With just a few weeks to the November 26 governorship election in Ondo state, a mass defection of PDP followers in Ese-Odo Local Government Area is imminent as political leaders from the Ijaw speaking area of the state have rejected the choice of Hon John Ola Mafo as deputy governorship candidate.
Ese-Odo Local Government Area is a PDP stronghold and had accounted for over sixty percent of votes the party garnered in the 2015 general election in Ondo state.
But the looming defection is coming on the heels of the nomination of Mafo, a former commissioner for sports in the state as running mate to the factional candidate of the PDP, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, SAN.
A PDP leader from Ese-Odo, Hon Sunday Tundigha, in a statement issued in Akure the Ondo state capital on behalf of Aggrieved Ese-Odo PDP Leaders’ Forum, faulted the emergence of Mafo, saying it ”defied all known logics and political justice”.
”Our local government is the only Ijaw speaking local government and had delivered over thousand votes for the PDP in the last presidential and National Assembly elections with over ninety percent.
”We were however, surprised that the leadership of the party decided to turn logic on its by giving the deputy governorship slot to a local government without any voting value for the PDP. This is more so that AD’s Olusola Oke is from the same local government. This defies logic and every known political justice.
”We are therefore giving Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the leadership of the PDP forty eight hours from now,to withdraw Mafo and replace him with an indigene of Ese-Odo. Any thing short of this will result to mass defection from the party. It is sad that an individual from Ese-Odo could sell out this golden opportunity for our people just because of his future political ambitions. We will resist this selfish and short-sighted political calculation.
According to him, the aggrieved leaders of the PDP have resolved to work for the success of the All Progressives Congress ( APC) , Chief Rotimi Akeredolu.
”Between now and the expiration of the ultimatum, we have put all our supporters on notice to mobilize for Chief Rotimi Akeredolu of the APC. This is because his running mate, Hon Agboola Ajayi, the Ambassadorial nominee, Barrister Sola Iji as well as the Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of state for agriculture, Mr Donald Ojogo are distinguished sons of our local government”, he said in the statement.
One of the deputy governorship hopefuls from the local government prior Mafo’s emergence, Chief Pere Ganfo has also warned that the PDP might face dire electoral consequences over the decision it took against Ese-Odo.
”Honestly, since the announcement of Mafo, I have received several complaints from our people who feel short changed, used and dumped. They are unhappy because the party did not deem it needful to consider our current electoral value to the PDP.
It means we are not needed in the party. But as a party man, I have been trying to assuage their feelings trying to calm them but I doubt if I will continue to have such capacity to do that, and you know what that means”, Ganfo said.
Meanwhile, Ojogo, who is an Ijaw and the Senior Technical Adviser ( Media and Policy) to the Minister of state for agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri has urged all Ijaws in Ondo state to vote massively for the APC in the coming election.
”The people of Ondo State are well informed and conscious of the fact that the present administration in the state under Dr Olusegun Mimiko had impoverished the state long before now.
The deceit and self serving style of the governor and his cohorts must be put to end and only a massive turn out for Akeredolu can rescue the state from further impoverishment, hunger and directionless leadership. I believe all Ijaws in the state will key into this agenda that is aimed at connecting the state to the centre”, he said.