By Temitope Adedeji in Akure
Following the controversy surrounding the alleged endorsement of Dr. Olusegun Abraham ahead of the forthcoming primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the governorship election in Ondo State, the Akoko Elders Assembly has replied Dr. Tunji Abayomi, who has been moving against the alleged endorsement and castigating APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in the process.
The Assembly asked Abayomi to check his dictionary well and find out the meanings of “endorsement” and “imposition”.
The elders lauded the party’s National Leader, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, for his action, which they said was to support the decision reached by elders of Akokoland.
The Chairman of the Assembly, Chief Felix Ayegbusi, who led the Akoko Elders to a news conference in Akure on Tuesday, said the action could not be described as an imposition since every aspirant in the party would still have the opportunity to participate in the primaries.
The group, which also said there was a clear difference between “endorsement and imposition” in politics and every aspirant reserves a right to seek the endorsement of APC leaders because it was in tandem with the moves they made earlier to produce a viable candidate from Akokoland.
Ayegbusi said: “For the record, the Assembly, which comprises APC elders from the four local government areas in Akokoland, had earlier endorsed and projected Dr. Abraham out of many Akoko aspirants who indicated interest from the Ondo North Senatorial District to emerge as the candidate of the party.
“There is a mischievous campaign in circulation to the effect that the advisory decision of our leaders amounts to an imposition. We are here to disabuse the minds of our members, particularly our delegates, of this misgiving.”
Ayegbusi extricated Tinubu from the accusation of imposition of Abraham against him by one of the governorship aspirants from Akokoland, Abayomi, explaining that the endorsement was an intra-communal decision to strengthen the chance of Akoko’s candidate in the party.
According to him, Dr. Abayomi is a lawyer of no mean repute, adding, however: “We therefore do expect a lawyer of his calibre to know the difference between endorsement and imposition. We believe that he is just being mischievous in his condemnation of the endorsement.”
The chairman explained further that “what we have on the ground is mere endorsement, which is nothing more than a piece of advice to the delegates. The final decision rests with the delegates. In effect, the other aspirants are free to continue to seek the face of the delegates.
“Nobody has imposed anybody. No individual, leader or group will do so or can even do so. We reject imposition totally but we welcome the advice that comes from the wisdom of our leaders.
“No imposition has taken place and none will ever take place. Delegates are free to choose as they may wish. But of course, as an area favoured by the endorsement, and in the light of the fact that we too had earlier endorsed the same Dr. Abraham.
“Let our delegates be rest assured that nothing has happened to abridge their rights to vote for the aspirant of their choice at the primary election,” Ayegbusi said.
The Assembly, which made a recourse to the response of Tinubu to Dr. Abayomi, lauded the APC leader for his efforts to promote the party.
The Assembly urged party members “and the public to ignore Dr. Abayomi, particularly in his Facebook war against rationality, and reject any suggestion of imposition”.