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11 Ondo APC governorship aspirants reject indirect primary

Published by The Nation on Sat, 11 Jul 2020

Jide Orintunsin, AbujaELEVEN All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirants in Ondo State on Friday petitioned the partys Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC), rejecting the planned indirect mode of primary election on July 20.Joseph Olusola Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Owolabi Adelami, Issacs Duerimini Kekemeke, Olusola Oke Alex, lfeoluwa Olusola 0yedele and Olajumoke Olubusola Anifowoshe said the majority of party members prefer direct primary for the nomination of the partys candidate for the forthcoming election.Other signatories to the petition are: Awodeyi Akinsehinwa Akinola Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Dr. Abraham Olusegun Michael and Dr. Nathaniel Adojutelegan.Only the incumbent, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who is seeking a second term, did not append his signature.However, one of the 11 petitioners crashed out of the race after failing the screening conducted by a panel.The disqualified aspirant was not named.The petition dated 8th July, 2020 and entitled Why indirect primary cannot be an option for Ondo State Governorship Primary Election was submitted by Chief Olusola Oke, one of the aspirants on behalf of others at the National Chairmans office at about 3:15pm.It was gathered that the aspirants were reacting to a Thursday release by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicating that indirect mode of primary election had been approved for the primary.The petitioners said that having variously traversed the length and breadth of Ondo State, interfacing with party members as Aspirants, we can confidently inform you that overwhelming majority of our party members prefer Direct Primary for the nomination of the partys candidate for the 2020 Governorship Election.According to them, adopting indirect primary in the state, given the prevailing mood and circumstances, is hazardous.They recalled that the party has been engrossed in a legal action at the Federal High Court, Akure, Ondo State, following the rejection by party members of the validity of the Ward, Local Government and State Executives purported to have emerged from the compromised congresses of 2019.They said the suit with no FHC/AK/CS/10/19 was provoked by the complaint that those currently parading themselves as party executives at all levels in the state were singlehandedly selected outside the congresses, contrary to the provisions APC Constitution, by His Excellency, the Governor of Ondo State and his allies.Continuing, they said: It is the law and it stands to good logic that no party to the above suit should take any step that will undermine the authority of the court during the pendency of the suit.The party acting in disregard of a pending case stands the risk of the exercise carried out in contempt being declared a nullity notwithstanding the merit of the case.Furthermore, should the suit ultimately succeed on the merit, any structure built to the contrary stands vitiated.The APC, they said, is no longer in a position to comply with the mandatory provision of Article 20 of its Constitution 2014, as amended, which spelt out the modalities of conducting indirect mode of primaryArticle 20(i)(a)(ii)(ii)(e)(iv)(a)(b)(CMd) sets out the mandatory procedure and steps to be taken where the party adopts Indirect Primary. By the provision, a governorship candidate shall emerge from an Electoral College of delegates elected by members of the party from the various wards contained in the particular constituency at congresses.The number of delegates required for the office of a governor shall be determined from time to time by the National Executive Committee (NEC). Voting at the ward congresses to elect the delegates for the Electoral College shall be by Secret Ballot.These are mandatory requirements which supersede any guidelines or decisions to the contrary, having regard to the supremacy of the Constitution as enshrined in Article 2 thereof, stressing that, clearly, the party has time constraint to comply with the above provision.The group then submitted that for the above reasons and the overriding need to maximise fairness and minimise bitterness that, as stakeholders, we most humbly insist that Direct Primary be adopted as was peacefully utilised in Edo, Osun, Lagos, Oyo and Ogun states.It will provide a level playing ground for all aspirants and assist in no small measure in mobilising party members to own the candidature of whoever emerges from the process.The consequence of knowingly opening the race to all willing members of the party by allowing them to invest time, energy and huge resources only to hand over victory to one of the aspirants by adopting a mode only favourable to that aspirant, is too grave to imagine, given the prevailing mode generally in the state and particularly in the party.11 aspirants scale hurdle for PrimaryThe APC Screening Committee for the Ondo State Governorship Primary Election yesterday cleared 11 aspirants seeking the partys ticket at the July 20 primary.The disqualified aspirant was not named, neither was the reason for his disqualification given.But he is to appeal to the Screening Appeal Committee today.Presenting the report of the two-day exercise to the National Secretary of the partys Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC) at the partys National Secretariat yesterday, the chairman of the Screening Committee, Alhaji Tijjani Tumsa, said each of the aspirants was scored based on his presentation and educational qualifications, among other criteria.He said one of the 12 aspirants failed to meet up the requirements set by the party.His words: We commenced the screening exercise two days ago. There were 12 aspirants in all and Im glad to report that they all showed up for the exercise and we were able to conduct the screening within the two days stipulated.The committee decided that the aspirants be scored based on their presentations, educational qualifications, their commitment to the party, knowledge of the constitution, community service, manifesto of the APC, their team spirit and working experience.Of the 12 aspirants for the election, the committee has deemed it possible to qualify eleven of the aspirants to contest for the primary. We understand of course that the 12th aspirant has the option of appealing the decision of the committee.I will like to emphasise and to commend the aspirants who cooperated in no small measures for the success of this exercise. I will like to seize this opportunity to thank the party for finding us worthy to conduct the exercise.The party Caretaker Committee Chairman, Governor Mai Mala Buni, commended the committee for a thorough job.We paraded brilliant people and we have no doubt about your capacity to deliver, he said.The chairman, who was represented by the caretaker committees secretary, Sen. John Akpan Udoedehe, said that the report would be transferred to the appeal committee for necessary action.The aspirants that participated in the screening were the incumbent governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, Joseph Olusola Iji, Odimayo Okunjimi, Olayide Owolabi Adelaml mni, Issacs Duerimini Kekemeke, Olusola Oke Alex, lfeoluwa Olusola 0yedele and Olajumoke Olubusola Anifowoshe.Others are Awodeyi Akinsehinwa Akinola Colinus, Olubukola Adetula, Dr.Abraham Olusegun Michael and Dr. Nathaniel Adojutelegan.The disqualified candidate will appear before the Screening Appeal Committee today in Abuja.APC chairman in Ese-Odo LGA resignsThe disagreement between Governor Akeredolu and his deputy has caused the resignation of the Chairman of the APC in Ese- Odo local government area of the state, Mr. Samuel Olorunwa.Olorunwa tendered his resignation letter yesterday at the APC state secretariat in Akure.He said he resigned his position as chairman and his membership of the APC.Olorunwa is a close ally of Deputy Governor of the state, Agboola Ajayi, who recently defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
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