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Still stoking embers of 2016 guber primary in Ondo APC

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Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu

Despite the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the 2016 governorship contest in Ondo, the crisis that trailed the party’s earlier primary election is still reverberating in the politics of the state.

More than a year after the primary election of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo and a quarter into the tenure of the victor and eventual winner of the governorship election, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the issues generated by the exercise are still reverberating in the state’s politics. 

Last Monday, a chieftain of the party and Senator representing the northern senatorial district, Professor Ajayi Boroffice, accused the state governor of causing disaffection and engaging in acts that can polarize the ruling party in the state.

Boroffice, who came fourth in the party’s governorship primary election in 2016, disclosed that all is not well with the party as he accused the governor of converting the state chapter of the party to his personal property. 

According to him, “Rather than embrace the challenges of leadership and reach out to every leader of the party in the state, the governor preferred to run the government and the party with his trifling followership.”

The senator’s statement, which was released by his media aide, Kayode Fakuyi was sequel to the public declaration by the governor and his aides that Boroffice had not been supportive of his government since he was sworn in last year February.

During the grand finale of the first year anniversary of the Akeredolu administration last month, the governor publicly declared that only two out of the three senators representing the state have been supportive of his government.

It was also at that event that the governor declared that the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who got a presidential mandate to resolve differences among aggrieved members, would not be welcomed in Ondo State although a feeble attempt was made by his media handlers to recant the story.

In fact, on his inauguration day last year, Akeredolu mentioned Boroffice by name and said the senator would have to seek readmission into the APC before he could be recognized as a member of the party.

But the senator protested that he had not received any invitation from the state government to attend any state event or party meetings since Akeredolu emerged the leader of the party in the state.

Despite their political differences, he noted that he had rallied his colleagues in the Senate to support the governor on his two private communications to the Upper Chamber for confirmation of appointments in the interest of the people of the state.

“Setting the records straight, the governor has sent two private communications to the Senate since his inauguration as Governor of Ondo State on the 24th of February, 2017, in respect of confirmation of appointments from Ondo State. 

“In the consideration of the governor’s requests, Senator Boroffice, despite the underlying differences, rallied his colleagues to support Governor Akeredolu’s position in the interest of the good people of Ondo State. Therefore, the suggestion that Senator Boroffice is not working for the uplifting of Ondo State is false and misleading.”

Boroffice, a ranking senator who is the chairman of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, however urged the national leadership of the APC to urgently intervene in the internal crisis rocking the state chapter of the party.

He said, “We cannot afford to sweep under the carpet issues polarizing the APC in Ondo State as we move into another round of congresses and general elections. The governor has continued to erroneously lay claim to the ownership of the party. He continues to threaten other party leaders with threat of expulsion from the party.

“The national leadership of our great party cannot forget in a hurry the road we had to travel to reach where we are; it is our collective will and unity of purpose that have taken us this far. To destroy the legacy is to destroy the great bond that binds us together as members of the APC.  

“It is our unshakable article of faith that moral justice is an armament of political and socio-economic progress. There can be no justice when someone appropriates our common wealth and violates our common law (APC Constitution, 2014 as amended) that binds us together.

“It is for this reason that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari has called for reconciliation of leaders and resolutions of disputed issues. This is the wise road to travel and we cannot dissent. 

“Therefore, Senator Boroffice wishes to express full confidence in the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led presidential committee. We fully support our National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on this course.”  

But the party’s Director of Media and Publicity, Steve Otaloro, said the senator was economical with the truth stressing, “We want to make it clear that the governor does not in any way intervene in the affairs of the party. The party affairs are solely run by the leadership of the party in the state led by Engr. Ade Adetimehin.”

Otaloro refuted the claims that people are leaving the ruling party in the state, saying most members of the opposition parties were deffecting to the APC.  
 
According to him, “Boroffice, no doubt, is alone in this illusion that critical mass of our party leadership and members are leaving. It can only be informed by his desperate ambition to govern the state at all costs.”

He accused the two-term senator of engaging in anti-party activities after the September 3, 2016 APC primary election, declaring that he is also taking contrary stances to oppose the winner of the primary and incumbent governor of the state.  

“This same ambition had earlier pitched him against his former party leader and governor in the Labour Party (LP). It would baffle any member of the party in the state to hear Boroffice claiming to have worked tirelessly for the governor to win the election when he never at anytime appeared at the electioneering campaigns of the governor. 

“This is a senator who is at the National Assembly on the platform of APC, yet he’s fighting the governor and the state party chairman as well as contravening the decision of the national leadership of the party led by Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.

“It beats ones imagination if Senator Boroffice could be referring to the governor as a controversial candidate after one year in office and still claims to have worked tirelessly and voted for him. It also remains irreconcilable why Borrofice who sent a congratulatory message to the governor through the media after his victory at the poll did not attend the inauguration ceremony of the governor.

“At this point, I think it is expedient to ask Boroffice to swear by the God he serves that he truly worked and voted for Arakunrin Akeredolu at the poll. Senator Borrofice should know that it is God who chooses who should lead his people, bearing in mind that Arakunrin Akeredolu is the governor of the state today despite the fact he (Boroffice) and his cohorts worked tirelessly against the victory of our great party, APC, at the Ondo State governorship poll held on the November 26, 2016.

“It is incontrovertible that Borrofice who came distant fourth in the party primaries immediately ordered his supporters to move to the opposition party, but being a sitting senator on the platform of our party, APC, he couldn’t openly canvass for the opposition. He however engaged in anti-party activities behind closed doors.”

The party spokesman noted that the magnanimity of Akeredolu after the primary and November 2016 governorship election has further strengthened the party despite the implosion and internal squabbles aimed to wreck the ship of the party in the state. 

“Today if not for the fact that the governor was magnanimous in victory, the speed at which the strength of the party is being built wouldn’t have been possible as many of the party stalwarts who had hitherto defected to other parties had returned to our party.”

Revealing the political antics ahead of the 2019 general elections, Otaloro declared that “it is no longer a secret that Senator Borrofice is not only currently sponsoring meetings against our party but already on his way out of the party because he knows he has slim chances of winning the next primaries to return to the Senate the third time due to his depleting popularity among the people of his district.

“Besides, he couldn’t see how he could execute his governorship ambition on the platform of APC having been intimidated by the iconic legacy projects being embarked upon by Arakurin Akeredolu as well as his stunning performance within the first year in office.”

While the theatrics continue between the governor and the senator, several of the leaders who are apprehensive that the altercation between the two gladiators would have far-reaching effect on the strength of the party in the preparations towards 201, are said to be looking for a way of reconciling them.


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