APC aspirants forge common front to win Ondo election
Ahead of next weekend’s primary election to pick the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, realignment of forces among contestants is already manifesting.
Following an alleged endorsement by the National Leader of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, of one of the aspirants, Olusegun Abraham who is perceived by many stakeholders to have a weak platform, many leading aspirants have sunk their differences to reject the choice.
The leading aspirants, namely Professor Roberts Ajayi Boroffice who currently represents the state’s Northern District at the upper legislative chamber, his counterpart from the Central, Tayo Alasoadura, former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Rotimi Akeredolu and former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who crossed over to the APC, Olusola Oke and renowned banker, Jamiu Ekungba, have in one voice rejected the continued state chairmanship of Isaacs Kekemeke whom they accused of nepotism.
When opposition against Kekemeke reached a peak with his alleged removal by a section of the membership leading to physical clashes at the party’s State Secretariat in Akure, the leading aspirants met in Abuja to review the situation.
The parley, which was held at Boroffice’s Abuja home ahead of another one with the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) members, was said to have resolved not to leave any stone unturned in their quest to win the state from the ruling PDP.
Besides, several meetings were held in Akure particularly between the Boroffice and Akeredolu’s camps to explore the possibility of forging a common front against any imposition and to engender a post-primary cooperation that will make the election battle easier to fight for whoever picked the APC ticket.
Inside sources said that the idea of organizing a mock primary was muted to actually know the individuals strength of the two candidates in the number of delegates they each control and collapse the two structures into a formidable one.
The postponement of the exercise from last Saturday, first to the following Wednesday and later next weekend, was said to have negatively affected the plan.
However, despite the postponement that many alleged was to provide undeserved extra time for some unprepared aspirants to gain some mileage, the Boroffice Campaign Group (BCG) has camped its delegates in the state capital.
Sources disclosed that as at the last count, about six hundred delegates from about six local councils, who have signified their preference for Boroffice, have been lodged at various hotels waiting for the Election Day while those from the other 12 councils are expected two days to the exercise.
Boroffice, expressed optimism that the APC would win the November election despite the fear of alleged imposition and enmity among aspirants.
According to him, “Too much noise is being made about this issue of imposition. I have visited our National Leader and he gave assurance for a transparent and fair primary election. He is a man of his words who believes in democracy and has sacrificed so much for it.”
Meanwhile one of the aspirants, Olaoluwa Michael Adeyeye, has dropped his ambition to support Boroffice’s aspiration saying the Senator is the best man to rule Ondo State at this period.
Adeyeye gathered large followership during the last industrial action embarked upon by state workers over unpaid salaries when he organized private refuse collection companies to clear major towns of garbage.
In a statement personally signed by him and made available to newsmen in Lagos, Adeyeye, a lawyer, observed that Boroffice possesses the leadership stature, charisma and widespread popularity required to win the general election for the party in Ondo State.
Justifying his endorsement, Adeyeye said that only the Senator has exposure that can spearhead governance that will outshine the achievements of the outgoing PDP government of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko.
He also appealed to APC delegates to vote wisely at the primaries and shun money politics, stressing that indulging in such would be counter-productive for the APC and the people of Ondo State in general.
In another development, Abraham has been endorsed by an Oyo State-based socio-political organization, Ondo Frontliners Group (OFG) citing “his consistency, humane, collaborative and participatory principles demonstrated in the past years.”
In a statement signed by its president, Professor Adekaye Olomola, the group pointed out that unlike some of the other contestants who have moved from one political party to the other, Abraham has remained with the party from foundation.