Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Factional state chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ondo State chapter, Henry Olu Olatuja, has urged the national leadership of the party to reconsider the indirect mode of party primary it adopted for the state governorship poll.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Thursday, the factional chairman also insisted that direct mode of primary is a must if the national leadership did wants the party to loss out completely in the election.
The state leadership equally urged the leadership to call to order the Governor of Ekiti State, John Kayode Fayemi, to avoid disgrace and embarrassment that may arise from abuse of his office as Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum.
“It is important to consider the mode of primary to be adopted considering the pending litigation on the legality or otherwise of the process that produced the two executives committees, notwithstanding that our own Ward, Local and State Executives Committee and the delegates elected at the congresses were constituted with substantial compliance.
“We are also aware that with defection of the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi to PDP and the recent resignation of Sunday Abegunde as SSG from government of Arakunrin Akeredolu, a lot of manipulation from their own list of members being prepared for this indirect primary had been done.
“They are expert on delegate list manipulation as evidence in 2016 governorship primary that resulted in emergency of the incumbent governor as the party candidate. The delegates’ lists from both factions are contentious. Therefore, there must be fair and equitable consideration of the two delegates’ lists.
“We urge that premised on the situation at hand in Ondo State as highlighted above, that the option of direct primary be considered and must adopted in the interest of equity, fairness and justice. So that the outcome of the pending suit No. FHC/AK/CS/10/2019 would not affect the validity of the governorship primary to be conducted on the July 20, 2020.
“We are not unmindful of the present pandemic, however a successfully governorship primary was held in Edo State in recent time with strict adherence to laid down procedures by NCDC and INEC, flowing from the above a hitch free direct primary can be held in Ondo State without regard to any numerical misrepresentation from any quarters. Our leaders need to be reminded that direct primary election were held to determine the party flag bearer at Lagos, Osun and Edo States where crisis within the party were considered limited.
“That the above suggestion if considered would create a level playing ground for all aspirants that have paid the official nomination fees of N22,500,000 to the account of the party, make the process credible, give sense of belonging to all members and foster unity within the party,” he said.
Warning the leadership to call Fayemi to order, the factional chairman said: “At this juncture, we need to call the attention of national leaders of our party to call the Governor of Ekiti State John Kayode Fayemi to order to avoid disgrace and embarrassment that may arise from abuse of his office as Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum.
“He and his cohort should desist from facilitating undemocratic process, while try to impose the incumbent Governor Arakunrin Rotimi Odunayo Akeredolu on the APC by pushing for an indirect primary model which is grossly inequitable and inimical to the success of our party in general election coming up on the October 10, 2020. He should note that Ondo State is not an appendage of Ekiti State and such he should stop meddling with the political affair of Ondo State,” they warned.
Commenting further on the factional chairman warned that 10 aspirants may boycott the primary.
“It is on record that the logistics sent twice meant for the support of our party and candidates in the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections were received and diverted by the governor through Ade Adetimehin led executives to support their preferred candidates contesting on the platform of Action Alliance (AA) against the candidates of our party. Thereby, denying APC candidates of benefiting from the logistics provided by the leadership of our party.
“Sweeping these allegations under carpet by our National leaders without approprate sanction is an indication of disrespect to the party constitution. This might also lead to boycotting of the proposed Governorship primary election by some aspirants and is going to be an authorization for further anti – party activities in Ondo State.
“It should be noted however, that as at today 12 aspirants have collected their expression of interest and nomination forms and of which nine/10 aspirants out 12 acknowledged our leadership and are working directly with us as the authentic APC Executive in Ondo State.
“It is also important to note that five of these aspirants came from Owo Local Government Area where the incumbent governor hailed from. His moving round to influence the disqualification of his major challengers is uncovered and screening committee should note this,” he warned.