Ondo 2020: Akeredolu’s deputy concludes arrangement to resign

•Ripples in PDP over his defection as aspirants plan to stall Ajayi's automatic ticket

Ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State, speculations were rife that the deputy governor of the state, Hon. Agboola Ajayi might tender his resignation this week amidst irreconcilable differences between him and the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu.

Ajayi was rumoured to have perfected all arrangements to defect to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to allow him to participate in the primary election of the PDP.

The deputy governor, according to one of the aspirants has secretly obtained the nomination form of the PDP ahead of the party’s primary, confirming that the resignation was to enable him to defect to the opposition PDP and contest in the governorship race.

The aspirants attributed the planned defection of Ajayi to some aspirants foot-dragging in payment for their nomination form and expression of interest, while pressure was on them to drop their aspiration.

He disclosed that PDP appears to be stuck in fresh intrigue as the leaders of the party had tabled before the deputy governor the option to work with one of the leading aspirants of the party as the running mate of the aspirant in the election.

The new permutation is to field the incumbent Deputy Governor, Ajayi as running mate to the governorship candidate of the PDP in 2016, Eyitayo Jegede, which was turned down and resisted by all party’s governorship aspirants.

It was earlier believe that Ajayi has the structure to oust Akeredolu in the 2020 governorship election and the party should cede the ticket to him but most of the aspirants kicked against this arrangement.

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But in the latest permutation, Ajayi, even though he has secretly obtained the PDP governorship form, had agreed to run alongside Jegede, as running mate, while the development appears to have steered the hornet’s nest as those who consider themselves PDP aboriginal members kicked against the plan.

The source said “We are waiting for them as all their plans to pair Jegede and Agboola Ajayi is already on the cards.

“Don’t forget that we all resisted the initial plan of the national leadership to give the deputy Governor an automatic ticket.

“From what we are getting now, the same elements who are bent on controlling our party from outside want to bring Agboola on board at all costs.

“The question we are asking is what is the reason for this desperation by Agboola. Here is a man who wanted to be governor and that ambition made him fall apart with Akeredolu.

“Are they saying those of us who have built this party since inception are fools? “The man went to APC and worked against us assiduously which led to our failure in 2016; how sure are we that there won’t be a crisis as a result of his inordinate ambition soon after the election?

” What suddenly happened to the hyped slogan of Ondo South for Governor which was the driving force for some southern gladiators to join him in the defection plan from APC.”

But the Chief Press Secretary to Ajayi, Mr Babatope Okeowo, said the deputy governor is not resigning from APC this week, while his boss does not need to resign as Deputy to contest the governorship election.

Okeowo said it was not true that his boss would resign this week and said his boss could contest whether in the PDP or the APC without resigning from office.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Donald Ojogo had also denied any friction between the governor and his deputy.

According to Ojogo “I don’t know if there is a cold war. If at all there is, it is not abnormal in politics, it is not unusual in politics. And as far as governance is not affected adversely, those of us who are working under them have not seen the reason to believe that there is a cold war. We do not believe that there is any cold war, we don’t think so.”

Asked if the deputy governor is heading to PDP, he said “I lack the competence to answer that question. I’m not in his mind, I’m not in his heart, I’m in APC and I do not think I would want to subscribe to rumours that he is going to PDP.

“If actually, you have also considered them rumours why don’t you wait and see that he has actually moved to PDP before we confirm that these things are real.

“So, I do not want to believe in those rumours but I also hear them as rumours. I don’t want to believe that it is true. Even if it is true, it is not within my competence to either confirm or deny.”

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