Governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo state at the weekend said they rejected the plot to buy them over Hon. Agboola Ajayi, the deputy governor of the state.
Last month, Ajayi defected from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the PDP on whose platform he intends to contest the October 10 governorship election.
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the party also granted him a waiver to participate in the governorship primary slated for July 22.
In a letter dated June 26, Uche Secondus, PDP national chairman, said the deputy governor met requirements of section 50(5)(b) of the party’s constitution.
The letter reads “The national working committee (NWC) at its 495th meeting held on Thursday June 25, 2020 considered your application for waiver”.
“The NWC on behalf of the national executive committee (NEC) having found that you satisfied the relevant provisions of our party’s constitution particularly section 50(5)(b) (as amended in 2017) for granting of waiver hereby inform you that your application has been approved.
“By this approval, you are therefore qualified to contest the Ondo state governorship primary election under our platform. Congratulations.”
However, some of the party’s governorship aspirants in the state said they are united in their resolve not to allow Ajayi have the ticket. They also vow not step down for him in the primary, saying they want to contest so as to test their popularity ahead of the main election.
Speaking with our correspondent, one of the governorship aspirants who does not want his name in print said they rejected attempts by Ajayi to pay them off to the tune of N400m being the cost of money incurred by them so far in the governorship election.
“What we all have in common is that we don’t want Agboola Ajayi to be imposed as automatic candidate because it amounts to an insult on all of us”.
“If truly he has the strength and support base that he has been telling them in Abuja before he came to us, let him get set for the party primary, that has been our position.
“Even the party leadership in Abuja now knows that what he was telling them were all not truths about his popularity. At least we have seen how our national chairman asked with disappointment the whereabouts of the lawmakers and cabinet members.
“So with his inability to have the automatic ticket, as soon as we got back to Akure after the screening, he sent about four different emissaries to four of us that he was ready to pay off our debts at a cost of N400 million, that is 100 million per aspirant, and he concentrated the talks on those of us from the South”.
“To us, that is an insult because we are not products to be procured in the open market as he thinks. We have all severally and jointly resolved to go to party primary election and fail instead of collecting money from him”, he said.
However, when contacted, Ajayi denied the allegation, saying he is not interested in any of the aspirants stepping down for him.
Speaking through Babatope Okeowo, his Chief Press Secretary, Ajayi said the state government is behind the propaganda.
“It is one of the frivolous allegations coming from the Governor Akeredolu led government. All the PDP governorship aspirants including the Deputy Governor are moving around the state in order to campaign to delegates. They have no time for such reckless allegation”.
“The Deputy Governor is not interested in asking any aspirant to step down for him. If he had wanted to do that, he would not have been traversing the length and breadth of the state campaigning for vote from delegates”.
“The primary election is on July 22 and the aspirants have agreed not to attack each other but woo delegates. This is what they are doing”.
“I make bold to say that the allegation is coming from the State Government and not from any Governorship aspirants of the PDP. Let the APC led government face its problem and leave the PDP alone to sort its issue of candidate out”.