By Ayo Fadimu
As the November 26, gubernatorial election in Ondo State draws nearer, the governorship aspirants under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC) have resolved to reject Dr Segun Abraham, the candidate alleged to have been endorsed by the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Similarly in Ogun State, there is mounting pressure over the ambition of Senator Olamilekan Adeola popularly called Yayi to rule Ogun State; he currently represents Lagos-West in the Senate. A known disciple of Tinubu, his purported ambition is giving Ogun State governor, Ibikunle Amosun sleepless nights as he has vowed to stand his ground against his former political benefactor (Tinubu). Amosun allegedly prefers the Senator representing Ogun West senatorial zone, Gbolahan Dada as his successor.
To show they meant business, the Chairman of APC in Ondo State, Isaac Kekemeke , who was accused of doctoring the delegates’ list to favour Abraham was sacked from his position by members of the State Executive Committee (SEC).
Kekemeke was sacked during an emergency meeting where members of the State Executive Committee gathered to rectify and tender their signature for his total removal from the position.
Two-thirds majority of the SEC members passed a ‘Vote of No Confidence’ for the removal of Kekemeke at the meeting held in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The SEC members subsequently appointed the State Deputy Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, as the acting chairman to oversee the affairs of the party before a final resolution.
It was observed in the document that these members had also set up a three-man Disciplinary Committee headed by State party member Mr. Solagbade Amodeni.
In the document, the members alleged that Kekemeke actively worked against the interest of the party by doctoring the delegates’ list to favour his preferred candidate ahead of the primary.
The primary election has been fixed for Saturday August 27 2016 by the national leaders of the party.
Since Monday, a crisis had been rocking the Ondo APC over the imposition of candidates on the party members and doctoring of the delegates’ list.
The situation had forced some aggrieved members of the party to lock up the APC secretariat on No 17 Oyemekun road in Akure which was later hijacked by hoodlums, brandishing weapons, allegedly sponsored by Kekemeke.
However, a top official of the party in Ondo who does not want his name in print said the sack of Kekemeke was a signal to Tinubu that Ondo APC would not worship the Lord of Bourdillon. Secondly, it would be unfair to other aspirants who had spent heavily to actualize their ambition only to be manipulated through party machinery they helped to instal.
“Remember the case of Akeredolu in 2012, all what Mimiko used as his campaign slogan was that Akeredolu was Ajele (District officer) of Tinubu. Ondo people felt insulted, we don’t want repeat of such, all candidates must be given fair chance, the most popular candidate should emerge in a free and fair primary election,” he insisted.
Another aspirant, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, alleged that Tinubu summoned all the party’s leaders in Ondo State to Lagos and directed them to work for Abraham, and had promised to spend huge sums of money for the leaders to ensure Abraham triumphed at the primary.
He said, “I am speaking on behalf of the majority of the aspirants. We want to know whether this is true, and considering that we have a constitution that determines the procedure of electing a candidate.
“We are from Ondo State and we expect that our affairs should be largely controlled either by law or the people of Ondo State. So, we reject the government of leaders by the leaders to the privileged set of leaders. If he (Tinubu) had now directed that this is the person he wants to use, that means that he is the one constituting government over the people to his own benefit.
“The aspirants will reject him (Tinubu’s candidate) because that is his (Tinubu) own candidate and not the candidate of the people of Ondo State. We understand that he has already directed that a certain governor in the South-West should raise money for the delegates in order to vote for his anointed candidate but this will not work.”
However, the Director of Media and Publicity of APC in Ondo State, Mr. Steve Otaloro, denied the allegation, saying there was no time the leaders were summoned to Lagos by the national leader.
He said, “The party has said it several times that the primary would be free, fair and transparent. As far as we are concerned in the APC, there would be no imposition of any candidate in the primary.”
However, the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress said that anybody in the party had the right to endorse any aspirant of their choice, stressing that endorsement was different from imposition.
Tinubu had denied the allegation but insisted that he had the right to support any aspirant of his choice.
Speaking with our correspondent on the development, Kekemeke said he was not bothered about his purported removal, describing the SWC’s allegations against him as untrue and malicious.