The APC and PDP have in recent weeks suffered a gale of delegates’ elections postponement due to internal wrangling within the parties. JONATHAN NDA- ISAIAH writes
All Progressives Congress ( APC) into government last year, it was with the hope that the country will be ushered into a new era of change. However, recent events have shown the difference between both parties is just in name.
Internal wrangling have threatened to tear the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) at the National level and in some states while the gubernatorial primaries of the APC in Ondo has exposed some simmering cracks within the APC in the state.
The PDP has twice postponed delegate primaries at the National level to elect it’s chairman and principal officers but due to court injunctions and counter injunctions the convention have been shifted to next year. The PDP since losing its status as the ruling party last year have been engaged in leadership crisis with the factional leaders of the party moving from one court to another to get injunctions to stop the convention.
On the other hand, the APC which has a strong foothold in the south West save Ondo and Ekiti states have set a target of snatching Ondo from the PDP in the gubernatorial elections on November, 26 this year. However the race to who get the APC ticket has generated tension within the state as accusations of imposition have threatened to tear the party apart and weaken the party ‘s chances at the polls.The party in the state has shifted the primaries first slated for August 27th, shifted to August 31st and now to September 3rd.
It will be recalled that the APC has 24 aspirants vying for one ticket in the Ondo gubernatorial elections. Trouble started when one of the aspirants, Tunji Abayomi accused the National leader of the party, Bola Tinubu of trying to impose his candidate on the party . In his now famous letter to Tinubu said,”Please do note that in keeping with your instruction, they have begun an extensive scheme to ensure that the “Candidate of the Party” that is my brother Mr Segun Abraham whom you directed them to support wins by all means possible. In short contrary to this new assurance, they are exerting much “undue influence ” on delegates to favour, unfairly the aspirant you presented to them to the detriment of peace, order and good Party process and leadership and especially the just interest of other Aspirants in Ondo state.
Continuing he said; ‘‘While I agree that you are entitled as a matter of right to support who you choose in the governorship contest including me, I hold the view that in your esteemed position as an examiner and considering the delicacy of the adventure in issue, especially the demonstrable consequences of electoral failure because of the character of our people in Ondo State, in the case of candidate imposition and especially when one reviews our party’s poor performance on 2012, I would not expect that your personal preference for an Aspirant should be made the Party’s candidate as you did in the meeting of 31.7.2016.
Responding to the allegations, Tinubu, slammed Abayomi, for describing him as a dictator.
Tinubu, in his reply described Abayomi’s comment as ‘unfair’ and an “impetuous display, unbecoming of a man who seeks the highest leadership position in the state.” In a letter addressed to Abayomi, he insisted that, as a leader in the party, he had the right to support whoever he wished to support, saying he has no regrets for his actions.
“Your letter to me is an impetuous display unbecoming a man of your status seeking the highest leadership position in his state.
In writing the letter, you appear to have been bitten by a bug that often blinds the objectivity of a man. You have been bitten by an ambition that you fear you shall not be able to realise. In your pursuit of office, you have sought my support and influence. When you sought that support, you thought it proper and democratic to do so. If I had signaled my support for you, I am sure that you would never have written this letter alleging that I was undermining the democratic will of the people. You would have been pleased with me.
While this going on,the secretary to the government of the federation , Babachir David Lawal waded into the crisis. The thinking is that a divided APC going into an election with a bruised and battered psyche is a recipe for disaster.
After a two hour meeting with the aspirants in his office In Abuja,the SGF said President Muhammadu Buhari has no preferred candidate, reiterating that the federal government will provide a level playing field for all the aspirants.
The SGF also assured that all the security agents will be properly briefed and properly deployed to guarantee the safety and security of lives and property of the people of Ondo State,delegates and aspirants alike.
He said ;We wish to reiterate that there is no preferred candidate among the 24 aspirants and government will do all in its powers to provide level playing field for all the 24 APC governorship aspirants.
“We expect that everyone of the aspirants will work hard to be in the favour of the delegates and with addition of APC we expect there should be no inducement of delegates,there will be no violence during the election.
“The President wishes each and everyone of you the best of luck,be assured you have the full support of the machinery of the party behind you whoever emerges as the successful candidate on Saturday.
He also reassured the people of the state that as a government there is no preffered candidate and as a government they will work hard to ensure that everyone is given a level playing field so that anyone that God has ordained as the prefered candidate will so emerge adding that “ all the other aspirants have agreed to line-up behind whoever emerges so that we move and soon I want to assure you that Ondo state will become an APC state.”
“We understand that tensions are high because there are some underlying factors that caused this,we understand that some candidates of the party in the state are worried because the party executives may have taken sides.”
“The national executives of the party has assured the government and we believe them in whatever things that will be done to ensure that elections are free and fare and that no officials of the party should be involved in a manner that put other contestants at a disadvantage, He stated.
Responding on behalf of the aspirants, Mrs Jumoke Anifowoshe: thanked the president for the reassurances, saying the aspirants are now satisfied and comfortable with the response of the government that the election would be free and fair.
On his part, Abayomi explained that the supposed endorsement of a particular candidate led to serious controversy in the state as a result of that quite a number of aspirant felt that equals are being treated unequally and this kind of unequal treatment led to a sense of resentment and that also led to a lot of anxiety with regard to the primaries in Ondo State.
“What the federal government has done, realising the situation in Ondo and concerned with tthe Federal government invited all accredited aspirants for a meeting to look into the issues and today we are glad that a number of issues that were of concern to us have been settled,” he said.