By; ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure.
Less than ten weeks to the February 24, 2017 handing over of government to Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, winner of the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, Governor Olusegun Mimiko is in a fresh battle of wits with a section of the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) in the state.
The reason for the new twist is the reported secret move by the governor to effect some leadership changes in the Ondo State House of Assembly. But some leaders of the PDP in the state who got wind of the plot have kicked against the governor’s move.
The fresh trouble in the state chapter of the PDP is coming on the heels of the blame game just as the dust raised by the defeat of the governor’s preferred candidate, Mr Eyitayo Jegede at the poll is yet to settle.
Some leaders of the party have laid before Mimiko’s doorstep, the cause of the party’s defeat, arguing that his choice of Jegede who is from the same senatorial district as the outgoing governor necessitated the legal actions initiated by Mr Ibrahim Jimoh to still create confusion within the party.
Those who have reportedly expressed misgivings about the imminent changes include former presidential adviser, Hon Kingsley Kuku, Professor Olu Agbi, Dr Bode Olajumoke, Mr Eddy Olafeso and the state secretary of the PDP, Ola Ibini.
All the same, it was gathered that Governor Mimiko alongside a few of his kitchen cabinet members, had allegedly met last week to discuss the need for ”some structural changes in the House”. Once effected, such changes are likely to keep the outgoing governor’s influence afloat, at least, for some time.
The planned leadership changes billed to take place shortly after the New Year celebration will see to the exit of Ms Jumoke Akindele, (Okitipupa constituency I) as Speaker. In her her place, Hon Ifedayo Akinsoyinu, a long standing ally of Governor Mimiko and lawmaker representing Ondo West, constituency II may emerge as Speaker while the current Deputy Speaker, Hon Fatal Owoseni from Akoko North East (Ikare) will retain his position.
Also, Hon Iroju Ogundeji from Odigbo I, is slated to emerge as Majority leader while Hon Abayomi Akinruntan (IlajeI) will be chief whip. The current Speaker (Akindele), Ogundeji as well as Akinruntan are from the south senatorial district as the incoming deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi while Akinsoyinu, four time legislator is from the central senatorial district. Olotu is from the north.
A member of the pro-Mimiko Clement Faboyede-led state executive committee of the PDP who played a key role in ill-fated governorship outing of the party told our correspondent that the purported move by the governor has created a sharp division within the party that is merely being contained.
He said, “I don’t think it is as serious as people see it. What is important is the understanding that we all require to put into it. The fact that the current governor could not produce his successor should be an emotional burden that people should feel for him.
”If he could not produce his successor, why can’t he at least try and produce the speaker when the opportunity for such is available. The current speaker is from the south, like the incoming deputy. The deputy speaker and the incoming governor are from the north. But what about the central?
He disclosed that much as the governor would have loved the Akure zone to produce the speaker in the impending changes, the only PDP lawmaker from the zone is a lady and the governor has reservations about her capacity. That was the reason, he said, the governor and his team looked the way of Akinsoyinu from Ondo Kingdom.
By; ODEYEMI SAMUEL, Akure.