Ondo 2016: AD national leadership makes a U- turn, accepts Oke as candidate

The National leadership of Alliance for Democracy (AD) on Sunday, said the party has accepted Chief Olusola Oke as the flagbearer of the party for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo state, retracting its earlier stand against Oke’s candidature.

The leadership had, on last Friday, rejected the candidature of Oke in the forthcoming governorship election in the state, saying the Chairman of the party unilaterally submitted his name to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Speaking during a Press conference in Akure, Ondo State capital, the National Vice Chairman (North East) of the party Alhaji Magaji
Kwarainga, blamed the controversies surrounding Oke’s candidature on the crisis between the national leaders of the party.

Kwairanga who dispelled the Friday communique issued by some leaders of the party after an emergency meeting in Akure to discredit Oke, attributed the hasty decision to the crisis within the party over the national chairmanship of Senator Mojisola Akinfenwa.

He said that misunderstanding between Akinfenwa and some leaders of the party should not be stretched to destroy the chances of the party, especially in the forthcoming election in the state.

He said “We believe Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa has overstayed as the national chairman, if he has any issue to settle with his southwest people, he should not use AD as a platform. The party, AD, a national party is now led by a national chairman, a northerner.

“Alliance for Democracy is a national party, therefore, we will not allow any leader of the party to use the party to settle any disagreement he or she has with the any of the leaders in the southwest”

Kwaranga, however, affirmed Oke as the party’s candidate for the governorship election saying “we wish to state that we are not in Ondo State to disparage our great party, AD and its candidate, Chief Olusola Oke, who, by our findings, is the candidate of the masses of Ondo State.

“We are here today to correct the impression that was created in the media about our party and its governorship candidate. For the purpose of records, this media briefing becomes necessary.”

He said the meeting earlier, “though not at the instance of the National Chairman and the National Secretary, was a purported NEC meeting. It lacks all constitutional right and that all Northerners were misled.”

The Chairman said they  were not in Ondo State to cause problems in the party and its governorship candidate, Oke, whom they described as a candidate to beat in the election.

They admitted that Oke and his running mate, Alhaji Gani Daudu have fulfilled all criteria as spelt out by their party constitution and INEC guidelines, saying “It is also a truism that the State Chapter of Alliance for Democracy, our great party was involved and also consented to the candidature of Chief Olusola Oke.

“Therefore, the National Chairman and Secretary of the party are constitutionally empowered to forward the name of Chief Olusola Oke to INEC considering the constraint of time.

“Let us also state that the NEC has no issue and if there are issues relating to NEC meeting, which is internal affairs of the party, the issues will be handled internally. As we speak here, Chief Olusola Oke’s name has been duly submitted to INEC as the candidate of our party,”

Some of the elders of the party who present included: the National Vice Chairman, Northwest, Alhaji Sulaiman Aliyu, the Deputy National Treasurer, Sagir Ahmed Ali, the National Organising Secretary, Abdulahi Ibrahim, a National Ex Officio, Saadatu Bello, seven states chairmen and other national officers.

All of the national leaders were on Friday led by the National Organising Secretary, Abdulahi, to reject Oke’s candidature and passed a vote of no confidence on the National Chairman, Chief Joseph Avazi and other party chieftains.