Primary election results haunt parties
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
the two major political parties in Ondo State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), appear to be in serious troubles over the choice of their candidates for the November 26 governorship election. This is because the parties are embroiled in internal crises almost on daily basis.
The causes of these crises are not unconnected with the choice of their candidates for the election, as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), released the final list of candidates for the poll.
While the APC is contending with the choice of its candidate, Chief Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), who was not accepted by a faction of the party, the PDP is battling with it’s a faction of the party claimed that Mr Jimoh Ibrahim should be recognized by INEC against Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), whose name has already been displayed on the INEC’s notice board as the PDP candidate.
Disquiet has become the order of the day in the camp of the APC as different groups made up of old and young daily protest the candidature of Akeredolu. INEC had released Akeredolu’s name as the APC standard bearer, a development which, the faction loyal to the party’s National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, considered unjust. Their preferred candidate is Dr Olusegun Abraham.
Already, a leading member of the party and one of the aspirants in the September 3 governorship primary of the party, Chief Olusola Oke, had defected to the Alliance for Democracy (AD) where he secured the party ticket.
Also, Prof. Ajayi Borrofice, senator representing Ondo North and one of the governorship aspirants of APC was said to have concluded arrangements to leave the party.
Abraham believed to be the preferred candidate of Tinubu said he was already consulting for the next step to take. He made it clear that his camp would not work for Akeredolu, but work against him. He said the anti-corruption crusade of the Federal Government will be rubbished if the primary election that produced Akeredolu is upheld.
He urged the leadership of the party to compel INEC to substitute Akeredolu’s name with his own for peace to reign in the party: “There cannot be peace where there is injustice, hence the crisis being witnessed in the state chapter of the party today.
“No matter how tarry it would be, the truth will surely prevail. They have been coming up with different kinds of lies. After a long time, Chief Pius Akinyelure who is the National Vice Chairman of the party came out openly to say what transpired at NWC meeting. What he said vindicated me and the people of Ondo State. The people know that the primary election was marred by fraud and these are the people who will not take it likely. Ondo State people are different from other parts of Nigeria. They do not tolerate fraud and that is why after the announcement of Akeredolu there was no jubilation.
“By his singular action, the National Chairman, Chief John Oyegun has rubbished the anti-corruption stance of Buhari’s government. He has rubbished the psyche of Nigerians telling them to do what they like and they would do that by voting them out come November 26. The interest of the party should be the utmost in the mind of the chairman; unfortunately, he is not bordered because of ego.”
But, the state Publicity Secretary of the APC, Prince Abayomi Adesanya, said: “Whatever is happening in our party is an internal crisis and we shall resolve all the wranglings before we go into the poll.” He admitted that a faction loyal to Abraham has emerged within the party, while loyalists of Oke had moved to AD.
He exonerated Akeredolu from the crisis: “Our governorship candidate was not and cannot be the mastermind of the attack against some members of our party. He is a man of peace and a perfect gentle man.
“Some people are only aggrieved because they lost in the last primary election and they were out to cause trouble to affect the chances of our party in the election, but they will fail.”
He insisted that the APC would win the election despite its current challenges. He said the candidate has begun moves to aggrieved members of the party to work for him in the election.
Senator representing Ondo Central, Chief Tayo Alasoadura, appealed to Tinubu to forgive Akeredolu, saying the party cannot win the election without his (Tinubu) support:
“Reflecting deeply on recent happenings within our
party, we will see glaringly the extent to which we have embarrassed ourselves and equally brought our national leader into ridicule as a result of our action and utterances in pursuance of personal ambitions.
“I strongly believe that there cannot be a better time for the APC in Ondo State to harness its political strength, shift grounds to accommodate the differences of others for the purpose of giving to the people a good government they can trust. Now is the time to sink our differences and move forward as a united family to win the governorship election by supporting the candidature of Akeredolu.”
The crisis was not peculiar to the APC alone as the PDP has its own share of the crisis with the Senator Alli Modu Sherrif faction of the PDP kicking against the choice of Jegede as the party’s candidate recognized by INEC, saying INEC was bias for displaying Jegede’s name.
Chairman of the faction, Mr. Biyi Poroye, said INEC was wrong to have confirmed Jegede’s name, insisting that Ibrahim is the authentic candidate of the PD: “Nigeria is a funny country. I wonder why the state INEC REC will still be relating with the people the court directed not to parade themselves as the state executive of the party. But we are law-abiding people and all the errors we discover will be challenged at the court of law.
“We have a judgement that has not been appealed for the past three months. Before a candidate must emerge, he has to pass through a process. We have to query the process that brought Jegede up as the candidate of our party. It is our own executive that can conduct primary.”
A member of the APC, Mr Bayo Williams said: “This is not the best of times for APC to have crisis. If there is crisis within the party it is important for the leaders of the party to ensure that the crisis is settled because the party cannot approach an election with a divided house.”
A member of the PDP, Mr Ayo Fadaka, pointed out that the party cannot be bothered with the antics of Ibrahim and his faction, saying Ibrahim is not a member of the party, let alone its gubernatorial candidate.
He said Ibrahim is a member of the Accord Party (AP) and he has not formalized his membership with the PDP as laid down by the party’s constitution. He said adding that PDP members in the state know themselves and are working hard to ensure the party continues to rule the state.
He disclosed that Jegede has commenced campaign, while Ibrahim was busy going to court on issues that have no basis. He maintained that the PDP will win the election with its level of preparation and the legacies laid by Governor Olusegun Mimiko who is the leader of the party in the state.