- The adoption of indirect primaries has pitched members of APC in Ondo state against one another
- A former deputy governor in the state, Ali Olanusi, stormed out of stakeholders' meeting over the adoption of indirect primaries
- He accused Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of involving in action that would sink the ship of the party in the state
The indirect primaries options adopted by Ondo state chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2019 general elections, has further polarized the party in the state and brewing a new phase of political implosion.
NAIJ.com regional reporter in Akure, Oluwadamilare Moriyeke, reports that this vividly played out when the former deputy governor of the state, Ali Olanusi, bumped out of the stakeholders' meeting called at the instance of the state party's chairman, Ade Adetimehin and Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday, September 5.
The aggrieved, Olanusi, alongside other bigwigs of the party across the 203 wards, who are still seething over the May congresses held in the party, kicked against the indirect primaries option adopted for the next year's election.
Aside the birth of factions that characterized the last congresses in the 18 local government areas of the state, within the mainstream in government, there is a distinct caucus within the APC circus in government, the Aketi team, threatening to swallow others politically.
The former deputy governor claimed that he was hoodwinked to the APC stakeholders' meeting where the decision was stage-managed by Adetimehin, lamenting that the exercise was a mere charade that would not sail through.
He added that some leaders of the party were also tricked to attend the meeting, disclosing that no agenda was outlined before the sudden motion was moved by the speaker of the Ondo state House of Assembly, Bamidele Oleyelogun, to endorse the indirect primary.
He also accused the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, of involving himself in such a political misdemeanor, threatening that the decision would sink the party in the state if they do not revert to direct primaries option.
Olanusi, who is a member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), decried the indirect primaries option, saying it negates the pronouncement of the party's national body and chart ahead of 2019 elections across the country.
“The meeting was pre-planned, if I had being informed of the details of the meeting, I wouldn’t have attended. Those behind the meeting are mischievous and kept the motive away from critical stakeholders who will query their decision.
“Hence, the reason to disassociate myself from Akeredolu, his cabinet and the party executives in the state,” he said.
Narrating his experience, he said, “I discovered there was no agenda for the meeting and they never briefed me about what they wanted to do but I was thinking the stakeholders’ meeting was called to brief us about the decision taken at the national secretariat.
“I tried all my best to explain to them that there was no credible congress during the last congress of the party because names were written without people attending any congress and they cannot use that document for indirect primaries.
“Some states have agreed on consensus and if they had agreed on my suggestion, we would have adopted consensus and I left immediately they called for motion for the adoption of the indirect primaries.
“But to my surprise, the next thing they did was to call for motion for the adoption of the indirect primaries which was moved by the speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Bamidele Oleyelogun.”
Giving an insight to the immediate cause of the crisis and desperation behind the indirect primaries option, he maintained that the process that produced the party's state executive led by Adetimehin, was controversial and still facing litigation at the law court.
“There was no congress, names were written by Akeredolu and his group. No member was allow to obtain form even after paying to the banks as directed by the our party. We hope that the court will do justice to these shenanigans,” he said, declaring that Governor Akeredolu is set to destroy the party in the state.
Meanwhile, Adetimehin, explained at the APC stakeholders' meeting also attended by the executive members, leaders and aspirants, that indirect primaries was adopted ahead of the 2019 elections to curtail unnecessary chaos in the state.
He, however, stressed that "we are not intimidated by the adoption of any lawful option for election primaries," positing that the indirect primary would create less problems for the state than the direct option.
According to him, "Ondo state government is in dire need of all the money it could garner to boost its agricultural vision, educational programmes, and infrastructural development.
"It is therefore not convenient for the state to expend millions, if not billions of Naira, on security and logistics in implementing the direct primaries.
"Besides, there is hardly any state chapter that could boast of a comprehensive membership register, and this makes conducting credible direct primaries a mirage."
Whereas, the Senator representing Ondo north senatorial district, Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, had been agitating for the adoption of direct primaries option as it was used in Osun state governorship primaries.
But the state executive council led by Governor Akeredolu and House of Assembly APC members led by the speaker, Oleyelogun to the meeting, insisted on the direct primaries option.
Other stakeholders were the Senator representing Ondo central district, Tayo Alasoadura and the federal lawmaker representing Ileoluji-Okeigbo/Odigbo federal constituency, Mayowa Akinfolarin.
Adetimehin said: "The party would also avoid possibilities of chaos and security challenges that may crop up, in the event of sharp disagreements among members, and possibilities of infiltration by opposition members.
"The thinking of the chapter is to embrace a lawful option that would unite the party ahead of the main elections, rather than plunge it into avoidable crisis.
"It is unfortunately that members of other political parties are being surreptitiously recruited and financially equipped to castigate any state, including our dear state, which prefer the delegates option."
Barely twenty-four hours after the decision was taken at the state level, some thugs bombarded the secretariat of the party in Okitipupa local government area in droves, chanting solidarity songs and disrupting the party's activities.
Unhindered, they destroyed parts of the secretariat, setting party flags ablaze and tore the posters of aspirants vying for chairmanship, councillorship positions slated for December; while those for the general elections next year were not spared.
According to a source, who was among those that scampered for dear lives, said “Their action is not unconnected with the alleged mishandling of delegates’ lists and names submitted for ward positions by some leaders of the party at the state level.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had previously reported that the Rivers state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), rose from an enlarged stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt on Thursday, September 6, presided over by the state chairman, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree and voted for indirect primaries as the mode of electing its governorship candidate and other candidates for various positions.
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