As the race for Alagbaka House, the Ondo State Government House, heats up and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is preparing to conduct its gubernatorial election primaries scheduled July 22, 2020, by the party’s national secretariat, party stalwarts including gubernatorial aspirants have called for a direct primary system which they claim is the best way to forestall the crisis.
Leading the call is a member of the APC Board of Trustee and leader of the APC Unity Forum in the state, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, who stated that because the party is divided along various factional lines, the direct primary is the only feasible option that will give everyone a fair playground.
Olanusi in a statement, on Monday, stated that it is a blatant lie to say the APC in Ondo state is not a fictionalised party and the state is calling for indirect primaries, adding that that position is being propagated by some hired political miscreants with sinister motives to give a wrong impression about the reality on the ground in the state.
“The gospel truth is that Ondo APC is divided along faction lines. Although rumours making the rounds indicated that some mischievous elements are making frantic efforts to sway and compromise some members of the National Working Committee but I am of the strong belief that no member of the committee would bite such baits. As much as I know, they are men who would not want to trade their integrity for a morsel.
“Furthermore, findings have revealed and it is also a public knowledge that not less than 80 per cent of our party members and most governorship aspirants in the state prefer the direct primary option to indirect. Therefore, anything short of this would amount to denying them the opportunity of choosing their preferred candidate as the flag bearer of our party at the general election.
“The general belief here in Ondo State is that whoever plans to take cover under the indirect primary option now is not fit to be the candidate of our party at the general election when there will be no hiding place for anyone. I call on the leadership of our great party and members of the National Working Committee to heed the voice of the majority of our members and give us the direct primary option as anything different would amount to going contrary to the earlier position and pronouncement made by the National Working Committee that primary elections in APC would be conducted using the direct primary option,” he said.
Also speaking, one of the gubernatorial aspirants on the platform of the party, Chief Bukola Adetula, stated that only direct primary option can reflect true democracy in the 2020 APC governorship primary elections in Ondo state, adding that having x-rayed the present predicament of the party in the state, it is obvious that the only transparent mode that would be acceptable to all party members in the state is the direct primary option.
Adetula who described the present state of the party as a festering sore that is oozing out puss and stench posited that the party has never been healthy since the conduct of the 2016 governorship primaries, stated that the bizarre hijack of the party by a cabal loyal to the incumbent governor has kept the majority of party leaders and faithful away while they look at the party they laboured to build from afar off.
“Consequently, other splinter groups developed within the party and a fight for the soul of the party has been ongoing. It would only be fair and rational for the party to conduct a primary that would afford all party members the opportunity to participate in the exercise otherwise the animosity would continue to increase and may badly affect the chances of the party at the general election,” he stated.
Adetula made reference to the pending court case by the Unity Group faction that is challenging the eligibility of the present state executives which is constitutionally positioned to produce the party’s candidate in an indirect primary. He warned that if eventually, the case goes the way of the plaintiffs, then the Zamfara experience would repeat itself in Ondo state.
According to him, the withdrawal of Hon Otetubi does not in any way affect the case in court as it still subsists. And on this premise, he called on the leadership of the party not to give the indirect option any thought but to conduct a direct primary that is transparent and acceptable to all.