Ondo 2024: Former SSG drops governorship ambition, backs another aspirant

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Ahead of the All Progressives Congress governorship primary in Ondo State, Oladunni Odu, the Secretary to the State Government under the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, has dropped her ambition to back Jimoh Ibrahim.

Ibrahim is the senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly and one of the APC governorship aspirants.

Mrs. Odu is from the southern senatorial district with Ibrahim and the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who is also jostling for the APC governorship ticket.

Aiyedatiwa, the erstwhile deputy governor in the state, became the governor following the death of Akeredolu on December 27, 2023.

The new governor had inherited Mrs. Odu as the SSG, but recently removed her in a cabinet shake-up that he carried out just before Akeredolu’s funeral.

Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission has directed political parties in the state to hold their primaries between April 6 and 27, 2014.

It was gathered that Mrs. Odu disclosed her decision to quit the governorship race during a meeting with her Iwajowa Political Group coordinators and some chieftains of the party in the South Senatorial District at the weekend in Okitipupa.

One of the coordinators of Mrs. Odu group, Alaba Onayajo, confirmed this to journalists on Tuesday in Okitipupa.

Onayajo said that the former SSG pledged to work and galvanize her group towards ensuring the success and victory of Ibrahim in the April primary.

He added that the Idepe-Okitipupa born politician directed her supporters under the “Iwajowa Political Group” to team up and start working with Ibrahim’s “Aseyori Lakansi Group.”

Onayajo added that Mrs. Odu had earlier met with her supporters in the Central Senatorial District and directed them to work for Ibrahim’s victory at the party’s primary.

“The Iwajowa Political Group has been directed by our leader and founder, Odu, to start working and mobilising for Ibrahim.

“The primary goal of Iwajowa Political Group now is to ensure Ibrahim emerges victorious in the party’s primary in April and since we have received the instruction, work has started in earnest.

“As directed by mama (Odu) in the meeting, we are ready and have resolved to work together with the Aseyori Lekansi Group,” he said.

Efforts to get confirmation of the development from Mrs. Odu were futile as she did not pick calls made to her phone.

However, her media aide, Debbie Funmilayo, confirmed to NAN that the former SSG had dropped her governorship ambition to support Ibrahim.

Mrs. Odu had in September 2023 declared her intention to vie for the APC ticket in the November 16 governorship election in the state.

Mrs. Odu, 71, had since 1995, served at various times as commissioner in the state, Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board and until recently, the Secretary to the State Government.

The astute administrator was appointed by late Governor Akeredolu as the first female SSG in the history of the state. (NAN)