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Governor Akeredolu, while on a monitored TV interview recently, described his political enemy, Mimiko and a former Chief Judge of the state, Seinde Kumuyi, who was also his intimate friend, as ‘bogus enemies.’
In a related development, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Segun Sowunmi, has appealed to the former governor of Ondo State, Mimiko, to return to the party ahead of the October 10, 2020 governorship election in the state. Sowunmi, while speaking with The Guardian yesterday in Akure, suggested the possibility of PDP and Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) merging to form an alliance to defeat the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
He noted that many PDP leaders in the state believe in the leadership qualities of Mimiko, who is now the national leader of ZLP, and appealed to dump ZLP’s governorship candidate and deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi.
However, in a statement made available to journalists in Akure yesterday by the Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Mr. Olabode Olatunde, Akeredolu lashed out at the opposition party.
“The PDP has shown once again how petty-minded it can be with its latest unguarded statement on the comment made by Governor Akeredolu in response to a question on his ‘personal relationship’ with former Governor Olusegun Mimiko, his supposed friend that has turned political enemy.
“Let it be stated clearly that Governor Akeredolu’s statement that former Governor Olusegun Mimiko and the former Chief Judge of the state, Olasehinde Kumuyi, are his enemies for life because of their betrayal is his personal views, which he is entitled to.
“So, to describe such as ‘political terrorism’ is not only irresponsible but immature and irrational. For the PDP, it is a crime to see a man bare his mind without any fear and lies. Such rare quality of decency, integrity and outspokenness by Governor Akeredolu is very alien to the PDP.
“To set the record straight, the PDP, by that statement, has betrayed the view and position of one of its leaders and former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who once described Mimiko as a treacherous politician after he dumped the PDP for his former party, the Labour Party.”
Olatunde, who is also the spokesperson of Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organization, noted that Ekweremadu made the statement when he was deputy president of the Senate of the country.
“He spoke at the Akure Airport, en route Ado-Ekiti for the PDP rally in the build up to the 2018 Ekiti State governorship election,” Olatunde said. “According to the PDP leader, only a deceitful and selfish politician behaves like Mimiko.
“We therefore view the PDP statement as crying more than the bereaved. It is another sign of weakness on the part of a party that is struggling with total rejection from the people. Governor Akeredolu’s truthfulness and courage to speak out no matter whose ox is gored is an attribute that continues to endear him to the people and this should never be sacrificed on the slab of bitter politics.
Olatunde said the attribute of truthfulness is alien to the PDP as a party that is built on lies and deceit. He urge the party to tell the people of Ondo State what they have to offer and desist from seeking undue popularity through petty engagement. According to Olatunde, “The latest statement by the PDP Campaign Council has shown that the party has reduced itself to shadow-chasing regarding the campaign for the October 10 Governorship Election. The Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation wants to warn the PDP that the people of Ondo State cannot be deceived into returning to slavery.”
Meanwhile, the Ilaje Development Summit Group (IDSG) has lauded Akeredolu for picking an Ilaje man, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as his running mate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
The IDSG Executive Administrator, Sola Adebawo, said, “This represents a clear recognition of both the obvious capacity of our son to perform in this huge role, and a strong indication of an acknowledgement of the critical place of Ilaje in the sustainable success of our dear Ondo State.”
Adebawo disclosed that the group is a citizen-led initiative that engineers coordinated sustainable development of Ilaje land through participatory partnership of all groups, associations and individuals working for the development of Ilaje. He also explained that IDSG is neither apolitical nor irreligious but an inclusive organisation with no exclusive political or religious affiliations.
“The organization is made up of the most accomplished Ilaje sons and daughters in Nigerian and in different countries around the world,” Adebawo stated. “And we therefore parade some of the finest minds in Ilaje land.”
While speaking on the choice of Aiyedatiwa as running mate, Adebawo said, “It also represents the beginning of a new era of Ilaje playing in the mainstream of governance in Ondo State, which our fathers fought relentlessly to help create, and which our resources have helped to sustain over the years.”
Adebawo, however, demanded “a genuine focus on Ilaje for sustainable development of neglected infrastructure and other key areas such as health, education, economy, and electricity, as a matter of commitment and not mere campaign rhetoric.
“IDSG convened the much-talked about first-of-its-kind Ilaje Development Summit on November 23, 2019 in Akure, with participation by the Ondo State Government and Ilaje’s sons and daughters from different countries around the world.”
According to him, the summit produced the first Ilaje Regional Development Plan, which is a 50-year strategic plan for development of Ilaje land.
ACCORDING to Sowunmi, who was a former spokesperson for Vice President Atiku Abubakar, speculation that PDP leadership had been making political overtures to win Mimiko is true. According to him, the PDP governorship candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, is the product of ZLP national leader, assuring that Jegede would continue with Mimiko’s programmes and policies if elected governor.
“I am saying it with every sense of responsibility: Olusegun Rahman Mimiko is too precious to PDP as an individual, and we will continue to beg him: oh leader, come and provide leadership.
“You cannot produce a son in Eyitayo Jegede and tell us, who have believed you, that we should stop when you have already given us the instruction to go. And now we are on the move.
“Even if the general is a little bit reluctant, we are going to carry him on our head; we are going to move him to the battleground because Eyitayo Jegede and Mimiko are the same. Mimiko is our product, we own him. A leader does not own himself; Mimiko is one of the finest materials that the South West has to offer in terms of intellectual capability.”
While speaking emphatically on a possible alliance, he said: “I can guarantee you, whatever little frayed nerves need to be calmed, our leaders will try all they have to calm it. And I believe that in the thirteenth hour, Mimiko will sleep and ask himself: of these guys, who else is best to take Ondo forward?”