Twenty-five aspirants are now jostling for the governorship ticket of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State ahead of the party’s primary election, SaharaReporters can authoritatively report.
The number of aspirants went down from the initial 54 aspirants before the announcement of various levies to contest the ticket.
This figure was exclusively obtained from the party’s national leaders on Sunday following the expiration of sales of nomination forms to the interested aspirants aiming to contest in the party’s primary poll.
The primary election will hold on Saturday 27 August, 2016, our correspondent reports.
The twenty-five aspirants include Ajayi Borrofice, Olusegun Abraham, Olusola Oke, Rotimi Akeredolu, Tayo Alasoadura, Jumoke Anifowose, Gboye Oyewumi, Bode Ayorinde, Olabimtan Victor and Paul Akintelure.
Others are Jamiu Ekungba, Ademola Adegoroye, Akinwale Akingbade, Apata Awodeyi, Akinrinsola Odunayo,, Derin Adesida,, Tunji Abayomi, Bukola Adetula, Niyi Adegbonmire, Foluso Adeyemi, Ayo Akinyelure, Dele Alade, Akinola Olayinka, Tunji Light Ariyomi and Moyosola Niran Oladunni.
The candidates’ posters can be found on billboards all over the main capital city of Akure, Ondo State.
Furthermore, their activities and utterances have since been trending mostly on political programs of radio broadcast in the State.
One of the national leaders of the party confided that that these twenty-five aspirants are those who visited the party’s secretariat to get the nomination forms.
He disclosed that they paid the sum of N5 million for the governorship nomination form, with the expression of interest form totaling N500,000 aside the N2 million development levies already paid.
“The sales of nomination forms started on Tuesday 19th, July, 2016 and ended on Friday 15th, 2016. I could categorically tell you that twenty-five  aspirants showed interest by getting the form to contest in the party’s primary election that would hold on 27th August of this year.”
He further added that the forms were free for female aspirants.
SaharaReporters investigation revealed that Mrs. Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowoshe is the only female gubernatorial aspirant in the party.
She is also the first daughter of the late erstwhile Governor of Ondo State and among other male aspirants jostling to get the party’s ticket ahead of the primary contest.
It was gathered from party sources that these aspirants have been given the deadline of Monday 8 August 2016 to submit the forms to the APC National Secretariat in Abuja.
Omo’ba Abayomi Adesanya, the party’s publicist in Ondo State who spoke with SaharaReporters on Sunday, confirmed the deadline for the submission of the forms to our correspondent in a chat.
“However, the screening of aspirants would start in Abuja at the National Secretariat of the party as from Tuesday the 9th to Friday the 12th of August 2016,” Mr. Adesanya said.
Underground calculations being carried out by our correspondent is revealing that no fewer than 2,954 delegates would determined the fate of these overwhelming aspirants by choosing a candidate for the party during the primary election.
SaharaReporters’ latest information revealed that many of these aspirants had already begun soliciting and begging for votes of these delegates ahead of the party’s primary election.
A handful of them had been lobbying and bribing these delegates with cash-gifts, properties and future promises, our reporter said.
There had been crisis in the opposition party over the endorsement of a regional candidate, which has further caused rumpus among the political elders and the supporters.
Despite the crisis, supporters of the party are optimistic that they would wrestle power from the incumbent beleaguered Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of Governor Olusegun Mimiko.