Some governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress in Ondo State have rejected an alleged plan by a group of elders in the party to pick a consensus candidate ahead of the forthcoming governorship election in the state scheduled for November 26, 2016.
It was gathered that the elders, under the auspices of Akoko Elders Assembly, were making an arrangement for all the APC governorship aspirants to produce a consensus candidate in Akoko in order to enable an Akoko indigene win the party’s primary.
In a statement jointly signed on Monday by some of the aspirants, who include Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Mr. Victor Olabimtan, Dr. Tunji Abayomi and Mr. Gani Dauda, the aspirants described the plan as unconstitutional.
The elders were said to have met on April 29, 2016 at the residence of one of the party’s statesmen, Pa Felix Aiyegbusi, where they (elders) gave an ultimatum to all the APC governorship aspirants from Akokoland to present a consensus candidate.
It was gathered that the elders warned that they would impose a candidate on the aspirants if they failed to come up with a consensus candidate.
However, the aspirants said in the statement that section 20 of the APC Constitution empowered only the National Executive Committee of the party to provide the guidelines for the conduct of congresses at an appropriate time.
The statement read in part, “We also need to state affirmatively that we will not recognise or accept the decision taken at the Baba Felix Aiyegbusi’s residence as binding on us (because) the meeting has the potential to cause serious and dangerous disunity in Akoko.
“It is terribly subjective, considering the fact that many of the so-called elders at that meeting are already in the campaign team of at least one candidate. In fact, they go from one location to another with a particular candidate.”
The aspirants said the constitution of the APC only recognised two ways through which candidates could emerge, stressing that it was either by internal party election duly held through a relevant congress or primary or by a consensus among aspirants.
The aspirants said the method through which the elders wanted to pick a candidate was unconstitutional, stressing that they would disregard the outcome of the meeting.