Indications emerged at the weekend that the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State might adopt indirect mode of primary for the selection of its candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
Ahead of the primaries, the executives of the party in the state have been stretching hands of fellowship to some of the aggrieved members of the party to join forces against some aspirants who will be contesting against governor Rotimi Akeredolu in the primaries election.
A member of the party’s NEC who confided in our correspondent disclosed that the plans to adopt indirect mode of primary is still kept in close wraps.
He said this might not be unconnected with the recent return of the factional chairman of the party from the unity group to pitch his tent with the Ade Adetimehin led executive in the state.
He expressed optimism that the indirect mode of primary might sail through, noting that there is no recognised faction of the party in the state, unlike Edo State where there are two major contending factions.
Though, the Unity Forum faction has been deep in crisis over the adoption of Chief Olusola Oke as a consensus candidate, a development that has reportedly swayed the APC NWC to likely adopt the delegates(indirect) mode for Ondo state.
Meanwhile, the National Working Committee of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been weighing the option of ceding its governorship ticket to the embattled deputy governor of the state, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, who has been having a running battle with Akeredolu.
There has been a cold war between the governor and his deputy, with an indication that the deputy might not run on the same ticket with the governor in his second term.
The National Working Committee of the PDP and Ajayi was said to have struck a deal to allow the deputy governor contest against his boss, who sources said had made up his mind to drop Ajayi as running mate.
But the PDP deal which is alleged to be discretely facilitated by two PDP governors (from Northwest and Southsouth respectively), is expected to play out shortly the APC NWC’s pronouncement of the indirect mode of primary for Ondo State.
The source said, “It is just a matter of time; as soon as the APC announces the mode of primary for Ondo which we believe is likely to be indirect, we will invite all the aspirants from that state to talk to them and allow the incumbent deputy Governor to slug it out with Akeredolu.”
He said Akeredolu may have made up his mind to drop his deputy, Ajayi, as a running mate from the 2020 race due to irreconcilable differences between them over the betrayal of trust.
Akeredolu who was in Abuja over the weekend was unaware that his deputy was also in Abuja capital to discuss with PDP leaders in respect of the secret pact that had been brokered for him.
Ajayi was however advised by those in the know of the deal to suppress his ambition since the numerous governorship aspirants might revolt.
“We know how this thing works. It is very difficult to just bring a man who had been out of the party to just come in and pick governorship ticket; so we advised him not to engage the leadership of the party on the basis of his ambition but on the basis of his desire to join the party to stop the incumbent.
“It is just a matter of time because we have had to wait for the APC NWC to announce the indirect they are likely to pronounce because, from the look of things, the Governor will be given the ticket run as a candidate.
“So for us, it is going to be an easy fight since we have someone who has known the man, the system both in their State and in Abuja. It is going to be a good fight.”, he said.
It was gathered that in the last three weeks or so, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State has been meeting with the leadership of the PDP at all levels, including members of the PDP NWC.
He has vowed not to resign but defect to the PDP alongside eight members of the State Assembly.
But speaking on the development, the Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr Zadok Akintoye, denied the pact with Ajayi, saying Ajayi is still in APC and not a member of the opposition PDP.
He said “Hon. Agboola Ajayi is still the sitting Deputy governor of the state and he is not a member of the PDP. I don’t know what pact you’re talking about because Ajayi is a known member of APC in the state.”
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