There are indications that arrangements have been concluded to welcome Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; his Anambra counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi; and a former Governor of Oyo State, Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja into the fold of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, according to sources in the party.
Mimiko was a member of the PDP and a former minister in the Obasanjo administration until he resigned his ministerial appointment and defected to the Labour Party in order to make a run for the governor of Ondo State, as former President Obasanjo had insisted on the then incumbent governor, Olusegun Agagu running for second term.
Mimiko later won the election through a ruling of the Court of Appeal sitting in Benin who reversed the earlier victory awarded Agagu by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He won a second term last year, defeating the PDP candidateChief Olusola Oke and that of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
A member of the National Working Committee of the PDP, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in Abuja on Friday, said that discussions with Mimiko to have him return to the party had been concluded.
If Mimiko defects back to the PDP, he would be the only PDP governor in the South-West, which would make him the leader of the ruling party in the zone. Part of his mandate would include reconciling aggrieved members of the party and mobilizing for the party in the zone. He could also be accompanied to the PDP by members of the LP in the National Assembly and the Ondo State House of Assembly.
“Mimiko is coming to the PDP. That is certain. Though we have not agreed on any date for his official defection, I can tell you authoritatively that we have concluded agreements on this.
“His coming would also help us in the South-West because of the coming governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun states. We need to win at least one of the two states.
“Mimiko is going to be the leader of the party in the zone, because right now, the party is in disarray due to a lot of factions and court cases arising from the zonal congress of the party, which was nullified by the court,” the source said.
The plan to have Mimiko back in the PDP was the brainchild of former Transport Minister, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Senator Bode Olajumoke, who impressed it upon President Goodluck Jonathan on the need to have him back in the party.
However, Mimiko and Obi have denied plans to dump their current platforms for the PDP.
Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Kayode Akinmade, said, “There is no iota of truth in the story. It was planted by the opposition to discredit our inauguration.
“We are focused on our inauguration and we will not give in to any form of distraction from anybody or group seeking cheap political relevance.”
Chief Press Secretary to the Anambra governor, Mr. Mike Udah, said, “Governor Obi is sitting pretty in APGA. He is comfortable in the party.
“If he was moving out of APGA, he would not have taken steps to defend APGA, as he has been doing since he returned from his foreign trip, and ensuring that the party’s National Working Committee is reconstituted.”