By Dayo Johnson
Finally, the bubble burst on Tuesday, January 13 in Akure, the Ondo State capital, as some politicians known as the Agagu Boys defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
This development, though a big shock, but was dismissed by the State PDP, which said their defection was long overdue.
Reports had it that the late former governor Dr. Olusegun Agagu, before his demise had been fraternizing with the leadership of the APC.
The late Agagu at some point was alleged to have met with the national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu several times on the possibility to collaborate.
The information leaked to the leadership of the PDP and Agagu was said to be sidelined on matters of the state, as Mimiko dictated the tune, even while in his former Party. Then, Agagu and his boys were tagged PDP Jagaban.
However, with the death of Agagu and the development which led to Mimiko defection to the PDP, the Agagu boys became threatened and uncomfortable with his leadership of the party.
After much dilly-dallying, Agagu’s younger brother who was his Chief of Staff for six years Femi Agagu led others to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his late brother’s god-father, to seek his advice on their political future under Mimiko’s leadership of the Party in the state.
Femi confirmed to Vanguard that former President Obasanjo knows and approves of their defection bid. Asked if their recent meeting with President Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State has anything to do with their defection, Femi said “It has every thing to do with our action.”
Vanguard reliably gathered that the former President Obasanjo facilitated the meeting Agagu boys had with Tinubu in his Bourdillion, Lagos residence.
Basking in the euphoria of his endorsement by the former President and Tinubu, Femi Agagu swung into action and started the mobilization of those he helped while he was the Chief of Staff and who benefited from his brother’s six years reign.
He won the hearts of some former Commissioners who are his friends and whom he influenced their appointment- Olaitan Ayeni (Works), Boye Adegbemisoye (Special Duties) and two former Speakers, Victor Olabimtan who is a Federal Commissioner, Federal Civil Service Commission and Taofiq Abdusalam.
Others are a State party chairman, working committee members, members of National Assembly, Speakers and members of Ondo State House of Assembly, commissioners and Special Advisers. A former Speaker, Hon Olabimtan was said to have jumped ship because of an alleged disagreement over his re-appointment as Commissioner in the Federal Civil Service Commission after serving his term.
But another source said he was annoyed because his appointment as the state Coordinator of President Goodluck Jonathan campaign was allegedly upturned by Governor Mimiko. This has however been denied by the governor’s aide who described him as been selfish and self centred. No fewer than 48 names were paraded as defectors to the opposition APC. Among the defectors were former Commissioners- Niran Sule (Special Duties), Mrs Bukola Tenabe (Women Affairs), Tola Wewe (Tourism), Tola Aworh (Information) and Akinyemi Akinnigbagbe (Agriculture), .
Also a serving member representing Owo/Ose Hon Eniolorunda Omosule and another former member, Hon Akinyujha Jones equally defected.
Some foot soldiers of the PDP governorship candidate in the 2012 election, Chief Olusola Oke were among the defectors.
Femi Agagu at a conference to announce their defection said “We have resolved to embrace change which the APC represents and drum support for the victory of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) and Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as all the candidates of the party.
“We took this decision after lengthy 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 and elderly citizens who are concerned about the future of our dear state and country.”
Meanwhile, receiving the defectors, the party Vice Chairman in the South West, Chief Oluwole Akinyelure and the state Chairman, Hon. Isaac Kekemeke said they will be integrated into the party not as joiners but co-founders.
They urged the new members to work tirelessly for the party to win in the next year elections.
But in a swift reaction to the development, the Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, in a statement issued by the state’s Publicity Secretary, Hon. Banji Okunnomo said those who claimed to have defected from the PDP had since ceased to be members of the ruling party.
The party said: “The game plan of the members of the opposition who only waited till now to make their membership of the party public was to act as spoilers within but failed to achieve their aims. The PDP in Ondo state today is free of disloyal elements who hitherto worked with the opposition from within.”