The Ondo Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is in for another round of crisis as the leadership of a faction within the party has threatened that 10 out 12 aspirants contesting for governorhip ticket would boycott the primaries if the party sticks to indirect primary mode.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday at APC National Secretariat in Abuja, the factional chairman, Henry Olatuja accompanied by the factional State Secretary, Akin Ogunsakin said his faction had earlier intimated the current leadership of the party of petitions before the recently dissolved National Working Committee (NWC) and the pending suits No. FHC/AK/CS/10/2019 challenging the process and the outcome of congresses held by the faction of the State Executive Committee of APC in Ondo state led by another factional Chairman, Ade Adetimehin from Ward level to the State for non-compliance substantially with the congress guidelines as laid down by the party.
“In addition, we also pointed out our observation in the letter written by the current leadership of the party dated 25th June, 2020 with ref. No. APC/NHDO/19/013 to the INEC notifying them of the forthcoming Governorship primary election of our party fixed for the 20th, July 2020, in Ondo State. It is however, our observation that the mode of the primary election to be adopted was not stated / communicated to assist their preparation for the monitoring of the exercise as required by the Electoral Act 2010 as amended.
“We are however, despite the above observation aware of the speculation published in the newspaper of 4th of July 2020 and various posting in social media insinuating an indirect mode of primary for Ondo state although it was not contained in their official letter dated 25th of June to the INEC.
“We find it compelling to assist the decision of current leaders at the national level by furnishing them with the details of events as it affects the Ward, Local and state executives and delegate lists of APC in Ondo State. That considering the pending suit before the Federal High Court Akure Division and our letter dated 26th June, 2020 which was served on Chairman and other members of the caretaker committees on 30th June, 2020 drawing the attention of the caretaker committee to this suit and it implications on the need to conduct a valid and successful Governorship Party Primary and the desire to avert the Zamfara and River State episode / bitter pills.”
The factional Chairman disclosed that 10 out of the entire 12 governorship aspirants are loyal to his leadership, adding that majority of them might be forced to boycott the primary exercise if the party insisted on indirect primary
“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 20th July, 2020. The adjournment date for the above mentioned suit is 22nd July, 2020 at the Federal High Court, Akure, Ondo State.
“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 twenty two million and five hundred thousand ( #22,500,000 ) to the account of the party , make the process credible, give sense of belonging to all members and foster unity within the party.”
The Ondo APC faction also called on the party to warn governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Nasir El’rufai of Kaduna state and Minister of Transport Rotimi Ameachi, for allegedly influencing the division in the state chapter.
“We need to call the attention of National Leaders of our party to call the Governor of Ekiti State Dr. John Kayode Fayemi to order to avoid disgrace and embarrassment that may arise from abuse of his office as Chairman Nigeria Governors Forum”, the factional Chairman said.