Ondo 2020: APC working hard to quell internal insurrection
Despite efforts to tame rough edges within the All Progressives Congress (APC), to soften the grounds for Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s second term bid, there is still a minority within the party that is bent on denying him the ticket of the party by whatever means.
There are cracks within the ruling party, and as ingenuous as the party chairman Engr. Ade Adetimehin wants to be in managing the situation, the tougher they seem to appear, according to investigations. Sections of the party are not backing down on allegations of anti-party activities levelled against the governor and party leadership, which resulted in the lacklustre performance of the ruling party in the last elections.
At one point, the party leadership in Abuja listed the name of the governor among those who were suspended for anti-party activities. Aides of the Governor denied his suspension by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party. Other allegations were that he was not magnanimous in victory after emerging governor. That he marginalized other party members who were not among his Aketi Team.
Among Akeredolu’s opponents is the former Director-General of his campaign organisation in 2012, Mr. Banji Ayiloge, whose major grouse is that the APC in Ondo State is in such a dysfunctional state because the governor refused to heed he advise on how to bring together aggrieved members after he formed a government.
“I told him that once he became a candidate he owned the entire party structure, but he was too adamant to understand. He was not a member of any political party and in fact, he was not a registered voter in Ondo State. It was after we began his campaign in 2012 that I advised him to join the ward branch of the party in Owo.
“I still recall that I went with him on three occasions to have the INEC transfer his voter registration data from Ibadan in Oyo State to Owo in Ondo State. It is ironic that Governor Akeredolu whom I shepherded to his current status is instigating his needy minions to disown me.”
On the July meeting at which national Leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and others tried to work out some agreement, he said: “the agreement emanating from that meeting was for an all-embracing ad-hoc committee of committed party members to be set up to steer the ship of the party in the state. The team Aketi, currently masquerading as party executive is to be dissolved.
“Subsequently, a party executive comprising all true members is to emerge through a new and authentic congress of the party. The National Executive of the party has also been urged to speed up the process of making identity cards available to the states to ensure registration before the next primary.”
He lamented that three months after that meeting, no step has been taken to implement the decisions of the party leaders.
But the state chairman of the party, Adetimehin, in dispelling the claims of the aggrieved said the reconciliation has yielded results as members have committed to collective growth.
“I am the chairman of the party in the state, I can assure you that APC is strong and waxing stronger, people are joining the party daily. Ayiloge was DG to Governor Akeredolu, if they have a personal issue, they should not bring it to the party.”
As a strategy for survival, the Governor has appointed some factional leaders into his cabinet. The state Secretary of APC Unity Group, Mr. Gani Muhammad Ajowa, was appointed as Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media during the week.
According to Adetimehin, “Gani Muhammad was the Secretary of the other faction, but today everybody is on the same page. Many like that are still coming; we are members of the same family. I can assure you, we will never allow any
Mr. Tolu Babaleye, a chieftain of the party agreed it was a deft move by the Governor to have picked one of them and offered him a post, but he said the move will not produce good result because it was deceptive.
He said: “We shall miss you temporarily at this end, you being the State Secretary of the APC (Unity Group) that we both worked assiduously to put together, but which you have now abandoned.”
“Our party is APC but we are only struggling within the party for space, I pray our party shall continue to win the election because that is the only reason why we are fighting and struggling for space within as anything to the contrary would be catastrophic.”
Another group within the party, Continuity For Good Governance (CGG), has called on party leaders to settle their political differences for the peace and unity to reign, warning that the age-long crisis may whittle down the fortune of the party.
The Publicity Director, Kayode Ehinlanwo wants Governor Akeredolu to take charge of the party as the Leader of the ruling party in the state and bring every member, irrespective of their backgrounds or groups, together in the interest of the state.
“We implore Akeredolu as the leader of the party to bring his arbitrating expertise and ample humility into play, to pacify the aggrieved and assure loyalists. Akeredolu means well for the overall development of the state. He has integrity.”
More than 3000 members of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) were led into the ruling party by a chieftain of the opposition party, Mr. Femi Bello, who also handed over all the party executives in the 11 wards of Akure South Local Government Area to APC. The party chairman and Governor Akeredolu who pledged to give them a sense of belonging in the party received them last Monday.
Bello noted that the deflection and ultimate fusion of ADC structure politically into the ruling party was a unanimous decision of all members of the party in Akure South council to show appreciation for the remarkable performance of the state government.