By Our Reporter
The Labour Party (LP) may very soon lose its enviable status of being among the few parties controlling state governments in the country as Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, is set to dump it for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A highly-placed source close to the seat of government in Akure said the governor had made the same known to his key allies in the party in Ondo State.
According to the source, at a meeting held on Thursday night at Government House, Governor Mimiko told them that he would not want them to be caught unawares.
He added that there was need for him to clarify the recent press briefing by officials of the state and party at which it was publicly announced that members of the Labour Party should vote for President Goodluck Jonathan in today’s election.
The source claimed that Mimiko said he had been mandated by Jonathan to ensure that Ondo State is delivered by whatever means.
“He told the meeting that there was need for him to let them know of his decision to join the PDP and that he had been mandated by the President to deliver the state.
“He later confirmed to another caucus, a smaller group, that he had been given N2 billion to prosecute the project”.
When the governor was confronted with the crucial question of what would happen to the former governor of the state, Dr Segun Agagu, Governor Mimiko reportedly told them that President Jonathan was no longer interested in dealing with the former lecturer since he had been discredited, following his inability to deliver the state and could not even win his own election.
He was also quoted as saying that President Jonathan now wants somebody who could deliver and not just parade himself as the leader of a party in a state without the necessary clout. And that the new development is meant to chart a new way for the control of the South-West.
“He also said that President Jonathan had assured him that he would be allowed to produce the ministerial candidate from Ondo State and would be the arrowhead of the PDP in the South-West”.
It was also learnt that when he was confronted with yet another pertinent question of the choice of the PDP and not the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) considering the wind of change blowing across the region, Governor Mimiko reportedly said he could not subject his political credentials to the leadership of former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“He explained to them that his political credentials are of greater weight and so cannot take orders from Asiwaju Tinubu. He said he had been commissioner, Secretary to State Government, minister and now governor and that all these are by far of greater political weight than just being a governor.
He said he acceded to the request because the PDP was looking for a state in the South West with a healthier financial status which Ondo, with its allocation from the Federation Account, possesses and that it could be a veritable gateway for the allocation of more oil blocks to the state to ensure that its finances go up”.
The source said that as a prelude to the move, the governor is already in touch with one of the two factions of the PDP in the state, the one led by former Finance Commissioner during Agagu’s administration, Chief Tayo Alasoadura.
It would be recalled that barely 72 hours to today’s election, the Labour Party announced in Abuja that it had endorsed Jonathan as its presidential candidate. The national chairman of the party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, made the disclosure in Abuja after its National Executive meeting in the presence of Governor Segun Mimiko of Ondo State and Bayelsa State gubernatorial candidate, Timi Alaibe.
Coincidentally, the announcement came just as Mimiko declared that “President Jonathan has demonstrated capacity to rise against some of the undesiable trends of his party”.
But in what seems to be a twist in the tale, the Ondo State chapter of the PDP on Thursday declared that Jonathan would win convincingly in the state today without any input from the Labour Party. The state chairman of the party, Dr. Omotayo Dairo, while reacting to the announcement that Labour had adopted Jonathan, described the overture as “Greek Gift”.
“The LP remains inconsequential to the victory of President Jonathan in today’s election as all indications are towards the fact that the local branch of the PDP had mobilised the citizens to support President Jonathan’s ambition”.
Culled from the Nation