By Dayo Johnson – Akure
THE crisis in the Ondo state chapter of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deepened weekend over consensus candidate in the October governorship election.
While the party’s secretary in ilaje council area of the state Banjo Ikunogbon claimed that a former state Publicity secretary of the party and council chairman Hon Banji Okunomo has been endorsed as party’s sole candidates amongst the three from the area, the other aspirants have punctured the claim.
The other two aspirants include a former deputy governorship candidate in the 2016 election in the state, Hon Ola John Mafo and a former commissioner Chief Sola Ebiseni.
Mafo and Ebiseni in a swift response described the purported endorsement as fraudulent
Ikunogbon who said that 21 party executives and other 35 ward executives in the council preferred Okunomo above other aspirants and dismissed the allegation that some of the executive members had withdrawn their support.
“We only exercised our constitutional rights of freedom of expression as to who we think could win the ticket of the party and eventually defeat Akeredolu in the upcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
“Our endorsement is not an embargo against any of the aspirants in the upcoming PDP primaries. Politics is a game of number. Simple majority will always prevail and that’s the beauty of democracy.”
However, the chairman of the party in the council area (ilaje) Omotehinse Oladipupo in a statement disagreed with his secretary Ikunogbon that Okunomo has been adopted as the sole candidate.
Oladipupo in a statement said “there is no iota of truth in the said publication, especially as all activities of the party has been suspended in deference to the directives of the party and government on the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Our investigation further revealed that the signatures on the purported endorsement document were forged and categorically denied by persons to whom they were ascribed”
“We wish to assure all concerned, particularly our most respected gubernatorial aspirants, of our strict adherence to the constitution of our great party, through which credible processes the candidate will be determined.
He added that ” Distractions such as this laughable endorsement should, therefore, be ignored as non-event.”
Mafo in a statement on behalf of the other aspirant said they were not invited to the purported meeting where they allegedly took the decision of a sole candidate.
He, therefore, described the endorsement as ” a travesty of a noble principle and fraudulent political game”
Mafo said that ” the Okunomo camp are so desperate that after the Chairman of the party disclaimed their purported endorsement, they issued another fake document impersonating the Chairman, claiming that he had disowned his own state.
” lt is necessary to ask from Prince Okunomo and his managers, why are they so desperate to the point of being fraudulent?
“Why the fake adoption that would not be too difficult for an average curious observer or a kindergarten detective to expose? Why moving from pillar to post looking for cheap endorsement instead promoting your qualities to the stakeholders?
He noted that “Even if there must be an adoption would it not follow due process and to the knowledge of the concerned stakeholders and aspirants? There are so many questions begging for answers!