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APC primary: Intrigues as aspirants intensify lobbying

By Jubril Bada

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Ahead of today, April 3 deadline for the sale of nomination and expression of interest forms by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2024 governorship election in Ondo State, aspirants under the platform of the party are embarking on intensive and feverish preparations as not less than 12 of them have purchased forms to slug it out in the forthcoming primary election slated for April 20, 2024.

It was gathered that the ruling APC has opted for direct primary to pick its governorship candidate at the momentous event.

Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs.Oluwatoyin Babalola had  last month during a meeting held with the representatives of political parties in preparation for the upcoming primaries also confirmed the date.

Indications in the APC suggest that the party has conceded the governorship ticket to the Southern Senatorial District of the state. So far, all the aspirants that have declared their intention to run are from the district, following the claim that the Central had ruled for eight years while the second term of the North will be completed February next year.

Among many aspirants who have shown interest to contest on the platform of the ruling APC, no fewer than 12 candidates have already purchased the N50m nomination form each, as at Tuesday evening.

Those who have obtained the form since its commencement day on March 27, include incumbent Governor, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa; Waheed-Adekojo Funmilayo  (only female); Olusoji Ehinlanwo, Jimi Odimayo, and Senator Jimoh Ibrahim.

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Others are, the party National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Isaacs Kekemeke; Akinfolarin Mayowa; Adewale Akinterinwa; Olugbenga Edema; Chief Olusola Oke; Prince Diran Iyantan and Felix Ohunyeye.

Our reporters learnt that the candidates are not leaving anything to chance by embarking on awareness tours to all the 18 local government areas of the state.

Recall that during his declaration of intent to contest for the governorship seat in Akure, the State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa received the support of one of the governorship aspirants, Mr. Tunji Moyero who collapsed his campaign structures for the governor to be the standard bearer of the party.

Expectedly, the political air in the state ahead of the primary is thick with Intrigues and intense lobbying by the leading aspirants and their supporters ahead of the April 20 governorship primary. The battle for the soul of APC members has since   shifted to Abuja where aspirants are trying to outsmart one another tapping on vital political clouts just to secure the party’s ticket.

Already, 15 members of the State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Chief Olamide Oladiji paid a solidarity visit to the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje in Abuja where they declared their unwavering support for the aspiration of Governor Aiyedatiwa in the upcoming governorship election.

The party has also directed all aspirants to submit the educational certificates they intend to attach to their documents for vetting, which according to a letter by Professor Abdulkarim Kana, APC National Legal Adviser, the exercise is slated for this week.

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Aspirants are expected to submit to the Legal Department the Certificates intended for attachment with nomination form before the April 4, 2024, while the vetting process which entails sighting for physical documents takes place from April 5 to April 10.

The notice stated that the demand for the credentials of all aspirants is in line with item 5 of the Amended Schedule of Activities for the Ondo State Gubernatorial Primaries 2024 was under paragraph 12 of the guidelines for the nomination of candidates for the November election in the state.

The essence for the party to undertake preliminary vetting of certificates before submission to INEC, it was gathered may not be unconnected with the avoidance of past events where candidates or their running mates submit fake certificates, which ultimately proved fatal to the party in court.

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