•  Party backs state chairman, Kekemeke

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The reconciliatory meeting convened by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday ended without a resolution of the rift between the contending forces in the Ondo State chapter of the party.

The Deputy National Chairman (North) of the party, Senator Lawal Shuaibu, who presided over the meeting, said the state remained an APC state notwithstanding the misgivings among party stakeholders.

Speaking shortly after the meeting with members of the state executive of the APC in the state, Shuiabu restated the position of the party recognising Mr. Isaac Kekemeke as the authentic chairman of the APC in the state.

Most of the other leaders of the party in the state had accused Kekemeke of bais in favour of one of the candidates allegedly anointed by the national leader of APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Accused of doing the bidding of a national leader of the party, Bola Tinubu, to favour one of the aspirants, Segun Abraham, the APC chairman, said he had two months ago announced his decision to members of his executive committee.

The aggrieved members at yesterday’s peace meeting insisted  that the vote of no confidence on Kekemeke still subsists and that even though they respect the authority of the national body, the restoring the state chairman to his office must follow due process.

However, in a compromise  move, Kekemeke declared that he would not be exercising his right to vote in Saturday’s governorship primary election of the party.
Kekemeke spoke yesterday after a trouble-shooting parley conveyed at the instance of the national leadership of the party in Abuja.

“I have said repeatedly that I do not prefer any of the aspirants but I have also no power to deny anyone the constitutional right to prefer any aspirant. All I know is that I don’t have a preference, I have a vote. In the interest of perception, I did announce to the state working committee over two months ago that I was not going to vote.

“My preferred aspirant is the one that is able to garner the majority of votes, to get the highest endorsement and the about 3,000 delegates would determine my preference”, he said.

He also denied knowledge of his removal from office, saying “the National Working Committee (NWC) has told you that they are not aware of that (removal) and I am also not aware”.

However, Vice Chairman of the party in the state, Ade Adetimilehin, who is opposed to Kekemeke, said: “The meeting warned the state chairman not to use the party machinery to endorse any aspirant because he has been doing that. As regards his removal, the NWC assured that they would look into it. Nobody asked us to go back to the status quo. The national body said they will look into the vote of no confidence passed on Mr. Kekemeke.”