Ondo people will resist rigging – Jegede…PDP says no plan of imposing running mate on governorship candidate

By Omotayo Iyanda, Akure

Governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, has warned against rigging the October 10 guber poll in the state, saying the people of the state would resist whoever plans to do so.

Jegede, a second-timer in the governorship race, recently won the PDP ticket in a keenly contested primary election.

He spoke on a radio live programme on Crest FM, Akure.

According to him, a recent revelation by the former Secretary to the Ondo State Government (SSG), Mr. Ifedayo Abegunde, that Jegede was robbed of victory by the All Progressives Congress (APC) power brokers and that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu did not win in that election was instructive enough.

Abegunde had resigned from Akeredolu’s government in protest, shortly after the state deputy governor, Mr. Agbooola Ajayi, had defected from the APC to the PDP.

Warning that the masses of Ondo State would not allow a repeat of the 2016 experience, Jegede said: “Ondo State is not a conquered people or territory; so if you are coming to the state to rig, stop at the boundary.

“This is because, our people have learned from that experience and are now on their toes, to resist any attempt by anybody to subvert their will.

“I have known Abegunde for a long time and I know he was saying the truth when he said Akeredolu did not win the 2016 election; that it was rigged for him.”

Jegede also described as baseless, a campaign smear that he would pursue ‘Akure agenda,’ being a native of Akure, the state capital, if voted into power.

In his words: “Yes, I am a native of Akure and I am not ashamed of it but I can also be classified as a native of other communities in the state.

“I had gone round, visiting the riverside areas of Ilaje and Ese-Odo and I could feel what they are going through. From that area up to Ile-Oluji and Okeigbo, they don’t have electricity at all; unlike Akure that has scanty supply.

“So we are going to provide electricity in these areas and also build them hospitals as they lack medical facilities and are battling with mosquito bites. Certainly, that cannot be an Akure agenda.

“I have been to Akoko area to Okitipupa and all parts of the state and I know what their problems are.”

The governorship candidate, who is a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, lamented the harship that the less-privileged in the state are going through under “the APC-led administration.”

He continued: “The free health services reserved for pregnant women, nursing mothers, elderly citizens and the physically challenged people under the PDP administration are no longer there.

“Our education sector too is in shamble, to the extent that, tuition fee of N35,000 in the institution is now N230,000: thus denying children of poor people access to education.

“If I am elected governor of Ondo State, we will reduce the tuition of not just Adekunle Ajadin University, Akungba, but all tertiary institutions in the state.”

Meanwhile, the national chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has said that the governorship candidate of the party in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede, would be given a free hand to pick his running mate.

He said the PDP would not impose any candidate on him but respect his choice.

However, he said running with the state deputy governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, could be an advantage “because of the support he (Ajayi) enjoys.”

“We will actually look at the possibility of Jegede running with Ajayi. However, you know the two camps must agree to work together. That is the most important thing. Also, members of the party in the state will also decide as well,” he added.

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