2019: Ex-Governor Oni’s Group Adopts Direct Primary in Ekiti

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By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

In what appears like another impending crisis that may hit the Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a group loyal to former Governor Segun Oni, Atunse Ekiti Movement, has thrown its weight behind the direct primary election suggested by the national leadership of the party.

The group hailed President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Chairman
of the party, Mr. Adams Oshimhole, for taking a bold step to reduce the influence of moneybags in the party by returning the APC to the people, who are the real owners.

The group, however, praised the Ekiti APC Council of Elders for trying to settle the rift between Oni and the governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, following

the suit filed by Oni challenging the eligibility of Fayemi, to participate in the party’s primary on account of his refusal to resign 30 days before the election as a minister in Buhari’s cabinet.

The council, at a meeting in Igbara Odo last Friday and presided over by its Chairman, Chief George Akosile, prevailed on Oni to withdraw the suit in the spirit of unity and in order not to distract Fayemi as a governor.

The group, in a statement signed by a former member of the House of
Representatives and Director General of Segun Oni Campaign Organisation, Dr. Ife Arowosoge, after its meeting on Monday, said they would not allow anyone to pocket the APC and run it like a personal fiefdom in Ekiti.

Part of the resolutions reached, according to Arowosoge, included: “They adopted the direct primary option for all elective offices in Ekiti State as approved by the National Executive Committee which was contained in the signed release of the Acting National  publicity
Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena.

“Members were urged to resist any attempt at imposing indirect primary
as is being rumoured because it is subject to manipulation and
corruption.

“Members of APC were therefore advised to go home and work with
other leaders in their various wards to come out with unity or consensus list where possible and where consensus is not workable, interested aspirants should obtain nomination forms from state secretariat of the party to contest for any positions of their choice.

“The meeting also viewed the rumours making the round that only two
nomination forms are available for each of the positions as a dangerous trend if the rumour is correct.

“Not making nomination forms available to all aspirants is seen as a way to rig the election and as such, the State Executive Committee under chairman Jide Awe should please ensure that nomination forms are made available to all aspirants… nobody should be deprived of his or her right to contest for any of the positions stipulated by the party’s constitution.”

On the already pending litigation against Fayemi, Arowosoge added that Oni shouldn’t be held liable over the pending suit against the governor-elect.

“We recalled that Chief Oni met with APC Elders’ Council prior to the election where he suggested that the elders should endeavour to reach out to other leaders of the Atunse Ekiti Movement which the elders did.

“The elders were told  that representatives of Atunse Ekiti Movement had earlier met with the Deputy National Chairman, Otunba Niyi
Adebayo and other South-west members of the National Working Committee on the same issue and that Otunba Adeniyi  promised to facilitate a meeting between our group and Dr Fayemi.

“The question begging for answer now is why has the meeting promised by Otunba not taken place up till today after over two months of that promise?

“The meeting was surprised that despite the intervention of Otunba Adebayo and that of the elders to ensure amicable settlement, Dr. Fayemi has hitherto maintained complete silence on the matter. What then does anybody expect us to do?” He asked.

Arowosoge said it will resist any attempt by anybody to rig the primary or compile the list of would-be National and State Assembly members in 2019, saying only a credible and acceptable direct primary will be adopted to elect the candidates where consensus failed.

“We warned that if it is true that the would-be party state chairman has been allocated to a person in Gbonyin, the secretary to another person in Oye Local Government, and that the list of the 26 members of the state House of Assembly has already been compiled  even before the primary election is conducted and also the would-be Speaker of the House has been allocated to a person in Ikere and all of this are
happening without the knowledge of major stakeholders in the party, then the elders should know that democratic institution is fast being destroyed in our dear state,” he stated.