Background: The first major in the series of political surprises was the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, defecting to the People Democratic Party (PDP).
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In Ondo state, on June 21, the surprises began when the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, defected to the PDP in what was described as irreconcilable differences with the state governor and All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Not long after, the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ese-Odo local government area in Ondo state where Agboola hails from, followed the Deputy Governor’s footsteps and cross-carpeted to the PDP.
Impeachment Charade: Shortly after the announcement by Agboola that he has defected to the rival PDP, 14 legislatures in the Ondo State House of Assembly loyal to the APC signed a letter claiming that the deputy governor has been impeached.
As expected, the impeachment attempt could not stand. On July 9, the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, rejected the request by the 14 man legislators to set up a panel of inquiry to try the deputy governor – stating it did not meet the constitutional requirements for an impeachment process to begin.
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Race for the Guber Seat: Oftentimes, when deputy governors have conflicts with governors, it is mostly about the race to the gubernatorial seat in states.
As the impeachment had failed, Agboola found ample space to pursue his gubernatorial ambition by contesting the PDP primaries with the popular candidate in the PDP – former attorney-general and commissioner for justice in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede. At the election which was conducted by Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo state, Jegede polled 888 votes to beat Agboola who came closest to score 657 votes.
The closely contested primary election at least provided a level-playing field for all the candidates involved.
Shortly after losing the primaries to Jegede, Agboola graciously adjoined his supporters across the state to provide all necessary support to the chosen PDP candidate.
Bottom line: As all is now set for proper politicking to begin in Ondo towards the October 10 gubernatorial elections, it may appear as the storm has already passed and the candidates of the two major political parties in Ondo state are fully set to woo the electorate to their side.
Nigerians, however, remain observant if the instruments of state will be deployed once again as in other state elections to manipulate the outcome of the elections or not. Certainly, it is until incumbent parties allow the will of the people to subsist that the nation can record considerable progress.
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