FRESH crisis is brewing within the camp of the Ondo state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as a faction of the party in the state kicked over alleged imposition of candidates by the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu and his loyalist.
The factional APC in the state expressed its dissatisfaction over an alleged plan by the state governor to bribe members of the Screening committee to ensure only aspirants from the governor’s camp are cleared and adopted as the party’s candidate.
Speaking on Monday, in Akure, Ondo state capital, after the meeting of the APC stakeholders, the Chairman of the faction, Hon. Idowu Otetubi, said that governor Akeredolu has openly adopted some of the aspirants of the party ahead of their screening.
He expressed regrets that the party leadership has refused to give room to a fair process and had perfected all arrangements to pocket the party in the state and called on the national leadership of the party to intervene in the matter.
Otetubi said “we have been reliably informed that the same few elements that wanted to put the APC in their pockets have perfected plans to bribe the screening committee of our party to ensure that their adopted candidates are the only aspirants that will be screened for the elections.
“We received complaints that some aspirants said the governor has openly adopted candidates for Ondo central and Ondo North senatorial zones.
“The governor has also adopted some house of assembly candidates and in order to achieve this, his team has perfected plans to scheme out other aspirants from the screening process.
“We condemned this plot in its strongest term and wish to call on the national chairman of our party to save the party from the suffocating fists of a few individuals.
“We are committed to the ideals of APC, the only progressive platform in Nigeria. These ideals are the driving factors that propel us to speak up against injustice.”
However, while reacting to the alleged imposition, the State Chairman of APC, Hon. Ade Adetimehin, described the group as a sponsored political group, put in place with wrong intent to mislead members of the party and the public.
He said the allegations were not only false but a calculated attempt to ridicule the state governor over unfounded allegations.
Speaking on behalf of the Chairman, the state Publicity Director of the party, Steve Otaloro, said the party is committed to a free and fair election in the coming primary of our party across the state
He said “the party will do everything humanly possible to ensure a credible process and outcome.
“The Governor is relying on the leadership of the party led by Ade Adetimehin led executive to carry out this task of ensuring a free and fair election in an indirect primaries process across the eighteen LGAs in the state.
“The recent decision of the National Working Committee of our great party in allowing each state to decide suitable process of primaries election in their respective states is a welcome development which has vindicated us that the indirect primary has become a viable option in a situation where membership registrations are in disarray.”
However, the faction reiterated its commitment towards the adoption of direct primaries for election of its candidates for the 2019 general election saying, “we wish to state that we are committed to direct primary as It holds the key to the unity of APC in Ondo state.”
“It is the only pathway to unity and peace pending the time the court will adjudicate on the fraudulent delegate lists that a few persons wrote in the corners of their rooms and purportedly forced on the party.”
Otetubi said “It is less expensive. It is representative enough and possesses the capacity to unite the party. If well handled, direct primary will not only return power and right of choice to party members, it will conquer imposition and tendency of emperor in leaders that chose to depart from progressive politics and democratic norms.”
Speaking on the forthcoming local government the faction said it has secured an injunction from an Abuja High Court, which affirmed that “the current crops of people that are promoting themselves as party executives in our party are not known to law.
“We are pleased that a valid order was granted by the court to stop the injustice and brazen shenanigans of a few elements that are out to walk down our party to disunity and ultimately, failure in the coming elections.
“On the strength of the order of the court, we have submitted the list of the candidates of our party to ODIEC. We have written to ODIEC and the court to inform the court that its order is being disobeyed. The court will appropriately do the needful in this direction.”
The meeting was attended by the party’s Elders forum, state executive committee, National Assembly members, State Assembly members, aspirants and party leaders.