By Dayo Johnson
THE emergence of former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is already tearing the party apart.vic
Signs that all is still not well in the party even after the initial calm that followed last weekend’s governorship primaries are becoming more visible and is threatening the fragile peace in the party.
The aftermath of the primaries has claimed a Senatorial Chairman of the party, Chief Gboyega Adedipe, who stepped down following Akeredolu’s emergence.
Interestingly, more leaders may dump the APC, as some of the aspirants are already in talks with political parties that are yet to conduct their primaries with the hope of picking their tickets.
The highly monetised election saw the preferred aspirant of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the national leader of APC, Dr Olusegun Abraham taking the second position behind Akeredolu.
Akeredolu took many by surprise as political pundits had posited that he would perform dismally at the polls.
Padded delegate’s list
However, the outcome shook many to the marrows and huge dust is being raised by some of the aspirants, who allege that the delegates’ list was padded to favour Akeredolu in Saturday’s election.
Rejection of the result by two frontline contestants and calls for fresh election have trailed the exercise in the last one week.
Two aspirants, Prof Ajayi Boroffice and Dr Bode Ayorinde both members of the National Assembly have preferred not to lend their voices to the alleged padded list, perhaps, for political reason and to secure their present positions.
Aggrieved aspirants kick
First to complain over doctoring of the delegates’ list released to the aspirants a few hours to the election was the former governorship candidate of the PDP in the 2012 governorship election, Chief Olusola Oke.
Also, Dr. Olusegun Abraham, who had earlier conceded defeat recanted and described the result as fraudulent and unacceptable.
Some aggrieved leaders of the party in the state have picked holes in the election describing it as a sham.
Oke said in a statement, a day after the election, that the postponement of the election twice was “as we later learnt from the process of the primary, to allow time to perfect the rigging strategy of the primaries to return a pre-agreed aspirant.
“The illicit substitution of the delegates’ list officially given to the aspirants from Abuja,less than 12 hours to the primary was meant to allow persons who were never members of the executive of the party to participate as voters in the primaries.
Speaking through the Director General of his campaign Organisation, Bola Fisayo, Oke said, “let the people of Ondo State and in particular members of the APC in the state not be deceived, what they saw on television as a process was a voodoo. The primary election was everything but credible primary.”
On his part, Dr Olusegun Abraham who was the “annointed” aspirant of Tinubu, who had earlier conceded defeat and congratulate Akeredolu recanted by rejecting the result which he markedly declared as fraudulent.
Abraham declared that “the result was unacceptable to him considering the staggering facts of anomalies that have since emerged to the demerit of the exercise.
Speaking through the Director General of his campaign Organisation, Chief Olu Adegboro, Abraham said he was baffled by “the gale of allegations and facts of malpractices that have since mared the conduct and process of the Ondo gubernatorial primary election.
He said: “It is now beyond doubt that the delegates’ list used on the day of the primary election was doctored and strangely injected with a mind blowing number of delegates who are neither executive members of our party nor statutory delegates.
“To say the least, the manipulation of the delegates’ list, highly skewed accreditation process and the entire processes leading to the conduct of the primary election has cast the darkest stain on the result of the primary election held on the 3rd September, 2016.
“Against this background, coupled with the change and integrity that our party preaches and practices, and having widely consulted with my numerous supporters, I have reached the hour of decision to fall back on the internal mechanism of our great party to seek redress so that at the end justice will be served and more importantly, our democracy may endure.
“To this end, the outcome of the September 3rd APC Governorship primaries in Ondo State is unacceptable and I hereby appeal against same.”
Also, some leaders of the party have petitioned the appeal committee equally alleging fraud in the election and called for a fresh exercise.
The petition signed by chairman of the party in the Central, East and West senatorial districts, Messrs Adegboyega Adedipe, Akintunde Samuel and Adeola Ademulegun respectively, said the result failed to reflect the reality of the election.
They alleged in their petition that “A strange delegates’ list was introduced on the night of the election after everybody had gone to sleep only for us to wake up in the morning of the election to see a massively corrupted delegates’ list.”
“Names of 47 percent of the delegates in Ondo East were either deleted or substituted with people who are unknown to the party as executive members. Some of the injected names are not even aware of the development and so did not come for the primary election.
“In all, a total of 64 names were injected into the delegates’ list. The names were unknown to the party. For instance, somebody who never contested any election, and some even unknown to the party suddenly became ward chairmen in wards four, six, two and seven of Ondo East Local Government.
“Our total valid delegates are 135 out of which 64 were disenfranchised, meaning 47 of the delegates on the unlawful list were illicit voters.
“While Akeredolu got 669 votes at the primaries, Abraham got 635 votes.”
Ondo PDP calls for probe
Also worried by the monetised election, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to probe the alleged N5 billion allegedly spent by the aspirants of the APC during the primary election.
It’s publicity Secretary, Banji Okunomo, said, “It was gathered that the aspirants involved in a cash bazaar to induce the delegates at the elections, an act that is unprecedented in the history of party primaries in Ondo state.
“If the Buhari government fails to urgently probe the sources of money wasted on the APC primary in Ondo State, it would be difficult for any sane person to countenance the seriousness of the acclaimed fight against corruption by the APC led government.”