The Olusola Oke Campaign Organization has alleged that there are plots by a clique within the All Progressives Congress to stop its candidate from contesting the November 26 Ondo State governorship election.
Mr. Oke, who is of the Alliance for Democracy, AD, had defected from the APC shortly after his failure to pick the ticket of the party.
The organisation said the plan was to keep him out of the election in order to pave an easy way for the APC candidate, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Addressing a press conference in Akure on Tuesday, the Director General of the Organisation, Bola Ilori, mentioned the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai; Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman of the APC Primaries Election Committee in Ondo State, Abubakar Badaru; Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola; Minister of Solid Minerals, Kayode Fayemi; and the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, as those behind the plan.
“Their best joker, which has been lent credence to by the popular boasts in town in the past few days by Akeredolu and his minders is the ploy to instigate the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to invite and possibly detain Chief Oke days before the election over phantom allegations,” said Mr. Ilori, a former chieftain of the APC.
“Chief Olusola Oke has been severally investigated and cleared by the anti-graft agency of any financial impropriety; but of recent, they have been putting a lot of pressure on the Commission to harass him of late with a view to make him look as if he is guilty, a development which is far from the truth.
“This plot to stop Chief Oke from contesting the election is simply to clear the way for their protégé, Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who is also vying for the Ondo State governorship position.
“The plan of these people was to prevent Olusola Oke from contesting the election because their candidate, Akeredolu, is not in contention, having lost relevance with the people, thus they have resorted to lots of underhand tactics to stop him.
“We want to by this medium, cry out to President Muhammadu Buhari to save Nigerian democracy from a cabal within his government hell bent on stopping our candidate from contesting the election by resorting to underhand methods.
“Nigeria is gradually sliding towards a fascist state in the hands of this unscrupulous cabal. We are aware of the pedigree of President Buhari, his uprightness and his zero tolerance for dirty tricks to take advantage of people.
“But this cabal is using the paraphernalia of the Federal Government with impunity to get unsavoury advantage thus tainting his good works.”
Mr. Ilori accused the APC of instigating the Legal Adviser of the AD to institute a suit against Mr. Oke, with moves to influence the judge to issue an ex parte order to restrain the candidate from participating in the election.
“When you accuse judges as being corrupt and you did indeed move against some of them, isn’t it an irony that members of the same government are the ones boasting of compromising a judge that would sit on the matter in Court?” he submitted.
According to him, the move was a show of desperation which would dent the reputation of the present administration.
Mr. Ilori said it was baffling that the onslaught against Mr. Oke was coming barely two weeks to the election, assuring that his candidate had nothing to fear.
Responding to the allegation, the APC In Ondo State said Mr. Oke is only “afraid of his shadows.”
The Publicity Secretary of the party, Abayomi Adesanya, said Mr. Oke would not be afraid if he had nothing to hide.
“if the EFCC invites him, he should go and explain himself that he did not soil his hands when he was a member of NDDC or when he held any public office,” he said.
“He should stop dragging the APC into it, because he is not the only one being invited by the commission.
“Anyone who has something in his hands would be invited by the EFCC, even the national legal adviser of the party, Banire SAN, was questioned by the commission, and he has to explain his actions.”
Meanwhile, the Osun State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, has accused Governor Rauf Aregbesola of funding the governorship campaign of Mr. Oke with the state’s meagre resources.
A statement by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Diran Odeyemi, on Tuesday in Osogbo, alleged Mr. Aregbesola had been spending Osun’s allocation on Ondo politics right from the day APC held its governorship primary in Ondo.
“Governor Aregbesola is the financial backbone of AD and its candidate using Bola Ilori, his Special Adviser on Environment as the main link,” he said.
Mr. Odeyemi recalled that the governor spent Osun resources in 2012 to support the governorship ambition of Mr. Akeredolu when he ran for the office as candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria.
“Why should Ondo governorship election be a source of concern to Osun people?” he asked.
” Our governor, Ogbeni Aregbesola has made it so by digging deep into the lean coffers of the state all in a bid to install Oke as governor against the wish of his party, APC.
“In 2012, Aregbesola wasted millions of state funds to install Akeredolu but failed and the result of such spendthrift attitude is the bankruptcy Osun has been dragged into by its governor at the moment. He is embarking on fresh spending spree this time around to install Oke.
“Osun workers have not been paid full salary in one and half years because the treasury has been drained.
“The government has embarked on secret retrenchment of civil servants to ease its wage bill, even when only half of their salaries are paid to them.”
The PDP called on stakeholders in the affairs of the state to prevail on Mr. Aregbesola to stop his political investment in “unstable stock.”
“Osun is in serious financial mess already and no more burden should be added to its present quagmire,” Mr. Odeyemi said.
Semiu Okanlawon, spokesman for the governor, described the allegation as untrue and an effort of the party to score cheap political points.
“There is no allegation by PDP that has been proved right, there is none,” Mr. Okanlawon said.
He said the allegation was laughable as the PDP in the state now issue statements for the fun of it.
“Recently the party issued a statement urging the governor to handover to his deputy for travelling out of the country for two weeks, when the governor was busy at home attending important events,” he said.
“When I challenged them, mum has been the word. It is convenient for them to make such unfounded allegations.
“My response is, let them substantiate the allegations for all to see.”