Some members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State yesterday converged on the party’s secretariat along Oyemekun Road in Akure, the state capital, to register their anger over the defection of Governor Olusegun Mimiko back to the party.
The protesters, who came from 18 local government areas of the state, chanted songs and lampooned the PDP’s state executive officials for welcoming the governor back to the party.
A former member of the PDP, Mr. Mimiko in 2006 abandoned the party after accusing it of lacking “internal democracy”. He then announced that he was joining the then relatively unknown Labor Party under whose platform he won election to become governor.
After months of denials, Mr. Mimiko announced his decision to return to the PDP at a meeting in State House, Abuja on Wednesday.
But his much-publicized return has left some members of the party in Ondo State uncomfortable.
Some of the aggrieved party protesters described the governor’s return as an “infection”, comparing it to the deadly “Ebola virus disease”.
According to the protesters, Mimiko’s defection to the PDP would further polarize the party in the state.
The PDP protesters said they would resist any attempt to collapse the structure of the party with the governor’s, adding that they would not allow Mr. Mimiko to hijack the leadership of their party.
Many protesters jeered at members of the party’s state executive as they entered the secretariat, accusing the officials of welcoming with open arms a traitorous Mimiko.
Some of the protesters said they were angered that the leadership of the party in Abuja had not consulted them before re-admitting the governor back into the PDP fold.
Directing their anger at both the state and national leaders of the party, the protestors said they were aggrieved that their party immediately welcomed Governor Mimiko without probing his alleged role in the deaths of some party leaders in the state.
“I can’t imagine that these leaders of our party would allow Mimiko into our fold again. He is just an Ebola Virus that would further destroy us. If [former Governor Olusegun] Agagu were alive, would [Mimiko} have decamped today?” an angry member asked.
Another protester said, “We don’t want him because I don’t know why someone who called himself a governor would go to Abuja and declare his defection. It is uncommon and we must resist it”.
In a move aimed at dousing tension and reassuring the protestors, the state deputy chairman of the party, Fatai Adams, said the party was not ready to collapse the structures to accommodate Governor Mimiko.
Mr. Adams said that, although, the party officially received the governor into its fold in Abuja, it would not agree for him to hijack the structure at the state level.
“The [members of the] State Working Committee have met in Abuja and resolved that there is need for us to protect the structure of the party at the state, local government and the ward levels.
He added: “We have filed a motion of injunction at the Federal Capital Territory High Court to protect the structure of the party because we are not ready to dismantle the structure of the party at this very crucial moment.
“Our primaries are less than a month and a lot of aspirants have shown intention to contest for various positions under this umbrella. We are fully prepared to protect the interests of all members who have worked assiduously and committed a lot of resources”.
Mr. Adams insisted: “We are not ready to surrender the structure of our great party to anybody. We were elected”.