A former president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), yesterday faulted the endorsement of one of the aspirants by the National Leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ahead of the party primary fixed for September 3. Akeredolu, who was the ACN candidate during the 2012 gubernatorial election in the state spoke on a radio programme on Adaba FM in Akure, saying Tinubu has lost his position as the leader of the party.
He said: “For Tinubu to have endorsed any candidate in our party he has lost the place of National Leader of the party.” Meanwhile, there is confusion among the aspirants of the APC in Ondo State over the new date fixed for the primary of the party to elect a candidate for the November 26 governorship election in the state.
While the leadership of the party said the new date was September 3, a faction led by the Deputy Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, said the date remained August 31. The party primary, which earlier scheduled for August 27, was shifted to August 31 with logistics cited as reason.
The development, however, emerged on a day Akeredolu said he was not imposed as the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in 2012. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that 23 aspirants would participate in the governorship primary on August 31.
A statement signed by Omooba Abayomi Adesanya in postponing the election reads: “The Ondo APC Governorship Primary Election postponed till August 31, 2016, due to logistics. The decision was communicated to the state chapter at the end of the emergency National Working Committee meeting of the party on August 24, 2016.”
But yesterday, a secretariat staff of the party in Akure, the state capital told Saturday Telegraph that the National Secretariat of the party had further postponed the primary till September 3.
The staff, who did not want his name in print said the decision to further postpone the primary election was taken after a meeting held by the leadership of the party both at the state and national level.
The Director of Research and Publicity of APC, Steve Otaloro, confirmed the postponement of the primary to September 3, saying that the chairman, Isaacs Kekemeke, has been briefed on the new date. But Adesanya disagreed with this position while insisting that the primary polls would hold as scheduled.
Adesanya in a statement wrote: “Ondo State APC primary election will hold on Wednesday (August 31) as rescheduled. Please, disregard rumour of another postponement”. In a swift reaction, Olaloro said Adesanya has lost touch with what is going on at the party secretariat because of their desire to remove the chairman, Hon Isaacs Kekemeke from office.
According to Otaloro, Adesanya who is the official spokesperson for the party and some other aggrieved members of the State Working Committee (SWC) have purportedly removed the chairman and have not been relating with him.
He said this could be responsible for the reason the aggrieved members of the State Executive Council were not aware of the new date. Otaloro added that the National Secretariat had communicated with Kekemeke who the aggrieved members claimed have been removed over the new date.
Also, Akeredolu, who was the ACN candidate in the 2012 governorship election in the state, spoke with NAN in Akure that how he emerged as candidate was not a matter of contention in the state. “How I emerged as the governorship candidate of ACN in 2012 in Ondo State was not an issue of imposition because all aspirants of the party then submitted themselves to a process.”