There were hints on Monday that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State may soon find his way out of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over his spat with the party leadership.
Sources in APC said the governor may pitch his tent with the Action Alliance (AA) where many of his loyalists who are disenchanted with the APC national leadership decamped to.
The state chapter of the APC has been in crisis since the primary election that produced Akeredolu in September 2016.
Some party groups in the state claimed that after his victory in the governorship elections, Akeredolu failed to unite members of the party.
The crisis manifested in the presidential election where President Muhammadu Buhari, the APC candidate, lost to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to the results released by the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC), Atiku polled 275,901 while Buhari had 241,769 votes in the state.
Piqued by this development, the National Working Committee (NWC) issued a query to Akeredolu over what it called “his glaring anti-party activities, which greatly affected the fortunes of our candidates in the recently-conducted presidential and National Assembly elections in the state”.
However, the party won 23 out of the 26 state Assembly seats in Saturday’s election.
Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday, a party source in the state said Akeredolu who would be seeking re-election in 2020 may dump the party for AA where majority of his supporters are.
“Based on what we have heard, the governor is not ready to respond to the query issued him by the NWC. He knows the intention of the APC’s NWC led by Adams Oshiomhole is to suspend him just as they did to Governors Rochas Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun.
“He also knows that with Oshiomhole in charge, it may be difficult for him to secure the APC’s ticket for a second term.
“That is why he is contemplating joining the AA where most of his supporters are. But from information available, he will remain in the APC except the NWC pushes him out either through suspension or expulsion.
“From latest developments in the party, the governor’s chances of picking the APC ticket for a second term is very slim,” he said.
However, speaking with our correspondent, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Governor Akeredolu on Special Duties and Strategy, described the rumoured defection as untrue, saying he remained a bona fide member of the APC.
He also said it was untrue that many of the governor’s supporters were already in AA.
Odebowale said: “That is a lie and a terrible lie for that matter. Which Action Alliance are they talking about? He is a bona fide member of APC. It is also not true that majority of his supporters are in AA.
“We just finished the governorship and state House of Assembly elections and we cleared the seats. So, why should he decamp to AA? He is a member of APC and he is very much on ground.”