Ondo guber: Aggrieved APC aspirants opt for court as Ganduje’s peace deal flops

Please share

Aggrieved All Progressives Congress, APC, aspirants who battled for the party’s ticket to contest in the upcoming Ondo State gubernatorial election have resolved to seek redress in court.

The aspirants are considering legal actions against the Governor Usman Ododo-led committee which conducted the last primary election.

They are alleging that the entire exercise was a ‘sham’.

the ruling APC on April 20, conducted its primary election ahead of the November 16, 2024, governorship election in Ondo state.

The exercise, which had the incumbent governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa as winner, was, however, shrouded with controversies as most aspirants alleged irregularities in the poll.

While some of the aspirants alleged that the APC primary election did not follow the party’s procedure, others outrightly said there was no election.

Recall that one of the aspirants, Mr Gbenga Edema, who addressed newsmen while the election was ongoing, had alleged that the Kogi State governor, Ododo did not follow the due process laid down by the national leadership of the party.

Mr Gbenga frowned at the delay in the release of electoral materials meant for the primary.

According to Edema, as at 10:00 a.m., electoral materials had not been released contrary to the resolution made during a stakeholders’ meeting prior to the election.

He said, “Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, told us during the stakeholders’ meeting that the materials would be distributed to the electoral officers at the BON Hotel, Akure.

“He told us that the accreditation would start between 10:00:am and 1:00 pm and that voting would commence by 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm.

“But what we are hearing now is that the election has been concluded and the result announced.

“We asked the chairman, but he had no answer to our questions. We are not people that could be manipulated by god fathers. So, we are asking our national leadership that if they are not ready, they should postpone it until the right thing is done”.

DAILY POST reports that about six aspirants, including the senator representing Ondo South, Jimoh Ibrahim, Olusola Oke, Folakemi Omogoroye, Olugbenga Edema, Jimi Odimayo, and Wale Akinterinwa, subsequently filed petitions challenging Aiyedatiwa’s victory.

The aspirants insisted that the election must be cancelled, noting that Ododo was not fit to chair the committee.

Meeting with Ganduje

The national chairman of APC, Abdullahi Ganduje and the National Working Committee, NWC, of the party held a closed-door peace meeting with Governor Ayiedatiwa and the aggrieved aspirants on Thursday last week.

However, efforts by Ganduje and the NWC to broker peace between the governor and the aspirants failed as the meeting ended in a deadlock.

During the meeting, Ganduje appealed to the aggrieved aspirants to sheathe their swords in the interest of the party.

“It is already a ruling party; our prayer is that it should continue to be a ruling party in Ondo State.

“So, you see, we are here to appeal to you so that we can succeed in maintaining this state as an APC state. I appeal to you; we are all practitioners in this game, in this politics, in this agenda,” he said.

However, DAILY POST gathered that the aspirants refused to withdraw their petitions, insisting that there was no primary election conducted in the state on April 20.

A source, who is familiar with the developments, told DAILY POST that at least three of the aspirants have resolved to end the matter in court.

He alleged that the Ododo-led committee conducted the primary election in a hotel, stressing that the “winner was known even before the election” kick-started.

“If our party continues in this way, we should forget Ondo State. The fact is that Aiyedatiwa already has a big case that even if he wins, the court will upturn his victory.

“This is someone who the people of Ondo State never wanted even right from when the former governor was sick, he fell out with many party members and the great people of Ondo State. I wonder how he is going to win this election,” he claimed.

He revealed that the aggrieved “aspirants have vowed to mobilise and work against” the governor during the November 16 election if the party fails to give proper attention to the petition.

Speaking with DAILY POST, one of the aggrieved aspirants, Hon Olugbenga Edema insisted that Aiyedatiwa was illegally declared winner of the election.

He said, “We complained to the national chairman and the National Working Committee of the party that the so-called election held on the 20th of April was a fraud.

“You can also agree with me that there was no election that day. But the chairman and the NWC told us that we should forget it and move forward.

“However, we told him that there was no way we would just forget about it.

“Normally, when a thing like this happens, there is usually a post-mortem.

“One of us, a professor of pathologists, told the chairman that there must be a post-mortem to know what happened and how it happened.

“We all said our minds but they insisted that we are going to continue with that illegality. Out of anger, we all left there under that atmosphere.”

Speaking on his next line of action, Olugbenga said they were currently waiting to know the outcome of the committee set up to look into the appeal.

According to him, “Friday was the day the party’s appeal committee was to look at our complaint. I’m sure they must have looked at the case we presented to them and we are waiting for the outcome.

“There is what we call Internal mechanism for conflict resolution in our party.

“By the time we know the verdict of the appeal committee whether they are sustaining our appeal or dismissing it for lacking in merit, that is when we will take the final decision on whether to go to court or not. For now, we have to exhaust that process.”

Asked if he would support Aiyedatiwa in the forthcoming election if the party’s NWC dismissed their appeal, he said “I have told Ganduje that you can’t build something on nothing and think it will sustain itself, it is not possible.

“And I also told them that when the foundation is destroyed, according to the Bible, what can the righteous do?

“So, it does not matter whether I support him or not, the fact remains that what they did was illegal and as far as it remains illegal, there is nothing I can do. There is no way I can be involved in illegality”.

On the alleged certificate forgery, Olugbenga said, “we have raised that issue before the party screening committee and if in their wisdom they believe that these are no issues, good luck to them.

“I told them that as members of the party, we needed to be proactive so that we don’t do what happened in Bayelsa.

“You remember that even in Zamfara State, we didn’t have a candidate up to the House of Assembly in 2019. The same thing happened in Rivers State.

“Sometimes the party deliberately forgets that these things can have adverse effects on the party.

“If they refuse to see the danger ahead, we as party members have done our own best. Since they refuse to listen to us, the law will take its full course”.

Meanwhile, some aggrieved members of the party from Ondo State under the aegis of the Ondo APC youths on Thursday stormed the National Secretariat of the party in Abuja, protesting the outcome of the election.

The young demonstrators, who were dispersed by security operatives, demanded the cancellation of the election.

However, Governor Aiyedatiwa had said that those protesting his emergence as the flagbearer of the APC in the November governorship election should rather pitch their tents with him to win the election.

Contrary to the claims that the primary election that produced him was marred with irregularities, Governor Aiyedatiwa said the process was free and fair.

He has also consistently dismissed the certificate forgery allegation against him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *