A midday meeting in the Ondo State Governor’s Office on Friday was the forum the state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, used in breaking the news to his aides that it was time to return to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party, The Eagle Online can report.
Mimiko, elected on the platform of the Labour Party, had defected from the PDP to the Labour Party to realise his governorship ambition.
After he fell out with his then boss and Governor of the state, late Dr. Olusegun Agagu, Mimiko, who was the Secretary to the State Government, left for the Labour Party.
But on Friday, Mimiko told his aides, including Commissioners and political associates that it was time to return to the PDP.
For those who have followed the politics of Ondo State keenly, Mimiko’s position does not come as a surprise.
This was because over time, he had been hobnobbing with the Presidency, which is headed by President Goodluck Jonathan, elected on the platform of the PDP.
In fact, Mimiko’s reelection was said to have been premised on the fact that he would defect to the PDP, hence he was backed by the Presidency.
One of his close aides, before the meeting, told The Eagle Online that the invitation was solely to discuss the issue of his defection to the PDP.
One of the close aides of the Governor-elect of Ekiti State and defacto leader of the PDP in the South West, Ayo Fayose, said arrangements had been concluded for the reception of Mimiko back into the party.
It was gathered that the fear within the inner caucus of the Ondo State governor was the possibility of the Presidency moving against him if he failed to act on time.
The source said: “Like they did to the former Governor of Adamawa State, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, the Presidency was already finalising the plot to move against Mimiko, hence he had to move quickly.
“It will be a matter of days for all his aides, political associates and all elected members of the government and legislature in Ondo State to defect to the PDP.”
One of those who attended Wednesday’s meeting but who had boasted days before that Mimiko was not going to leave the Labour Party, said it was obvious the governor had come under a lot of pressure.
It was learnt that he had shown solidarity with the PDP all along, especially before and during the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States.
A minister from the South West, who spoke with The Eagle Online on condition of anonymity, said it should be obvious to anyone following the political developments in the South West that Labour Party had nothing more to offer.
The minister said the nation was moving towards a two-party state that would leave the PDP and the All Progressives Congress as the dominant parties.
Among those who attended the meeting with Mimiko on Wednesday were five leaders of the Labour Party from each of the state’s 18 local government areas.
Close to 200 persons were said to be at the meeting.
Mimiko told who attended that it was imperative as a party to move into the PDP.
He said it was part of his support for Jonathan’s second term bid.
He said he has an understanding with the leadership of the PDP to give him 60 per cent control of the structure of the party, leaving the current members with 40 per cent.
However, it was gathered that Mimiko may not find things easy returning to the PDP.
Sources close to the leadership of the PDP said the move by Mimiko was solely between him and the Presidency as the national leadership of the party was also not aware.
It was gathered that the present leaders of the party in Ondo State, especially the “unrepentant” loyalists of Agagu, who Mimiko had to spite to become governor, have vowed not to cave in to his demands to emerge as the leader of the party in the state.
Such leaders include Chief Olusola Oke, who was the governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election, and the Group Managing Director of Energy Group, Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim.
Both of them are staunch opponents of Mimiko.
They are still both eyeing the governorship seat of the state.
Efforts to reach Mimiko’s Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade, were unsuccessful before press time.
Akinmade’s telephone number was busy for over an hour.