APC primaries: Abraham, Olabimtan applaud process •Oke kicks

THE closest rival of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu who emerged, on Saturday, as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, Mr Olusegun Abraham, has congratulated him with a pledge to work towards the success of the party at the poll.

Akeredolu defeated Abraham with a total of 669 to 635 to emerge as the winner of the contest, beating 23 others in the race for the party’s ticket.

Abraham, who pledged to join hands with Akeredolu to reposition the state, also assured the people of the state that APC government would not disappoint them.

He said “The APC is a party consistently determined to bring prosperity and good governance to the people of Nigeria, and I will ever remain loyal to our party and its ideals and principles.

“I pray that our God will bring the much-needed prosperity we seek to Ondo State in earnest. I will not turn my back to my loving people of Ondo. I will continue to contribute my quota to the development of our state in any way God directs.”

He commended the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Badru Abubakar, for conducting a free and fair election and appreciated his supporters for showing maximum solidarity throughout the campaign period.

“I am not unaware of the pains you feel right now; with so much fervour, you all took our message of industrialising Ondo State to every nook and cranny,” he said.

Similarly, the former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable Victor Olabimtan, also congratulated Akeredolu over his victory at the primaries, saying he emerged as the flag bearer of the APC through the most credible primaries ever witnessed in the state.

Olabimtan, who promised to support Akeredolu in winning the forthcoming governorship election, called on other aspirants to “close ranks and team up with our candidate to record a resounding victory for the APC, come November 26, 2016.”

Meanwhile, a group within the party, Movement Against Imposition (MAI), has hailed the party leadership over the transparency of the primaries.

Speaking on behalf of the group, the coordinator, Saka Yusuf Ogunleye, described the Ondo APC primaries as one of the best in the history of the state.

Also speaking, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Abayomi Adesanya, said the election was a clear indication that power resides with the people.

Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2012 governorship election in Ondo State and an aspirant in the just concluded primaries of the APC in the state, Chief Olusola Oke, on Sunday, kicked against the result of the primaries that produced Mr Akeredolu as the party candidate.

Speaking through his Campaign Director General, Bola Fisayo, he said the election was not the true reflection of the delegates that participated in the last Saturday’s primaries.

Oke specifically noted that some names of the delegates were removed from the list while non delegates were allowed to vote.

According to him, the list of delegates handed over to the aspirants at a meeting with the presidency was different from the list of delegates brought by the Chairman of the Election Committee who is also the Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru.

He stated that the list was shown to the aspirants at the eleventh hour and there was no adequate time to scrutinise the list by most of the aspirants.

He said about 110 names belonging to Oke’s camp were removed from both Ondo East and West while over 300 names were replaced across the 16 local government areas of the state with non executive members of the party as delegates.

He said the list was doctored in other local government areas where they discovered Oke to be strong

Apart from the injection of names of non delegates, he alleged that the process of the primaries was fraudulent, saying delegates were substituted midway to the voting centres.

He said “the primaries did not represent the true position of the delegates. The accreditation gave room for manipulation and the whole process was laced with fraud. The result released does not represent the true reflection of the delegates as non delegates were allowed to participate in the election.”

He wondered why accreditation of delegates was conducted outside the International Event Centre while “the Centre is big enough to accommodate more than 5,000 delegates.”