10 aspirants to boycott APC primary in Ondo ― Olatuja, factional chairman

Ten of the aspirants who picked the All Progressives Congress (APC) Expression of Interest and nomination form ahead of its July 10 primary in Ondo State may boycott the election.

Factional chairman of the party in the State, Henry Olu Olatuja dropped the hint at a news conference in Abuja on Thursday.

He did not mention the aggrieved aspirants. But Nigerian Tribune checks revealed that certain aspirants have since kicked against the adoption of the indirect primary by the party national caretaker committee.

Olatuja who claimed that his faction of the state chapter was a product of a validly conducted ward,  local and state congresses in the state insisted that the executive led by  Mr Ade Adetimehin should not be accorded recognition by the caretaker committee led by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni.

Olateju further argued that the process that produced Ade Adetimehin executive did not comply, “substantially with the congress guidelines as laid down by our great party thereby making our faction the authentic and validly constituted State Executive Committee of the party in substantial compliance with congress procedures.”

He noted that against the backdrop of a pending suit challenging the outcome of the State Congress, the direct primary was the best option that must be adopted by the interim national leadership of the party.

He said: “We find it compelling to assist the decision of current leaders at the national level by furnishing them with the details of events as it affects the ward, local and state executives and delegate lists of APC in Ondo State. That considering the pending suit before the Federal High Court Akure Division and our letter dated 26th June, 2020 which was served on chairman and other members of the caretaker committees on 30th June, 2020 drawing the attention of the caretaker committee to this suit and it implications on the need to conduct a valid and successful Governorship Party Primary and the desire to avert the Zamfara and Rivers State episode / bitter pills.

“It is important to consider the mode of primary to be adopted considering the pending litigation on the legality or otherwise of the process that produced the two Executives Committees, notwithstanding that our own Ward, Local and State Executives Committee and the delegates elected at the congresses were constituted with substantial compliance. We are also aware that with deflection of the Deputy Governor H.E. Agboola Ajayi to PDP and the recent resignation of Hon. Sunday Abegunde (a.k.a Abena) as SSG from government of Arakunrin Akeredolu a lot of manipulation from their own list of members being prepared for this indirect primary had been done. They are experts on delegate list manipulation as evidence in 2016 governorship primary that resulted in emergence of the incumbent governor as the party candidate. The delegates’ lists from both factions are contentious. Therefore, there must be fair and equitable consideration of the two delegates’ lists.

“We urge that premised on the situation at hand in Ondo State as highlighted above, that the option of Direct Primary be considered and must adopted in the interest of equity, fairness and justice. So that the outcome of the pending suit No. FHC/AK/CS/10/2019 would not affect the validity of the Governorship Primary to be conducted on the 20th July, 2020. The adjournment date for the above-mentioned suit is 22nd July, 2020 at the Federal High Court, Akure, Ondo State.”

The factional chairman further warned that 10 out of the 12 candidates that have signified interest in the primary would boycott the process in the event that the party national secretariat fails to rescind its decision on indirect primary.

Olatuja further accused the Ekiti State governor and chairman Nigeria Governors Forum, Kayode Fayemi of instigating the crisis in the Ondo State chapter of the party.

“At this juncture, we need to call the attention of National Leaders of our party to call the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi to order to avoid disgrace and embarrassment that may arise from abuse of his office as chairman Nigeria Governors Forum. He and his cohort should desist from facilitating undemocratic process, while trying to impose the incumbent Governor Arakunrin Rotimi  Odunayo Akeredolu on the APC by pushing for an indirect primary model which is grossly inequitable and inimical to the success of our party in general election coming up on the 10th October 2020. He should note that Ondo State is not an appendage of Ekiti State and such he should stop meddling with the political affair of Ondo State.”



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