Allies of Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko are already opening discussions with certain leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the court pronouncement which stripped their anointed candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 26 governorship election.
According to Daily Sun, Gov. Mimiko is contemplating a deal that would ensure that he pulled the string to ensure victory for the APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu, while his role would ultimately be acknowledged and rewarded by leadership of the APC.
The source, who revealed that Mimiko’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari was actually facilitated by a former South-West governor and minister in Buhari’s cabinet, further disclosed that in the event that Jegede could not retrieve the ticket at the Court of Appeal, the outgoing governor would ask his supporters to line behind Akeredolu, the APC candidate.
But Governor Mimiko has since denied the purported deal with APC. Mimiko, who spoke with Daily Sun through his media aide, Eni Akinsola, said there was no reason for him to dump Jegede for candidate of a rival party, Akeredolu.
The Court of Appeal will tomorrow sit on the appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede whose name as the PDP standard bearer for the governorship election was removed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and substituted with Jimoh Ibrahim.
The former Attorney General of Ondo State had emerged as the party’s candidate at the primary organised by the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction while Ibrahim picked the ticket at a parallel primary organised by the Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff leadership held in Ibadan, oyo State.
The electoral body had last Thursday deleted Jegede’s name from its list of eligible candidates for the election fixed for November 26, in compliance with the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
While ruling on an application filed by the factional chairman and secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Prince Biyi Poroye and Ademola A. Genty, Abang ordered INEC to “accept and process for the purpose of its functions and activities in the organisation and conduct of the Ondo State governorship election only the nomination of Ibrahim, who emerged from the primary election conducted by the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs/applicants, as candidate of the second defendant (PDP) in the Ondo governorship election.”
He also ordered INEC to “reject and jettison any other nomination submitted to it by any other person(s) apart from the first and second plaintiffs/applicants, indicating that no other person, apart from Ibrahim, is the candidate of the 2nd defendant for the governorship election.”
Meanwhile, a gale of defection has hit the state chapter of the party. Daily Sun gathered that certain chieftains of the party who have decided to dump the party would be received by the national leadership of the APC, billed to storm Akure on Thursday, for the official flag off of the campaign.
Among those expected to defect are former governorship aspirant and former director general of the National Sports Commission, Gbenga Elegbeleye; former member of the state House of Assembly, Thompson Otito Atikase and a former lawmaker, Afolabi Iwalewa.
Elegbeleye and Atikase in separate telephone interviews confirmed the development. Atikase said he was not comfortable with the development in the PDP and accused the outgoing state governor of running the party aground.
‘’I am a practical politician, I don’t deceive myself. Mimiko has destroyed this party because of Jegede and there is no way we can win the election. So, there is no point staying back. I am going to declare officially for APC on Thursday,” he said.
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