The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, who resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has told PREMIUM TIMES why he would not resign from the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
He made this known through his Chief Press Secretary, Tope Okeowo, in a telephone interview with our correspondent.
PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday reported that Mr Ajayi immediately joined the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Ward 2, Apoi in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State after he left his former party.
He has been at loggerheads for months with his party over the coming governorship election in the state.
On Saturday, he was prevented from leaving the government house in Akure in an official vehicle by the state’s commissioner of police, Bolaji Salami.
Mr Salami said he recently discovered Mr Ajayi’s plan to defect from the APC to PDP, an action he said should render him unqualified for certain benefits such as police security.
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 denied access.
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.
‘I won’t resign’
Speaking on his principal’s next move on Sunday evening, Mr Okeowo said his boss was elected deputy governor on a joint ticket and would love to serve his people.
“There is freedom of association and this is not the first time the deputy will leave his boss. They came on joint ticket.
“It happened during Obasanjo and Atiku’s time. The court ruled that there is freedom of association. It is a joint ticket and that was why the ‘deputy governor irregularities’ affected the APC candidate in Bayelsa. So, resigning from government is not in the radar,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES asked if Mr Ajayi will pick the governorship form under the banner of PDP.
He responded thus: “that cannot be ruled out but what matters is that first thing has been done which is defection. Every other thing will follow.”
He ignored an enquiry on what led to the conflict between Mr Ajayi and his boss or party.
Mr Akeredolu is yet to officially react to the defection of his deputy. His spokesperson, Segun Ajiboye, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES calls at the time of this report.