The intention of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, to resign from the cabinet and contest the 2020 gubernatorial election on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against incumbent Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, is generating ripples in the opposition party.
Sunday Independent gathered that Ajayi is seriously oiling his political machinery to give Akeredolu a running battle at the polls.
It was gathered from reliable sources that Ajayi has the backing of one of his allies, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, to throw his hat into the ring.
He may resign from the Ondo State cabinet in December.
Ajayi and Tambuwal are friends and colleagues in the House of Representatives between 2007 and 2011.
According to impeccable sources, Ajayi already has a running mate in Hon. Adedayo Omolafe, a member of the House of Representatives representing Akure North and South Federal Constituency.
Ajayi will equally enter into the race with the support of two of the three commissioners that were sacked recently by Akeredolu.
The former commissioners are Prince Solagbade Amodeni of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and Mr. Taofiq Abdusalam of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructures.
They are said to be preparing to dump the APC to support Ajayi for the PDP ticket.
The sacked commissioners were alleged to be hobnobbing with some governorship aspirants of the party seeking to oust Akeredolu in the next year election, and some leaders of the APC, within and outside the state. It was alleged that they had a political meeting with leaders of the party who are not on the same page with Akeredolu’s second term ambition.
The Deputy Governor is said to confident of clinching the PDP governorship ticket because of the exit of former Governor Olusegun Mimiko from the PDP to Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
According to a top PDP politician in Ondo State (name withheld), Atiku, Tambuwal and Makinde will slug it out for their cronies during the gubernatorial polls next year.
“We are all watching as the game is drawing closer. All these claims and counterclaims are because of the intrigues for the ticket of our party. We are aware that the Deputy Governor, sensing that he might be dropped by Akeredolu, is making efforts to return to us. You know Ajayi left the PDP for APC when Mimiko denied him a Senatorial ticket in 2015. But his rumoured running mate (Adedayo Omolafe) is an old PDP member who has been consistent with the party, so their ticket might be a perfect match. Ajayi is an asset to us any day,” he boasted.
Continuing, the astute politician added; “You will recall that former Governor Mimiko forced him (Ajayi) out of the party he toiled to build in his local government, Ese Odo. Now that Mimiko has left disgracefully, he can return to us and strengthen the party. Rather than allowing Jegede (Eyitayo) who is a new man imposed by Mimiko, majority of us will prefer Agboola Ajayi from the South to run as a candidate provided he picks an old member as his running mate. There is nothing wrong if he runs because all efforts are to stop the APC from coming back in the state.”
However, Ajayi’s interest might clash with that of the PDP standard-bearer during the 2016 governorship election in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), who disclosed last week that he will give a shot at the governorship election coming up next year in the State.
According to Jegede who lost the 2016 election to incumbent Governor Akeredolu, God has directed him to contest the 2020 governorship election.
While Ajayi is from Ondo South Senatorial District, Jegede is from Ondo Central Senatorial District.
Eyitayo will enter into the race with the moral and financial supports of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Jegede has already visited Akure South Local Government as well as Idanre Council Area where he intimated party leaders of his ambition.
“I am here to thank you for the support you gave me during the 2016 governorship election. I see myself as somebody who is ready to serve. I contested the last gubernatorial election and we knew the result, the following day we went to church to thank God for how far He had helped us.
“Now, I consulted God Almighty again, I asked if I should go forward on this project, He answered me that I should go ahead.
“I am asking you whether to go ahead or not? This is not the time for the campaign. We will surely come back when the time comes. I seek your support for our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and appreciate you for all your efforts both during the 2016 governorship election and the last general elections. ”
Another politician who intends to contest the 2020 gubernatorial race in the state is Chief Eddy Olafeso, the South West Zonal Chairman of the PDP.
He is said to be enjoying the support of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State.
Olafeso refused to answer phone calls or respond to WhatsApp messages sent to his phone on Saturday.
Ajayi refused to react to the development when asked about his reaction to the planned defection to PDP. He promised to speak on the development whenever he was free, saying he was at a function, but failed to do so as at presstime.