James Sowole in Akure
After much politicking and political calculations, the two leading political parties for the November governorship election in Ondo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday announced their running mates for their candidates.
While the PDP chose the former Commissioner for Information in the state, John Ola Mafo, as the running mate to Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the APC named a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon Agboola Ajayi, as the running mate to Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
The two political parties had submitted names of their deputy governorship candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the deadline for such exercise expired yesterday.
The Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Mr. Banji Okunomo, who disclosed the choice of Mafo, said the credentials of the candidate qualified him for the position.
According to Okunomo, the decision to pick Mafo was taken by the highest decision body of the PDP in the state.
“At the highest decision making body of the PDP in the state today (yesterday) resolved on the choice of Ola Mafo as the deputy governorship candidate of the party.
“The party took this far-reaching decision after considering all factors that would lead to its victory at the poll.
“The party weighed a number of options including the credentials of Mafo which ranged from being a former chairman of Ilaje Local Government Area of the state to former Commissioner for Information in the state.
“Mafo was also a former Special Adviser to Governor Olusegun Mimiko and until his nomination, he was the Chairman of the Ondo State Football Agency (ODSFA).
“Mafo is also a foundation member of the PDP and a veteran politician from the Southern senatorial district particularly Ilaje Local Government Area, a native of Zion Pepe,” he said.
Okunomo posited that the choice of Mafo was based on equity and political balance saying: “For equity and balance, it is apposite for the party to uphold his nomination as the deputy governorship candidate.
Ajayi, an indigene of Ese-Odo Local Government Area, represented the Ilaje/ Ese Odo federal constituency at the National Assembly between 2007 and 2011.
The choice of Ajayi, however, generated controversies among leaders and members of the APC before it was finally resolved.
The PDP Publicity Secretary, Okunomo, said the combination of Jegede and Mafo formed a strong force that would be difficult for any opposition to confront.