The decision of the national working committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to disqualify some aspirants loyal to Rotimi Akeredolu, governor of Ondo state, from participating in the national assembly primaries is brewing crisis in the state.
You will recall that the NWC screening panel had screened out aspirants in constituencies where federal lawmakers are party members.
In Ondo, the committee disqualified Tunji Abayomi, a human rights activist, and Victor Olabimtan, former speaker of the state house of assembly, therefore ensuring that Ajayi Borofice gets automatic ticket on the platform of APC in the senatorial district.
Due to this development, party executives from ward to state level, cabinet members and groups loyal to Akeredolu have expressed dissatisfaction over the development.
And on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, Governor Akeredolu met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on the issue.
According to the governor’s loyalists, the last-minute disqualification of aspirants who fulfilled all requirements known to the law is not only illegal but fraudulent.
The governor on his part, has accused the NWC of breaching the party’s law.
Speaking with journalists he said:
“Where do they derive powers to disqualify aspirants duly screened and certified fit to stand for election under the guise of giving automatic ticket to incumbent senators and reps members?”
“This is a declaration of war against our party constitution. The decision to rig out our loyal and committed members from exercising their right after collecting money for nomination form from them was taken by few individuals.
“Legally, if such a fundamental decision is to be taking, it would have to be ratified by the national executive committee (NEC) on behalf of the convention since the convention cannot be convened now. It is NEC that acts on behalf of the convention. But from nowhere, a gladiator of illegality took a decision to ban my people from exercising their rights and they expected me to comply? This action will certainly boomerang if not addressed”.
In a statement, the Ondo APC chairman, Ade Adetimehin, issued a 24-hour ultimatum to the NWC to rescind its decision.
“All we are saying is that APC in Ondo state does not agree with the position of the NWC. We met here and decide in favour of indirect primaries as method of selecting our candidates as stated in our party constitution but NWC overruled us; we complied, now, Abuja is saying no primaries again, they have imposed people, some of whom are not even our members in the face of law to fly our ticket. This is unacceptable.
“Let me say very expressly that we shall wage war against the decision of some few cabal to turn our party to a rogue party. You cannot encourage people to obtain forms at such extravagant amount and then overnight tell them they aren’t allowed to contest. On what ground? This is fraudulent and an act of stealing by tricky”.