A new political feud has gripped the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s choice of Tokunbo Modupe as the director-general of President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election campaign committee in the state.
Many party members, who disagree with the governor’s selection, have vowed a show down with Mr. Mimiko whom they accused of disrespecting the party’s state leadership and trying always to lord it over them.
Last Wednesday, the governor inaugurated members of Mr. Jonathan’s campaign committee at the Alagbaka Government House in Akure, the state capital amidst heavy security. The inauguration set off a firestorm of resentment, especially over the appointment of Mr. Modupe as director-general. The DG of the president’s campaign committee is a contentious figure partly because of his role in the state’s abandoned “Dome Projects” situated along Igbatoro road in the state.
The committee is charged with touring all the state’s 18 local government areas to campaign aggressively for PDP candidates. But one party member said the governor was being a “joker” for appointing Mr. Modupe, his close associate, over more politically grounded and older members of the party.
“The man [Mr. Modupe] has no integrity to be appointed director general. Nobody can trust a man who partnered with the governor to rob the state of billions of taxpayers money all in the name of projects,” said one party critic.
Another was even harsher in his tone. “Governor Mimiko is only making a fool of himself for appointing Tokunbo Modupe as the director-general of President Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo campaign committee in Ondo state. We are looking for the progress of this party but it seems the governor doesn’t want to count on our own effort.
That is why many people are tired and defecting to the opposition party just because of the mess this governor has caused us.”
Among those angered by Governor Mimiko’s appointment of Mr. Modupe is Olusola Oke who vowed to shun the campaigns organized by the Modupe committee. He wondered why the governor had resolved to alienate long-term members of the party in the state.
“I have the mandate of a large section of our party and I speak on their behalf to reject the campaign council as inaugurated, especially the director-general. He is unacceptable and I am not speaking alone but on behalf of the entire good members of our great party who are desirous to see us win the coming election overwhelmingly for Mr. President,” Mr. Oke said. He added: “The governor is deliberately undermining the strength of our party and the chances of Mr. President to win the coming election in this state. I wonder why anybody that says he wants victory for the president would want to cause problems for a party that had been positioned for victory.”
Speaking to a reporter for SaharaReporters, Mr. Oke accused the governor of a “sinister” plot to sideline older leaders of the party from the process of selecting the committee.
Another prominent PDP figure, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he and other party “elders have decided to remain in the PDP without minding the governor’s ‘sole administrator behavior.’ We will launch a parallel campaign for President Jonathan without reference to Governor Mimiko if he fails to accede to our request.”
A source within the party said the chairman of the Mimiko-led PDP executive headed by Clement Faboyede had recommended Mr. Modupe to the governor.
Governor Mimiko has repeatedly pledged to deliver one million votes for President Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14 presidential elections. The governor has held various town hall meeting with artisans, traders, civil servants, union leaders, drivers, community leaders, traditional rulers, teachers and students to canvas support for Mr. Jonathan. Some critics have accused him of dishing out taxpayers’ funds in ostensible loans and scholarship to woo support for Mr. Jonathan and other PDP candidates.
Governor Mimiko has often asked state voters not to support Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), reminding them that Mr. Buhari as military head of state had jailed former Governor Michael Adekunle Ajasin of Ondo State. The Ajasin family has criticized the governor’s use of their late father for partisan political purposes.
At a campaign rally held last week in Akure, President Jonathan had admitted he was aware of the crisis within the state chapter of the PDP. He appealed to all factions to sit down and resolve their differences.