A source explained that those opposed to Mr. Mimiko’s impending defection feared that the governor might victimize some of his perceived enemies in the PDP.
Members of the Labor Party (LP) and Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State remain gripped by uncertainty and anxiety over the reported plans by the state governor, Olusegun Mimiko, to defect to the PDP.
The governor’s defection saga has already created a split between some key leaders of the PDP in the state. Many party members suspect that the governor, who is seen as a “lone ranger” and “control freak”, may have his eyes on seizing control of the state chapter of the PDP.
Several sources within the PDP said members have held a series of meetings since Saturday to strategize about ways of resisting Mr. Mimiko’s dominance over them. A source told SaharaReporters that one of the meetings was held on Sunday at a hotel in the Alagbaka area of Akure. “Some of those at the meeting resolved to welcome Mimiko back to the PDP camp, but some disagreed totally with the idea,” said the source. He explained that those opposed to Mr. Mimiko’s impending defection feared that the governor might victimize some of his perceived enemies in the PDP.
“Our fear is that, if Mimiko finally decamps officially to the party, he might take absolute control of its running while many of his critics when he was in the Labor Party might be victimized,” said a source who attended the meeting.
The source added: “We are still consulting and have reached out to our members at the ward and local levels to call for an emergency meeting over the issue. We must definitely consider their opinions [about Mimiko’s defection] before reaching a logical conclusion.”
Another key figure of the PDP in Ondo State said that some members were concerned that Governor Mimiko was arranging his defection at the “national level, without officially notifying us at the state level.”
Even so, the source declared the defection drama as “a game of politics”, adding, “Mimiko is not a stranger to us. In politics you should be expecting the sudden and prepared for the unexpected. Only those who do not know the music of politics are crying foul.”
According to the source, “Mimiko is free to come back into his old house and no one has the right to block him.”
Despite the misgivings of some members, most party leaders stated that Mr. Mimiko’s defection to the PDP would be a big win, with one figure declaring the governor “a big catch any day.”
Another party figure said the governor’s imminent defection was fitting since the PDP had offered him solid support during his run for re-election. “It’s more of a long overdue move,” said the source.
“There was an agreement reached between the governor and the PDP that we would work for his second term only if he would decamp in [a] few months,” said the source. He added: “He has been working for PDP and representing its interest at the national level. It’s no more in doubt that he is fully back where he belongs. He just has to join the group of canvassers for President Jonathan’s re-election campaign ahead of the 2015 elections.”
Meanwhile, many state officials of the Labor Party appear left out in the cold as a result of the governor’s all but certain defection. A long-time party loyalist told SaharaReporters that Mr. Mimiko’s defection would be an act of betrayal, recalling that PDP members had waged a relentless political battle against the governor.
With the 2015 general elections drawing closer, many candidates vying for various positions under the platform of the LP have already printed and pasted their posters in different parts of the state. Some of them even included the image of the governor on their campaign posters, an action that would leave them in a bind once the governor defects.
Several LP members of the State House of Assembly reportedly intend to follow the governor’s example by defecting to the PDP as well. However, a source in the state told SaharaReporters that officials of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were working hard to woo some of the state legislators to their fold.
“Some of the [law makers] have agreed to meet at a secret venue to make their personal and final decision known before the end of this month,” one source among the legislators stated.
“Some of us [legislators] might change our minds and declare for APC. Our main problem is the governor. Since he has concluded arrangements to decamp to his old party, he might give us a tough time,” said one of the lawmakers.
A press release issued on Sunday by the state chapter of the APC stated that Mr. Mimiko’s defection to PDP was not a surprise. The APC declared that the governor’s defection would not help the PDP to win any elections.
The release, signed by the APC’s publicity secretary, Abayomi Adesanya, also stated that Mr. Mimiko was only joining the PDP to help President Goodluck Jonathan win the PDP presidential primaries, stressing that the APC was willing to open its door to any credible individuals.
“Our doors are open for credible individuals that are still in the Labor Party especially the House of Assembly members to join. Our doors are also open to the serving commissioners and also PDP members that would not be comfortable with Mimiko joining the PDP because of his political antecedents,” the APC stated.