Former Ondo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) is the standard-bearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) for the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State. Jegede was the party’s candidate in 2016. The process through which he emerged this season was without controversy unlike in 2016 when the PDP was polarised following the primary that produced him as the party’s flag bearer.
There were parallel congresses that produced two governorship candidates, each claiming to be authentic. The matter was taken to court to decide the authentic group. The issue dragged on to the Supreme Court, which declared the Jegede faction as authentic and that he was validly nominated as the PDP candidate. The time spent on litigation could not afford Jegede ample time to canvass for votes.
The journey to pick the ticket was not as rosy as expected for Jegede, especially after the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi joined the race. The deputy governors defection to the PDP and his entry into the governorship race divided the party and those who were loyal to Jegede. The popular opinion then was that Ajayi had the money and key political position as deputy governor to buy his way as the candidate of the PDP. But, Jegede despite losing in 2016 refused to dump the party, he remained loyal to the party.
Jegede emerged victorious at the primary with 888 votes while Ajayi polled 657. The first major hurdle faced by Jegede was the choice of running mate. Shortly after the primary, some PDP bigwigs began the move of imposing Ajayi as running mate after they uncovered the plot of few of their colleagues to sponsor the embattled deputy governor on another political platform. They promised their argument on the fact that Ajayi, being a grassroots politician, could sway votes in favour of the PDP, especially from his Southern Senatorial District, if he is convinced to join the Jegede team. But, Jegede rejected the choice of Ajayi on the ground that he needed someone he could trust.
The development led to a fresh internal crisis as some party members disagreed with Jegede’s position. A PDP chieftain in the state said Jegede did not manage his post-primary election victory well.
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