By Ayodele Oni, Akure
Still celebrating the end of a rift between the national leader of the All Progressive Congress, (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, the governor is again faced with a fresh feud from the home front.
This time, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and some of his media aides are being accused of fanning embers of disunity among leaders of the APC in Ondo state.
Rather than allowing the sleeping dog to lie, the governor’s aides are being castigated for refreshing some old wounds to justify some of the short comings of their paymaster. This allegation against the governor’s aides has however, been strongly denied by not a few people.
But in a statement on Monday in Akure, Rotimi Ogunleye,the media aide to a former governorship aspirant of Alliance for Democracy, (AD) in the state, Chief Olusola Oke, SAN, flayed some statements credited to Kunle Adebayo, the Special Adviser to Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, governor of Ondo state, in an interview published by a national daily.
Chief Oke had sought the ticket of AD after being dissatisfied with the outcome of the APC governorship primary election in 2016, and was fully backed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. He failed, but had since returned to the APC.
According to him, “This particular interview, apart from the trend of noticeable innuendos and name-calling by the people in the government arm of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the immediate past, has stretched our silence to its limit.
The deliberate silence of Chief Oke is premised on the need for peace in the party. Moreover, he understands the irredeemable havoc that internal bickering, gossips and power conflict can wreck on a political party.”
He alleged that Adebayo made an attempt at burying the ghost of the 2016 primary election, and also tinkering with the idea of trivializing the unfruitful stint by 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, were:
- That the process of accreditation of delegates was not credible
- That the delegates’ list was doctored and corrupted
- That 300 delegates – 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 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 when the people thought that the story of AD had become a part of history, the aides of the governor, in an attempt to defend their foray into the Action Alliance by those that are aggrieved, unearthed the hitherto dead story. They have since resorted to making the case of Chief Oke’s defection to AD a potent defence for the AA adventure.
“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.
Since his return, Chief Oke has maintained an unhidden conciliatory posture. He has avoided being part of the budding conflict among the groups and tendencies in the state chapter despite open intimidation, stigmatisation and attempt to clamp down on him and his crowd of supporters that came with him to the APC by the leaders of the party”
He, also slammed Adebayo for attempting to heap a mountain of blames on the National Leaders of APC, accusing him of forgetting 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.
According to him, 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.
Despite all of these, in agreement with other leaders of the party, Chief Oke has met with the leadership of APC, both at the state and national levels, appealing that a broad-based platform be created for assimilation and unity of purpose. This the party leadership has paid little or no attention to, especially in Ondo state.
Adebayo: “While it is not our wish to join issues with anybody despite their innuendoes and inanities, we take exceptions to the recent attempt to use our defection to the AD to justify the Action Alliance (AA) misadventure.
“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.”
However, a number of sources both in the state and Abuja dismissed the allegations, against the aides of the governor, as hogwash. They insist that the only things the governor has wished on the state and its people are peace and progress. They also insist that the problem is that some of these people want to drag the governor out to an unnecessary political bout which will not do the state any good. For now, one of them told this magazine, “we are happy with the activities of the governor, and the pace of development in the state”