The crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has taken a new turn, as the rally organised for its candidate, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) in the state to flag off his campaign for the November 26 governorship election may have heightened the tension in the party.
Nigerian Tribune gathered on Sunday that, the group believed to be loyal to the national leader of the Party, Senator Bola Tinubu, was taken aback over the utterances of some party leaders that addressed the rally in Akure, the Ondo State capital, who insisted that Akeredolu did not need the endorsement or the support of anybody to become the governor and that he would win the election despite all odds
Vice President Yemi Osibajo, Tinubu, and South-West governors, except that of Ogun State among others, were absent at the rally, which some partymen alleged, further confirmed that all was still not well over the choice of Akeredolu as the party’s candidate for the election
This came as indications emerged about intense pressure on Tinubu to change his mind and support Akeredolu.
The source revealed that following the emerging signal that the reconciliation move by the stakeholders was no longer feasible based on the outcome of the Ondo rally, party members believed to be loyal to Tinubu, were said to have withdrawn to their shells, awaiting a definite directive from the national leader on which direction to follow at the election.
According to a close associate of Tinubu, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune in confidence, “It is a fact that Tinubu was not happy over the outcome of the party’s primary which produced Akeredolu as the candidate, but our expectation was that Akeredolu will reach out to him for reconciliation.
“We expect Akeredolu to be more serious about reconciliation process; he is not doing that.
“Look at the offensive utterances of some of the so-called party leaders that spoke at his rally, which took place in Akure last Friday. It is very annoying for a former governor, who once benefitted from the support of Tinubu to become the governor of state to be saying that whoever that was against the candidate of Akeredolu was only wasting his or her time, as he would surely win the election squarely in his or her life time.
“One expects Akeredolu to caution those making such unguarded and provocative statements. It means such people, who could not even win a local government on his own for his governorship election in his state, is saying what may be interpreted as the mind of Akeredolu himself.
“To us, Tinubu holds the ace in the Ondo governorship race in APC. Though he will not come out openly to say go and vote for a particular candidate or a particular party, we are waiting to hear from him in the next few days.
“He is a loyal party leader to the core but from all indications, these people are not ready for reconciliation, going by their utterances.”
Another source in the party said that the candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Olusola Oke, who came third in the APC primary, might be the ultimate beneficiary of the crisis rocking the party.