From Osagie Otabor, Akure
The defection of Ondo State Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has jolted some aspirants who complained about the undue advantage of the party is giving him in the race for the party’s governorship ticket.
No fewer than eight aspirants have so far purchased the PDP Nomination and Expression of Interest forms, including the 2016 candidate, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN).
Sources said the fears among the aspirants were allegations that the deputy governor single handedly nominated the chairman and all the members of the committee to conduct the party’s governorship primary in the state.
A source also said Ajayi paid for a private jet to convey the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by its chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, to receive him into the party (today).
This could not be confirmed last night.
One of the aspirants who has obtained nomination form and refused to step down from the race described the coming of Ajayi as a welcome development but said the PDP would be in tatters if Ajayi had his way as being rumoured.
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The aspirant said: “How can he now come to our party and insist on running as sole candidate to the extent of nominating the chairman and members of the primary committee? Or is it the reason he hired an aircraft for the NWC members that will come tomorrow (today) to receive him? It’s the height of insults.
“Let’s wait and see as events unfold because we are not fools in this party,”
But Ajayi in a statement by his spokesman Babatope Okeowo denied that he had been adopted as the governorship candidate by the NWC of the PDP.
He said the rumour does not reflect the minds of the leadership of the PDP.
Ajayi said he would not fall into cheap blackmail by agents of government trying to create enmities among members of the PDP.
“The deputy governor who has just resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and picked the membership card of PDP said the PDP had not imposed candidate on the party in Ondo State and the party is also not interested in imposition of candidates for elections.
“The deputy governor said he will go to the primary with other qualified members of the party, who have shown interest in the governorship ticket of the party.
“As a democrat, Ajayi said he will not subscribe to any imposition of candidate and would not do anything to undermine the peaceful atmosphere that attracted him to the PDP.
“He appealed to PDP members to be wary of those spreading wicked rumours that can lead to crisis in the party,” the statement added.
PDP spokesman Kola Ologbodiyan confirmed that leaders of the party would travel to Akure.
He said: “I’m aware that there is an invitation (to Ondo State). I’m also aware of the invitation to attend has been made. I don’t know whether they will attend.”