The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) after months of a political battle with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
He immediately joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Ward 2, Apoi in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday.
Mr Ajayi’s spokesperson, Tope Okeowo, confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES on telephone Sunday evening. He did not speak on whether his boss will pick the governorship election form of his new party.
“He did not resign as deputy governor but resigned as a member of the APC and he formally joined the PDP at his ward today,” Mr Okeowo said.
Mr Akeredolu and his deputy have been at loggerheads over the coming governorship election in the state.
This newspaper reported how Mr Ajayi was prevented from leaving the government house in Akure on Saturday in an official vehicle by the state’s commissioner of police, Bolaji Salami.
Mr Salami said he recently caught wind of Mr Ajayi’s moves to defect from the APC to PDP, an action he said should render him unqualified for some official benefits.
In response, Mr Ajayi argued that he ought to enjoy the perks of office as an incumbent deputy governor. He said he used his personal funds to buy the Toyota Hilux truck from which he was being denied access.
After several hours of delay, the deputy governor eventually left the government house to his private residence in another vehicle.
Mr Akeredolu in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Ajiboye, earlier on Sunday, said reports linking him to the incident were false. He said he did not ask the commissioner of police to restrain his deputy from leaving the Government House.
The governor said Mr Ajayi and his aides were intercepted when they wanted to leave the government house “with items wrapped in unclear ownership as late as 11 p.m.”
APC had also lost Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, and his deputy to PDP on Saturday.
Mr Obaseki will now fly the PDP ticket in the Edo governorship election in September.