Akure – It has been revealed that the delay in the release of cleared aspirants by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Screening Committee for the forthcoming gubernatorial primary of the party in Ondo State was the handiwork of some APC members of the South West Governors’ Forum.
Sources at the National Secretariat of the party revealed that it’s only Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State who’s pursuing the agenda of the party as he insists on using the mode of primary clamoured for by the majority of the aspirants.
Eleven out of the 12 gubernatorial aspirants in the state were said to have written to the party’s National Secretariat demanding direct mode of primary.
It was revealed that some members of the South West Governors’ Forum have been putting pressure on Mai Mala Buni, governor, Yobe State, and chairman APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, to adopt indirect primary so that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu could emerge candidate of party.
Other aspirants had complained that Governor Akeredolu and the party chairman in the state, Mr Ade Adetimehin, appointed all the local government caretaker executives and other appointees who made the delegates’ list which the party intended to use for indirect primary.
It was also revealed that Governor Buni has been avoiding meetings with chieftains of the party who had dissenting opinion about adoption of indirect primary.
He was said to have been holding series of meetings with the APC governors from the South West who are rooting for Governor Akeredolu.
Sources said he had been avoiding Governor Oyetola who was said to have been insisting that the will of just one aspirant could not supersede demands of 11 other aspirants.
It was revealed that Governor Bini has been asking the Secretary of the party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee to represent in crucial meetings that border on the Ondo State primary.
Some of the party leaders at the National Secretariat were said to have stood against the party chairman, querying why indirect primary should be adopted in Ondo State when direct primary was adopted in Osun, Kogi and Edo states.
However, sources revealed that most likely Governor Oyetola would meet with the APC Caretaker Chairman on Wednesday to deliberate on the mode of primary to be adopted in Ondo State and the release of the names of governorship aspirants who have been cleared with presentation of clearance.
Camps of all APC governorship aspirants in the state are currently on the edge over delay in the release of names of aspirants who have been cleared by the party’s screening committee.
Speaking with HEADLINE NEWS365 on Wednesday in Akure, the state capital, supporters of each of the aspirants separately complained that the delay in releasing the names of cleared aspirants is suspicious.
Campaign director of one of the aspirants reasoned that the delay in the release of names of cleared aspirants was a strategy to create room for manipulation in favour of some individual aspirants who were said to have been disqualified by the screening committee.
He said the screening committee tactically opened the window for negotiations and manipulation to clear candidates that had been rumoured to have been disqualified.
Another chieftain of the party in another aspirant’s camp queried why the outcome of the screening was being shrouded in secrecy.
She recalled that when the screening committee that handled the screening of aspirants in Edo State completed its job, the results were released within a couple of days.
According to her, despite the fact that the incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki, was disqualified, the committee made public the outcome of the screening exercise.
“We’ve hearing that some aspirants were disqualified, why is the screening committee keeping the list of cleared aspirants secret?
“Even if our aspirant is disqualified, heavens won’t fall afterall, the incumbent governor of Edo State was disqualified. Our aspirant is not the governor, so, what’s the big deal in releasing names of those who were actually cleared.”
A stalwart and advent supporter of one of the aspirants blamed the national leadership of the party for the delay, saying if they had been sincere the names of the aspirants would have been released.
“We are five days to the primary and we are yet to know aspirants who were cleared and who was disqualified because it was rumoured that someone among the aspirants was disqualified.
“Members of the party are not sure the mode of primary that would be adopted. List of delegates has not been released for us to know whether it has been doctored to favour any aspirant or not,” the APC chieftain said.
At the party’s secretary in the state, some members of the party were heard asking when the names of cleared aspirants would be released when the primary would hold on Monday, July 20, 2020.
Meanwhile, there had been rumour that the incumbent governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had been disqualified, but this has been dismissed as false by the governor.
It was claimed that the governor’s disqualification was hinged on anti-party activities during the last general elections in the state.
Dr. Olusegun Abraham, another aspirant, was also rumoured to have been disqualified because he could not produced produce the original copy of his academic certificate before the screening committee.
But a chieftain of the party who’s a supporter of Dr. Abraham said he wasn’t disqualified but was asked to bring the original copy of his certificate and had since done that.