Less than two weeks to the primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to produce the party’s candidate in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, members of the party, on Tuesday, suspended the state chairman of the party, Honourable Isaac Kekemeke.
The party members, who are supporters of some aspirants and leaders of the party in the state, converged at the APC secretariat, Oyemekun Road, Akure, sacking the whole executive members of the party.
The aggrieved group, known as the Movement Against Imposition (MAI), who arrived at the party secretariat as early as 8:00a.m. with placards of various inscriptions, blocked the entrance to the secretariat and vowed to resist any form of imposition from the sacked chairman and the national leadership of the party.
The members subsequently appointed Saka Yusuf Ogunleye as the new chairman of the party in the state.
Speaking on the development, the convener of the protest, Tolu Babaleye, accused Kekemeke of allegedly enforcing the endorsement of one of the 25 aspirants as the candidate in the primaries.
“Kekemeke has made serious efforts to enforce the endorsement. He openly informed the state executive committee that a leader of the party has endorsed an aspirant and has instructed him to tell the leaders and delegates.
“We are not oblivious of the role played by the state chairman who we collectively described as the architect of the current impasse in our party,” he said.
He warned that if the grievances and resistance were not checked, it may mar the chance of the party again in the next election like it robbed the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2012 election.
He stated that every leader had the right to support any of the aspirants, but faulted the conversion of the party’s machinery and structure to favour an aspirant and accused Kekemeke of working against the interest of the party.
“It is absolutely wrong for anybody to force the same structure, jointly owned and financed by the aspirants, to work for one of the aspirants.”
But Kekemeke described his sack and action of the party members as a mere blackmail by privileged few who wanted their decision to override the majority, saying “It’s a drama that is good for the season.”
Kekemeke explained that every individual and party members had the freedom and liberty to express their grievances under constitution of the party but said “those behind the protest are those who want to impose their way on the majority, they are desperate members of the party that want to hijack the party.”
He denied the imposition rumour being spread around in the party and said most of the aspirants had received one form of endorsement or the other.
He said “anybody can express his preference. Endorsement simply means the preference for a particular aspirant and this everybody has been doing. This is different from adoption.
“They are just being afraid because nobody has even forced anybody nor announced to the party members where we are going. The truth of the matter is that the losers shout and the winner will celebrate and I have just become the scapegoat. No matter the blackmail and intimidation, it will not make me shift ground on the constitution of the party.”
However, the aggrieved members accused Kekemeke of undermining the chances of the party in the November 26 governorship poll, saying “Kekemeke manipulated the delegate list of almost all the wards and local government areas in Ondo State. He is on the prowl working against free and fair primaries and by extension against democracy.
“Kekemeke must not be allowed to conduct the primaries since he has compromised his office.
“The list of delegates submitted by Kekemeke to the national secretariat is wantonly manipulated; the delegate list is a cancer to a free, fair and credible primaries.
“Kekemeke is hereby suspended to pave way for free, fair and credible primaries.”