Following the controversies surrounding the fielding of Chief Olusola Oke as the Alliance for Democracy (AD) candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State, a chieftain of the party, Dr. Akin Olowookere on Sunday, said the crisis were sponsored by the opposition.
Olowookere who stated this while reacting to the allegations against Oke by the party’s National Legal Adviser, Kehinde Aworele, said he voluntarily stepped down for Oke after he decamped to AD.
He stated that Oke remained the authentic candidate of the party in the forthcoming November 26 governorship election, attributing the criticism against Oke to jealousy and ill-feelings towards his political popularity in the state.
He disclosed that the incessant kicking against Oke’s candidature were sponsored by the opposition whom he said were bent on fomenting crises in the party.
He said: “We are standing for the good of Ondo State, on behalf of the masses; we have provided a third force and an alternative in order to make sure that we dismantle the illegitimate tyranny currently operating in the state.
“That I was able to midwife the party, there is a lot of jealousy and envy. If somebody calls himself a Legal Adviser of a party, he knows how to go to court. You don’t fight or sue on the pages of media.”
According to him: “The whole thing is entertaining, I call it political entertainment. I stand my feet as Dr. Akin Olowokeere, who stepped down to be substituted for Chief Olusola Oke in order to add some values to the political saga we are orchestrating.
The National Legal Adviser, Mr Kehinde Aworele, had insisted that the National Executive Committee (NEC) did not recognise Oke as AD member, hence his candidature was not ratified by the party’s leadership.
However, Aworele attributed the displeasure over Oke’s emergence by the disgruntled NEC members on the National Chairman of the party, Chief Joseph Avazi.
He accused Avazi of unilaterally taking decisions in affairs that constitutionally requires the meeting of the NEC, noting that the Avazi never called a meeting since Senator Mojisola Akinfenwa stepped aside as the party’s chairman last year.
The Legal Adviser maintained that the October 14 NEC resolutions remained binding, saying that those who later revoked it barely 24 hours after the emergency meeting in Akure, acted on behalf of themselves and not NEC or the party.
He said “some members of the party who went to the media that we had rescinded our earlier decision through the communiqué issued by the party’s NEC. There was information that Olusola Oke met some members who later spoke against our decision but this cannot be valid.
“As at today, we have passed a vote of no confidence on the national chairman, national secretary and national auditor of the party and it is the NEC of the party that can make a change of that decision.”
Aworele however said that Olowookere remained the party’s flagbearer for the election, adding that, though they were informed that he had purportedly stepped down for Oke, but had not formally informed the party.
He described Oke’s defection to AD as a welcome development but stressed that whoever wanted to join must join through the laid down procedures in the party’s constitution, so as not to compromise their integrity.
He said: “We have said that Olusola Oke is not known to the party because he does not follow proper procedure of the party, so he is not even a member of AD. I can tell you that he is not a member of our party because he has not complied with the constitutional procedure of our party by which a candidate should emerge.
“I don’t have anything against Oke as a person; he is a nice gentleman and a member of my profession but he should not come through the backdoor. On the issue of his eligibility, I will not comment on that because it is pending before the Federal High Court, Akure,” he said.
But the Campaign Director of Oke, Mr Bola Ilori, dispelled the allegations, saying “it is an unattractive side attraction. It is just part of the fun just to make it more enterprising.”
Ilori also faulted the opposition parties as the brain behind the crises to cause distractions in the party because of the intimidating popularity of the AD candidate among the masses.
The state Secretary of the party, Dr. Sola Agboola, said that Oke “is a member of AD in tandem with the constitution of the Alliance for Democracy.
“So all these are parts of the drama that forms politics, politics is drama; it could be fun, it is fun. It is just entertainment, you have seen it before and you will see it again; more of it will soon come: there is no issue about that.”
Agboola disclosed that he had contacted the National Chairman of AD, who told him to disregard the noise against Oke’s candidature and said “the National Legal Adviser was on his own.”