- Oyegun wades in, promises level-playing field for all aspirants
James Sowole in Akure and Onyebuchi Ezeigbo in Abuja
The crisis rocking the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo state on Saturday deepened as the State Working Committee (SWC) of the party in the state removed the state Chairman Hon. Isaac Kekemeke.
The SWC, which addressed a news conference after the end of its meeting subsequently appointed the State Vice Chairman, Mr. Ade Adetimehin, as the Acting Chairman.
The SWC accused Kekemeke of supporting and promoting one of the governorship aspirants ahead the August 27 primary of the party.
The aggrieved SWC members said more than the required two-third members of the committee voted in support of Kekemeke’s removal.
They alleged that Kekemeke had concluded all arrangements to coerce party leaders and the delegates for the primary to support the candidature of one of the aspirants,Dr. Segun Abraham, who they claimed is the anointed candidate of the national leader of the party, Senator Bola Tinubu.
One of the aspirants, Tunji Abayomi, had written an petition accusing Tinubu of openly endorsing Abraham and also mandating the state executive to ensure that he picks the party’s ticket.
The National chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has however exonerated Tinubu of any wrong doing over the allegation that he endorsed one the party’s aspirants ahead of the governorship primary.
Oyegun said this after a closed door meeting with all the aspirants at the national secretariat on Saturday, saying, “we have all accepted that there is nothing wrong in anybody, be it a member of the party or non member, endorsing any of the aspirants. We have also accepted unanimously that there will be no attempt on the part of the party to impose any aspirant on the party and on the electorate of Ondo state.
“We have done the very clear distinction between endorsement and imposition. I want to state in very clear terms and assure all the aspirants that the party at national level has no preferred aspirant and is jot going to endorse any aspirant. They are all equal members of the party who have entrusted us with the management of the affair of their party.
So, we have the responsibility to be as impartial as is humanly possible.
“I want to make it clear and without doubt that the party has no preferred candidate either at national level or at state level, ” he said.
Also, the National Vice Chairman of the party in the South-West, Chief Pius Akinyelure, described the removal of the state chairman as a huge joke.
Akinyelure explained that the aggrieved members had no right to remove the State Chairman of the party describing the purported removal as null and void and of no consequence.
He said the aggrieved members were engaged in anti-party activities and would soon be brought to book at the appropriate time.
In his reaction to his sack, Kekemeke described the aggrieved SWC members as “funny characters” saying “this news is laughable.”
He noted that the aggrieved members were at a crossroad saying they have appointed two chairmen within a week as they have earlier appointed Saka Yusuf as Chairman and now switched to the Deputy Chairman.
“My appeal to them is that they should apply some caution in the way we fight knowing full well that we are one family and knowing full well that we need to reserve all the energy we required for November election.
“Some of these people that are fighting where were they during the real battle in the Presidential and National Assembly election?….
“It’s unfortunate that many of these people flex muscles and expend so much energy in intra party crisis and do little in intra party struggles, but I want to plead with them there will still be an open, free and fair primary, they should use their energy to garner support rather than concentrating in destroying the party.”
He said only the national executive members of the party could remove the chairman at the state level, being a member of that national executive.
“They should go and check their constitution and should not dissipate their energy and waste their time and should stop this distraction”, he said.