Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
Aggrieved Ekiti State All Progressives Congress (APC) local government chairmanship contenders stormed the party secretariat Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti to protest the alleged imposition of a candidate by party leaders.
Among the protesters were the former chairperson of Ado-Ekiti metropolitan council, Mrs Tosin Ajisafe Aluko, and Mr Tajudeen Gidado, both council chairmanship aspirants for the December 7 local elections.
The party suspended primaries in Ado, Ikole and Ekiti East local governments Saturday over alleged security threats and rumours that some members were planning to violently disrupt the process.
The protesters, led by the two aspirants, besieged the APC secretariat at about 9:30 am and rejected the consensus process that produced Mrs Omotunde Fajuyi as the candidate.
Addressing the the party, Gidado and Aluko rejected the choice of Fajuyi as candidate, saying it was a violation of the party’s constitution which stipulates an indirect primary process when a consensus option fails.
In a letter presented to the party’s state working committee on Wednesday, the Deputy Governor and leader of the party in Ado-Ekiti council, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, and 35 others had picked Fajuyi against the wishes of the two other aspirants.
Speaking about the protest and the fence mending steps being taken by the party, APC State Publicity Secretary Hon. Ade Ajayi, said the party was “not ready to impose anybody.”
Ajayi also exonerated Governor Kayode Fayemi of complicity in the crisis that dogged the primaries.
“[A] group of people came to protest here today and said they rejected the consensus option in Ado-Ekiti. They were led by Mrs Tosin Aluko and Mr Tajudeen Gidado.
“They came with placards carrying inscription that they rejected imposition, that they wanted primaries. We have never contemplated imposition as a party.
“The party will look into their protest vis- a-vis the letter signed by the Deputy Governor and 35 leaders. You know that the Deputy Governor is the leader of the party in Ado-Ekiti, and you know what it means for him to have signed for consensus. The state exco will meet on the issue and take a position.
“We are not ready to impose anybody and nobody must bring the name of Governor Kayode Fayemi into this matter.”
Ajayi said the party has set up intervention and reconciliation committees to interface with the aggrieved aspirants on how to resolve the crisis trailing the conduct of the primaries in the three councils.
The spokesman said the party took proactive measures by postponing the primaries on Saturday in the three councils upon realising that some hoodlums wanted to hijack the process to allegedly burn down some marked houses.
On efforts being made to pacify the aggrieved candidates, the APC spokesman said:
“We are getting representations from various communities, because we recognise the right of every individual to contest in our party without being deprived.
“We have invited leaders from Ikole, Ekiti East and Ado-Ekiti, so all the issues are being attended to and it will be resolved amicably,” he assured.