All seem not well in the politics of Ondo state within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as there have been high level political intrigues over the 2020 Governorship ambition.
Also, in the Peoples Democratic Party, there are several reports of internal crisis which may force leaders of the party to want to back a popular candidate in the Southern Senatorial Zone of the state.
The political upheaval in the APC is not devoid of internal strife, especially in the government circle as there are rumours that the Deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, is allegedly interested in the Governorship position comes 2020, and he may contest the primaries with his boss, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
This internal crisis between Akeredolu and Agboola has forced the deputy governor to be avoiding public functions especially ones where
his estranged boss will be present. The New Year prayer organized by the governor was a critical example as Agboola was unreasonably absent.
Investigations by Nigerian Concord have also revealed that Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi has packed out of the Government House at Alagbaka, Akure and he is now coming to work from his private residence at Ijapo in the same Akure town.
The rumour of Agboola’s interest in the exalted position is becoming obvious as it is the talk of the town across the 18 Local government areas of the even at the market places.
This may have been giving the governor sleepless nights as many people believe that if things are not checked, the Deputy Governor who they know to be a philanthropist and a seasoned politician of note will definitely have an upper hand over the Governor at the primaries as he knows how to play his way out.
Reports also have it that APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu has teamed up with the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, to back Agboola with necessary funds which he needs to wrestle the APC governorship ticket with Akeredolu whose sin is that he did not leave the administration of Ondo state in the hands of godfathers.
Another report says that Tinubu will back his political godson, Segun Abraham, in 2020 but our investigation revealed that the former Lagos
state governor had since informed Abraham that he would not support him again over a report that the former APC aspirant mismanaged several hundreds of million of Naira which Tinubu gave him to slug it out with Akeredolu during the 2016 APC governorship primaries.
Although, The Deputy Governor, had through media handlers denied the rumour in recent times, saying that he has no such ambition. They added that those who are carrying the rumour are just being mischievous, latest happenings between him and the governor seriously suggests that he is enjoying the backing of some power brokers to tackle his boss at the poll.
However, a source within the APC who considers himself as aborigine noted that the recent happening at the government circle is giving him a concern, saying that the relationship between Governor Akeredolu and his Deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi is not cordial at all.
The source alleged that the recent protest by the Militants from the riverside area of the state at the Governor’s office was alleged to have been instigated by the Deputy Governor to score a point that the money promised them was not released to him by the Governor after they have surrendered their arms and ammunitions.
Nigerian Concord also gathered that the recent protest by members of the House of Assembly over the issue of snake at the Chamber of the House was the hand work of the third forces who are hell bent to make the state ungovernable for the Governor. But the reaction of Mr.Governor doused the dust raised by the protest as the Speaker, Hon. Oleyelogun is afraid to lose his exalted position.
However, as the crisis is ranging on, a pressure group from the Southern Senatorial District of the state, known as Coastal Liberation Movement (CLM), with a vision that power must move to the South in 2020 visited Alhaji Alli Olanusi (former Deputy Governor of Ondo
State) and a Board Member of APC at his residence in Akure to solicit for his support to their agitations.
A source said “Baba did not only welcome us warmly, he also identified with our mission and vision. However, he advised us to go back home and narrow our search down to the particular local government in the South that should be genuinely and realistically considered.
“He openly agreed with us that” it’s the turn of the South since the incumbent governor has not done well enough to warrant his second term in office “, the source added.
Another source told Nigerian Concord that even if Akeredolu is smart enough to pacify the Deputy Governor not to run against him, (which the source doubts), the main crisis which is that of some elders and leaders of the party who are vigorously working against the second term of the governor will surely consume him.
With the present calculation, Agboola who is a strong politician not only in the riverside area of the state, but across the 18 Local governments is also the one leading “Agagu Boys” in the present administration of Governor Akeredolu.
It was reliably gathered that the Akeredolu administration is dominated by these “Agagu Boys” which the governor has to contend with in his bid to secure the second term ticket of the APC.
“Like I told you, Agboola has been able to silent Hon Kingsley Kuku boys and he is having upper hands in Ese Odo Local government area of the state”, the source stressed.
Also, one should not forget the political might of Chief Olusola Oke (SAN), another force to be reckoned with especially now that he has lost his chance of being made the NDDC Boss by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Reports have it that Oke, a seasoned politician, too has been Working underground with his own group across the 18 Local governments who are
all out wooing more supporters so that he can have an edge over Governor Akeredolu at the APC primaries.
Another force is Barrister Isaac Kekemeke, a former state chairman of the APC who was sent out of office by the governor’s force, who has declared openly his intention to contest the Governorship position.
Kekemeke is really moving fast in consulting leaders of the party about his intention to run for the juice position in the state. Some of his campaign points are that the governor has failed to provide the dividends of democracy to the people of the state.
According to the source, the move recently by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and some leaders of the party to reconcile the aggrieved people and Governor Akeredolu did not work because Akeredolu did not fulfill his own part of the agreement reached at the meeting, and this has forced the APC national leader to endorse Agboola.
“Honestly, we are yet to see crisis. Crisis is coming. If Aketi is forced on us, mass decamping of members is imminent as leadership of some parties has reached out to majority of us”, the source opined.
With the crisis, anxiety has also gripped some members who are hanging on the balance as they are confused on which way to follow, whether to go in the way of the governor or to follow the aggrieved leaders. But
some of them are of the opinion that another meeting should be called between the warring members to resolve the crisis once and for all since previous resolution had been lost in this fresh intra-party wrangling. They opined that as a ruling party, all crises within the party should be resolved so that Ondo state can move forward with a unity of purpose that is a necessity for the flourishing of peace and development.
Although, the storms are gathering as the opposition parties mostly especially PDP is thinking of gaining from the crisis by drawing as many as possible of the aggrieved members of the APC who have fallen out with the party.
With the look of things in the state right now, Nigerian Concord gathered that a possible switch to other parties by many APC stalwarts from both side could already be at the advanced stage. Even with the yet-to be resolved lingering crisis between the Governor and his Deputy, the leadership crisis in APC in the state has added to the environment of political uncertainty in the state.
Though, the governor still enjoys support of Mr. President who had appointed his preferred choice, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, as a minister of the Federal Republic.
But many observers in the state believe that Akeredolu should find a more creative way of managing the crisis. Needless to say that the field is increasingly getting rough, what Ondo state needs now is infrastructure development and not crisis.
In the PDP, some people considered to be remnants of the structure which a former governor of the state, Dr. Segun Agagu (Late) left behind have reportedly given their endorsement to a Honourable Eddy Olafeso who is from the South.
However, there are agitations that the governorship must be zoned to Akure Division but strong leaders of the party have dismissed this, saying that there is no where it was written in the party’s constitution that power must shift to any particular zone or division.
As a result of this, the top contender in the PDP who is from Akure, Barrister Eyitayo Jegede, if not given the party’s ticket, may move to the Action Alliance where he may become the running mate to Governor Akeredolu who may not be given the APC ticket as well.
On Aketi/Jegede joint ticket under the Action Alliance, political analysts opined that it is the best decision as the governor will be able to use his power of incumbency to win over 80% of the total votes from his zone, Ondo North, while Jegede, as a result of his goodwill, popularity and influence from the immediate past governor of the state, Segun Mimiko, will get over 90% of the total votes in the Ondo Central which has Akure South and Nort and Ondo East and West.
If the duo team up under the AA’s ticket, the Ondo South’s results will just be an added value as more than eight other parties in the state will feature candidates who are from the Southern Zone.