Indications emerged on Saturday that the defeat of the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede, by Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress, has caused a crack within the Ondo PDP, Punch newspaper reports.
It was learnt that some top members of the PDP in the state were of the view that Governor Olusegun Mimiko did not do much to ensure Jegede’s victory.
A source told one of Pinch correspondents that party members in the state were grumbling that Mimiko, before the November 26 poll, visited President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to negotiate an “easy landing” for himself.
It was also alleged that Mimiko did not spend money as expected to counter APC’s war chest during the election.
Akeredolu and Mimiko are considered to be close despite the fact that they belong to two opposing parties jostling for the rein of power in Ondo. They are believed to have had years of relationship with each other.
Akeredolu was among the team of lawyers, led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), which helped Mimiko to power at the expense of Olusegun Agagu in 2009.
There are also fears in PDP circles that Mimiko was disposed to backing Akeredolu than Oke, who had the support of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, when Jegede’s chances of contesting the election were unlikely.
Reacting to the allegation that the governor betrayed his protégé, the PDP Director of Media and Publicity, Ayo Fadaka, said the governor had always supported Jegede.
“Mimiko was not a sell-out; in this type of situation, there are insinuations of various dimensions to make someone a scapegoat for losing the governorship election. How many of these members of the party gave their unflinching support to ensure Jegede’s victory? If that question is adequately answered, then we can think of blaming the governor.
“The whole world knows what the APC put into winning the election. The party ensured that the court process to reclaim Jegede’s mandate as PDP flag bearer in the poll dragged on more than necessary. Mimiko is not a sell-out,” he said.