Ondo guber polls: APC chieftains disagree over Kekemeke’s removal
PDP group wants party to concede deputy’s ticket to women
Sequel to sharp reactions to the alleged attempt by the former governor of Lagos State and national leader, All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed, to impose one of the aspirants in the Ondo State as the party’s standard bearer in the November 26 governorship election, the primary originally scheduled for tomorrow has been shifted till Wednesday.
Although, the national leadership of the party rallied around the embattled State’s chairman, Mr. , who was vilified and claimed to have been removed from office by the members for his assumed involvement in the clandestine move to endorse Mr. Segun Abraham above other aspirants, it however left with no option than to shift the primary to create room for peace.
The Deputy National chairman, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, who met behind closed doors with members of the Ondo APC Working Committee in Abuja said the party was not aware of Kekemeke’s purported removal from office.
Before the intervention of the party’s executives, both Kekemeke and the faction of the state’s executive led by the APC vice Chairman, Ade Adetimilehi had disagreed over the issue.
Adetimilehin insisted that Kekemeke was suspended in accordance with section 17 (5,6) of the APC Constitution, adding that 18 APC local government chairmen endorsed his removal for using the state machinery to favour one of the aspirants angling for the ticket of the party.
He asked Kekemeke to stop parading himself as the state chairman and to subject himself for disciplinary action.
Kekemeke however dismissed the allegation, saying he never attempted to favour any candidate above the others.
Said he: “I have said repeatedly that I do not prefer any of the aspirants but I have also no power to deny anyone the constitutional right to prefer any aspirant. All I know is that I don’t have a preference, I have a vote. In the interest of perception, I did announce to the state working committee over two months ago that I was not going to vote. I cannot stop anyone from exercising his constitutional and political right to express preference.”
But despite the fact that the primary had been shifted; most of the aggrieved aspirants were yet to be convinced that Tinubu and his allies “will give up on their plans.”
As a matter of fact, the insinuation was that the exercise was deliberately shifted to Wednesday to allow Abraham consolidate.
However, investigations carried out by The Guardian revealed that some of the aggrieved aspirants have agreed to resist any external interference and undue imposition in Ondo politics
As disclosed by one of the aggrieved aspirants, who did not want his name mentioned, “Plans have been perfected to checkmate any inordinate move by anybody or group of people to impose any candidate on the rest.
‘’There should be a level-playing field, if we are to conform to our party’s mantra of change.”
He warned that if President Muhammadu Buhari did not bother to interfere in the internal business of the party, why should anyone else from outside the state be too overbearing?’’
Meanwhile, as the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the ruling Ondo chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) picked the governorship ticket; several groups have started jostling to pick the ticket for the running mate.
At the moment, more than seven aspirants from the old PDP and former Labour Party (LP) have indicated interest to become the running mate to Jegede.
The sentiment being raised in regards to the running mate ticket was that since Jegede, who crossed over from the (LP) to the PDP has picked the governorship ticket; it is imperative the running mate ticket is conceded to the old PDP group.
Jegede emerged the party’s with 760 votes to 22 recorded by his opponent.
But in a diverse opinion, a group of students union leaders and serving public officers in the state urged the party to adopt the Chairman, Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), Pastor Johnson Ogunyemi as the deputy governorship candidate.
But the desire to have a female representative based on the popular demand for gender sensitivity in politics has prompted the quest to concede the ticket to the current Chairman, Ondo State Micro-credit Agency (OSMA), Mrs. Banke Sutton, who is also from Ilaje local government with Ogunyemi.
Specifically, the gender sentiment may work against Ogunyemi’s interest.
In the last few months across the 18 local councils, there had been a widespread agitation for more concessions to be given to women in public spheres and politics.
Leading the awareness, the National Coordinator of Ondo State Women Must Count (OSWC), Mrs. Olamide Falana reiterated that at least, there must be 35 Affirmative Action in the November poll.
Apart from Falana, who has led several women delegations to Governor Olusegun Mimiko, several parties, religious leaders and traditional rulers among other stakeholders, believe that the a women must be considered for the governorship ticket or at least, the deputy governorship ticket.
According to Falana, “The women in Ondo have proved their worth in all spheres of human endeavours. We have the capacity, intellect and milk of human kindness and feelings to implement policies.”
She also noted that the election was a golden opportunity to prove the importance of women, whom she said constituted about 65 per cent of the entire population in the state.
“It must be on record, we are going to mobilize strongly against any party that will not heed our demands. It is either a woman is governor or deputy; we will ensure non-compliance leads to the mass failure of such parties,” she said.
Rising after a meeting in Akure, the spokesman of the students and public officers’ group, Aminu Oluwaseyi declared support for Ogunyemi based on his contributions to the development of youths in the state.
He described the OSOPADEC chairman as the best material for the post, saying: “Ondo needs a vibrant politician like Ogunyemi to serve under the new government that will be formed by Jegede on February 24, 2017.
Ogunyemi, who is a new PDP member, can work alongside Jegede to galvanize block votes for the PDP in the South senatorial district, which has been the stronghold of the party since 1999.
According to the group, “The choice of Pastor Ogunyemi was based on our findings, which placed him far above others that may be jostling for the position from the south.
“He is a lover of youth and students whose achievements as OSOPADEC chairman is highly commendable. He is a God fearing person and loyal party member,” the statement partly read.”