Immediate past governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has joined the race for the chairmanship position of Peoples Democratic
Party,sharpedgenews.com can reveal.
Mimiko, according to an impeccable source close to him, was drafted into the race by some powerful forces within the party during the August 12 non-elective Convention held in Abuja.
Though shocked himself at the prompting that he should vie for the party’s highest office, the ex-governor, the source hinted, eventually agreed to give it a shot, leveraging on his high profile within the party.
Following the sack of Senator Alli Modu Sheriff as chairman of the party by the Supreme Court, which upheld the caretaker leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi, three leading contenders had emerged for the coveted office of the party chairman.
They are: a former National Deputy-Chairman (South) of the party, Chief Olabode George; former PDP governorship candidate in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, and owner of the Daar Communications broadcast media, Chief Raymond Dokpesi.
While Dokpesi is from Edo State in the South-South region, George and Agbaje are from Lagos, in the South-West.
But the party’s caucus had recently zoned the position to the South-West, a move which Dokpesi kicked against, insisting that zoning was alien to the party’s constitution.
A top source within the party, however, told sharpedgenews.com that the Dokpesi camp may have resigned to fate and now appears to be supporting a Mimiko candidature, all with a view to puncturing what it considers “the ego of Bode George who seems to have overshadowed Agbaje in Lagos and some parts of the South-West.”
Curiously, however, an online publication on Wednesday published a damning report to indicate that Mimiko may be having a case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over a N1bn slush money given to the Ondo State PDP by the office of the National Security Adviser.
The report said the Ondo PDP chairman, Mr. Clement Faboyede, was detained and grilled by the EFCC over the controversial money and that he allegedly confessed to the anti-graft body that Mimiko made him sign for the N1bn, even though the money was shared across the board.
But in a swift reaction, an aide to Mimiko who would not want his name mentioned because of the sensitivity of the issue, said, “The EFCC angle brought in to discredit my boss is highly political and we know that it is being sponsored by a Lagos politician who feels threatened.
“It is as ridiculous as it does not add up. Faboyede is a man in his 50s; he is not a kid. How could he have been told by Mimiko to sign that he collected N1bn when he knew the money was not meant for him.
“This has come to show you that they are all looking for a way to make the party disqualify Mimiko from contesting. As far as I know, the EFCC is not looking for Mimiko, neither has it declared him wanted. Go to the commission’s office and confirm,” the aide protested.
The aide added that Mimiko was the most qualified candidate among all the contenders, having contributed immensely while he was the chairman of PDP Governors Forum.
“Besides, he has done all he can to ensure that the defeat of the party at the 2015 presidential election does not in any way affect the morale of major stakeholders in the party.
“And by the grace of God, he (Mimiko) will announce his candidature next week with the greatest ambition of uniting the party and bringing it back on a strong footing,” the source disclosed.
Meanwhile, George has declared that he is contesting for the chairmanship position of the party, insisting that the party needs an experienced party leader like him and that his old age is an asset in ensuring that all contending forces in the party are united.