Mimiko in game of chess with PDP, LP
• May use Labour Party to achieve goal
• I won’t step down, Adeuti insists
The leadership of Ondo State chapter of Labour Party (LP) has explained that it will welcome back Governor, Olusegun Mimiko into its fold, if he decides to return as being rumoured.
This is sequel to speculations that there are subtle moves to have Mimiko back to Labour Party preparatory to handing over the party’s structure to him to use to beef up the support base of the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) for the November 26 governorship election.
However, Labour Party’s governorship candidate, Mr. Taiye Adeuti is not taking the speculations lightly, vowing that he would fight his way through to the end.
According to him, if it turns out to be true, he would not step down or relinquish the mandate given to him by the party membership.
Mimiko was elected governor of the State under the platform of Labour Party in 2007 and 2012, but defected to PDP in October 2014 in the thick of tussle for 2015 general elections.
Several sources claimed that the state governor planned to use the party, as a ‘Plan B’ should the crisis rocking the state branch of PDP does not favour Jegede, his preferred candidate
Jegede emerged as the PDP candidate from the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party in the state and the candidacy is threatened by the emergence of Ibrahim Jimoh also as the PDP candidate from the Senator Alli Modu Sheriff faction.
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had said that the court’s decision on which faction is the officially recognised one would determine, which candidate the commission will endorse as the PDP’s standard bearer.
This, observers argued might have informed the governor’s alleged discreet move to have an alternative option. The plot, sources asserted is to move Jegede to the Labour Party and take over Adueti’s slot, who is expected to step down to pave the way.
According to a source, the claim that the governor had been secretly funding the Labour Party before now might enable the plan to work out smoothly without much opposition.
The Deputy National Chairman of Labour Party, Mrs. Ladi Iliya, told The Guardian that Mimiko was free to return to the party and that if and when he does, the party leadership would welcome him with open arms.
Although the party boss did not confirm whether Mimiko, whom she described as ‘a politician of repute,’ had shown interest to return to the party, she said that he is free to do so at anytime.
“The governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and his followers are free to come back to Labour Party. Mimiko is a person to be reckoned with politically and he is free today if he decides to come back to Labour Party. Nobody will stop him because he has contributed his quota to the party and he has worked in Ondo State as governor under the Labour Party.
“Whether we like it or not, when we write the history of Ondo State and the performance of Gov. Mimiko, the Labour Party will be mentioned,” she said.
Iliya noted that the defection of the governor from Labour Party was not personal, but a collective decision taken by majority of his followers then, stressing that when people often times do not look at the party when matters like this crop up as it has to do with what the people want.
She argued that Mimiko will not be blamed for leaving the party for the PDP because he did not go there as a person.
According to her, it was the same group of people who requested him to contest under the Labour Party that also asked him to go to another party. She expressed optimism at the party’s chances in the November election and subsequent elections in the state.
This, she claimed was based on the fact that the party has large followership in the State and that those who defected from the party in the past, would soon rejoin the fold.
But Adeuti disclosed in an interview with The Guardian that he would not allow anybody to truncate his ambition of becoming the next governor of the state and that as an elderly person with years of experience, he would not allow himself to be pushed around by anybody or group of person, regardless of their status in the society.
“That Mimiko will take over the state is only the figment of the imagination of those festering the rumours around. I am not afraid of all the big candidates of the other more prominent parties or individuals in the governorship race.
“If Governor Mimiko tries to take over the party, I won’t stand for it. At my age, I can’t be a front for anybody. If he tries it I will fight him all the way, even though I will do so within the ambit of the law. I will be peaceful about it but I will fight him,” he warned.
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