As the 2023 general election draws nearer with the official commencement of campaigns last week, political watchers have shown keen interest in the two major contenders jostling to represent the people of Ondo North senatorial district in the Red Chambers of the National Assembly.
The seat has been occupied for three consecutive terms of four years each by the current Deputy Leader of the Senate, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, of the All Progressives Congress, APC, since 2011.
Boroffice, who hails from Oka Akoko in Akoko South West local government area, had chosen not to seek a fourth term in office, thereby paving the way for candidates from other parts of the district to show interest in the seat.
The contest for the seat is a straight battle between the candidate of the APC, Pastor Jide Ipinshagba and that of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Akogun Tokunbo Modupe.
Akogun Tokunbo Modupe, PDP
Tokunbo Modupe is the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of TPT International. He has been in the Nigerian public relations and brand management sector for almost 25 years and is still a leader in the field.
The public relations expert with the dark skin and slim built cut his teeth in public relations at a young age and has made a name for himself in Nigeria and throughout Africa.
Modupe, a close ally of the immediate past Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, served as campaign coordinator for former President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election in Ondo State.
The PDP candidate was well known when Mimiko held sway, as he was said to be one of the party’s decision makers and a Man Friday of the former State Chairman of party, Chief Clement Faborode.
Akogun Modupe, who company was the brain behind the initiative of the International Culture and Event Centre, The Dome, in Akure, became very famous in the political vortex following the prominent roles he played during the elections of Mimiko in 2007 and 2012.
Modupe whose father hails from Owo and mother hails from Ose local government area, worked tirelessly to ensure victory for his boss in both local government areas in both elections.
Ever since the erstwhile Governor was unable to install his preferred successor, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, in the 2016 governorship election which Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu won, the light of politics had obviously dimmed on Akogun Modupe.
He has since then served in many national and state capacities, including being a resource person at the recent national retreat of the PDP, just as he has also remained a major factor in the rebranding of the party. It is believed that he was behind the current vibrant and futuristic brand identity of the PDP as well as the repositioning strategy of the party.
He came to the fore again with his aspiration to contest the Senate seat in 2019 but lost in the PDP primaries. He got the ticket on his second time of asking this year and is now hoping to succeed the incumbent Senator, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice.
Although Akoko, where his major opponent comes from, has four local governments, Modupe’s popularity and penetration are spreading in the local governments of Akoko. At the Oka Day Festival 2022, Modupe, who exhibited his PR skills through the branding of the event, overtly said he was confident of victory despite the fact that the seat is currently being occupied by an APC Senator.
The socialite just rounded off a General Management Programme (GMP) at the prestigious Harvard University. His TPT International has long prided itself with enviable clients like Nigerian Breweries Plc, the Ondo State Government, BAT brands (Benson & Hedges, St. Moritz, Dunhill, Pall Mall, London Kingsize, Rothmans, etc.), Friesland Foods (Peak Milk), the Lagos Lottery, the British Council, the MTN Foundation, Dimension Data, Heritage Banks, and others.
Among other assets that his supporters believe will work in his favour is his dual indigeneship of two local governments, with his paternal ancestry from the illustrious Modongho family in Owo Local Government and his maternal from Ute in Ose Local Government. These two local government areas form the federal constituency that is expected to bring maximum votes given the population advantage of his homestead, Owo. The cult followership he enjoys from both local governments was visible when he took 95% of the votes cast from the two LGAs during the recently concluded party primaries in the district.
However, some have argued that given the fact that the incumbent Governor is his kinsman from Owo, the general opinion is that an Akoko man, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, haven occupied the position for long and by the end of this legislative tenure would have spent 12 years and considering that Gov. Akeredolu’s tenure would be less than a year by the time election takes place next year, Modupe may not be running a fruitless race.
So, the proponents and supporters of Adetokunbo Modupe believe that the federal constituency comprising Owo/Ose should not be denied a slot at the Senate which should be rotated between Owo and Akoko after 12 years of Akoko being in the saddle.
Pastor Jide Ipinsagba, APC
Pastor Jide Ipinsagba was born to the family of Ipinsagba in Ikare Akoko in Akoko North East local government area of Ondo State. He graduated from Ondo State Polytechnic now Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo with HND Surveying in 1987. He then proceeded for his one-year Youth Service with Shell Petroleum Development Co. Nig. Ltd. Warri, Delta State.
He obtained his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Delta State University Abraka in 2000 and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba in 2012, with a Ph.D. in Business Administration in view.
A successful business man, Ipinshagba comes with a brilliant resume which speaks volumes about his suitability for the job. He is the Chairman of Manuex Group of companies. He is also a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).
Immediately after his Youth Service, he worked briefly and thereafter established Manuex Co Nig 1990 and incorporated in 1992. He is also a life member of Junior Chamber International, USA; a leadership, training and entrepreneurship development organization.
Manuex Co. Nig. Ltd. Has experienced tremendous growth within a short period of its establishment as a result of the Chairman’s entrepreneurship and leadership skills as well as the Group’s broad tie with her foreign partners in Switzerland, UK, Israel, China, South Africa, US, etc.
Ipinsagba’s interest in youth empowerment and giving back to the society through training led to his establishment of Masaneilan Approved Repair Centre, the first of its kind in Africa in collaboration with Baker Hughes for the servicing and assembling of valves for the oil, gas and allied industries.
Through Ipinsagba’s creative business mind, the company diversified into the hospitality industry by establishing Manuex Place for events, lodging and amusement park. The facilities are providing job opportunities to many youths today.
He also demonstrated his love for the people with series of projects to include Bursary awards to tertiary institutions, community development projects like road and electricity projects, assistance to widows and motherless babies, sponsorship of football competitions, career guidance seminars for secondary schools, among others.
Ipinsagba is not unfamiliar with the political terrain in Ondo State, coupled with the fact that he has been gunning for the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly since 1999. Ipinsagba who is currently an APC member, ab-initio, threw his hat into the ring, under the platform of the PDP.
After several failed attempts to win primary elections, Ipinsagba crossed to African Democratic Party. He was the ADC Senatorial candidate but lost the election to Sen. Ajayi Boroffice.
After joining the APC, Ipinshagba defeated his closest rival, Chief Alex Ajipe, at the primary election to be the party’s candidate for next year’s election. However, the primary was enveloped with controversy and is currently a subject of litigation.
Ipinsagba, who is said to be enjoying the good relationship with Governor Akeredolu, is buoyed by the agitation of the people of Ikare Akoko to produce Senator for the first time. The popularity of a member of the House of Representatives in Akoko Northwest/Akoko Northeast federal constituency, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (BTO) also helps his cause ahead of the general elections.
However, the controversial outcomes of his primary and that of the Akoko Southwest/Akoko Southeast federal constituency are proving to be a major albatross for Ipinshagba and the affected House of Reps candidate, Otunba Gboyega Adefarati.
Efforts of the leadership of the party to get the aggrieved aspirants to withdraw their cases from court have so far yielded no result, which means the party would need to work harder than expected in order to retain the Senate seat.