THE Ondo state chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) is unsettled over the disqualification of six out of nine senatorial aspirants, numberless House of Representatives and House of Assembly aspirants.
The disqualification of these aspirants, according to a member of the party in the state rattled the leadership of the party in the state and the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who hurriedly traveled to Abuja to meet President Muhammadu Buhari over the development.
All the aspirants disqualified from participating from the primaries of the party are from the governor’s camp while those from the aggrieved factions except Senator Tayo Alasoadura were not cleared by the party’s NWC.
The aspirants disqualified by the party’s NWC committee included former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Victor Olabimtan, Tunji Abayomi, Lucky Ayedatiwa, Odunayo Akinrinlola, Felder Olatunji and Chief Morayo Lebi.
However, the party in the state alleged the Senator representing the Ondo North senatorial districts, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, for the action of the NWC, for returning and clearing only the three incumbents in the senatorial districts of the state.
The three lawmakers cleared and returned by the NWC of the APC included, Senator Ajayi Boroffice for the North, Senator Tayo Alasoadura for the Central and Senator Yele Omogunwa for the Southern senatorial districts.
This created confusion and palpable tension in the party as party chieftains and members took the news with surprise and uncertainty over what happens in the other scheduled primaries.
Party members and groups loyal to Akeredolu had been splitting fire, warning the Adams Oshiomole led NWC of the party to be ready to face dire consequences if the action is not rescinded.
Speaking on the development, the state chairman of the APC, Ade Adetimehin, described the position of the NWC as undemocratic and unfair, saying the aspirants were disqualified from the race without any reason.
“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 a 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 cabals to turn our party to a rogue party. You cannot encourage people to obtain forms at such an 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.
“Why collect money from party members 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.”
Adetimehin, however, said members of the party have given the NWC of the party 24 hours to withdraw the action or face a mass protest.
However, a Political Pressure Group, Change Nigeria Movement (CNM) has called on the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomole, to rescind the action of the NWC of the party, describing the action as a humiliation taken too far against governor Akeredolu.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by the National Secretary of the group, Comrade Adeniyi Bankole, calling on Oshiomole not to run against APC like 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.”
“This is a declaration of war against our party constitution. 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 acting the script of a godfather that will soon meet his Waterloo”
However, another group within the party, Ondo APC Mandate Group, has called for the immediate dissolution of the State Executive Committee (SEC) in Ondo state to put an end to the crisis in the party in the state.
Speaking through its Coordinator, Olorunfemi Micheal, hinged the call on alleged constitutional breaches, lack of cooperation with the party’s National leadership, undemocratic actions and anti-party activities.
The group stated that the SEC does not represent the aspirations and interests of party members in the state saying “the only usefulness of SEC is that it is always available to advance and defend the opinion of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu at the detriment of vast majority of party members.”
According to Olorunfemi, who said the most disturbing issue about the SEC is about the threat to work against the interest of APC before and during the 2019 general elections.
He said ‘We have documented evidences and records of the meetings of Ondo APC SEC. Members of the SEC have made disparaging and false statements about the party and its National leaders. The disparaging statements are too awful to be quoted. The SEC has threatened to move against the National leadership and force the National leadership out of office.
The group called on the NWC of the party to “invoke its powers as enshrined in provisions of article 13.4 (xvi) and (xvii) of the party’s constitution. Ondo APC SEC should be immediately dissolved while the caretaker committee is constituted to pilot the affairs of APC in Ondo State.
“Majority of APC members in Ondo State are looking up to our forthright and upright National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole to take immediate action in the interest of APC in Ondo State.
“Undue delay will be seen by party members as attempt by the National Chairman to protect the interest of the minority.
“The National Chairman has two options, either to sustain and enrich his progressive credentials or to protect the interest of a SEC that is guilty of anti-party activities.”
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