Massive defection is looming in the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State following the emergence of Barr. Eyitayo Jegede as the party’s candidate.
By Osagie Otabor, Akure
Already, the Senator representing Ondo South senatorial district, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo, has sacked 92 of his aides.
Senator Tofowomo had employed party members from Ondo South and placed them on salary of between N50,000 and N100,000.
But Senator Tofowomo was said to have been peeved when Deputy Governor of the State, Agboola Ajayi, garnered majority of lawful votes from Ondo South, his supposed stronghold where he has been taken care of PDP members.
The aspirant Senator Tofowomo supported, Banji Okunomo, got only 90 votes.
Sources in the PDP confirmed to our reporter that some of the party’s chieftains from Ondo South were already in talks with Governor Oluwarotimi while others including Ajayi met with former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, leader of the Zenith Labour Party.
The source said PDP leaders from Ondo South felt that it is the turn of the zone to produce Governor but lost out of power play in both the APC and the PDP.
According to the source, “Our PDP leaders presently in talks with Governor Akeredolu know that the governor has four years and it therefore means power would easily come to the South in 2024.
“They are against Jegede because they cannot wait for extra eight years in case Jegede wins the election.”
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the Ondo Deputy Governor met with Mimiko on Friday night for possible talks of picking ZLP ticket.
The party had earlier picked Hon Rotimi Benjamin as its candidate but the ongoing negotiations might see the party substituting his name for a more powerful candidate.
Party chieftains in ZLP said Ajayi is hoping on his maternal affiliation to Ondo town where Mimiko hails from to smoothen his way into the party.
A source said Mimiko did not give a yes or no answer to Ajayi’s request.
Mimiko was said to have promised to meet with political associates and followers to take a stand on Ajayi’s request.
The ZLP source said: “we were shocked to see Ajayi at Mimiko’s house yesterday night (last Friday). He told our leader that he would like to contest the October 10, election under ZLP and assured him that he has enough resources to win the poll.
“According to the deputy governor, one of his strategies is to pick his running mate from Owo local government, the hometown of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN in order to divide the votes from the town.
“But kindly note that Mimiko has not given him his word. He told him that he would meet his supporters soon and get back to him. I doubt if Ajayi will have his way in ZLP.
“Some of us knew how he supported Agbo may be because his mother is from Ondo town and you know if course bZLP had elected Hon Rotimi Benjamin as its candidate for the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the State. at the primary to Jegede, another failure would rubbish the integrity of our leader, Iroko,” he said.
Sources closed to the Deputy Governor said the initial plan was for the Deputy Governor to run on the platform of Social Democratic Party (SDP) but backtracked following crisis in the ZLP where two candidates have emerged.
Media Adviser to the Deputy governor, Allen Sowore said his boss was still consulting with stakeholders.
He said his boss would announce the next line of action next week.