*As 18 Local government chairmen demand cancellation
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Council of Local Government Chairmen in Ondo State Thursday debunked the report that they supported the ‘disputed’ September 3 primary election won by Mr Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
Earlier in the week, a newspaper advertorial was published in a national daily signed by 13 APC local government chairmen upholding the outcome of the primary election.
However, members of the group in its majority have now thrown their weight behind the recommendation on cancellation by the Appeal committee.
Besides, the Conference of the 203 ward chairmen in all the 18 local government areas in the state have also aligned with the cancellation, describing it “as against the party’s anti-corruption stance”.
They expressed confidence in the party National Working Committee (NWC) to ratify the recommendation soon.
The statement by the party chairmen after its meeting said “We, the undersigned members of Council of Local Government Chairmen, have come across a spurious and bogus advertorial of resolutions made pursuant to the recently concluded Ondo State gubernatorial primary election on page 32 of The Nation, Monday, September 19, by one Mr. Rasheed Badmus.
“We note that at the Council’s meeting on Friday, September 16, the Council meeting neither deliberated on the recent governorship primary election held on September 3 nor did the Council conclude to stand by the outcome of the said primary election.
“We therefore disassociate this Council and its undersigned members from the said resolutions as contained in the spurious publication and condemn it as not our deeds.
“We restate that the issue of whether the APC Ondo State governorship primary election is free, fair and credible and the validity or otherwise of the election of Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, as the Candidate of the Party in the State is for the determination of Ondo State Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee and we resolve to stand by the decision of the Appeal Committee on the primary election.
“We affirm that majority of the people of Ondo State stand by the decision of the Appeal Committee and are prepared for a rerun of the primary election as recommended.
“This is evident in the mood of dark cloud cast on Ondo State since the announcement of Akeredolu as the Candidate of the Party in the State, and the jubilant scenes that met the announcement of annulment on Monday.”
The Party Chairmen advised the NWC to speed up action on the implementation of the recommendation of the Appeal Committee, describing it as “the only sure way of guaranteeing peace, justice and due process of law to guarantee victory for the APC in the November 26 poll.
According to the statement “the only issue tabled for discussion at the Council’s meeting was the resolution of the pending litigation in the Federal High Court, Akure Division in respect of the purported removal from office of the APC Ondo State Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke.
Among APC Party leaders that signed the statement on behalf of the entire group include Tito Babalola (Akoko North East), Akintunde Olainukan (Ondo East), O. Olumide (Ilaje), Chief. Akeremale (Okitipupa), and Z.O Omoge (Irele).
Others are Dauda Bolakale (Akoko South West),Oluwasaanu Ogunbi (Akoko South East), Alhaji Rauf Gbadeyan(Odigbo), A. Adefulire (Ile Oluji/ Oke-igbo) and J. A Oredola (Ose).
In their own statement, the 18 Chairmen of chairmen of the 203 wards in the entire 18 local government areas of the state also expressed support for the recommendation of the Appeal Committee through a signed statement by their leader, Chief James Olumide Kolawole, in Akure yesterday.
According to the statement, the ward chairmen said “As true party leaders in our own rights, we respect the petitions that have been written to the Electoral Appeal Committee, seeking redress as touching the many irregularities that blighted the said gubernatorial primary election”.
“We are confident in the party’s internal mechanism, the NEC, and the Electoral Appeal Committee set up by our party to give a verdict in the coming days, that will be consistent with the stance of integrity that our great party stands for.
“It is to this end that we respect and back the recommendation given by the Appeal Committee, and we hereby, in earnest but patiently, await and will stand by the official outcome from the deliberations of our National Working Committee, and we dissociate ourselves from any desperate move aimed at jettisoning that process.”
One of the LGA Chairmen from Akoko North East, Mr. Tito Babalola, in a seperate statement assured the party members and the people of Ondo that the APC will come out stronger from the present impasse and take over the governance in the state.
He said, “We are sure that our great party in Ondo state will come out more united from this phase, and we will rescue the state from the clueless clutches of the incumbent pseudo-government mismanaging the resources of the sunshine state”.