Following the postponement of the February 16 Presidential and National Assembly Elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Ondo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is set to approach the rescheduled elections with a more divided house.
The latest crisis rocking the party is the current allegation by the Leaders and Elders Forum of the party in Akoko North West local government area of the state on the alleged anti-party activities by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as regards his support for the candidates of Action Alliance, AA in the state as well as the funding of the party at the detriment of his party, APC and the candidates contesting underneath.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the forum, Thalis Apalowo, the Presidential candidate of the APC, President Muhammadu Buhari and national leadership of the party were alerted on what they described as the looming failure of the APC at the polls as a result of the diversion machineries meant for the support of APC in the state to AA by the Governor.
Recall that following the failure of the supposed anointed candidates of Governor Akeredolu to clinched the APC’s ticket during the party’s primaries, he allegedly directed them to quit the APC in order to fly under AA.
According to the statement which was entitled, “General Elections: The Looming Threat To Victory Of Ondo APC”, the national leadership of the party was urged to relate directly with APC candidates in the state and avoid dealing with the governor if meaningful result is to be achieved for the party at the Saturday’s polls.
“In line with the ethics and ideology of our party, the APC, we, the leaders and elders of the party in Akoko North West local government wish to call the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National leadership of our party to the looming threat to the victory of our party in Ondo State.
“It is no longer news that the media has reported the involvement of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in anti-party activities. What the Media is yet to report is that the governor has mobilised the machineries of the government of Ondo State and local councils to work for his preferred candidates in the Action Alliance (AA).
“As a matter of fact, the governor has commissioned many APC leaders in Ondo State for his personal political interest in the Action Alliance (AA).
“For us, we consider the report that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu disbursed the money meant for Ondo APC to his political allies in Ondo AA as the height of anti-party activities. In Ondo North senatorial district and other parts of Ondo State, the money meant for APC was distributed to members of AA.”
The APC leaders further stated that, “In 2015, Ondo North senatorial district contributed 108,062 votes out of the 299,889 votes polled by the APC in Ondo State. The district, being the abode of the progressives, has never been won over by the opposition.
However, the task of increasing the number of votes polled in 2015 by over 50% is being threatened by presumed friends of our party. Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is the principal threat to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and other APC candidates in Ondo State.
They also emphasized that the support of Governor Akeredolu to AA should not be taken with kid gloves particularly that the national body of AA has pledged to work for the victory of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar at the polls.
“It is a known fact that the leadership of AA in Ondo state has complied with the directives of their National leaders to work for the success of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and all PDP candidates in Ondo State.
“Despite this reality, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has continued to finance the AA and its candidates in Ondo State. It therefore indicates that the governor is indirectly funding the presidential aspiration of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
“As much as we respect the established hierarchy of the party, we wish to express our displeasure at the anti-party activities of the governor and the silence of the National leadership of the party.
“As leaders of the party in Ondo State, we no longer trust the governor to lead the party to victory on the 23rd of February 2019. The governor cannot be trusted.
“On this note, we reiterate our total support for all APC candidates; President Muhammad Buhari as the President of Nigeria, Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice as the Senator representing Ondo North senatorial district, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo as House of Representative member to represent Akoko north east/north west Federal constituency.
“To ensure the victory of APC in Ondo State, we demand that President Muhammadu Buhari and the National leadership of APC should relate directly with all APC candidates in Ondo State.
“Finally, we urge the National leadership of APC to provide necessary support for all APC candidates in Ondo State. This is the sure way to APC’s victory in Ondo State.”
However, the governor through the Commissioner for Information, Yemi Olowolabi, denied the allegations, describing them as baseless.
“From the contents of his statement, Mr. Apalowo must have fallen victim of deliberate misinformation by some mischievous politicians.
“For the record, and perhaps to rescue Apalowo from the gully of distortions, especially this allegation that the governor is working against President Buhari, it is important to let the world know that Governor Akeredolu donated and branded over 20 buses to the Buhari\Osibajo campaigns in the state.
“The Governor also set up one of the best-equipped political campaign office in the south west region of the country. This is in addition to flooding the capital city and other major towns across the state with Buhari\Osibajo campaign billboards, while at the same time sponsoring radio and television commercials of the Buhari/Osibajo campaign,” the commissioner stated.