APC leadership in dilemma over choice of candidate in Ondo

Indication emerged on Sunday that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was at a crossroads over the choice of its candidate for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.

The aspirants were at the national secretariat of the party in Abuja last week for screening, where the party leadership narrowed down the ticket to four or five of the 25 contenders.

Nigerian Tribune gathered that five out of the aspirants dazzled members of the screening committee, headed by the Oyo State governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

The aspirants were Olusola Oke, Jamiu Ekungba, Rotimi Akeredolu and two others.

The committee was said to have tabled the option of picking one of them as the standard bearer of the party, but the issue of trust was raised by members.

According to a chieftain of the party, who spoke to the Nigerian Tribune, on anonymity, the committee tabled before the APC national leaders four options in picking the party’s candidate.

The first option was to allow all the 25 screened aspirants to go into the primaries to test their political strength and whoever emerges will become the party’s candidate.

They also suggested that the ticket should be zoned to the North and advised all the aspirants holding elective positions to step out of the race.

The fourth option was to pick a particular aspirant (names withheld) and shop for a deputy for him, but most members of the committee frowned on this, saying deputy governors are mere figureheads.

The source said: “These were the options tabled before Asiwaju but it seems he is considering giving all the aspirants a level playing field to test their strength and popularity and whoever emerges should become the party candidate.”

He disclosed that another contestant told the committee to guard against imposition, while reminding them of what led to the loss of the 2012 governorship election in the state.

“He warned the party against imposition and said any attempt to impose a candidate on the party could spell doom for us,” the source said

However, he said “whichever option the party leadership settled for, I am assuring you that the party’s candidate will be unveiled after the August 27 primaries.”