From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and Tunde Thomas
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, over its governorship primary, has finally been laid to rest as the party leadership submitted the name of Chief Rotimi Akeredolu SAN to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its flag bearer for the November poll.
Several forces had been at loggerheads when Akeredolu emerged winner of the September 3 primary as some aggrieved aspirants petitioned the APC Election Appeal Committee and alleged fraudulent manipulation of the delegates list.
Amidst controversy, the party finally submitted Akeredolu’s name to INEC as its candidate in line with Electoral Act. In its report, the three man Appeal Committee had recommended cancellation of the primarybased on alleged fake delegates’ list and suggested a fresh primary within a space of time to meet up with INEC date.
However, a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) who declined to be named, told newsmen that the party submitted Akeredolu’s name to INEC based on the advice given by the National Legal Adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire.
Banire, in an alleged letter addressed to the National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun advised the party not to cancel the primary. He allegedly said recommendations of the Appeal Panel lacked merits.
But, Banire has disowned the letter.
Banire, who spoke in a telephone interview from the United States of America where he is currently attending the International Bar Association Conference, said it was becoming more obvious to him that some people were doing everything possible to set him against the party’s National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“I am not in anyway fighting Tinubu; there is nothing to fight over. People should stop insinuating what is not. Asiwaju is our leader, nobody is dragging anything with him. I’m facing my legal practice and far away from political intrigues. I had granted several media interviews to denounce this perceived fight for political relevance. Nothing will constitute any distrust between me and Tinubu. Some people are just bent on causing friction between some of us and Asiwaju for selfish reasons.”
He denied writing a letter to Oyegun on the Ondo governorshiop election. “I’m not from Ondo and I have no interest. What happened was similar to what happened during a similar incident in Kogi State.
“I insist I didn’t write him a letter but an opinion sought by the National Headquarters and he is not bound by it. I only acted based on the request from the party. So whoever is trying to drag me into any controversy because I’m out of the country has failed.”