The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has accused the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, of planning to use ex-militants to manipulate the 2019 general elections in the state.
A statement by the PDP on Thursday in Akure said Ajayi held several meetings with the former militants in the riverine areas of the state who are being hired to interfere with the elections in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The statement, which was issued by the party’s publicity secretary, Banji Okunomo, alleged that the deputy governor was also planning to use the machinery of the government to freeze accounts warehousing the campaign funds of the PDP and the accounts of chieftains of the opposition party.
“Indications emerged yesterday that the Deputy Governor of Ondo state, Agboola Ajayi, is plotting all manners of unlawful devices to undermine the coming elections with rigging plots aimed to foist unpopular candidates against the wishes of the good people of Ondo State,” Okunomo said.
“Also yesterday, the Deputy Governor (Agboola Ajayi) held series of meeting with ex-militia groups in Ondo State, particularly from the riverine areas of the state seeking their support to hatch his illicit plans in contravention of the electoral laws.
“One of the ex-militants who attended the meeting and pleaded anonymity said that they were promised to be assisted with compromised security personnel who will be on duty during the elections.
“The ex-militants were given N2M as inducement and they were asked to return for further tranches in the next few days.
“Other unlawful strategies include blocking the bank accounts of prominent leaders of PDP, blocking the campaign fund account of our party, wanton arrest and whisking away of PDP leaders to unknown destinations” the statement read in parts.”
Okunomo urged the international community and the security agencies to beam their searchlight on the riverine areas of the state before the February 16 and March 2, 2019, general elections.
He also called on the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and President Muhammadu Buhari to call Ajayi to order to forestall crisis during the poll.
The deputy governor has, however, denied the allegations, saying the PDP was only reacting to its pending failure at the coming polls.
Ajayi’s chief press secretary, Leke Akeredolu, in his reaction, said the PDP was peddling falsehood in its desperate attempt to discredit the coming election.
“We would, however, like to make it clear to the whole world that the Deputy Governor, who is the Chairman of the Amnesty Programme in the state, met leaders of the ex-militants on Monday to resolve a misconception over their incorporation into the federal government Amnesty programme,” said Akeredolu.
“The said Monday meeting was not different from the previous meetings that government representatives have had with leaders of the ex-militants and the discussion centred basically on their inclusion into the amnesty programme, not elections matter.
“Ajayi only appealed to these ex-militants, who had been threatening to disrupt the elections in the riverine areas of the state to sheathe their swords and be patient with the federal government.
“He told the aggrieved ex-militants that the federal government would soon begin training for them at the newly commissioned Oil and Gas vocational training centre in Agadagba-Obona in Ese-Odo Area of Ondo State.
“Let it be known to the PDP that the Akeredolu’s government will not use militants to rig election in the state but would be counting on its visible achievements across the state which have been lauded by the masses, who are ready to cast their votes for APC to win elections.”
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