Indication emerged in Ondo state that the former governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko is being wooed by the two major political parties ahead of the 2023 general election.
The two dominant parties, the ruling All Progressive Congress and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party have reportedly sent emissaries to the former governor to dump his Zenith Labour Party ZLP.
Vanguard was reliably informed that the former governor was yet to decide where to pitch his tent as he is still discussing with his supporters and leaders of the ZLP across the country.
Mimiko left the Peoples Democratic Party in 2018 to form the Zenith Labour Party under which the former deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi contested the governorship election with the incumbent Rotimi Akeredolu.
While leaders of the APC including state governors have held talks with Mimiko, the vanguard was told that the former governor was equally approached by the leaders of the PDP.
Speaking with newsmen, a national leader of the PDP said that ” from all indications, the former governor will soon rejoin the PDP because all the entreaties from the APC seem to becoming too late.
According to him ” the former governor would be at home in PDP than in the ruling APC. Mimiko would not want to lose some of his strong followers who prefer to move to PDP than APC.
“Mimiko had waited for the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement to join APC but since governor Rotimi Akeredolu has been returned as the winner of the election, Mimiko had changed his mind.
Vanguard however learnt that despite the plans to rejoin PDP, Mimiko has been in talk with the APC Caretaker Chairman, Mai Mala Buni following mounting pressure from some top leaders of the APC.
“From what we have observed, the former governor is working seriously to be relevant at all costs ahead of 2023. It is true the PDP and the APC are in talks with Mimiko.
“Could you imagine that while our party leadership was meeting with him and the former deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi on the need for both to provide leadership, Mimiko was also holding meetings with the National Chairman of the APC.
“He met not only Buni, but some other serving governors with whom he had opened discussions. We are not comfortable with him in his discussions with our party that he dumped to float ZLP.
A chieftain of the APC said that “We know of course, that he doesn’t like our candidate, Jegede, but he preferred him to Akeredolu and the selling point was that Akeredolu was not showing gratitude to the north so he was waiting for the removal of the governor to join the APC and take over the leadership of the party.
“Even though that plan didn’t work, Mimiko was still holding meetings with Buni and others and of course, anytime he joins, Akeredolu still remains his leader and that is where the former deputy governor disagreed with Mimiko.
“Their initial plan was to join APC after the eventual ouster of Akeredolu by the Supreme Court but now that the man survived, Mimiko has decided to continue discussions with the northern caucus of the APC.
Contacted, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, Kennedy Peretei, who confirmed the development said the former governor of the state and leader of the party might return to the party soon.
Peretei said ” we have it on good authority that our former governor and leader is rejoining PDP and we will be glad to receive him. Politics is a game of numbers and governor Mimiko is a big fish and we will be glad to have him in our midst anytime any day.
“The truth of the matter that he left the party before and tried his hands on another party, ZLP, is creating some misgivings among some of the party members but we know and believe that he is coming back to add value to PDP.”
He, however, was not sure when the former governor will lead his teeming supporters back to the party.
Also, the state APC Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye said he was not aware of Mimiko romance with the party but said there is room for a big fish like Mimiko in the party.
” Let me be frank with you as of today I am not aware.
“The APC plays politics of decency. Any intending member is free welcome to join, but not through Abuja.
“You join the party through your ward. The former governor has not discussed with leadership at the state level. So, we take the story of his romance with Abuja as mere rumours
But the Media Adviser to Mimiko, Mr John Akinduro could not be reached for comment.
But one of the aides to the former governor told vanguard I’m confident that ” Mimiko is a big fish any day, anytime so it will not be surprising if the two dominant parties are “fighting” to woo him to their parties.