FIVE governorship aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party from the Southern Senatorial district in Ondo state have vowed not to step down for the defected deputy governor. Hon Agboola Ajayi ahead of the July 22, party primary.
Reports also said that they have rebuffed alleged plans by the deputy governor to buy them over with millions of naira.
The aspirants include Dr. Eddy Olafeso, Godday Erewa, Hon Banji Okunomo, Chief Sola Ebiseni, and Senator Boluwaji Kunlere
Speaking separately on behalf of others, the former deputy national vice chairman of the party in the south-west Dr. Eddy Olafeso and Godday Erewa said that a consensus from the zone was no more visible.
Olafeso told vanguard that “l think it’s too late for now. In Olympic, over 200 countries usually participate and you come with your capacity, your experience, knowledge, state of preparedness into the competition.
” I fear it might not be possible at this moment to placate any of the aspirants to withdraw from the race that they have spent several millions of Naira.
“It should be a challenge to our people that if they truly want leader committed to the welfare of the people, who have integrity, honor, character, and strength, we must begin to minimize the influence of money politics.
“For us, having gotten this far, we are going to sail through the red sea and get to the other side of paradise.
“But I believe at the end of the primaries there should be room for us to express if we really want to come and serve our people. What is important is to accept if the election is free, fair and transparent,
On his part, Erewa said ” There won’t be any consensus candidate. At the stage that we are now, there is no consensus, consensus could have come before buying the forms not after buying the forms days to the primary”.
Aides of other aspirants from the senatorial district who spoke with Vanguard in confidence said that their principals would not accept any imposition of the deputy governor by the leadership of the party.
“What we all have in common is that we don’t want Ajayi to be imposed as an automatic candidate because it amounts to an insult on all of us.
“If truly he has the strength and support base that he has been telling them in Abuja before he came to us, let him get set for the party primary, that has been our position.
“Even Abuja now knows that what he was telling them were all not truths about his popularity.
” At least we have seen how our national chairman asked with disappointment the whereabouts of the lawmakers and cabinet members he said would defect to the party along with him.
“So with his inability to have the automatic ticket, as soon as we got back to Akure after the screening, he sent about four different emissaries to four of us that he was ready to pay off our debts and he concentrated the talks on the aspirants from the South
“To us, that is an insult because we are not products to e procured in the open market as he thinks, we have all severally and jointly resolved to go to party primary election and fail instead of collecting money from him”
Reacting to the alleged plan to induce the aspirants, Ajayi who spoke on behalf of his Chief Press Secretary, Babatope Okeowo said that “All the PDP governorship aspirants including the Deputy Governor are moving around the state in order to campaign to delegates. They have no time for such reckless allegation.
“The Deputy Governor is not interested in asking any aspirant to step down for him. If he had wanted to do that, he would not have been traversing the length and breadth of the state campaigning for a vote from delegates.
Okeowo said that “The primary election is on July 22 and the aspirants have agreed not to attack each other but woo delegates. This is what they are doing.