By Dayo Johnson, Akure
The Senator representing Ondo South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Nicholas Tofowomo has given reasons as to why the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the October 10, 2020 governorship poll, Eyitayo Jegede lost the election.
Tofowomo who spoke with newsmen in Akure said that Jegede’s failure to involve party members in his ambition, particularly party leaders played a role in the defeat.
According to him, “all efforts by members and leaders of the party to fashion out ways to ensure that the party emerged victorious were thwarted by Jegede himself.
Tofowomo who served as Commissioner together with Jegede in the cabinet of the immediate past Governor, Olusegun Mimiko also revealed the governorship candidate’s refusal to back his senatorial bid in 2019 despite giving him full support during the 2016 governorship poll.
“After Jegede won the primary, that same night, I called him and I congratulated him.
“I told him, he had already won, he should forget the past and let us work together. I told him, you have two senators, embrace us and let us move around and meet all the 15 governors so that we can raise money.
“He said he will get back to me. He did not get in touch with me until after a month. I called him and told him that he’s not working as if he wants to win the election.
“I told him I’ll not gather all the leaders in Ondo South to his house in Akure to come and meet him. I said, he’ll have to come to Ile-Oluji, I’ll assemble all the leaders they will wait there for him.
“Then he came to Ile-Oluji. He met all the leaders and I advised him that Ondo South fought for the election but unfortunately, Ondo South was not organized.
“We had about eight aspirants and you’re the only one from the central and you have won.
“You ought to have been with us for the past one month, I will give you an advise so that you can move on. Prostrate to these elders and let’s work together but he removed his cap and said he cannot prostrate for the elders.
” I told him that during my time, I prostrated across all the local governments and I won in all of the local governments.
“What he did infuriated the elders and they told him to his face that he will not win. They also told him that his arrogance will cost him the election.”
Tofowomo also lamented that in 2016 when Jegede was first introduced to the state’s political scene, he went all out to give the necessary backing but Jegede failed to reciprocate same when the need arose.
“When the campaign started in 2016, we had the primary election. I paid for his primary election in Ile-Oluji/Oke-Igbo. All his posters in the local government, I printed them with my money.
“They asked Commissioners to put down money, I had to go and look for money. I was earning N150,000 a month then as a Commissioner. I had to go and raise N2 million I contributed. At that election, I won my unit, and I won my ward for Jegede. Unfortunately, Jegede lost the election.
“Then it came to my turn. I went to him that I wanted to go to the Senate and I need his support. I told him that I don’t have money, he assured me that we are friends and that he will give me support.
” There was one night around 2 am. My brother, Abimbola Tofowomo and myself, we went to him, to go and prostrate to him that election is coming and I don’t have money. He assured me that he’ll assist.
“The day of the primary election, they called me that Jegede was giving me money, when I got there he gave me N250,000. The way he gave me that money was the way he gave other aspirants. Three of us were aspirants.
“That primary election was tough. I had 238 votes. Engr Ademulegun had 218 votes and Ebiseni had 177 votes. I won with only 17 votes. It was very tight.
“I went back to Jegede. I told him I’ve won and I’ll be needing his support. But he deceived me. At the end of the day, the party released money to every state with a template and Jegede was the coordinator for Atiku Abubakar.
“So, that document went to Jegede and the document was sent to all states of the federation. In that template, they asked him to call all leaders and the three senatorial candidates.
“So, he was supposed to call me, Senator Ayo Akinyelure and Alonge from the North senatorial district. At the end of the day, they messed up that template.
“In that template, the party recommended that they should give senators N10 million to support them at that election. I was given N2 million.
“House of Reps candidates were to be given N5 million, they gave them N1 million. I went to him I said you can’t do this that he should let me look at the template. Up till today, I’ve not seen the template. And I got very angry. That separated our friendship. And I went my way.”
Tofowomo added that Jegede choice of his running mate ahead of the poll also contributed to his poor performance during the October 2020 election.
“After that episode, I called him again about the issue of his running mate. He said I should not worry. I told him that I’m the political leader for Ondo South. If you are picking a candidate from Ondo South, I should be part of it.
“Then, he went to leaders that they should go and work together in order to appoint a deputy governor, but he deceived them.
“He has already made up his mind who his running mate would be. In Ondo South, we are very formidable, strong and focused. Ondo South got angry that he chose the wrong candidate.
“How can you choose someone who is still in the House of Reps, and has not even spent up to two years. That was a very wrong decision. That means he chose somebody from his team.
“He should have appealed to Ajayi who came second or Eddy Olafeso who came third. They should have come together and presented a candidate. He said that’s way he wants it. People later got angry and left the party. 80 per cent of leaders moved to ZLP.
“That election sent a message to Jegede himself. His running mate lost in his local government, ward and the 66 wards in Ondo South.”