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APC’s grip on Ondo under threat of leadership crisis


Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu

The leadership crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State since the party took over government in the state has continued to fester with far reaching implications on the ability of the party to sustain its political control of the state.

The party under the leadership of Ade Adetimehin, who was made the Acting Chairman when the new leader and incumbent governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, parted ways with erstwhile chairman, Isaacs Kekemeke, has continued to grapple with the crisis that has also alienated many of the big stakeholders including Senator Roberts Boroffice, who represents Ondo North in the upper legislative chamber.

The Adetimehin group which flayed Kekemeke for his claim on party leadership, described the latter as a member of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), a platform resuscitated by some leaders of the party to contest last year’s governorship election.

The party also condemned Kekemeke for declaring himself as the chairman of the party and calling on the National Chairman of the party, John Odigie-Oyegun to retract the confirmation of Adetimehin as the Acting Chairman.

The development was a reaction against the petition by Kekemeke and others to the National Secretariat of the party last week urging the National Chairman to remove Adetimehin as the acting chairman of the party in the state.

Two weeks ago, Odigie-Oyegun issued a letter to Adetimehin, who was elected Deputy to Kekemeke, acknowledging him (Adetimehin) as the Acting State Chairman after the former Chairman was purportedly sacked by a disciplinary committee.

The party in statement signed and made available to journalists in Akure by its Publicity Secretary, Abayomi Adesanya, said Kekemeke and others had no right to make such demands as they have been stripped of any authority to act on behalf of the APC in Ondo State.

The statement claimed that those who signed the petition are known leaders of the AD in the state, describing the petition as “laughable, embarrassing and shameful.”

The party also alleged that Kekemeke had a track record of anti-party activities, stressing that the embattled chairman worked against the APC in the last gubernatorial election.

Adesanya said, “But we were not surprised, the leader of the AD members, Isaac Kekemeke has a track record of anti-party activities. Under late Olusegun Agagu, Kekemeke stayed in PDP and worked with the Labour Party against his boss and benefactor.

“It is no longer secret that while we were rounding off our campaigns in Owo during the build up to last year gubernatorial election, our supposed chairman then, Kekemeke, was in his house, busy sharing AD money for members of the party.”

The party spokesman said he was ready to provide photographs and video evidences of how some leaders of the party openly campaigned against the APC in the last election adding, “While we are not ready to join issues with these set of people who are known leaders of the AD, we are constrained to set the record straight.

“Firstly, members of the public should have known by now that these characters are unstable beings that can not be taken seriously. The same set of people last week described the acting chairman’s letter of appointment as fake. Isn’t it funny that they have now turned around to blame the National Secretariat of issuing the same letter they called fake? Well, they have now accepted the letter as authentic.

“Secondly, those who signed the said letter to the are known leaders of the AD who participated openly in the campaigns of the AD and its candidate, Olusola Oke. We see their actions now, as laughable, embarrassing and shameful. We are bewildered as to how members of the AD would ask our National Chairman to remove our Acting Chairman.”

Adesanya said the ruling party would forgive them if they showed repentance by going back to their wards to join the party adding, “We are happy with our new members, Jimmy Adekanle, Oyebo Aladetan and a host of others who hitherto left our party for the AD but are now back to the fold. Kekemeke, Borofice, Ilori and the rest should toe this path and officially come back into the party.”

The party however insisted that it is more than determined to resist agents of the AD from coming into the APC through the back door. 

But party chieftains loyal to Kekemeke had also petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari and other national officers of the party as part of their resolutions after a State Executive Council (SEC) meeting.

The letter was signed by 15 SEC members including Kekemeke, Adefioye Adegboyega, State Vice Chairman (Central), Desmond Adejumola, State Legal Adviser, Toyin Ajinde, South Women Leader to mention a few. 

The group, which reiterated its support for Kekemeke, accused Odigie-Oyegun of perpetrating illegality with his office in contravention to the constitution of the party, stressing that the purported sack of the chairman was illegal. 

They argued, “that nowhere in the constitution of the All Progressives Congress 2014 (as amended) is the National Chairman of our party empowered to unilaterally remove or appoint an officer for the party in the state. 

“In fact, even the National Working Committee (NWC) cannot do so except in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction. The power of the NWC is limited to the dissolution of an organ and the Constitution of a caretaker-committee.

“That with due respect to your person and office, we unequivocally reject your unilateral, albeit unlawful and illegal appointment of Mr. Ade Adetimehin as acting Chairman of our party in Ondo State just as we express our unflinching support for and confidence in Hon. D.I. Kekemeke as the chairman of our party in the state.”

The APC chieftains noted that only Kekemeke was officially elected at the party’s Congress in 2014, declaring that others, including Adetimehin, emerged as SEC members by consensus. 

They alleged that some influential party members in the state were supporting the unlawful take-over of the party secretariat by a section of party officers despite a pending case at the Federal High Court, Akure.

The 15 SEC members argued “that the matter of the unlawful take-over of the party secretariat by a section of the party is a subject of formal complaint to the South West Zonal executive which has set up a committee to look into same. The committee had visited Ondo State and its report is being awaited. 

The aggrieved APC stalwarts expressed displeasure at the way and manner the National Secretariat has been handling the affairs of the party in the state.

They urged the national leadership to take cognizance of the case, Suit No FHC/AKCS/45/2017 at the instance of some aggrieved party officers challenging the unlawful and illegal destabilization of the party.

In their conclusion, they said, “We hereby appeal to you to immediately direct the immediate withdrawal of the said letter of appointment so that our party and Ondo State will not be plunged into avoidable and unimaginable crisis.

“We remain committed to the unity of the party in the state and will therefore spare no effort in improving on our votes in the forthcoming presidential election from 54 percent in 2015 to at least 80 percent in 2019.”

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