The crisis rocking the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC has thickened going by the ‘brickbats’ being thrown by the aides of the State Governor, Olawarotimi Akeredolu and supporters of other leaders of the party in the State.
The latest is the reaction of the chieftain of the party, Chief Olusola Oke, SAN to the statements credited to the aides of the governor, where he admonished Akeredolu to call his aides to order over the incessant attacks on the leaders of the party, which he alleged were based on the directives of the governor.
Following the query of the party’s National Working Committee, NWC, to Akeredolu over his role at the just concluded election, his aides have been attacking the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the South West Director General of the 2019 Buhari Campaign Council, Olusola Oke, former Deputy Governor of the State, Alhaji Ali Olanusi as well as the former chairman of the party, Isaac Kekemeke among others as regards their stance against the anti-party activities of the governor.
Recall that prior to the 2019 General Elections, Akeredolu had directed APC members in the state to work for the victory of candidates who contested under the platform of the Action Alliance, AA, following the failure of his anointed candidates to secure the APC’s National Assembly ticket.
The governor’s move which was termed anti-party was said to have affected the fortunes of the party at the Presidential and National Assembly polls with the party losing Ondo to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Based on this, the aides of the governor, particularly the Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Doyin Adebowale, Ilaje Caretaker Chairman, Otito Atikase and the Chairman, Ondo State Radiovision Corporation, OSRC, Kunle Adeniyi among others on various platforms and at different fora have been justifying Akeredolu’s move as they related his action to when Oke dumped APC for the Alliance for Democracy, AD over his failure to clinch the party’s governorship ticket in 2016 before decamping back to APC after the emergence of Akeredolu as governor.
But in a statement issued on Monday and made available to DAILY POST, Oke emphasized that the scenario that facilitated his movement from the APC to AD in 2016 was quite different from the action of Akeredolu in 2019.
The statement signed by Rotimi Ogunleye, the media aide to Oke and entitled, “MR GOVERNOR, CALL YOUR MEN TO ORDER,” reads in parts, “The deliberate silence of Chief Oke all this while is premised on the need for peace in the party. Moreover, being an experienced party administrator, Chief Oke understands the irredeemable havoc that internal bickering, gossips and power conflict can wreck on a political party, especially anyone in power.
“The writer of the syndicated interview made a futile attempt at burying the ghost of the 2016 primary election and also tinkering with the idea of trivializing the unfruitful stint some APC leaders had in the Action Alliance (AA) in the last election. We would have ignored Kunle Adebayo but for the need to protect the truth from the wicked shield of his narratives.
“For the records, Chief Oke and other aspirants protested the outcome of the 2016 gubernatorial primary election of the APC, which the aide of Governor Akeredolu refers to in the interview, on the ground that it was fraught with frauds.
“The grounds as contained in the petitions of all the aspirants that challenged the outcome are:
1. That the process of accreditation of delegates was not credible
2. That the delegates list was doctored and corrupted
3. That 300 delegate tags were issued fraudulently in line with the doctored delegate list.
“The National Appeal Panel upheld the above three grounds. Going further, because there was no any argument or probate evidence from the organizers of the nomination exercise strong enough to vitiate the grounds, the majority of the National Working Committee members of the APC (6 against 5 of the members) approved that the primary election be cancelled.
“Instead of justice, our protest was met with more unfairness and injustice. At the end, the minority overruled the majority. We lack the tolerance for that level of injustice where 5 was greater than 6, hence the resolve of Chief Oke and his supporters to exit the APC for the Alliance for Democracy (AD) voluntarily. He and his supporters did not stay in the party to throw dirts and undermine its effort.
“Just as the people have thought that the story of AD has become a part of history, the aides of the governor, in an attempt to defend the foray into the Action Alliance by those that are aggrieved, has unearthed the hitherto dead story. They have since resorted to making the case of Chief Oke’s defection to AD as a potent defense for the AA adventure.
He added that, “It should be noted here that referring to the movement of Chief Oke and his supporters across the state to the AD and using same as a celebrated basis for shifting the body of blame at this time defeats their claims to courage.
“This denial can only show lack of determination and attempt to evade responsibility. There is no perfect human anywhere. What defines us is our ability to accept responsibility for our actions and seek redress whenever we have gone wrong.
“The above history notwithstanding, Chief Oke after a broad-based reconciliation meeting brokered by Chief Odige Oyegun, the immediate past National Chairman of APC, and other reputable national leaders, has since returned to the APC fold with others that left the party.
“This is not uncommon with his experience as a good party administrator and understanding of the infertile game played by boys who seek relevance and patronage at the corridor of power.
“While Kunle Adebayo in his narratives attempted to heap a mountain of blames on the National Leaders of APC, he has quickly forgotten how the last congress of the party in Ondo state was subverted and party positions cornered by only a group within the state chapter from the state to the unit level.
“Hon D I Kekemeke, Senator Ajayi Borrofice, His Excellency, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, Dr Segun Abraham, Hon Dele Baderinwa, Hon Afe Olowokere and other prominent party leaders in the state including Chief Olusola Oke were schemed out.
Oke, however, maintained that it was not too late for Akeredolu and his “boys” to apologize to the party and its leaders, particularly that they toiled to build and solidify the party which the governor is benefiting from.
“The attempt to vent their anger on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a respected leader of the APC, through indecorous interviews and press statements by the aides of governor Akeredolu, is unbecoming of a party man who has benefited from the government of the party that Asiwaju and other prominent leaders of APC labored so hard to put in place.
“Chief Oke is of the firm opinion that as APC members of the southwest extraction, party elders, especially the one that has made huge sacrifices capable of making the platform of APC to endure and the national chairman of our great party, deserve respect and honour at all times.
“The fact of what led some “aggrieved” persons to AA is in the public glare. Its effect ravaged the party from the northern senatorial district to the southern senatorial district. No amount of flowery narratives can blur the image of its devastating effect from the memory of Senator Yele Omogunwa, Senator Ajayi Boroffice, Hon Mayowa Akinfolarin, Hon Bunmi Tunji Ojo, Hon Adeogun, all who were the APC candidates in the last National Assembly elections. Nothing kills a party more than the monster of anti-party.
“Chief Oke believes that we can rise above this level of blame trade by accepting the reality of our situation, offer a remorseful apology to the appropriate quarters just like the party and the government did before the State House of Assembly elections, and our party will be great again.
“Lastly, it is unacceptable that the aides of governor Akeredolu will continue to throw invectives at the leaders of APC in the state and the national level without any restraint. That it has attained a usual trend suggests that the governor approves of their invectives otherwise, the governor should call his aide to order,” the statement read.