The planned defection of the deputy governor of Ondo state, Hon Agboola Ajayi, to the Zenith Labour Party this week is generating heat within his People Democratic Party.
This is aside from the disquiet in the Peoples Democratic Party over the choice of who will be the deputy of the candidate of the party Eyitayo Jegede.
Ajayi who defected from the ruling All Progressive Congress to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party over irreconcilable differences with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
He contested the last governorship primary and came second barely a month after joining the party.
Barring any changes, Ajayi will be defecting to the ZLP to realise his governorship ambition.
The party according to one of its leaders is facing two crucial issues at the moment and if care is not taken may consume the party.
” We are seriously appealing to the deputy governor not to dump the party at this crucial time and at the same time, the party’s candidate is battling with leaders of his choice of deputy”.
Already, leaders of the PDP within and outside the state including governors have been mounting pressure on Ajayi not to dump the party.
A reliable source hinted that NWC of the party may likely impose Ajayi as the running mate to Jegede as part of the moves to halt his defection ZLP.
Vanguard gathered that they are sure that if Ajayi defects to ZLP, he will get the party ticket to contest the poll.
Reports had it that some PDP leaders outside the state began the move of imposing Ajayi as running mate after they uncovered the plot to sponsor the embattled deputy governor on another political platform.
Therefore in a bid not to deplete the party before the poll, the party leaders have reportedly met with party leaders in Abuja to prevail on Jegede to accept Ajayi.
One of the party leaders in the State told newsmen in confidence that “Jegede may not have the choice than to accept Ajayi as running mate. We can’t afford to go into the poll with a divided house.
“APC members in the state are on a daily basis uniting. Governor Akeredolu was in Lagos recently to introduce his running mate, Lucky Aiyedatiwa to one of his erstwhile political antagonists, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. If Akeredolu could unite with Tinubu, I don’t see why Jegede should reject Ajayi.
“Jegede must understand that Ajayi, despite being defeated during the primary, is still a big favour and big fish in the politics of Ondo State.
“We must commend some of our party leaders, particularly some PDP governors and NWC members for their frantic efforts to stop Ajayi from dumping the PDP before the October election. They love the party, unlike those who are pushing Ajayi to go to another party contest”
But close aides to Ajayi told vanguard that he was not happy the manner he was treated before and after the governorship primary of the PDP.
He complained that the party was lukewarm and felt unconcerned over the impeachment of Ajayi by the state House of Assembly.
”The deputy governor was treated like an outcast by the party in the state before and during the primary.
“Also the conspiracy against him by the other governorships aspirants before and after the election was too much that he can’t remain in that party.
He said that the planned defection had reached 80 percent completion and that there was no going back.
”The deputy governor body and soul is already in ZLP he is just perfecting the plan.
It was gathered that Ajayi had held several meetings with the national leaders of the ZLP in the state and in Abuja in the last one week on his defection plan.
The choice of his deputy in the new party according to sources would be decided this week before his public declaration.
Contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to Ajayi, Tope Okeowo said that his principal “is consulting and will make his stand known in due course.
Okeowo added that he was yet to resign his membership of the party.
Meanwhile, the party in the state played down the planned defection of Ajayi just to douse the tension and the disquiet within the party.
The party’s Director of Media and Publicity, Zadok Akintoye in a statement weekend said that Ajayi “remains valuable and respected PDP member
Akintoye said “We take note of the information being promoted and spread across social media platforms that HE. Barr. Agboola Ajayi, the incumbent Deputy Governor and Member of the PDP has concluded plans to join the Zenith Labour Party.
” For the avoidance of doubt, Mr. Agboola Ajayi remains a valuable and respected member of the PDP and has not informed the party of his intention to leave and remains a committed member of the party.
“Please note that clarification on the allegation has been sought from the Deputy Governor and assurances given to the leadership of the party of his intention to stay in the PDP.
“We, therefore, implore all members of the party and the general public to disregard the information as H.E. has assured the party leaders and elders of not leaving.
Akintoye said ” Our efforts at winning the next election remain ongoing and we are committed to removing the incumbent governor through a free and fair election.