As deputy moves to pick PDP ticket
By Dayo Johnson
AKURE- STRONG indications emerged, weekend, that the frosty relationship Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi was far from been resolved.
Barring any last minutes changes, Ajayi may be dropped as the deputy governorship candidate in the July governorship primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state and other chieftains of the party were said to have intervened, but the face-off lingered on.
Vanguard, however, gathered that Akeredolu’s estranged deputy has reportedly struck a deal with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on his possible defection to the party to pick the governorship ticket.
A member of the Ondo State House of Assembly confided in Vanguard Ajayi may defect with no fewer than eight members of the Assembly any moment from now.
But the source said Ajayi was considering opting out because the national leadership of the APC is considering the indirect mode to pick its candidate for Ondo State.
The PDP deal was discretely facilitated by two PDP governors from North-West and South-south respectively.
The lawmaker said: “You know that Akeredolu is in charge of the delegates and the deputy governor has vowed to contest against the governor if the APC goes ahead to field him.
“This is expected to play out shortly after the APC NWC’s pronouncement of the indirect mode of primary for Ondo state.
“It is just a matter of time; as soon as the APC announces the mode of primary for Ondo which we believe is likely to be indirect, we will invite all the aspirants from that state to talk to them and allow the incumbent deputy Governor to slug it out with Akeredolu.”
Vanguard also gathered that Akeredolu’s decision to drop Ajayi, necessitated his movement to the PDP to slug it out with his boss.
However, a member of the PDP told Vanguard that Ajayi has been advised by those in the know of the deal to suppress his ambition since the numerous governorship aspirants might revolt.
The source said: “We know how this thing works. It is difficult to just bring a man who has been out of the party to come in and pick the governorship ticket; so we advised him not to engage the leadership of the party based on his ambition but based on his desire to join the party to stop the incumbent.
“It is just a matter of time because we have to wait for the APC NWC to announce the indirect mode of primary because, from the look of things, the governor will be given the ticket to run as a candidate.”
Vanguard also learned that “in the last three weeks, the Ondo deputy governor has been meeting with the leadership of the PDP at all levels, including members of the PDP NWC.”