By Dayo Johnson
AKURE— CONFUSION, over the weekend trailed the primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State as parallel National Assembly candidates emerged in the party.
This came as a group within the APC in the state has called for the dissolution of the state executive committee for insubordination to the party’s national leadership of the party and anti-party activities.
Despite the return tickets given to the serving senators by APC’s National Working Committee, NWC, the party in the state said it conducted a fresh primary where new candidates emerged.
The NWC had given automatic tickets to Senators Ajayi Boroffice, Yele Omogunwa and Tayo Alasoadura to represent the North, South and Central senatorial districts of the state.
Also, House of Representatives candidates, who emerged from the Boroffice faction include Afe Olowookere, Bamidele Baderinwa, Kolawole Babatunde, Gani Muhammed and some House of Assembly members.
In a statement, Senator Boroffice’s loyalists claimed he won the party ticket with 64,300 votes from the 72 wards in the senatorial district being the sole contestant in the election.
It said that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, monitored the primary election in Ondo North Senatorial district, adding that the result sheet was signed by the Chairman of APC Primary Election Committee in Ondo State, Mr Abuh Andrew.
But the state chapter of the party, in another statement, said that after a primary was conducted; Lucky Ayedatiwa, Tayo Alasoadura and Dr Tunji Abayomi emerged to represent the South, Central and North senatorial district of the state.
According to the party, Senator Alasoadura, who was unopposed, polled 57,200 while Dr Abayomi polled 30,000 votes and his closest rival, Senator Boroffice scored 10,000, Hon. Victor Olabimtan polled 4,000 votes, Gbenga Elegbeleye scored 2,400 while Jide Ipinsagba scored 2000 votes.
However, despite being schemed out of the senatorial primary, Mr. Olabimtan has promised not to dump the party.
In a statement, Olabimtan said the primary has “come and gone but the ripple effects of the games, intrigues and highhandedness of the various actors linger.”
The former speaker said: “As tribulation mounted, I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to the situation; either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the tribulation into a positive force.
“The last 72 hours has been tense for me and my supporters, especially on the way forward. As a committed party man, my words are my bonds.
“I gave my words during the campaign that no matter the outcome of the exercise, I will stay and work for the success of the party.”
APC group wants Ondo APC exco dissolved
Meanwhile, a group within the Ondo APC has called for the dissolution of the state executive committee.
Speaking, under the auspices of Ondo Mandate Group, the group said that over 75 percent of party members supported the dissolution.
In a statement by its convener, Comrade Olorunfemi Michael and Publicity Secretary, Olugbenga Bojuwomi, the group said: “The SEC does not represent the aspirations and interests of party members in Ondo State. 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.
“For this reason, the SEC has refused to offer necessary cooperation with the NWC for the success of APC primaries in Ondo State. The SEC is working hard to frustrate and undermine the National leadership of our party in Ondo State.
“The most disturbing issue is that Ondo APC SEC is threatening to work against the interest of APC before and during the 2019 general elections.”
Ondo APC reacts
Reacting through its Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye, the party said: “The position of this group in diaspora is trifling and dripping with intense hatred for the SEC in Ondo State.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the loyalty and submission of the State chapter to the National Secretariat has never deflated.”
Akoko aspirants petition Buhari, Oshiomhole
Similarly, some House of Representatives and State House of Assembly aspirants in Akoko North East and Akoko North West Federal Constituency of the Ondo APC have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and the party chairman, Comrade Oshiomhole, over what they termed the undemocratic emergence of candidates in the zone.
In petition signed on behalf of the aspirants by 13 of the APC members which include Dr. Muyiwa Olusa, Commander Tunde Giwa Daramola (retd), Olutayo Cyril Egunlayi, Mohammed Aliu Yahaya, Asiwaju Biodun Ilesanmi, Salau Tijani Mohammed, among others, the aspirants said no House of Representatives and State Assembly primaries of the APC took place in the zone.
The petition reads: “Your Excellency, you will recall that Ondo State has been in the news for the wrong reason of Congress that was never held anywhere in the state except on the tables of some few government appointees who wrote the names of the current faction of the state executive committee that prides itself the party’s official leaders.
“Mr. Chairman, the case is in court still as we write this all-important letter. We are not unaware of the reason you approved the direct mode method of conducting our primary election.
“We are of sound opinion that you did this to create leverage and pave way for popular candidate to emerge in the event of complaints that the delegates were fraudulently conscripted by the governor and his agents.”