Ondo 2020: How 101 fake Delegates tear apart PDP

By: Ade Adeleke

…..Eyitayo Jegede, Okunomo talk tough

…… as Faboyede, Ondo Dep Governor exonerate themselves

…….We’ve political armed robbers in PDP —Ondo Senator.

As preparations for the October 10, 2020 governorship election in Ondo state reach top level, some aggrieved members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have registered their protest against the leadership of the party for allegedly doctoring the delegates’ list for the forthcoming July 22 primaries of the party.

The angry politicians said the alleged doctoring of the list was to favour the embattled Deputy Governor of the state, Hon Agboola Ajayi over other party aspirants.

The Aggrieved PDP members that protested against the alleged manipulation of delegates’ list for the party’s primaries, yesterday at the state Secretariat of the party in Akure, called on the national leadership of the party to reverse the purported insertion of fake names into the delegates’ list.

The protesters were armed with placards at the gate of the Secretariat bearing various inscriptions such as, “Secondus, let the will of the masses prevail”, “(Secretary of the delegates committee/Reps member from Rivers state) Chinda’s doctored delegates list will not stand”, “Don’t set Ondo ablaze, respect masses opinion,” “Don’t cause trouble in Ondo State”, “Don’t sell our rights”, among others.

The list, which was roundly rejected by the Clement Faboyede-led Caretaker Committee, party elders and seven governorship aspirants, had reportedly featured 101 strange names in the line-up of party delegates.

Speaking before a three-man probe panel raised by the national body of the party, and headed by a former governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo, Faboyede said he was ambushed by the secretary of the ward delegates’ screening committee, Mr. Kingsley Chinda.

“Chinda presented the list to our committee without allowing me to vet it and I think this is not right,” he complained.

Faboyede denied any complicity in the list-doctoring saga.

However, at yesterday’s sitting of the Dankwambo-led panel, the embattled deputy governor of Ondo State, Mr.Agboola Ajayi, a governorship aspirant in the eye of the storm over the list-doctoring scam, was conspicuously absent.

Other aspirants such as Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), Mr. Banji Okunomo, and Dr. Eddy Olafeso, however, arrived early to honor the panel’s sitting.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the panel’s closed-door verification exercise, Okunomo said one of the governorship aspirants was found to be the brain behind the doctoring of the initial delegates’ list.

“This aspirant, who is new in our party and trying to destabilise the party, should be suspended immediately; as we can’t move on with such a character.

“In addition, the aspirant should be disqualified from contesting in the primary election because he will be a bad influence in a political party that cherishes good name and integrity,” he demanded.

Meanwhile, the Eyitayo Jegede Campaign Organization has commended the leadership of the party, both at the national and state levels, “for not allowing any negative influence in the run-up to the governorship primary election.”

“We also have absolute confidence that Eyitayo Jegede is a candidate widely accepted by the party, as he keeps faith with party delegates who will decide on who picks the governorship ticket, and with God Almighty.”

“The temporary crisis rocking the PDP in Ondo State with alleged manipulation of AdHoc Delegates list is one capable of creating a volcanic eruption which could truncate the whole democratic wheels in the state, less than 9 days to the Primaries.

“However, in his usual calm collected demeanour, Eyitayo Jegede SAN applauded the Damkwambo-led AdHoc Delegates Appeal Committee as being, “Credible, Honest, Friendly and Fair”.

“The Appeal led by former governor of Gombe State, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Damkwambo, made it clear that nothing but the original authentic Delegates List produced and sign during the exercise on 8th July 2020 would be used.

“The Committee that supervised the exercise had compromised its assignment which led to protests last week. Nevertheless, Eyitayo Jegede remarked that, “a committee put in place to correct the embarrassing acts of the Electoral Committee that unlawfully replaced 104 names has eased some of the tension. Among the Electoral Committee there are also one or two credible and honest persons and we doft our hats for them,” Jegede said.

Also reacting, the embattled Deputy Governor, Ajayi, dissociated himself from the allegations, saying that the national leadership of the party that sent a committee to see to the conduct of delegates election were the custodians of the list not him.

The Deputy Governor who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Babatope Okeowo said, “the truth of the matter is that Agboola Ajayi is not a member of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP and could not have influenced the ‘doctored’ list if it exists at all.

Okeowo said, “It must be noted that it is the National leadership of PDP that sent a committee to see to the conduct of delegate election and they are the custodian of the list and not the Deputy Governor.

“Any complaint about the list of delegates should be channeled to the appropriate quarter instead of blaming the Deputy Governor.

“It must be mentioned that Agboola Ajayi has no quarrel with any of the PDP aspirants as it is left for the delegates to chose among the qualified aspirants of the party to fly the flag of the party in October 10, 2020 election.

“Agboola Ajayi has said it repeatedly that he is not desperate for the ticket of the party. Anything to the contrary is mischief and attempt to playing to hands of the opposition ahead of the election,” Okeowo said.

Also speaking on the delegates’ doctoring saga, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo from Ondo South, lamented that “any governorship aspirant attempting to steal the mandate of the people by substituting the names of legitimate delegates of our party with illegitimate names ahead of primaries is not only a political thief, but a political armed robber who should be suspended from the party without any delay.”

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