- As Efforts To Return To APC Fail
By Kolawole Ojebisi
It’s game on for embattled Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi as reports that he may dump the opposition’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) next week for the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) surface.
This is believed to be a last-minute effort for Ajayi, who is bent on being a governorship candidate, to be a standard bearer of a party in the Ondo governorship election.
There are strong indications that he would join the ZLP which is positioning itself to be a third force in the state.
Ajayi resigned from the ruling All Progressives Congress in June and contested at the PDP primary in July where he came second after polling 657 votes.
He was said to have met with former Governor Olusegun Mimiko for talks on how to be made candidate of the ZLP and be substituted for Hon Rotimi Benjamin who was earlier elected candidate of the party.
It was learnt that Ajayi may be handed the governorship thicket of the ZLP on a platter considering the number of votes he was able to garner at the PDP primaries despite joining the party in late. It was said that this is seen a reflection of his clout in Ondo politics.
It was learnt that Mimiko may want to use Ajayi to boost the image of his party in the reckoning of political pundits.
It was gathered from a reliable source that prior to trying to forge an alliance with the ZLP, Ajayi had made efforts at seeking return into the fold of the ruling APC.
It was learnt that Ajayi had a meeting with the APC reconciliation committee headed by Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sank Bello, in Abuja.
According to a source who preferred anonymity, the embattled governor tried to look for a ‘soft landing’ having been rejected by Jegede, candidate of the PDP, to be his running mate.
It was learnt that Jegede has reportedly submitted the name of Hon. Gbenga Ikengboju representing Okitipupa/ Irele Federal Constituency to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A decision which was said would be announced before the end of this week.
Ajayi had earlier said, immediately after he was defeated by Jegede in the PDP primary, he and his followers would remain in the PDP but in another statement he said he was still in consultation and would soon make his position known.
Recall that Ajayi had defected to the PDP last month but refused to resign his post as deputy governor to the incumbent governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state claiming that the people who voted him into the position ‘have not asked him to resign.’
The embattled deputy governor even boasted that ‘a tsunami-like defection will hit APC’ in the wake of his defection.
Governor Akeredolu had contested and won the APC primary and set to recontest in the Ondo election scheduled for October.
Ajayi may be one of the rivals of his erstwhile boss if as a political bird of passage that he is now, based on revelations from sources, he eventually finds a perch on the tree of the ZLP and hoist the flag of the party.