As Akeredolu shuts out pro-Tinubu supporters
By Dayo Johnson
HAPPENINGS within the All Progressives Congress, APC, especially in the administration of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, in Ondo State indicates that the wound from the party’s governorship primaries is yet to heal. And if things remain the way they are now, the festering sore may become cancerous. Akeredolu is not hiding it that those who failed to support his governorship ambition would not benefit from where they did not sow.
Being a practical person and more of a technocrat than a politician, Aketi, as the governor is fondly called by his admirers, is yet to fully accommodate those who lined up behind the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, before and after the election. Akeredolu was not Tinubu’s choice for the plum position.
Kekemeke, others shut out: Clearly, the state Chairman of the party, Hon Isaac Kekemeke, has been shut out because he toed the path of Tinubu by not supporting Akeredolu at the beginning. Even his efforts to worm his way back to the heart of Akeredolu after the primaries by accompanying him to all the 18 council areas for the governorship campaign did not appear to have pacified Akeredolu. Immediately Akeredolu won the election, the door was shut against Kekemeke and he was never invited to Akeredolu’s functions before and after his inauguration.
Presence at the inauguration
The governor has been relating with Kekemeke’s deputy, Ade Adetimehin on matters concerning the party in the state. Akeredolu had supported Adetimehin initially to be the state chairman of the party but he lost to Kekemeke in an election. Even his presence at the inauguration was not acknowledged by the governor during his address. He later stormed out of the venue and has not been seen at any of the state functions in the last one month of the administration.
Infact, some state executive committee members of the party are said to have expressed concern that the party has not been carried along by the governor as regards appointments so far made, especially that of the local council caretaker chairmen, which was handled by the deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, who the governor had reportedly handed the politicking to while concentrating on the administrative part of governance.
Kekemeke has shunned the party secretariat even as the party remained in limbo with no visible activity after the governorship election. The governor is said to be bidding for time as Kekemeke’s tenure will lapse at the end of this year. The shopping for his replacement is said to be in full gear. The blazing feud took a new twist when the wife of Tinubu, Senator Oluremi, reportedly prevented Akeredolu from taking photographs on the front row with the VIPs that attended Tinubu’s 65th birthday in Lagos because of Akeredolu’s attack on her husband during and after the Ondo governorship election.
War at Tinubu’s birthday
It took the intervention of Tinubu, who pacified the wife, before the governor was reportedly shoved to the end of the row to take photographs with the celebrant. Akeredolu was expected to raise a government delegation to “beg” Tinubu’s wife in Lagos after the ugly drama witnessed by important dignitaries including the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and state governors.
The rejection of the nomination of a former commissioner in the state, Dr Igbekele Daodu, as an Ambassador by the state has also been traced to Akeredolu’s silent war against cronies of Tinubu. Vanguard gathered that Daodu fell victim of the high wire politics of shutting out the disciples of Tinubu across the state. Daodu was one of the two 47 nominee of President Muhammad Buhari that were rejected by the Senate.
Daodu was pencilled down by Tinubu to deputise for his preferred governorship candidate, Dr. Olusegun Abraham but when the tables turned, Daodu and others including Bola Ilori, on and the instruction of Asiwaju, allegedly switched their loyalty to the governorship candidate of Alliance for Democracy AD, Chief Olusola Oke, who left the APC for AD following alleged manipulation of the primaries that produce Akeredolu. Oke was said to have been encouraged to dump APC for AD by Tinubu.
After the election, Tinubu managed to push Daodu forward as the ambassadorial nominee for the state but the governor’s camp was not pleased and a petition was written against him. He was accused of anti-party activities after his nomination was replaced with that of a former state Chairman of the party in the state, Sola Iji. Also, in one of the petitions to the Senate, Daodu was accused of corrupt and immoral practices while holding the political position under the administration of former governor Olusegun Mimiko.
Daodu spits fire
Daodu spat fire after he was dropped and accused the governor of writing a letter of protest against his nomination in favour of another APC member from the southern senatorial district where all the federal appointments came from. He expressed surprise at the sudden turn of events as regards his nomination, which had earlier received the support of all the National Assembly members from the state.
Daodu said: “There is no basis for which I should be pronounced as corrupt and deceitful, there is no petition or court pronouncement. I have my reservation as to why the governor wrote a letter of protest against my nomination in favour of another member of the party.”
Daodu can’t reap where he didn’t sow — Ogunleye
However, the leader of those against Daodu’s nomination, Saka Yusuf Ogunleye, said there was no how Daodu would reap where he never sowed. Ogunleye submitted that the rejected nominee was no longer a member of the APC. According to him, Daodu worked against the candidate of the party during the governorship election in the state and joined forces with the AD candidate, Olusola Oke.
Alleged flawed primaries
Ogunleye, who is a member of the state executive of the party, said when President Buhari came to the state to canvass for votes for Akeredolu, Daodu was with Olusola Oke of the AD canvassing votes for Oke. So, it would amount to standing logic on its head if the nomination of Daodu was allowed to sail through, he said.
Also, efforts by some party leaders, who were angered by the manner the national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun allegedly foisted Akeredolu on the party despite the alleged flawed primaries, have been rebuffed by the governor.
Notable leaders of the party, who worked surreptitiously for Olusola Oke because they were disenchanted with the manner the party candidate emerged have been tactically edged out and are not relevant in the new government. Political observers are of the opinion that Akeredolu’s politics of shutting the door against perceived “enemies” was to allow him run his government without distraction.
Those who have the guts and may want to check his perceived excesses have been stylishly edged out. Some sat on the fence during the heat of the election, some never gave him a chance that he could win the election while others engaged in anti-party activities by openly working for the AD.