Ondo 2020: APC aspirants kick against indirect primary
• Write National leadership, call for dissolution of party exco
The crisis over the mode of primary to be adopted for the governorship primary of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State assumed a new dimension on Sunday as eleven of the aspirants sent a protest to the National Secretariat of the party.
The 11 aspirants seeking the APC governorship ticket have raised the alarm that using the indirect mode for the party primary would not give room for equity while the process will not be free and fair.
The aspirants declared that the delegates for the July 20, governorship primary election cannot be trusted if the party finally decides to settle for the indirect mode of the primary.
According to them, the delegates for the election cannot be trusted saying the delegates are out to make money and will only be ready to do the bidding of the highest bidder.
The aspirants who expressed their fears over the mode of primary to be adopted demanded the dissolution of all party structures from the state level to the ward.
The aspirants who include Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, Ife Oyedele, Olayide Adelami and others, had already sent a protest letter to the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja on the need to adopt the direct mode of the primary.
The aspirants in the protest letter vowed to boycott the exercise if the party refused to back out from its decision on indirect, describing the party delegates as rogues and who would only go for the highest bidder.
“We can’t trust these delegates, they are vultures waiting to eat a dying child. These rogues will suck us dry. Our experiences in their hands during the 2016 APC governorship primary election still fresh in our memories.
“Apart from the undisputed fact that the majority of them were handpicked by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, they can easily cash out. Their loyalty is for money bag politicians and they don’t care about the development of the state.
“We will tear this party apart if Governor Mai Bala Buni led’s Caretaker Transition Committee (CTC) refuses to give us Direct mode by dissolving all party structures from the ward to the state,” the aspirants said.
An impeccable source within the APC in the state said the governorship aspirants led by Oke, Oyedele and Adelami are currently pursuing the dissolution of party Excos from the state to ward level.
The move, according to a source, became imperative after their failure to reverse the indirect mode of the primary which the party has settled on for the conduct of the governorship primary election in the state.
The source revealed that the aspirants had written a protest letter to Abuja which was submitted by Oke but was said to have met brick walls as the party has exceeded the 21 days window for the notification of INEC on the mode of party primary to be adopted.
It will be recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), through its Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Ambassador Rufus Akeju disclosed to journalists a few days ago in Akure that the party had already sent Indirect mode of primary to the commission for its primary election.
But the state chapter of the party has stated that aspirants contesting for the gubernatorial ticket of the party cannot dictate the mode of primary for the party.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, described the statement credited to some of the aspirants as inflammatory, especially those laden with threats, to “ensure that the State chapter is brought down”, where the wish is not granted.
Kalejaye stated in the statement that “We wish to place it on record that it is inconceivable that aspirants would dictate to the party on which mode to adopt.
“The chapter is duty-bound to underscore a salient point; that it is the prerogative of the national secretariat to decide which of the modes, spelt out in the party constitution, should be adopted for each state at any point in time.
“For the sake of emphasis, the party’s constitution approves three modes of primaries to select its candidates for an election: direct, indirect and consensus. Any of these could be chosen at random, depending on the discretion of the supervising authority.
“The supervising authority in this regard is Governor Mai- Mala Bunni-led Caretaker Committee, and saddled with the responsibility to decide the option for Ondo State 2020”
He said further “We hold that a committed party member would not embark on actions or utterances that would cast aspersions on its leadership at all levels. He would rather prefer to work assiduously towards the victory of his party at any election.
“It is imperative for aspirants, like students preparing for an examination, to abide by the rules and guidelines from the national secretariat, so long these rules are not at variance with the contents of the party constitution.
“The efforts to set a terrible precedent for the party, by allowing aspirants to dictate what mode to adopt for an election, should be invested in quality and decent campaigns to sell their candidacy to party elders, leaders and members.
“The state secretariat’s concern is to promote all genuine efforts, geared towards a rancour-free primary election; produce a candidate, who will ultimately retain the State for the party, come October.”
Meanwhile, the Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has denied the rumour over his disqualification by the Election Screening Committee of the APC, saying this is nothing but false alarm from some element within the party.
In a statement issued and signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media and Publicity, Mr Ojo Oyewamide, the governor described the rumour as another distraction unleashed with the aim of deceiving the unsuspecting public.
Akeredolu said the rumour was designed to divert attention from the self-imposed pains on the part of those behind the story, coming from those who have chosen the perfidious political path
Oyewamide said in the statement that “Governor Akeredolu is not just participating at the Party Primary. He shall be re-elected by the Grace of God come October 10, 2020.
“The Governor, therefore, appeals to all his supporters to ignore the rumour and dedicate this period to God for His continuous grace, favour and protection.
“It’s a ploy to distract you. They are scavengers and will stop at nothing to sustain their trade of deceit. Ignore them. Remain firm. Be dedicated and be prayerful.”