•Party in disarray as Mimiko’s leadership is rejected
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)in Ondo State might have fallen apart with yesterday’s defection of 48 ky members to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Following the development, President Goodluck’s campaign – slated for today in Akure, the state capital, was cancelled.
Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko who is the Southwest coordinator of the Jonathan campaign, received a huge jolt by the defections, announced at a news conference in Akure, it was learnt.
Since Mimiko’s return from the Labour Party (LP) to the PDP, the party in the state has not knonw peace.
Party leaders have accused the governor of playing politics of exclusion.
Part of the reasons they gave is his choice of Mr. Tokunbo Modupe as the Jonathan campaign coordinator in the state when he (mimiko) is the Southwest coordinator. He was accused of not giving any consideration to the original members of the PDP.
Mimiko’s spokesman Mr. Eni Ekinsola, however, said the Presidential Campaign in Akure was rescheduled because of the need for the President to receive visiting former Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Mr. Kofi Annan.
The defectors who were mostly former political office holders, old PDP members and former Labour Party(LP) chieftains include, the Chief of Staff to former Governor Olusegun Agagu, Mr. Femi Agagu, former Speakers of the State Assembly, Victor Olabimtan and Taofeek Abdulsalam, a House of Representatives member for Owo/Ose federal constituency, Eniolorunda Omosule, Niran Sule, Akinyemi Akinnigbagbe and Tola Wewe.
Others are Prince Olowokanga, Bukola Tenabe, Boye Adegbemisoye, Olaitan Ayeni, Mrs Tola Owoh, Ife Iji, Felix Okereji, Akinyugha Jones, Kunle Odidi, Abiodun Jerome, Pelemo Samuel, E.O Obagbemi, Ade Obe, Banji Ajaka, Tolu Babaleye, Akin Aibinuomo, Funso Esan, Kole Oluwajana and Feyi Bali.
The rest are: Deolu Ijose, Otunba Itiola, Deji Aiyejoto, Tolu Fadahunsi, Tony Jayeola, Tola Akinseye, Yinka Orokoto, Jide Ipinsagba, F.A Falohun, Kunle Adebayo, Razaq Obe, Rasak Isijola, Falana Tajudeen, Segun Adagunodo, Wale Ogunmola, Prince Kiladejo, Wale Adegbakinro Hon. Olasunkanmi and Tunde Taiwo.
Agagu, who spoke on their behalf, hinged their defection on the fact that Nigeria needs a change and Ondo state needs a new direction.
The former CoS said those in their group were formidable stakeholders.
He decried the level of tyranny and bad leadership in the state.
Agagu said the defectors included former state party chairman, working committee members, members of National Assembly, Speakers and members of the State Assembly, commissioners and Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries and Senior Civil Servants; Chairmen of Boards, parastatals and local government councils, special assistants, councilors and established grassroots political leaders.
He added that they had resolved to embrace change which the APC represents and drum support for the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and other candidates of the party.
The former CoS said: “We took this decision after lenghty sessions of consultation with friends,political associates as well as supporters in all the 203 wards of the state. We have also received the confidence of distinguished elder statesmen, non political young amd elderly citizens who are concerned about the future of our dear state and country.
“Today is indeed a watershed in the political history of Ondo State. Never before have so many notable people chosen to desert a political party at the same time like this.
‘’There are several reasons for our decision but most important is the obvious fact that Nigeria needs change and Ondo State, a new direction, we need change which is the burden of good, honest, diligent, prepared, tested and competent leadership.
“Change, which is a mission to a destination of greatness where our state and nation ought to be. Change from broken promises, broken infrastruture, broken confidence, broken trust, broken leadership and broken future, all from which our people daily and consistently suffer”.
Receiving the defectors, National Vice Chairman (Southwest) of APC, Chief Pius Akinyelure assured them of level play ground,stressing that there is no founder, no joiner in the party.
Akinyelure charged members to go back to their local governments and collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
State APC Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke, said the defection of prominent chieftains of PDP has finally collapsed the structure of the party.
The former Secretary to the State Government(SSG)said the party and the entire citizenry would resist any attempt to rig the elections.
He urged INEC to allow collection of PVC,urging the electoral body to inform the people that “Kaadi Igbeayo” could not substitute PVC.
Dignitaries at the event include Senator Ajayi Boroffice,Chief Tayo Alasoadura, Lebi Morayo, Ifedayo Abegunde, Adedipe Adegboyga, Ade Adetimehin, Tunji Abayomi, Erelu Modupe-Akindele Johnson, Kehinde Adeniran, Abayomi Adesanya, Olu Adegboro, Solagbade Amodeni,Adewale Omojuwa, among others.