October 18, 2015

Ripples over political appointments in Ondo

Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko

By Dayo Johnson

THE rejection of the appointment as a Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to Governor Segun Mimiko, by the former Ondo State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  Hon Ebenezer Alabi is causing ripples within the party and the state in general.

The party which had witnessed relative peace after it’s woeful performance in the March 28 Presidential/ National Assembly elections is troubled again.

If care is not taken the party may wobble and fumble with the internal crisis that the new appointment is generating into the governorship election coming up barely in a years time.

Many aggrieved members may decide to join forces with some leaders who have governorship ambitions and are already romancing  the Accord Party, AP and Social Democratic Party, SDP,  ahead of the governorship election. The leaders believed that with the governor as the leader of the party, they have no chance of emerging as the party’s flag bearer come October next year when the governorship election will take place.

Efforts by the governor Dr Olusegun Mimiko to placate the chieftains of the old PDP via appointment into boards and parastaltals may have backfired as many of those given the appointment are grumbling.

While members of the old PDP are angered by the not too  commensurate political appointments given to them, the new PDP members are worried that the governor had over-pampered the old PDP with the appointment ceded to them. The governor is therefore been boxed and kicked from both sides.

The list of forty- two  appointees were released last week in the state capital by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Dr Rotimi Adelola.

National leaders

It include Chairmen and members of the boards and parastaltals, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants.

Vanguard gathered that the second batch of the appointees would be released in due course.

The grouse of some of the appointees was that the governor gave them appointment that “ belittle” their status despite all his promises to the National Leaders of the party that he would compensate them handsomely.

Although, many are complaining of the appointment given out to less than 30 percent of the members of the Old PDP, only the former Chairman  of the party was manly enough to openly reject it and he diplomatically called the bluff of the governor. Many analysts believed that the position of SSA to a former State Chairman of the Party who under the last dispensation was a Chairman governing Council of a College of Education, Kogi state was “ a  slap”. The camp of the former State Chairman said the governor  wanted to “ deal with Alabi” for his hard line stance  during the fusion of the former Labour Party with the Peoples Democratic Party in the state and for joining forces with some leaders who did not like being under the shadow of the governor.

Alabi had teamed up with the business mogul Jimoh Ibrahim and the former governorship candidate of the PDP chief Olusola Oke to frustrate the hijacking of th e party by governor Mimiko. They later left the party when the governor turned the heat on them.

Although both Ibrahim and Oke later dumped Alabi to work clandestinely for the opposition party,  the Alabi camp believed that the “ ridiculous appointment was a pay back time for the recalcitrant Alabi “.

South West Voice was informed by the camp of Alabi that  part of the agreement during the heat that the fusion generated was that the governor would compensate Alabi with a Commissioner ship appointment. They see the governors as reneging on this agreement after “ getting the commitment of the former Chairman and leadership of the party in Abuja”.

Alabi was said to have agreed to and actually stepped down as the Chairman of the Party for peace to reign in the state was then offered monetary  reward but rejected out rightly.

He was said to be eyeing the position of a Commissioner even as his Akure South Council area of the state constituency has no representatives in the State Executive Council EXCO after the demise of the son of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Chief Olu Falae, Deji died in a plane crash few years ago. The late Deji Falae was the Culture and Tourism Commissioner. The position has not been filled till today.

Some leaders who spoke in confidence said that the governor was unfair to the old PDP as only a few of them were accommodated in the new appointment shutting out majority. They alleged that the governors   winner take all  attitude has again been demonstrated as less than 30percent of the old PDP was not only   appointed but to boards and Parastaltals that are “ moribund” and they would not be able to dispense patronage to their followers.

Consequently a cold war is brewing within the Party as many Old PDP members see the treatment given to Alabi after sacrificing his Chairmanship position for the candidate of the governor, Clement Faboyede to assume the position  in order to end the crisis before the last general election.

Many of the old PDP chieftains who according to South West findings have been nursing the ambition of either filling the vacancies in the state EXCO or be appointed after the dissolution of the state Executive council alleged that they were given “ lesser appointments because they are seen as apostles of one of the governorship hopeful”.

They alleged that it was believed that bringing them on board as cabinet members would amount to  putting fire on the rooftop of someone’s house.

However,  Alabi in a personal letter to the governor   diplomatically turned down the appointment citing persona exigencies.

In the letter dated October 7 said  Alabi appreciated the governor for counting him worthy of the appointment which he said he could not accept due to some personal reasons .

He however said that   “regrettably Sir, I will not be able to take up the appointment for the following  reasons: “The moment I stepped down as the state chairman of our great party and following the ousted of our party from government at the federal level and the sudden dissolution of the federal board in which I was the chairman.

“I have set in motion businesses plan that now demand my attention. Pending the time the set-up stage will be scaled and surmounted, my presence must be sufficient in the day-to-day running of the business. For the above reason, I humbly plead you allow me turn down the offer

“I am also working on my professional practice which by the grace of God will commence soon in a few months time, the office will be open for business, which means, in a few months to come I shall have two businesses that will be competing simultaneously for my attention

“For the above stated reasons, I humbly plead you allow me to turn down the offer while I seek your understanding and hope you will extend patronage to my businesses which I shall take time to introduce to you in matter of days “

Alabi said however that he saw his appointment as a call to service and a rare privilege but appealed to the governor   to allow him concentrate on his new found love for his business.  “I am aware of the competition and many waiting competent hands in our party that were not considered for positions due to space and the economic reality of the moment.”Therefore , a call to service, to me , is a rare privilege and opportunity to be a part of your dream and by extension that of our great party, the PDP.