Stalemate In Ondo APC As Akeredolu Scales Second Hurdle | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Stalemate In Ondo APC As Akeredolu Scales Second Hurdle

Ondo election
Posted: Sep 26, 2016 at 3:35 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Temidayo Akinsuyi

Lagos –  The decision of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to endorse Barrister Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) as the governorship candidate of the party ahead of the November 26 governorship election in  Ondo state is already causing ripples in the state.  While Akeredolu’s supporters are basking in the euphoria of the decision, the other aggrieved aspirants are still contemplating their next move on whether to dump the party or not.

A former president of the  Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Akeredolu scaled the first hurdle in his quest to succeed  Governor Olusegun Mimiko as the  Chief Executive Officer of the state popularly called the Sunshine State when he defeated 23 other APC governorship aspirants, including Dr. Segun Abraham, the preferred candidate of the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at an election conducted by Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru-led committee in Akure on September 3 with a total of 699 votes .

His closest challenger, Olusegun Abraham, scored 635 votes. Olusola Oke polled 576, Senator Robert Borrofice, 471; Tayo Alasoadura, 206; Bode Ayorinde, 67; Jumoke Ajasin-Anifowose, 1; Tunji Abayomi, 5; Jamiu Afolabi, 44; Adefemi Mayowa, 13; Ayo Akinyelure, 3; Adekunle Adekunle, 8; Adegbonmire Adebiyi, 8; Olabimtan Victor, 18; Tunji Ariyomo, 2; and Oyewunmi Taiwo, 7.

Second Hurdle- Election Appeal Panel

Not satisfied with the outcome of the result, Abraham, who had earlier congratulated Akeredolu and pledged to work with him to secure victory in the election later approached the Election Appeal panel calling for a cancelation of the exercise while also calling for the conduct of a fresh poll.  Other party members who toed Abraham’s line include Chief Olusola Oke and Prof. Ajayi Boroffice as well as the chairman of Ondo Central APC, Mr. Adegboyega Adedipe, his Ondo East counterpart, Mr. Akintunde Temitope, and Mrs. Toyin Ajinde, a delegate.

However, some of the aspirants also approached the panel insisting that the election is free, fair and credible and thus the outcome should be upheld.  These aspirants include Dr. Tunji Abayomi, who wrote a letter to Tinubu accusing him of trying to impose Abraham on the people of Ondo,  Senator Tayo Alasoadura and Akeredolu himself.

While Oke called for the nullification of the primary, saying he received two different delegates’ lists before the election, Abraham called for a fresh primary, citing insertion of 157 fake names in the delegates’ list and cases of multiple voting by delegates and Boroffice said the primary was not credible because the delegates’ list was fraudulent, just as there was improper accreditation of delegates.

While waiting for the decision of the panel, there were newspaper reports that the Chairman of the Appeal panel, Mrs Hellen Benbager (from Benue State) was said to have been smuggled into Lagos State by some powerful forces ahead of the submission of the panel’s report, with a viewing to influencing the report that would ultimately undermine the result of the ballot.

Sources also hinted that signal from inside sources in Lagos efforts were being made to prevail on the Chairman to influence the report, including promises to get her an appointment amongst other added inducements.

While submitting its report, the panel,  in a 16-page report, recommended the cancellation of the September 3, 2016 primary election that produced Akeredolu  as the party’s flagbearer for the governorship election in the state. The panel also recommended that a re-run primary should be held immediately to beat the deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) and also advised the national leadership of the party to, in conducting another primary, make use of the delegates’ list which was distributed to aspirants in Abuja, before the primary elections. The report was signed by head of the committee, Mrs. Hellen Bendega,   Mallam Musa Umar and another member, Nikky Eze.

NWC Rejected Panels’ Recommendations

However, after days of apprehension,  the NWC, led by the  National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie- Oyegun finally ignored the report and forwarded Akeredolu’s name to INEC as its governorship candidate.  On why it rejected the recommendation of the Appeal panel, the party, in a statement by its National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, dismissed the insinuation that its National Chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun overruled the NWC on Ondo Appeal Panel’s report.

The NWC, in its four-point resolution, faulted the failure of the Appeal Committee to invite the National Secretariat to either authenticate or reject the source of the disputed delegates list as the custodian.

The statement added that the Appeal Committee did not invite the Chairman or members of the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Committee to clarify the allegation of manipulation on the accreditation process.

The party said the Appeal Committee rather relied on unsubstantiated evidence(s) to recommend the nullification of the Primary.

The NWC equally observed a serious contradiction in the Appeal Committee’s report in respect of the number of the accredited delegates. The party, therefore, stressed that the issue of fresh primaries did not arise since the NWC had already rejected the Appeal Committee’s report in view of the stated flaws and upheld the election.

It further explained that the election was even time barred, saying by the timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), all governorship primary and issues relating to it ended on September 19, 2016.

The party added that voting on the issue did not arise in view of the NWC’s rejection of the Appeal Committee’s report.

“For the records, the party’s NWC decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberation. The minutes and rejection was confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

“The NWC, in its four-point resolution, rejected the Appeal Committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed. The NWC observed that the Appeal Committee contradicted itself when it admitted that the Primary Election Committee substantially complied with the rules guiding the process but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the Primary election,

“Whereas the Primary Election Committee’s report indicated that 2,774 delegates were accredited, the Appeal Committee’s report erroneously recorded it as those who voted in the election, thereby creating a false impression of over voting in the exercise. The actual total number of votes cast was 2,754, according to Primary Election Committee’s report”.


The party’s decision did not go down well with Oke, Abraham and Boroffice who at a joint press conference promised to make their decisions known in the coming days.

“We are widely consulting and would make public the next line of action that will liberate our people from the present state of hopelessness and despair” they said.

However, Akeredolu, in his reaction to the NWC action, described his affirmation as the work of God. In a statement issued by the Aketi Media Group, he thanked members of the NWC, especially the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national leader of the party Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and President Muhammadu Buhari for making sure that justice was done to all parties in dispute.

“What can I say than to thank God who has done it again? God does not abandon his projects, notwithstanding the challenges that may arise. I make bold to say to my co-aspirants in the APC that we are all winners. None is vanquished. We are all victors. None is a loser. I hold the ticket of the party in trust for all of you. I am not perfect. No one is. But I will make up for my imperfections by drawing from your collective strength”.

“ Together we shall work in one accord to achieve success in the November 26 governorship election. Now is the time to pool our energy and resources and rescue our state from misery and misrule of the Peoples Democratic Party-led government. United we stand. United we shall be victorious.”

Also speaking, one of the governorship aspirant of the party,  Dr. Tunji Abayomi appealed to the aggrieved aspirants to be good party men  and accept the outcome of the election.
Speaking with Independent, Abayomi said he was also a loser in the primary but had chosen to abide by the decision of the delegates who elected Akeredolu as candidate.
“My message to them is that there will always be a winner and there will always be a loser.  I am one of the losers but I accepted the verdict of the delegates and the party. So, I will suggest that people should follow my example. It is not a matter of life and death. There will be another battle in life’s journey. So, let us accept the outcome of the election and support the candidate of the party in person of  Rotimi Akeredolu” he said.

Comments (1)

  • Moses Odili Sep 26, 2016 at 7:53 am Moses Odili

    Join the Nigeria National youth congress.. lets come together as a youth in this country to fight for our right and have a youth representative in the seat of govt.. ain’t you tired of this old men and women ruling us.! Join our

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