Ondo 2020: Jegede denies ZLP, says no compromise with Ajayi

By Osagie Otabor, Akure/Bisi Oladele, Ibadan

  • ADC Rep, chair, others join APC
  • Lanlehin to Ondo opposition parties: learn from our experience in Oyo, steer clear of PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State vowed on Saturday to go into this weekend’s governorship election without the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) or compromising the candidature of its governorship flag bearer, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) with ZLP’s Agboola Ajayi.

The PDP said it was impossible for its candidate to step down for Ajayi.

The party spoke on a day the African Democratic Congress (ADC) House of Representatives member from Ondo, Hon Abiola Makinde and the state Chairperson of the party, Chief Tokunbo Adetoro, switched camps to the ruling All Progressives Congress to support the re-election of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Simultaneously, the ADC governorship candidate in Oyo State in last year’s election, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, advised 10 opposition parties in Ondo State to jettison their plan to team up with the PDP ahead of the Saturday election.

He warned the parties that they stood the risk of regretting their action if they failed to drop their plan.

Speaking against the background of reports of renewed alliance talks between the PDP and ZLP ahead of the elcetion, the PDP publicity secretary in the state, Mr. Kennedy Peretei, said his party “has never sat down anywhere with anybody in the ZLP to discuss any merger plan, much less perceive any move or begging to make its governorship candidate step down.”

He described the reports as laughable.

Jegede, according to him, is not stepping down for any candidate.

He said: “How on earth can the duly elected governorship candidate of the PDP, the biggest political party in Africa, step down for the candidate of a bedroom political party formed in the heat of political harlotry? God forbid.

“While the PDP welcomes other political parties to join the winning team in dislodging the present locust regime under the APC and install a government of the people, the PDP has never changed its identity and name, and will never commit the sacrilege at the Ondo State level.

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“Besides, the ZLP candidate, who is the current deputy governor of Ondo State, left the APC for the PDP, where he was magnanimously given a waiver to test his popularity by contesting for the PDP governorship ticket.

“He lost the primary election in a poll which he himself described as free and fair, and then, all of a sudden, ran away from the party barely two months as a member.

“The next thing was that he had been picked by a tiny party belonging to a political godfather, where he got his needed rehabilitation to become a governorship candidate.

“Ever since, we have known little or nothing about his affairs.”

The party similarly denied any meeting by any of it chieftains with former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the Ondo State governorship election.

“If former Governor Segun Mimiko met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, that did not in any way concern the PDP, as Mimiko is not a member of our party, and we had never been invited for any talk by the former President,” Peretei said.

ADC chair, Rep, others join APC

The ranks of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State swelled yesterday when the state chairman of the African Democratic Congress, Chief Tokunbo Adetoro; the party’s House of Representatives member  from Ondo, Hon. Abiola Makinde; and their supporters defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress to support the re-election bid of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

Hon. Makinde was elected on the platform of ADC in the 2019 general elections.

Other members of ADC from 10 local government areas of the state also defected to the APC

Mrs. Adetoro said the decision to collapse their structure into the ruling party was informed by the performance of Governor Akeredolu.

Adetoro stated that it was meant to ensure continuity of the good works, adding that Akeredolu deserved a second term.

She promised to mobilise support for Akeredolu and the APC at their various local government areas.

State chairman of APC, Engr. Ade Adetimehin, who received the defectors, commended them for taking “the right step in the right direction.”

He said their joining the APC would boost the party’s chances at the poll.

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Adetimehin also accused opposition political parties of deliberately launching unprovoked attacks on members of the APC to cause tension.

He said the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) planned to send wrong signals about the state to the outside world.

His words: “The PDP and ZLP have attacked us repeatedly while we have resisted the temptation to fight back. Our decision is not borne out of cowardice, but we feel we are in a position to display maturity. We feel we should be more careful because we are better favoured to win the election.

“All they are doing is to create tension in the state to possibly discredit the process. We have resolved to continue to tolerate them. We won’t retaliate, irrespective of the degree of provocation.”

Learn from our experience in Oyo, Lanlehin advises Ondo opposition parties

The African Democratic Congress (ADC) governorship candidate in Oyo State in the 2019 election, Senator Olufemi Lanlehin, on saturdayadvised a group of 10 opposition parties in Ondo State to resist the temptation of working with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election.

Lanlehin, in a statement in Ibadan, said the group would regret their action in the end because the PDP and its candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, would not honour their agreements.

The opposition parties are Accord, ADC, Labour Party (LP), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP), National Resistance Movement (NRM), All Peoples Party (APP), African Action Congress (AAC), and Social Democratic Party (SDP). They had on Thursday announced a plan to adopt one of the APC, PDP and ZLP as a consensus candidate within 72 hours.

Rather than endorse Jegede, Lanlehin advised the opposition parties to support Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who he said he had known for decades as a man who honours agreements and is not deceitful.

Lanlehin was among the leading candidates who withdrew by reason of a coalition with Governor Seyi Makinde of the PDP.

The coalition worked for Makinde’s victory in the election but they have since fallen apart with Lanlehin, accusing the governor of failure to honour pre-election agreements.

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Lanlehin said: “I urge the opposition parties in Ondo State not to give their support to PDP’s candidate in next Saturday’s election. Be guided by our experience in Oyo State where we supported the PDP’s candidate to win, only for him to dishonour our agreement.

“A gentleman’s word should be his bond, goes a saying. But it seems to me that it is in the DNA of PDP to be duplicitous and honour is alien to the party and its candidates.

“In Oyo State in 2019, we supported the PDP’s candidate to win and pre-election agreement was reached to that effect. Right from when he was governor-elect, he started showing signs that he would discard the agreement and eventually did on assumption of office without his conscience pricking him.

“The PDP man who did not honour agreement is the chairman of the PDP candidate’s campaign council in Ondo, and they are very close. What will then be the difference between six and half a dozen?

“Let the Ondo opposition leaders give their honour to who deserves it in the person of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“As a senior lawyer of many years standing, he has been very frank and above board in his social contract with the people of Ondo State in terms of what he can do and what he will not be able to do. Such a man deserves another term.

“APC is at the centre and there are many gains for the Sunshine State if APC continues to govern it. These gains are in addition to the massive infrastructural development of the state which began in almost four years now and will surely continue under Akeredolu.”

He also charged the people of the state to eschew violence as they file out to vote on Saturday, stressing that violence is an ill-wind that blows no one any good.



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