p.7).



In this study, we see Elite political culture as having a different category of norms and expectations which are orderly, structured and rule-compliant upon which Elites will act in compliance with the expectation of the masses. In doing this, the Elite will be expected to display tacitly in behavior about what the masses expect of them at every time as their supposed representatives.



The Ondo 2016 Governorship election reflects Pye’s elitist patterns. In 2008, there was a major shit Ondo political landscape- Labour Party (LP) candidate, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko was declared winner of the April 14, 2007 gubernatorial election. This judgement will redefine politics in the state as Governor Mimiko will defy his “godfathers” to win a re-election in 2012.



The 2016 governorship election is unique for many reasons:



First, the main political gladiators are or were part of the state’s elite at one point in their lives. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede(SAN)i is the state’s immediate past Attorney-General. The All Progressives Congress (APC), Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) is also a former Attorney-General in the state in addition to been the former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) president. The Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate, Olusola Oke is the former PDP National Legal Adviser and has worked closely with the party’s administration in the state.



Second, each “bloc” has influential backers among the elites either within or without the state. While Governor Mimiko is seen to be the pillar of support behind Jegede, and is touted to be running in the election by proxy, other forces mostly from outside the state appear to be battling hard to stop the governor. Oke is widely reported to be supported by the APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, whose anointed candidate, Olusegun Abraham, lost the party primary in September. Akeredolu on his part is reported to be backed by forces from Abuja especially the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who may have axe to grind with some influential party leaders.



Third, the three leading candidates reflect the geo-political spread in the state. Oke is from the state’s south senatorial zone; Jegede is of the Central zone and Akeredolu is of the northern geo-political area of the state. This makes the contest a sort of competition among the senatorial zones with varying voting strengths.


The Unresolved Issues in 2016 election


Party Unity


For this election, political analysts are unanimous in their views that the last has not been heard of the many objections raised in some quarters, to the candidature of both Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede, due largely to inconclusive party primaries of the APC and PDP respectively. While the crisis in the APC led Olusola Oke to move with his supporters to the AD, seeming unending litigations have led the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate.


Apart from Oke leading his supporters to another party, at least three other top aspirants of the APC are yet to accept Akeredolu’s nomination by the party’s national chairman as its governorship candidate. This is just as the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) remained polarized over the submission of Akeredolu’s name to INEC by the national chairman, Odigie Oyegun.


Is “Zoning” still a factor?



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