Odigie-Oyegun replies Tinubu over choice of Akeredolu
The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Odigie-Oyegun has broken his silence as he responded to the sundry allegations of misdeeds leveled against him by a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Odigie-Oyegun in a statement maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing over the decision by the top echelons of the party to settle for Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s flagbearer in the forthcoming Ondo State governorship poll.
He described the allegation of bribery and corruption leveled against him as reckless and baseless, adding it was unfortunate that such insult was directed to his person deliberately to dent his hard-earned reputation built over the years.
He said: “Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man. In all the primaries conducted under my watch as national chairman, I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process. The 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the party and our constitution must be respected by all.”
He further faulted allegation that he overruled the NWC’s vote of “six against five” in favour of canceling the primary election results and conducting another primary
Akeredolu added: “According to the minutes of the 18th emergency meeting of the APC NWC held from Monday, September 19, to Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, there was absolutely no meeting which I chaired that voted in the manner alleged. Clearly, the report on which the media office of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu acted was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.
“On Thursday, September 22, 2016 being the final day for submission of candidate by political parties, the NWC discussed the possibility of voting having finished deliberation on the2 016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report because members in support of cancelling the primary results were still strident in their position.
“A member of the NWC, however ,drew the attention of the meeting to its previous decision in which the report of the Primary Election Committee was adopted while the Appeal Committee was set aside. The implication of this decision he reasoned was that a decision to submit the name of the winner of the primary election was already taken unless the NWC will now wish to reconsider its earlier decision. I agreed with this and ruled that the previous decision of the NWC be upheld.”
On allegation that the names of “over 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors, he said: “The Ondo State approved delegates list was compiled in strict compliance with the party’s constitution. Only qualified delegates were included in the list.
“Moreso, none of the aspirants or the Appeal Committee has submitted to NWC a list of delegates who were not qualified to be included in the delegates list but were listed as delegates or presumed qualified delegates who were not included in the delegates list used for the primary.”
On the claim that he used a “prayer interlude” to “secretly excuse” himself from the NWC meeting to submit the name of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the party, he said: “The allegation is high fiction and an insult to the intelligence and sensibility of the respected NWC members present at the meeting. We do not and have never engaged in prayer interludes/sessions outside the usual opening and closing prayers. The prayer that is being referred to must be the closing prayer for the meeting.”
He went on to shed light on the position of the national working committee position on the issue thus: “The Party’s NWC decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberations. The minutes and rejection were confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.
“The NWC in its four-point resolution rejected the Appeal Committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed. The NWC observed that the Appeal Committee contradicted itself when it admitted in its report, “In making the above recommendations one is not unmindful of the fact that there may have been substantial compliance in the conduct of the exercise.” but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the primary election.