Ondo 2020: Sheathe sword and accept the choice of Olusola Oke
• Kazeem to aggrieved aspirants.
Following the crisis that engulfed the Unity Forum of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state, over the choice of Chief Oke as its consensus candidate to wrestle the party ticket with the incumbent governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, an aspirant from the group, Olarenwaju Kazeem, has called on the aggrieved aspirants to sheath their swords and work towards the victory of Oke in the party’s primaries.
Kazeem who stated this while debunking some allegations by the Secretary of the Screening Committee, Prof. Ehindero, said the call became imperative in order to put in place a strong candidate who can defeat Akeredolu in the party’s primaries.
According to him, the group’s main goal of installing an APC governor aside Akeredolu would be defeated if the aspirants and members of the unity forum disagreed over the candidature of Oke for the party primaries.
He advised the aspirants estranged to fully utilise the window of dialogue and reconciliation offered them by the leaders of the group and avoid playing into the hands of those who do not wish the party or the group from producing the governor in the next election
He noted that the current conflict, which he claimed is aimed at portraying the unity forum and it’s leadership in bad light, was unnecessary because its members remain as one family, saying no challenge should be insurmountable to the group.
He maintained that the process that produced Oke as the group’s choice for the party’s primaries was initially approved by all aspirants saying the process was transparent, urging aggrieved to set aside sentiment and work for Oke emergence.
Kazeem, a former state Commissioner for Agriculture under the Adefarati’s administration, however, cautioned both the state and national leadership of the party to avoid the reoccurrence of what happened to the party in Zamfara state where opposition was declared as winner by the court as a result of internal wrangling and litigation among APC stakeholders on the 2019 general election.
He said Oke remains one of the politicians in the state that can defeat Akeredolu in the party’s primaries and appealed to them to support Oke and shun their inordinate and desperate ambition.
He urged the other eight aspirants to keep to their promise as men of honour saying he had accepted the decision of the APC Unity Forum that adopted Chief Oke as the group’s consensus candidate as pledged before the contest.
He urged other aspirants which include, Dr Olusegun Abraham, Engr Ifeoluwa Oyedele, Chief Olayide Adelami, Bukola Adetula and Mr Jimi Odimayo, Dipo Adelegan among others to abide by their promise before the screening.
Kazeem warned that failure of the members of the group to speak with one voice could lead to the return of Akeredolu as the governor of the state
“Everybody is not happy with Akeredolu the way he is running the affairs of our state; I would have wished somebody from Ondo North (senatorial district) succeeds him during the 2020 election but it is only honourable if we all support the choice of our Unity Forum”
We need to speak with one voice to dislodge Akeredolu during the party’s primaries. Let us work towards the same goal and we should all drop our personal ambition for the collective good of the people of the state.
He urged the APC national Secretariat to conduct a direct primary system in Ondo state and respect the result to prevent unnecessary litigations.
“Let me warn against what happened in Zamfara state where our party with over 500,000 votes lost out and the PDP with over 100,000 votes is on power in that state today; our leaders must sit down and do a direct primary for Ondo state election and must respect the outcome to avoid a repeat of what happened in Zamfara,” he said.
Kazeem urged the people of Ondo state should always commend the patriotism of the Unity Forum chairman, former Deputy Governor Alli Olanusi for his uncommon leadership qualities arriving on the choice of Chief Oke as the consensus candidate ahead of the party’s primaries.
“I don’t see any reason why any aspirants should reject the decision of the Unity forum; Baba Olanusi was shedding tears at one of our meetings when we could not arrive at a consensus candidate amongst ourselves and it was later agreed by all aspirants that they will all accept the decision of the selection committee headed by Senator (Yele) Omogunwa.”
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