- All is not well in the Ondo state chapter of the APC
- This is due to the disqualification of certain aspirants in the National Assembly primary elections
- Most of those prevented from participating in the exercise are core loyalists of the Ondo state governor
The last minute controversial decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disqualify all aspirants loyal to the governor of Ondo state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu from participating in the National Assembly primaries of the party is currently causing palpable tension in the state.
NAIJ.com gathered that the party had on Monday, October 1, in a statement announced the disqualification of all aspirants running for Senate and House of Representatives where there’s an incumbent.
By that announcement, the national headquarters of the ruling party disqualified a human rights activist and lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi and former speaker of the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Olabimtan from contesting, to return Professor Robert Ajayi Borofice unopposed to run for third term among others across the state.
But party executives from ward to state level, cabinet members, party members and groups loyal to Akeredolu are spitting fire, warning the Adams Oshiomole-led NWC of the party to be ready to face dire consequences if the action is not rescinded.
Their grievances, amongst many things is that the last minute disqualification of aspirants from participating in the primaries after fulfilling all requirements known to law to allow incumbent senators and House of Reps members to return unopposed is illegal, fraudulent, surreptitious, clandestine and irresponsible.
A totally embittered Akeredolu said: “The decision to rig out our loyal and committed members from exercising their right after collecting money for nomination form from them was taken by few individuals.
“Legally, if such a fundamental decision is to be taken, it would have to be ratified by the National Executive Committee (NEC) on behalf of the convention since the convention cannot be convened now. It is NEC that acts on behalf of the convention.
“But from nowhere, a gladiator of illegallity took a decision to ban my people from exercising their rights and they expected me to comply? This action will certainly boomerang if not addressed,” the governor threatened.
Corroborating Akeredolu, the chairman of APC in Ondo state, Engineer Ade Adetimehin, said his people have given the NWC of the party 24 hours to withdraw the action or face a never-seen-before mass protest.
His words: “All we are saying is that APC in Ondo state does not agree with the position of the NWC. We met here and decide in favour of indirect primaries as method of selecting our candidates as stated in our party constitution but NWC overruled us; we complied, now, Abuja is saying no primaries again, they have imposed people, some of whom are not even our members in the face of law to fly our ticket. This is unacceptable.
“Let me say very expressly that we shall wage war against the decision of some few cabal to turn our party to a rogue party. You cannot encourage people to obtain forms at such extravagant amount and then overnight tell them they aren’t allowed to contest. On what ground? This is fraudulent and an act of stealing by tricky.”
Adetimehin asked “why collecting money from party member for nomination form since you knew you wanted to give automatic ticket to some people? We demand a refund with accrued interest paid.
“But let me say for the sake of clarity and without any fear or favour that this totalitarian action was not unilaterally taken by NWC, it was a decision of a few individuals acting the script of an oligarchy."
Similarly, a political pressure group, Change Nigeria Movement (CNM), described the action as a humiliation taken too far against a sitting governor.
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The group wondered what the offence of Akeredolu is that he cannot be forgiven despite his unalloyed loyalty and tremendous commitment he has shown to the growth and sustenance of the party since it was founded years ago.
In a statement sent to journalists, the national secretary of the group, Comrade Adeniyi Bankole, advised Oshiomole against running APC like a labour movement, stressing that his action against loyal party members is an antithesis of all tenets known to democratic principles.
“If truly the power of the people is the utmost in a democracy, we can assure Oshiomole that only his people from Edo state would vote for those he has imposed against our people in Ondo state. We declare him a personal-non-grata until he reversed his autocratic decision,” he said.
NAIJ.com had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari held an important closed-door meeting with Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna and Governor Akeredolu on Wednesday, October 3.
Details of the meeting have not been made public yet but it may not be unconnected to the controversy surrounding the party's primary election in several states.
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