Ondo guber: Fresh crisis looms in APC over anointing of aspirants

Ahead of the primary election later this month for the Ondo State governorship election, fresh crisis appears to be creeping into the fold of All Progressives Congress (APC) as its leaders and chieftains are sharply divided over the choice of anointed aspirants to fly the party’s flag.

According to the revised edition of the timetable and schedule of activities released recently by the APC National Working Committee (NWC), the party primary for the Ondo election will hold on April 20, while the main election comes up later in the year, precisely on November 16.

In a bid to avert the controversy that engulfed the ruling party after the conduct of the primary last month for the Edo State governorship election, the national leadership of the party, had last week, constituted a nine-man committee, comprising members of the NWC, to oversee the conduct of the Ondo primary election.

However, the factors that threw the party into crisis in Edo State, like rifts among the party’s leadership and certain leaders of the party in the state, over anointing of aspirants, are already rearing their heads concerning Ondo.

A chieftain of the party who does not want his name mentioned told Daily Sun that their tension in the party over Ondo.

He said that there is a looming crisis, despite the fact that the presidency appears to have soft spot for   the incumbent governor. There are insinuation among party officials that the presidency has already asked the leadership to deliver him during the primary. Some NWC members are discreetly opposed to that arrangement.

Our source further explained that though some NWC members who are against the choice of Aiyedatiwa are not rooting for other aspirants, they are, however, afraid that considering the volume and validity of petitions against the incumbent governor, electing him as the party’s candidate might scuttle the chances of the party fielding a candidate in the poll.

The source equally disclosed that the choice of the aspirant to anoint as candidate was not the only disagreement inflaming the brewing crisis in the party. He noted that the committee set up by the NWC was already at loggerheads with the organizing department over who takes charge of one activity or the other ahead of the primary.

“It is true that there is brewing misunderstanding within the party ahead of the conduct of the Ondo primary election, but we cannot afford a repeat of the same mistake the party made in Edo State.

“The reality on ground is that the presidency has anointed and directed the party’s leadership to deliver the incumbent governor, Aiyedatiwa, but some stakeholders and the NWC members have expressed concerns over the effect of fielding him as the party’s candidate due to the volume of petitions that have flooded the secretariat over the credentials he submitted.

“It is also true that the other aspirants have been pressuring the NWC members to give them the ticket, including inviting them for meetings, which they declined for fear of using it against them, but certain NWC members have equally expressed fears that fielding him as the party’s candidate may be counterproductive, especially if the petitioners prove their cases against him in court.

“There will be no problem delivering the governor as our candidate during the primary since the presidency has anointed him despite presenting the petitions to them, but the presidency should also be ready take the blame instead of subjecting the party to the ridicule we went through during the controversial primary we conducted in Edo.

“Inasmuch as we want to avoid a repeat of what happened in Edo State, we have to also tighten all loose ends to avoid bigger embarrassment to the party over any form of scandal denying us the opportunity to field candidate,” our source said.

Already, 10 aspirants have purchased the N50 million expression of interest and nomination forms, but the apprehension is how the leadership will manage the brewing rifts between the organizing department and the committee during the revalidation of membership exercise, which resumes today across the state.

“Again, beyond the looming intra-party face-off, the party’s leadership should also be ready to manage the aggrieved aspirants, who may not fold their hands to accept the imposition of the governor on them. They will, certainly, fight back, and that will bring division in the rank of the party ahead of the election,” our source noted.

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