- Meet On Ajayi, Jegede’s Likely Coalition As Race Enters Final Lap
By Gbenga Abulude (Politics and General Desk)
Tactical manoeuvrings are ongoing to alter the political dynamics of the October 10 Ondo Governorship election, as former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo met with immediate past Ondo governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and other political stakeholders in Abeokuta.
Obasanjo, on Tuesday invited Mimiko to his Abeokuta country home in Ogun State to discuss possible re-alignment between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede and the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) which has Mimiko as its national leader.
According to media sources, part of the discussions was the possibility of allowing Jegede to collapse his structure into that of the ZLP which its candidate, Hon Agboola Ajayi seemed to be having an upper hand than Jegede in the dynamics of the Ondo election which is exactly ten days away.
Recall that the election had become a three-horse race since Ajayi, who is the deputy governor of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, decamped to the ZLP after losing the governorship primary election to Jegede in PDP.
At the meeting with Obasanjo, Mimiko was joined with other political leaders across the South West zone, including two former governors, Chief Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Osun and his Ogun counterpart, Otunba Gbenga Daniel.
“President Obasanjo may ask Mimiko to allow the candidate of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede to collapse his structure into that of the Zenith Labour Party which Mimiko is the national leader.
It was learnt that the PDP candidate, Jegede may not stand a chance to win the incumbent governor, Akeredolu on account of the dwindling commitment of other PDP governors to the election.
This development as well as the zoning formula for the gubernatorial election which looks skewed against Jegede, may have led Obasanjo to intervene in the Ondo election.
It was gathered that the dwindling fortune of the PDP may have warranted the intervention of the former President.
Recall that only the Oyo state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, attended the flag off rally of Jegede while other governors failed to attend.
Also Jegede’s choice of deputy despite displeasure within the party caused many of the governorship aspirants that contested the primary with him to abandon him because he refused all appeals to pick his deputy amongst them.
The ongoing talks on alignments and realignments in the state have made many chieftains of both the APC and PDP in the state to decamp to the ZLP and increase support for its candidate, Agboola Ajayi within the last few weeks.
Weighing in on Akeredolu, Jegede and Ajayi’s chances, a source said: “Agboola’s increasing popularity in Ondo South Senatorial District, and Mimiko’s hold on Ondo Central Senatorial District portends that the PDP’s fate was sealed and instead of losing out totally, it was better Jegede collapsed his structure for Agboola and join forces with him to unseat Akeredolu who has also lost the confidence of the masses and his close allies in the APC.
“The feelers from the field of PDP are not a good one. Apart from Akure where Jegede hails from, which LG can he boast of winning? Even Akure has been largely polarised among the three major parties. The only two PDP House of Assembly members are working for Agboola, ditto for all his co-contestants in the primaries and party chieftains who are working underneath for the ZLP.
“We fear that with zoning arrangements not favourable to Jegede, a factor that contributed to his loss in 2016 and the underground support most PDP governors are giving Agboola, Jegede’s chances of winning the election gets dimmer,” the source disclosed.
“Ajayi is the only candidate from Ondo south, a region whose clamour for governorship has increased on account of the argument that late Chief Olusegun Agagu from the zone spent just 6 years.
“Jegede is from Ondo central which has enjoyed 8 years under Mimiko. Ondo north spent a successive 12 years under Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Chief Adebayo Adefarati and the incumbent, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu,” he added.
Head of Media Research of Eyitayo Jegede campaign organization, Mr Kayode Fasua, said his principal was not considering collapsing his structure into any political party.
He said the development was false.
“lnfact he’s not even contemplating such. This is because he is sure of winning the October 10 governorship election.
“Eyitayo Jegede is the candidate to beat in the coming election. So forget all these talks about him collapsing his structure,” says Fasua.
Recall that Ondo election has pitched Governor Akeredolu and the former governor, Mimiko against each other.
Mimiko is the national leader of the ZLP.
Of recent, Mimiko and Akeredolu have traded blames on each other.
Mimiko had described Akeredolu’s policy as anti-people, especially the cancellation of free health and increase in tuition fees paid by tertiary institution students.
He said he worked with three governors before emerging as governor for eight years, adding that Akeredolu failed in all critical sectors affecting the well-being of the people.
The former governor said his successor failed to build on the successes recorded in the health and education sectors during his tenure.
Mimiko urged the people to vote out Akeredolu.
The APC, on the other hand, accused Mimiko of plotting a third-term bid surreptitiously through the back door using the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
The party in a statement alleged Mimiko was using his control as the ZLP sole administrator in Ondo to tacitly execute his third term agenda during the October 10 governorship election.
APC said it was not surprised the entire governorship campaign of the ZLP has centred on Mimiko rather than “the obscure and supposed party’s governorship candidate, Agboola Ajayi.”
The party cautioned Ondo residents to be mindful of the divide- and-rule policy that characterised the eight-year rule of Mimiko in the state.