…Ajayi banks on former Governor Segun Mimiko’s influence
The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has dumped the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP).
Ajayi who dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) following his incessant feud with the governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu joined the PDP to seek governorship ticket, but lost to Eyitayo Jegede in the PDP primaries.
However, the embattled deputy governor approached a former governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, and after going through relevant processes and procedures as well as meeting the state and national leaders of the party, has been adopted by the ZLP to contest the October 10 governorship election.
Reliable sources revealed that Mimiko endorsed Ajayi to be the governorship flagbearer of ZLP.
Mimiko is the leader of the ZLP in Ondo. He was approved as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2019 general elections but shelved his presidential candidacy to contest for senator in Ondo West, which he lost as well.
Both Ajayi and Mimiko’s comrades confirmed to journalists that they held a sequence of meetings, mainly in Abuja, which ended on Wednesday with the purpose that Ajayi will be announced next week as the ZLP candidate.
The officials asked not to be named because they were not permitted to reveal the outcome of the meetings to the media and a formal announcement was yet to be made.
“The deputy governor returned from Abuja yesterday (Wednesday), he has made all consultation with leaders of the party and he will unveil his new party before Monday,” an aide who spoke under anonymity disclosed.
Another close associate of Ajayi told newsmen that “it is true that he’s moving to ZLP because the party has existing structure in the state. We want to play on Mimiko’s template and populate it. There’s still room for substitution of names with INEC. The party will just withdraw the name of the person put there as a decoration. We expect the deputy governor to officially announce before next Monday.”
The new development expects Rotimi Benjamin whose name is with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be substituted with that of Agboola Ajayi.
It was presumed that the governorship election would be a two-horse race between the incumbent governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the PDP candidate, Eyitayo Jegede; but the defection of Ajayi to ZLP is expected to make it capitalising on influence of Mimiko and his clout as the deputy governor.
Although INEC has cleared 17 parties for the election, it was expected to be a two-horse race