Akeredolu’s camp jubilates as PDP, ZLP merger talks flop in Abuja
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s camp was in a cheerful mood on Saturday night after reports filtered in that a merger plan that was underway between the PDP and ZLP fell through in Abuja.
“More than ever, we are now confident of victory next Saturday,” Bode Akinola, an APC strategist in Akure, told Peoples Gazette Saturday night. “Not like other parties had a chance to begin with.”
Mr. Akinola’s comments came moments after the PDP and ZLP abandoned talks over a possible alliance ahead of the governorship election in Ondo.
“The talk did not go well,” a source familiar with a meeting that was held in Abuja on Saturday told the Gazette.
The meeting was held on Saturday afternoon between Olusegun Mimiko of ZLP and PDP’s Aminu Tambuwal in Asokoro, Abuja, sources said. The Gazette reported initial details of it earlier.
Both PDP and ZLP were hoping to present a common candidate that would take on incumbent Mr. Akeredolu at the October 10 exercise. But the talks flopped because the meeting could not decide who should step down.
“The PDP said Agboola Ajayi of ZLP should step down for Eyitayo Jegede of PDP,” a source said. “But ZLP maintained that they have a better chance at victory and the PDP candidate should step down.”
At issue throughout the talks was whether or not Mr. Jegede has a grip on Akure and other parts of Ondo central where he hails. Although the ZLP recognised that the PDP has central as its base, the question about how much of votes Mr. Jegede could garner from the zone dominated discussion, sources said.
Mr. Ajayi argued that he could get the larger chunk of the votes in his Ondo south base by a margin that Mr. Jegede cannot get in his own Ondo central base.
Mr. Akeredolu’s camp said he would win his Ondo north handily, while still garnering significant ballots in Ondo central.
“The governor will get enough votes in the central to supplement his blowout in the north,” Mr. Akinola said, relying on civil servants and other Akure residents who are likely caught by Mr. Akeredolu’s charm as an incumbent.
The Gazette learnt Saturday that the PDP and ZLP would not be resuming talks again in the next seven days, as both sides insist their positions are now clear and settled.
A new poll out Friday suggested a tough race for ZLP and PDP without a merger, all but predicting a victory for Mr. Akeredolu. A spokesman for the PDP did not return a request seeking comments Saturday night. Mr. Mimiko also declined comments.
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