By Dayo Johnson, Akure
Allegations of treachery arising from the decision to hand automatic tickets to all three senators in Ondo State are beginning to mask the All Progressives Congress, APC’s campaign in the state.
All three senators were handed automatic tickets against the will of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the state executive which is loyal to him. Now it is being whispered everywhere that the governor and the state executive of the party have engineered their favourites who did not get the tickets to defect to other political parties with the intent of supporting them against the candidates being promoted by the APC.
That claim gained currency after Dr. Tunji Abayomi, a very close associate of Governor Akeredolu who had sought the APC’s Ondo North Senate ticket defected to the Action Alliance Party, AAP after the incumbent, Senator Ajayi Boroffice was handed an automatic ticket.
Abayomi has made it clear that he will return to the APC after winning the election under AAP even as he has accused the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party of fraud with its decision on automatic tickets to the incumbent senators.
While the majority of the governor’s close associates have gone to the AAP, some like Babatunde Kolawole moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP while Victor Ategbole joined the Action Alliance (AA).
Kolawole lost in the primaries to Ade Adeogun who is said to be a former aide to the minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Some leaders of the party who have had issues with Akeredolu are now openly pointing fingers at him as orchestrating the defections.
Among the leaders insinuating such are the former deputy governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi and the former chairman of the state chapter of the party, Isaac Kekemeke.
They have as such called for the dissolution of the state executive of the party as a way of safeguarding the collective interest of the party.
The leaders speaking through both Olanusi and Kekemeke at a stakeholders’ meeting in Akure said they “observed the compromise of the State Party Executive in undermining the National leadership through Court litigations and therefore urge the National leadership to dissolve the State Party Exco and in its place emplace a Caretaker Committee in order to have one single APC Party and one goal in Ondo State.
Remarkably, the group pledged “absolute loyalty to President Buhari, the National leader of the party, Comrade Oshiomole, and our National leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the national chairman Adams Oshiomole.” Governor Akeredolu was remarkably left out in the pledge of loyalty.
In a prompt response, the spokesman of the state chapter of the party, Alex Kalejaye debunked the assertions of disloyalty saying:
“We feel obliged to say, in no ambiguous terms that members of the State executive have never, and will never contemplate anti-party in APC that holds so much hope for us, individually and collectively as a country.
The party noted that the “Ondo State APC Executive, led by Hon. Ade Adetimehin will continue to work hard to ensure the unity of members, and to bring all aggrieved leaders and chieftains together for the overall interest of our dear party.