Ondo Primary: Akeredolu, Ajayi ‘throw fireworks’ at each other, tension rises

File Photo: L-R: Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Ondo State, Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi.

As political gladiators prepare ahead of primary election in Ondo state,  there is heighened anxiety among the two major parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The APC, despite internal wranglings over the decision to adopt indirect primary will today, Monday elect it’s governorship candidate with 3,127 delegates, while PDP will on Wednesday elect its governorship flag bearer.

However, the media war between the Governor of Ondo State, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his enstranged Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi intensified on Sunday. 

The Deputy Governor, who defected to the opposition party PDP alleged that Akeredolu had run the state aground. In his reaction, the Governor vowed not to be distracted from clinching his party’s ticket to run for second term in office at the primary election today.

A major crisis, however, has erupted within the PDP after some youths alleged that one of the aspirants was wooing each delegate with $1,000, raising the alarm that the party’s primary election might not be free and fare but go to the highest bidder.

As tension rises in both camps, the Ondo State Police Command has cautioned against thuggery and violence, urging parents to warn their children and wards.

Similarly, the Chief Imam of Akure, Sheikh AbdulHakeem Yayi-Akorede, advised APC and PDP chieftains to embrace peace before, during and after the election.

In his response to a statement credited to Governor Akeredolu saying the selection of his Deputy Governor as running mate in 2016 was an error of judgement, Ajayi, said Akeredolu was only frustrated over his failure to employ the state House of Assembly to impeach him from office.

According to the Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Governor, Babatope Okeowo, Ajayi understood the self-inflicted pain of running the state aground through inflated contracts, clannishness, nepotism and malfeasance.

“These and many injuries Governor Akeredolu caused himself and cannot be blamed on his deputy Agboola Ajayi, whom he sidelined, shortly after the administration was sworn in.

“It must be put on record that Akeredolu contested the 2012 governorship election and came a distant third in the election won by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Labour Party.

“It was the experience, weight and political capital, which Agboola Ajayi brought into the 2016 gubernatorial election that produced the current All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government in the state.

“If there was any wrong choice, it’s the choice of Arakunrin Akeredolu, who has refused to take all-wise counsel not only from his deputy but from other cabinet members.”

But the Ondo State Government said it would not take up issues with Ajayi, adding that its focus was on how Akeredolu would win today’s APC primary election.

Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the Governor, Ojo Oyewamide, said: “We would rather concentrate on our primary election than decipate energy on a vicious distraction and one cancerous being. We wish him all the best.”