A fresh crisis seems to be brewing in the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over claims by some members that some leaders of the party are planning to doctor the names of delegates for the primary election of the party.
Some party members, in the early hours of Friday, protested at Heritage Hotel, Akure, venue of the PDP ad hoc results computation, accusing the state deputy governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi, of attempting to bribe the panel to replace the names of the delegates across the 203 wards in the state.
The members who are supporters of some of the aspirants also accused the state caretaker chairman, Mr Clement Faboyede and his committee members of colluding with Ajayi to manipulate the delegates list in order to provide leverage for the deputy governor in the forthcoming gubernatorial primaries of the party.
The protesters, who vowed to resist any manipulation, called the national leadership of the party to call the state leaders to order to avoid losing the next governorship election in the state.
One of the protesters who spoke with Saturday Tribune alleged that the deputy governor had offered the sum of N8 million to the committee to substitute the names of delegates.
He explained that some members of Ajayi’s campaign team were seen at the venue with some of the members of the election panel, while other aspirants were locked out.
The PDP Publicity Secretary, Mr. Zadok Akintoye, who confirmed the protest, said he could not authenticate the allegations against Agboola.
Akintoye said: “I didn’t see the deputy governor at the event but I saw three other aspirants and I know the party will react at an appropriate time.
“I can tell you that I did not at any point in time see Mr Agboola Ajayi at the venue of the collation centre. That is not to say he was not there, but I didn’t see him.
“I only met three of our aspirants, that is, Eyitayo Jegede, Sola Ebiseni and Senator Boluwaji Kunlere. Those were the three aspirants I met.
“I was aware of all this brouhaha but I don’t have any details, neither can I confirm whether it is true or otherwise.”
But one of the aspirants said some aspirants were at the venue to ensure that the process was free and fair and to ensure that no one took undue advantage of the process He explained that the panel listened to the complaints and fears of some party members and said “everything was resolved around 3am and it was agreed that the list will be looked into and given final authority by the chairman of the party this morning.
“The committee was saddled with the supervision of the congress for the purpose
of electing three ad hoc delegates per ward to join the statutory delegates. I am not aware of crisis but I am aware that all stakeholders are vigilant to ensure that the process was not compromised.”
However, the deputy governor has described the allegations as not only laughable and false but an attempt to blackmail the members of the committee who are in the state for the compilation of the ad hoc delegates’ list for the July 20, party primary.
The Chief Press Secretary to the deputy governor, Mr Babatope Okeowo, said Ajayi and his campaign organisation members were never at the venue to bribe the committee as alleged.
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