Indication emerged that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, will proceed to conduct the governorship primary election in Ondo State without granting the demand made by eleven of the aspirants.
Eleven out twelve aspirants cleared for the primary had in a letter to the APC national leadership demanded that direct mode of primary should be used instead of the indirect mode that the party approved for the exercise. The only person that did not kick against the indirect primary approved by the party is the incumbent Governor of Ondo, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. He is not opposing the indirect mode.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the APC primary election committee in Ondo, Governor Yahaya Bello, said that nobody has the right to dictate to the APC the mode of primary to use in the election. Bello made that disclosure after the inauguration of his committee by the Mai Mala Buni led caretaker committee in Abuja yesterday. Bello added that he had contested primary before and it was not left for anybody to tell the party which mode of primary to use. He added that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has already published the indirect primary the APC chose. So, the party's choice is clear to all.
This development raises serious uncertainty in the ruling APC in Ondo State because the other eleven aspirants had in the letter they wrote to the APC national leadership given some reasons why the party should adopt a direct mode of primary. The eleven aspirants had argued that the indirect primary will not favour the majority of the aspirants but it would just favour one aspirant. They also said that the indirect primary will not give majority of the card carrying APC members the opportunity to choose their candidate in the primary.
They added that they had interacted with the members of the APC in the state and discovered that they prefer direct primary. The aspirants also prefer direct primary because it is more open, more democratic and more popular with the people than the indirect primary which can be manipulated to favour one aspirant at the expense of others. They added that the direct primary will not disenfranchise the majority of the party members as they will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate of their choice and others aspirants will support whoever wins the direct primary.
But, going by the disclosure made by Bello, it means that the APC will go ahead with the indirect primary despite the demand to adopt direct primary made by the eleven out of the twelve aspirants for the election. The decision of the APC to ignore the demands of the overwhelming majority of the aspirants will most likely open more cracks in the party. It may throw up more crisis or even outright defection by the eleven aspirants. They had advised that if their demand was not heeded, it could have some consequences.
The eleven of them have their influence and are popular in their own right. Above all, they have their loyalists and supporters who will stand by them in any decision they choose to take. They feel that indirect primary will not favour them and they asked the APC leadership to use a more democratic direct primary mode but the request did not get the approval of the party. They may choose to build a consensus arrangement to support one of them to challenge Akeredolu. They may still choose to play the spoiler in the election itself.
Alternatively, they may choose to defect to another party to contest the primary and contest for the governorship election still. In this case, it will affect the structure and support base of the APC in Ondo simply because the demand made by the eleven out of twelve aspirants was not granted. The APC still has the time to look inwards and see a way to resolve the issue. The party can still adopt the direct mode since majority of the aspirants and their supporters prefer it. If not, then the party will be ready to accept whatever consequences the decision to go ahead with indirect primary may bring.
The 12 aspirants cleared for the APC primary in Ondo include: Akeredolu, Joseph Iji, Segun Abraham, Olayide Adelami, Kekemeke Isaac and Olusola Oke. Others on the list are Ifeoluwa Oyedele, Odimayo John, Olajumoke Anifowoshe, Awodeyi Akinsehinwa, Olubukola, Olarogha and Nathaniel Adojutelegan. The eleven aspirants against indirect primary may make their decision known in the coming days since the APC will be using the indirect primary despite their demand for the party to use direct mode of primary.
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