…Says Arrangements Concluded To Unveil Him Soon.
By Deji Adebayo, Akure
The Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) has finally opened up on the adoption of Ondo State’s deputy governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, as its governorship candidate for the October 10, 2020 governorship election.
The party’s Publicity Secretary, Hon. Felix Olatunde confirmed that it had resolved that Hon. Agboola will run on its platform, despite Peoples Democratic Party’s insistence that the embattled deputy governor remains a valuable and committed member of the party.
The Deputy Governor had joined the PDP in June to contest for the ticket of the party, just a month to its primary election. He Left the APC to run for the governorship ticket of the PDP, but was defeated by Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, who was also the party’s candidate in 2016 election.
Following his defeat in the PDP primary election, Hon. Agboola’s movement to the ZLP had been a rumour following his meeting with leaders of the party, especially the former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
The Publicity Secretary of the ZLP, Hon. Felix Olatunde, confirmed in a telephone chat that barring last minute changes, Hon. Agboola Ajayi would run as the party’s candidate in the October 10, 2020 election.
He said the party was in the final stage of Hon. Agboola’s adoption and subsequent substitution of its candidate, Rotimi Benjamin, who won at the party primaries and whose name has been submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
A statement by PDP on Saturday, through its spokesman, Mr Zadok Akintoye, had denied that Hon. Agboola was heading to the ZLP, saying that the deputy governor remained a member of the party.
PDP statement reads, “For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Agboola Ajayi remains a member of the PDP and has not informed the party of his intention to leave and remains a well valued and respected 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 (on his honor) of not leaving.”
He added that the party’s efforts at winning the next election were ongoing.
However, Hon. Felix, in a telephone chat with Daily Metro News NG, said the party’s machinery had secured the assurances of Mr Benjamin’s willingness to surrender his ticket, owing to the fact that the ticket still remains within the Federal Constituency, as he would be substituted within the prescribed time frame provided by the electoral act.
He said, “The deal is almost concluded, HE, Hon. Agboola Ajayi will be coming into the party as our gubernatorial candidate for the October 10, 2020 governorship election.”
“As soon as the process is concluded we will come out with a communique in a former press conference, as we are still dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”
He added that the ZLP remained a disciplined party and would have no problems getting Mr Benjamin, who currently holds the ticket to relinquish it for the good of the party. The Agboola movement is beyond Ondo state, its the third force that will rescue the people of Ondo state. He is a grassroot man, who had risen through the ranks & political movements in every of his political attainment in life.”
“The party’s decision is supreme, and we are disciplined party and we are sure that the development will come to fruition.”
Hon. Felix noted that the party was carefully fine tuning the process given the nature of the politics in an environment where the process could be truncated by litigation. And that he is sure of the Deputy Governor’s candidacy of ZLP and that the PDP is only living in illusion.