James Sowole in Akure
The fear of a parallel primary to elect candidates on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for Ondo State ahead of the 2019 National and House of Assemblies elections was heightened Monday as opponents of indirect primaries adopted by the state branch of the party started obtaining nomination and expression of interest forms from a parallel executive of the party.
One of the opponents of the indirect primary and a serving member of the House of Representatives, Hon Kolawole Babatunde, was presented his form by the parallel chairman of the party in the state, Mr Idowu Otetubi.
Otetubi, who described himself as the authentic chairman of the APC in the state, said the party allowed aspirants to obtain their forms either at the state secretariat or at the National Secretariat.
He said he was the chairman that emerged from the properly constituted congress of the party.
He said Babatunde, who is representing Akoko South West/Akoko South East Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, has paid the required fees and had obtained the forms.
The factional chairman said members of the party held a stakeholders’ meeting and had adopted direct primary method to elect party candidates.
Speaking after the presentation, Babatunde said it was the authentic state chairman of the party that presented the expression of interest form to him.
“As far as I am concerned, we are not afraid of any parallel candidates because the APC under the leadership of Otetubi is the authentic APC in Ondo State. We bought the forms and followed the due process as laid down by the constitution of the party.
“I don’t see any parallel primaries. As we speak, we are in court and I am sure we will get victory. Thank God the national leadership of the party in their wisdom have given their support to direct primaries which is the best option as we speak. That will put aside the two executive factions on ground aside and give a level playing field for everybody.
“As we speak, the card carrying members of the party are going to be the ones that will vote in primaries. I don’t see any issue arising as far as I am concerned.
“The proponents of indirect primaries are those people that are not on ground. They know that they are in the minority in this state. They are afraid of normal election where every card carrying members of the party are going to vote.
“If you are in the majority in the party, you don’t need to be scared of direct primary. We started this party, we have been on ground and we are saying we are ready for direct primary.
“The national secretariat of the party has the record of every card carrying member in this country not only in Ondo State. They have done it in Osun, it was successful, Lagos has bought into it, even Ogun and Oyo. The only state that is opposing it in the South-west is Ondo State. Why should we be an exception?” Babatunde asked.