Sunday, 28th May 2023

Controversy as Ondo APC suspends 61 members

By Adewale Momoh, Akure
24 May 2023   |   4:38 am
Few months after the general elections, members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) are still basking in the euphoria of the success they recorded at the polls, particularly in Ondo State

Ondo State governor Rotimi Akeredolu. Photo/faceboo/rotimiaketi

Few months after the general elections, members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) are still basking in the euphoria of the success they recorded at the polls, particularly in Ondo State, where the party won the presidential poll and swept most of the national and state assembly seats.

While members of the party are anticipating rewards for their efforts, it was the other way round for some party members in Akoko South West and Akoko South East Local Councils.
Not less than 61 members from the two local councils were recently suspended over what was described as their alleged involvement in anti-party activities.
Specifically, the local chapters of the party disclosed that the affected members undermined the chances of the APC during the February 25 and March 18 election.
During the House of Assembly election in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won in Akoko Northwest II, Akoko Southwest 1, and Akoko Southwest II, an outcome that shocked APC members, as the axis had been the strongholds of the party.
As a result, the situation degenerated into a blame game when party leaders in the areas were questioned about why the APC lost in what was supposed to be a cakewalk for the ruling party.
Following the development, the Akoko South East chapter of the party suspended no fewer than 30 members for alleged anti-party activities, while Akoko Southwest sacked 31 members.
The suspension letter, signed by the Secretary of the party in Akoko South East, Segun Bakare, alleged that the affected persons undermined the party’s chances during the 2023 general elections by openly working for opposition parties.
Bakare disclosed that the suspension was carried out in their various wards before it was ratified at the local government level, after which the decision was communicated to the state secretariat.
Among suspended members are Ajayi Johnson, Amuleya Tolorunloju, Oripelaye Akeem, Bello Abiodun, Amodu Paul Bayo, Bello Soji, Ajowele Wahab, Oloruntobi Ojo, Obaya Adedayo, Ayara Dorcas, Adurewa Kayode, Femi Agbede, Dr. John Adanike, Ajibola Olorunyomi, and Imoru Ibrahim.
In Akoko Southwest Local Council, the party also wielded the big stick on the lawmaker representing the constituency in the House of Assembly, Olugbenga Omole, and a close ally of Senate Deputy Majority Leader; Prof. Ajayi Boroffice, who represents Ondo North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Sunday Agbede. They were suspended along with 29 others in a letter addressed to the state chairman of the party, Ade Adetimehin.
In the letter, the party disclosed that the decision to suspend the members was taken following the recommendation of the committee set up to look into why the party lost woefully at their constituencies.
Although the offence of the affected members was not specified in the letter, it was assumed that their suspension was related to the alleged anti-party activities they engaged in during the general elections.
The party’s chairman in the local government, Sehinde Mise, and another leader, Victor Olabimtan, were said to have signed the letter, but Mise denied signing the letter.
The letter partly reads: “Having gone through the list and considered the report of the fact-finding committee, the leaders across the 15 wards unanimously resolved that the following members of the party stand suspended from the party.”
According to the letter, the affected members include: Yaya Adelakun, Abubakar Alonge, Femi Ayoko, Segun Olukoju, Olugbegba Omole, Sunday Ajulu, Oteruku Sunday, Felix Ajakaye, Adejoro Paul, Mr. Ayelure, and Opeyemi Igbede.
Others are Alege Monday, Okajare Idowu, Tenabe Busuyi, Adedeji Dupe, Oyinbosokun Oluwole, Olasukanmi Sunday, Mrs. Kayode Mary, Idowu Olanusi, Elder Rogbitan L.I., and Bodunde Johnson.
Others are Akinsule Stella, Alimi Taiwo, Bankole Adefarati, Barrister Babaleye Tolu, Ayegbusi Jide, Abimbola Gbenga, Yakubu Usman, Adejoro Adeogun, Alh Musa Olisa, and Alabi Alaba.
However, leaders of the APC in Ward 4 and Agba-Oka in Akoko Southwest Local Council distanced themselves from the alleged suspension of the party members.
The party ward leadership pleaded with Mise to overturn the suspension of the group with immediate effect in a letter addressed to the Akoko South West Local Council APC chairman and signed by the ward vice chairman and secretary, Adiji Friday and Balogun Olumide, respectively.

The ward executives demanded that the party at the council level should take decisive and disciplinary action against those behind the letter. They were embarrassed as to why the leaders were suspended without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves.
The letter reads in part: “Sir, the said letters did not emanate from our ward, and we did not have knowledge of such letters addressed to your office, and as such, we know nothing about them. It is a cooked-up complaint, a trumped-up sort that was made to thwart the unity of the members of the party in our ward.
“The letters were never initiated and signed by members of the executive and the leaders in Ward 4.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, sir, no party member(s), leader(s), or officer(s) of the party, both past and present, ever reported to the general meeting, the executive, or the leaders about the conduct of the above-mentioned members at any point in time. No member of the party here in Ward 4 is in the know about such letters.”
“Sir, it is our candid view that if there is any allegation of misconduct in any manner whatsoever against the above-mentioned persons, and a complaint is to be raised against them, such letters of complaint must be made available to the executive committee of the party at the ward level, and the executive committee will appoint a fact-finding or disciplinary committee to examine the matter.
“The APC executive committee in Ward 4, Agbe-Oka, and Akoko has never once reported any of our leaders to the local government executives for any misconduct or anti-party activities.
“We deem it fit to further inform you, sir, that the APC executive committee in Ward 4, Agba-Oka, Akoko, has never at any point in time discussed in any of our meetings prior to the election, during the election, or after the 2023 general elections any misconduct or anti-party activity against our leaders.
“The purported signatures on the letters were forged, and no member of the APC executive committee or leaders in Ward 4, Agba-Oka, signed such letters or caused them to be signed on their behalf.
“Sir, your high office and all other spirited and well-meaning persons are hereby notified to disregard the letters and their contents for not being genuine and also not coming from the APC Executive Committee in Ward 4, Agaa-Oke, Akoko.”
The letter further requested that, “the perpetrators of this heinous crime… be brought to book by conducting an investigation to ascertain the culprits for onward prosecution.”
On his part, the state lawmaker who was among the suspended members, Omole, who claimed to be oblivious of the letter suspending him from the party, stated that all that happened would soon be revealed to the public.
Omole also accused some leaders of the party, particularly the state chairman, Adetimehin of being behind his alleged suspension. He said: “As a matter of fact, the chairman of the party in the local government, Mise, has denied that he was consulted and was not a party to the shenanigan this group of jesters have done.
“When they discovered they had goofed, they hurriedly called a meeting at the instance of Adetimehin at the state party secretariat where they tried to perfect what they had earlier done at the local government level, and in that meeting, nobody from my Ward (Ward 4 Agba Oka) was in attendance because we have a copy of the names of the attendees of the meeting.
“Elder Mise was summoned from Lagos, and he and Rt. Hon. Olabimtan, whose signature was on that document, told people that spoke with them that nobody was suspended in my ward.
“The person that was given the letter to submit to Adetimehin colluded with one or two people with the supervision of Adetimehin and typed another list and included my name and that of Ajulu, also from my ward, and that was the one they have been circulating in the media.
“Adetimehin should know better than this. It’s not going to be business as usual. Oka people are one of the most educated, intelligent, and sophisticated people in Ondo State, even though most of us are farmers. We are not illiterate.
 “Oka is one, and whoever is bringing this divisive narrative, claiming Oke Oka and Iwaro are different will meet their waterloo very soon. It takes more than having a strong party to win elections in Oka, and this has been demonstrated severally.”
Mise also refuted the allegations, claiming that no meeting of the local government executive took place where it was discussed or decided to suspend anyone from the Akoko Southwest. He said the use of his name for a phony activity without anyone speaking to him is unacceptable.
He said: “This suspension is unacceptable to me. They didn’t discuss anything with me; we didn’t meet to deliberate on anything; they just decided to attach my name to their fraud. They have been trying to call me more than 20 times after they did what they did, but I have refused to pick up their calls.
“What kind of nonsense is all this? They didn’t consult me about anything; they just attached my name to a letter and started spreading it across social media. I was so shocked to have been receiving calls from across the country and abroad over this matter, and I don’t even know anything about it.
“I have been in Lagos for the past three weeks, and nobody has called to tell me they are planning to do anything in my name. I’m not ready to join them in legitimising their fraud. It is wrong and sinful.”
To distance himself from what he described as a ruse, he also claimed to have written a letter to the state chairman through Mr. Cyril Aye, adding that the party needs reconciliation rather than squabbling.
He further stated that he is avoiding staying in the state because of his safety, calling some of the party chieftains in the local council to be more circumspect in the matter.
Similarly, the Olubaka of Oka-Akoko, Oba Yusuf Adebori Adeleye, refuted claims that political gatherings took place in his palace prior to the general elections. He admonished APC members not to involve his palace in their internal disputes.
The monarch claimed that no meeting took place in his palace to support the PDP candidate in the Akoko Southwest Constituency 1 poll.
He said: “The palace is not involved in party politics. APC members in this area should face their internal crisis and not shift blame to the palace. Olubaka is seriously embarrassed by this letter, which is in the public domain now.”
On his part, Adetimehim promised that the state secretariat would look into the situation and resolve the issue, saying that, “it is a family affair, and we would look into it and address the problem.”

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