BABATOPE OKEOWO reports that the crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State has taken a turn for the worse as a faction of the party has begun registration of members preparatory to the primaries.
The faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State has begun registration of its members preparatory to the use of a direct mode of the party’s primaries to elect candidates for the next year’s general elections. This is contrary to the decision of the mainstream of the party which had adopted the delegate system in order to elect candidates for the next year’s election.
The party also disowned any registration of members preparatory to the primaries of the party. The battle between the factions on the use of the direct or indirect mode of electing candidates may lead to the emergence of parallel candidates for the next year’s election. The candidate of the mainstream will emerge through indirect primaries while candidates of the party will emerge through direct primaries.
The factional chairman, Hon Idowu Otetubi, who read a communiqué at a stakeholders meeting attended by the leaders of the faction from the 18 local governments area including Chiefs Felix Aiyegbusi and Makinde Oguntona, aides to National Assembly members and aspirants of the party said it adopted direct primary in conformity with the directive of the national secretariat of the party on the mode of selecting its candidates for the party. Otetubi said they decided to adopt the direct mode in full compliance with the directive of the national leadership of the party. Pointedly, Otetubi said: “We are committed to the progressive dispositions of our party at the national level.
We equally share the view that a democrat must embrace direct primary as openly embraced by President Muhammadu Buhari and leaders of our party. We are poised to replicate same voting system here in Ondo State.” Otetubi, who said his faction was authentic in the state and poised to produce its candidates for the next year’s election said: “Pending the time the court will adjudicate on the fraudulent delegate lists that a few persons wrote in the corners of their rooms and purportedly forced on the party will be resolved, direct primary is the only way available to elect the candidates of the party for the 2019 general elections in Ondo state.”
His words “ It is less expensive. It is representative enough and possesses the capacity to unite the party. APC membership register is with the national secretariat in Abuja. Since it is updated daily, the soft and the hard copies shall be made available to our state and any other states in Nigeria for the purpose of the direct primary; we are convinced its implementations will be smooth and easy. “Direct primary, unlike indirect that gives a huge privilege of selection of candidates to a negligible few privilege individuals that are selected to honour the bidding of those with deep pockets. The direct primary will not only return power and right of choice to party members, but it will also conquer imposition and tendency of an emperor in leadership that had chosen to stray away from progressive politics and democratic norms.” The factional chairman said it has obtained an injunction to stop the mainstream of the party from accepting candidates for the forthcoming local government election in the state.
While expressing its loyalty to the leadership of the party led by Adams Oshiomole, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and President Buhari and his second term bid, the faction disowned the mainstream of the party, saying they had filed suit in the law court to prevent the Ade Adetimehin-led executive from further performing any function as the executive of the party in the state.
But the mainstream of the party asked the security agencies to arrest the factional chairman; Otetubi, his executives and members of the faction for parading themselves as executives of the party. The party in a statement by the Director of Publicity, Mr Steve Otaloro, described the factional chairman and members of his group as a security threat to the state and asked the law enforcement agencies to arrest them for breaching the peace of the state. Otaloro in his statement described ‘‘Otetubi as an interloper who is not known to our party’’ saying his name is not in any of our party registers, not even in Ward 7 in the Akure South Local Government Area, where he claimed to belong. The party said “We are calling on the police, the DSS and other security agencies to ensure that this violent prone political group’s activities led by Idowu Otetubi is checked once and for all, especially, as the December 1, 2018, election is fast approaching.
“The Otetubi group has constituted itself into a most ruthless political cult-like group endangering our peaceful coexistence. They are the number one enemy of our democratic process in the state. “As a peace-loving political party with the overwhelming support of the people behind us, we are not perturbed by their ranting, but our concern is focused on the disruption of public peace and the aftermath of such actions.
“We are hereby calling on the police and other security bodies in the state to be wary of the activities of this group and urgently restrain the leader of the group from a further prank, as a result of carrying out his subversive political activities. Otetubi, notoriously known to be crisscrossing from one political party to another, is still a registered member of the PDP. “it is on record that when our party had its state congress, it was reported that the Otetubi’s group was also conducting a parallel congress in a hidden location in the state capital, which later erupted into a serious fracas, with the innocent journalists invited to cover the event seriously wounded.
“This same scenario is repeating itself as our party is preparing for the LG election and the general election. This group which has been taciturn and inactive since our party’s congress has suddenly woken up from its slumber and parading fictitious names of APC members for the forthcoming local government election in Ondo State.
“This time around, we would not allow such things to happen again. We are going to do everything humanly possible to protect our good name, unlike when we were held responsible for their violent actions that disrupted public peace, whereas, we knew nothing about it.
“We are going to do everything possible to defend our party’s name in the face of abuse and threat to any of our members or in case of breach of public peace.” Despite the threat of arrest, Otetubi said he was not moved and would continue with the registration of members preparatory to the conduct of peaceful, free and fair primaries to elect candidates for the party Otetubi who said he was the chairman of the registration of the APC in Akure South Local Government when the party was formed in 2014 said he remained the authentic chairman of the party having been elected at the congress of the party and paid the statutory fees to the coffers of the National Secretariat of the party. The factional chairman through his Director of Media, Mr Gbenga Olarenwaju, said the legitimate claim of who is the authentic chairman of the party would be determined in the law court.
He said: “Let it be known again that the supreme document that guides the running of APC is its constitution and that is where we, the authentic executives derive our strength and power. To demonstrate our commitment to the constitution of our party, we have approached a competent court of justice on the matter relating to the last congress of the party. “According to our prayers, the court has forthwith warned that the gang of usurpers who claimed are executive members of the party have been duly warned not to parade themselves as the executive of our party. We are aware the pains the injunction must have inflicted on them. What they cannot get through a legal process is what to seek to achieve through violence.
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