Ondo 2016: Tough Race For APC Ticket - 9jaflaver





Ondo 2016: Tough Race For APC Ticket

Ondo 2016: Tough Race For APC Ticket

AS at the close of work last Friday, The Nation gathered from the state secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Akure, Ondo State, that more than 20 aspirants have purchased the nomination forms to contest the State governorship election on the platform of the party.
This is just as the race towards the governorship election in the state gathers momentum with the APC locked in a severe political battle with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor Olusegun Mimiko. The APC says it is ready to dislodge Mimiko and the PDP from the Alagbaka Government House, but the later says the PDP remains the party of the people in the state.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had set the stage for what many pundits insist will be a tough electioneering contest last February when it issued the timetable for the conduct of governorship election the state. INEC stated that the poll would hold on November 26, 2016.
INEC’s Deputy Director in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr. Nick Dazang, made the dates known while speaking to journalists. Both the ruling PDP and the APC are now in the process of selecting flag-bearers ahead of the said election. Nearly a hundred aspirants have indicated interest to govern the state on the platform of the two leading political parties.
But with the two parties putting machineries in motion towards conducting primary elections to elect candidates for the election, the number of those contending for the tickets is dwindling, as some of those who earlier showed interest in the race had failed to obtained nomination forms.
APC set for primary election
With the APC poised to hold its primary election, aspirants paid N5 million each to obtain the nomination form. They also paid N500 000 to pick expression of interest form. The party had said it would not stop any of those jostling for the ticket from participating in the process leading to the primary election.
While agitations for and against the zoning of the ticket to a particular zone of the state persist, The Nation gathered that forms have been sold to aspirants from all parts of the state. The development has left many wondering if the party has decided to do away with all forms of zoning arrangement in deciding who fly the APC banner on November 26, 2016.
As at the time of filing this report, aspirants who have picked both the expression of interest and nomination forms, and fully paid for them, included the following; Ajayi Borrofice, Olusegun Abraham, Olusola Oke, Rotimi Akeredolu, Tayo Alasoadura, Jumoke Anifowose, Gboye Oyewumi and Bode Ayorinde.
Others are Olabimtan Victor, Paul Akintelure, Jamiu Ekungba, Ademola Adegoroye, Akinwale Akingbade, Apata Awodeyi, Akinrinsola Odunayo,, Derin Adesida,, Tunji Abayomi, Bukola Adetula, Niyi Adegbonmire, Foluso Adeyemi, Ayo Akinyelure, Dele Alade, Akinola Olayinka, Tunji Light Ariyomi and Moyosola Niran Oladunni.
According to information gathered from the leadership of the party, the screening of aspirants will be conducted in Abuja from Tuesday 9 to Friday 12 August, 2016 reports News 24. The Primary Election proper will hold Saturday August, 27, 2016 and election appeal will hold from Monday, August 29 to Thursday September, 1, 2016.
The fear of imposition
But as the scheduled primary election draws nearer, there are allegations in some quarters that one of the aspirants may have been favored by a leader of the party who plans to impose him on the party.
Dr. Tunji Abayomi, one of the aspirants, recently stated the leader had recently summoned party leaders in the state and directed them to work for the emergence of a particular aspirant from the northern senatorial district as the party’s candidate. Abayomi however said other aspirants would resist the plan as it was not acceptable.
However, the party’s Chairman in the state, Isaacs Kekemeke, has assured the party’s governorship aspirants and members that its primary will be determined by over 3,000 delegates. Kekemeke, who advised worried aspirants to ignore talks of planned imposition, urged them to devote their time and energies to solicit for votes.
The APC chairman noted that the primary will ensure a level-playing field for the aspirants. He added that even though the responsibility of organising primary elections rests on the National Executive Council (NEC) members, he assured party members that the election will be free, fair and transparent.
He added that whoever “will emerge victorious, will win fairly and those who will lose, will also lose fairly”. This, he said, would make the election credible. Kekemeke, who noted that it was within the right of any member to support any aspirant of his/her choice, said no individual has the power to impose any candidate on the party.
He said: “Party leaders have preferences. The only thing they can do is to use goodwill or influence. But the election will still be decided by the delegates and will be free and fair and the electorate will see their votes clearly as everything will be done in the open.”
Also, the Director of Media and Publicity of the party in the state, Mr. Steve Otaloro, has dispelled the allegation, saying there was no time the leaders were told to favor any of the aspirants in the race to the party’s ticket. H assured the aspirants and members of the party in the state that the primary election will be without any imposition.
He said: “The party has said it several times that the primary election would be free, fair and transparent. So, as far as we in the APC are concerned, there will not be any imposition of candidate in the primary. To the best of my knowledge, no party leader in the state has been invited by anybody and told to work for anybody.”
Zoning debate
Although the party has not restricted the sales of forms to a particular zone, the debate over zoning has refused to go away. Even as aspirants from all parts of the state collected nomination forms to vie in the primary election, promoters of zoning are still urging the leadership of the party to give Ondo north senatorial district the right to produce the next governor of the party.
This is just as those opposed to the call are encouraging the APC leadership to keep the contest open in the interest of equity fairness and justice. With the party undecided over the zoning debate, even aspirants from Ondo central senatorial district, where the incumbent Governor Mimiko hails from, have picked the nomination forms to contests the party’s primary election.
Aspirants from the Central and Southern Senatorial Districts had been warning that they should not be shut out of the contest for the APC ticket under any zoning arrangement. An aspirant, Boye Oyewunmi, faulted the advocates of the zoning arrangement, saying the party’s constitution does not make provision for zoning. He said those advocating for the zoning of the party’s ticket were only saying that as a gimmick to exclude quality aspirants from the race.
But former Ondo State House of Assembly member Prince Ademola Adegoroye, who is also eyeing the APC ticket, supports the zoning arrangement because, accruing to him, it will ensure equity and justice amongst the various zones of the state. He wants the ticket to be zoned to the Akure zone, in the central senatorial district.
“Of course, I believe in the Akure Agenda, I believe there must be justice and equity. I believe that Akure is the only division in the state that has not produced the governor. Ondo has done, just like Ikale has. Owo and Akoko have done. So Akure North, Akure South or Ifedore should produce the next governor,” he said.
Leaders of the party in Owo zone have also come out to support the the zoning arrangement and want it to favour the north senatorial district, specifically Owoland. Consequently, the leaders of the community wrote a letter under the auspices of Owo General Assembly, to the National Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Tinubu, and the state governor, Mimiko, to restrict their parties’ candidacy to Owo Local Government Area.
In the said letter, signed by the OGA National Coordinator, Akin Aruwajoye, and Secretary, Dr. Monday Duromola, the group lamented that its people were marginalised and believed that having one of their own as a governor would change their fortune for better. The leaders called on the two leading parties to give Owo the chance in the interest of equity.
Jamiu Afolabi Ekungba, a member of the Board of Trustees of the APC and a governorship aspirant, said the party has never said it is against the zoning arrangement. According to him, zoning the ticket to a particular part of the state would help the party a great deal. He however said he is not worried about the arrangement
“I have never heard the party saying they would not follow zoning, but the party does not impose zoning on anybody. It is not possible. It is not possible for APC to say it does not recognize zoning, because even in the presidential election, we did it. We would just have picked the president from Katsina and picked the vice president from Borno and disturbed the country’s political balance. If the party adopts zoning finally, that would be good, it will reduce the number of aspirant, it will also address people wasting their resources so that there can be realignment and cooperation by groups,” he said.

Source:- Thenationonlineng

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