On Monday, the Southwest zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described as false an alleged romance of the Ondo state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, with the party from the All Progressives Congress (APC) but have said that Akeredolu would be welcomed “as a fresh member with no special privileges of any kind.”
This was revealed in a statement which Mr Ayo Fadaka, the Zonal Publicity Secretary of the party signed. The statement said that the alleged defection of Akeredolu remained a rumour and as such is currently a non-issue within the PDP.
He further noted that the rumour was predicated on the recurring challenges confronting the Ondo state governor over the crisis in the APC.
Fadaka said “Our attention has been drawn to rumoured defection plans by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to PDP. This rumour is predicated on the recurring challenges the Governor continues to encounter in his Party, APC.
“It will be recalled that this development is responsible for his hijack of AA as a platform which some of his candidates who were denied ticket in APC used to contest the last election.”
“We, however, wish to state most unequivocally that the PDP in Ondo State remains cohesive, solid and vibrant through dint of hard work and commitment of leaders and members of the Party and as such is not primed to be taken over by anyone, irrespective of his status.
“We also declare that anyone who wishes to join our Party will also be welcome into our ranks provided such a person or group recognises the fact that no special privileges will be accorded him/them upon joining.
“Thus should Governor Rotimi Akeredolu desire to join our Party today, he will be welcome as a fresh member with no special privileges of any kind”.
However, Fadaka stated that PDP had successfully put its house in order ahead of next year’s gubernatorial election, saying “prominent members are already getting prepared to take a shot at becoming the Party’s flag bearer, the Party shall at the fullness of time organize a primary election to pick whoever will become our candidate in that election.
“It is important to again underscore the fact the Party will maintain the tradition of picking its candidate through a free and fair primary election that will be rancour-free.
In conclusion, the hoopla surrounding Akeredolu’s desire to join our Party remains a rumour and currently not an issue within our Party.
“We, therefore, enjoin our members in Ondo State to disregard the rumour and continue to promote and extend the frontiers of the Party in their various communities.
But the APC in the state said Akeredolu as a progressive never toyed with the idea of joining PDP saying the governor hailed from the bedrock of progressive and would not deviate by joining the conservatives.
The State Publicity Secretary, Mr Alex Kalejaiye, who stated this in a statement, denied the alleged romance of Akeredolu with PDP and described the rumor as wicked and a complete lie, urging the public to disregard such lie.
Kalejaiye said the party would have ignored the rumour but said “it is however expedient to dispel the rumour, so it will not pollute the minds of our members and mislead the public”.
He said Akeredolu “never contemplated joining a party of the conservatives, let alone contesting an election on its platform. He hails from the bedrock of progressives in the State and has always been a progressive.
“It is also imperative to inform the rumour-mongers that Akeredolu, invested so much into the development of APC in Ondo State and today, he is well respected and appreciated in the APC, and therefore has no reason whatsoever to flirt with another political party.
“We are not unaware that some opposition parties are feeling intimidated by the sterling performance of the Akeredolu-led administration, and are planning to distract him through whatever means. This is a mission in futility”
Kalejaye said the ruling APC government was not disturbed with the development or any other ploy to distract Akeredolu in his bid to reposition and develop the state positively.
The Publicity Secretary divulged in the statement that “APC in the state is not perturbed about this or any other ploy. The revolution in the infrastructure development will be sustained; massive investment drive won’t slow down; commitment to workers’ welfare remains a top priority.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the good people of Ondo State, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of these initiatives have consistently maintained that they are comfortable with the present administration, and will always support it.
“The Ondo State APC is confident that the party will continue to fortify its strength, and support the government in its development drive, the building of the party and its members”.
Kalejaye, however, appealed to its supporters and member of the public to disregard the baseless and misleading rumour.
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