Five expelled members of the Ondo State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party were among top leaders of the party who on Monday publicly declared their support for Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s re-election bid ahead of Saturday’s governorship election in the state.
This came after the PDP chiefs also announced the expulsion of former governor Olusegun Agagu; the party’s chairman, Mr. Ebenezer Alabi; Dr. Tayo Dairo; Mr. Olabisi Johnson; former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Victor Olabimtan; and Chief Sanya Orungbemi from party.
Former Nigeria Ambassador to Greece, Prof. Olu Agbi, Mr. Ademola Adegoroye, Mr. Segun Adegoke, Mr. Kunle Agunbiade and the factional chairman of the PDP in the state, Dr. Akin Olowokeri, were on Sunday sent packing by the party for their alleged involvement in anti-party activities.
But barely 24 hours after their expulsion they joined forces with former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Yemi Alao; and Dr. Tayo Fawehinmi to drum up support for Mimiko’s second term in office.
Speaking to reporters in Akure on Monday, Agbi said they had earlier complained about the problems in the party.
He said, “The truth is that the organisational structure of our party has become destabilised since the Court of Appeal judgement of February 23, 2009. Thereafter, the party lost all by-elections between 2009 and 2011. The total loss helped to expose the rot in the party to the outside world.
“Our efforts to promote reconciliation amongst leaders was resisted by Agagu and his cohorts. Therefore, we are informing the members of the public that the Tayo Alabi-led exco is not only illegal, but he exists in contempt of a valid court order that has not been set aside. Every action of the so-called exco cannot stand.”
“Oke’s candidacy has been faulty from the foundation. The circumstances surrounding his emergence does not put him across as a serious, well-prepared candidate that can win the election.”
The PDP leaders said Mimiko was the most qualified candidate for the position.
Agbi said, “Out of the three frontrunners in the race, Mimiko is, in our considered opinion, better endowed than others in terms of the requisite maturity, sagacity, political experience, mental alertness and preparedness for the high demands of the office of the Governor of Ondo State.
“We therefore appeal to our members and the general voting public to vote overwhelmingly for Mimiko for another four years.
“It is imperative to make it abundantly clear that we have not joined the Labour Party and we have no intention to do so. Rather, our action is motivated by our love for Ondo State and good governance rather than pecuniary inducement.”
But the Special Adviser to the PDP candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, on Media and Publicity, Mr. Kunle Adebayo in a statement, asked the electorate to ignore Agbi and others.
Adebayo said those canvassing support for Mimiko were no longer members of the PDP.
“Their summary expulsion is predicated on the gross indiscipline and absolute disloyalty that have characterised their attitude and conduct for the last one year,” he said.
Director of Publicity of the PDP in the state, Ayo Fadaka, said they were ordinary members while in the party.