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Primary: Aspirants back down, support Aiyedatiwa

By Jubril Bada

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Some governorship aspirants in the recently conducted primary of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo state have pledged their full support to the State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as the party’s flag bearer for the November 16 gubernatorial election.

The aspirants noted that they have put party interests above personal aspirations, promising to work to ensure that the governor emerges victorious in the election.

In separate interviews with The Hope, as fall out of the primary, some governorship aspirants including Prince Diran Iyantan, Ifeoluwa Oyedele and Olusoji Ehinlanwo, said the party’s interest takes precedence over any other interest for the party to be victorious in the election.

The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, had earlier met and appealed to all the 15 governorship aspirants in the April 20 primary in the state to join forces and work for Aiyedatiwa and the party’s victory in the forthcoming governorship election..

The incumbent governor and one of the 16 governorship aspirants, was declared winner of the party’s election.

However, the dust raised by the primary is yet to be finally settled as one of the aspirants in the election Senator Jimoh Ibrahim has approached court to seek legal redress.

The aspirants explained that as  foundation members of the party in the state, they would not allow it to collapse, saying whatever differences that occur now can be resolved, and that everyone should be carried along in working towards victory in the election.

They described the step taken by the National Chairman of the party, Abdullahi Ganduje, in resolving issues after the conduct and outcome of the primary as salutary and in the best interest of the party.  They enjoined party leaders within and outside the state to quickly reach out to aggrieved party members to douse the conflict over the primary.

Sounding more optimistic, Ifeoluwa Oyedele  vowed not to engage in any activity that will work against the interest and unity of the party, adding that he prefers putting aside his own individual considerations and work towards the corporate needs and requirements of the party.

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“I will not participate in anything that will scatter the party. It is compulsory for me to put aside my own individual considerations and look at the corporate needs and requirements. If I had emerged as the candidate of my party, will I not expect other aspirants and members to work with me? The answer is yes. I will allow them to work with me.

“Whatever happens, I’m one of the founders of this party. I was in the labour room when this party was being delivered. I was given the opportunity as the man who designed the Logo of the party and accepted by all the stakeholders as the largest party in Africa and till today,” Oyedele added.

Also, Olusoji Ehinlanwo pointed out that it is time to be pragmatic and put personal interests aside.

Ehinlanwo, who urged the governor to quickly reconcile with other aspirants who are not in his camp, assured him of his support to work with him to ensure victory for the APC in the November election.

On his part, Prince Diran Iyantan declared that as a loyal party member, he would not promote anti APC tendencies in any form even though the outcome of the primary election did not go well with some aspirants.

Iyantan, who pleaded with those aggrieved to sheathe their swords by toeing party’s decision on the primary and assured the party’s candidate of his support in the forthcoming election.

“We have met and agreed to work with him. I’m a party man to the core, and I will not encourage anything that will bring problem to the party. But we are advising Mr Governor to stoop to conquer, he should humble himself and reach out to other aspirants. He should caution his supporters from avoidable frenzy of jubilation, so as not to add insult to injury.

“Mr. President has the charisma and the wherewithal to call everybody to order, and it will be very effective. And anybody who acts contrary after the President’s intervention can be seen as unnecessarily stubborn.

“But some of us who are founding members of the party will not like anything that will hurt the party. I have moved on and appealed to my supporters not to do anything that will hurt the interest of the party. We wish everything would be amicably resolved in the interest of our teeming supporters and the party,” he said.

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Iyantan particularly called on the President and the national leadership of the party to look for a holistic reconciliation that will not jeopardize the bright chances of APC in the forthcoming election.

Meanwhile, the Ondo State chapter of the APC has refuted the report that no governorship primary election took place on April 20, in the state, describing the report as shocking and lacks credibility.

In a statement released by Alex Kalejaye, the APC state Publicity Secretary, the party cautioned against needless desperation on the part of some members, who have vowed “to do everything possible to discredit the process”.

“For the records, election took place in all the 18 local government areas in the State. There were agitations in Ifedore and Ilaje Local Government areas. While the results in the entire Ifedore Local Government were cancelled, that of Ilaje affected about four Wards, that were also cancelled.

“The essence of such cancellations was to emphasize the validity of the entire process, and lend credence to fairness.

“The voting strength of our members in the affected areas were not substantial enough to dent the credibility of the process, nor affect the margin with which the candidate emerged.

“The party therefore doubts the authenticity of the report, credited to an agent of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC),” the statement said.

In the same vein, the state APC Director of Media & Publicity, Steve Otaloro, disclosed that the party is currently navigating through a challenging period characterized by internal conflicts and disagreements after the gubernatorial primary.

He, however, said the issues involved are not uncommon in political parties, particularly during the build-up to major elections, noting that the party leadership at the state and national levels is actively working to address the challenges and foster unity within the party.

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According to him, despite the crisis, APC members in the state remain committed to the party’s core principles, and the leadership is dedicated to resolving all the conflicts peacefully and constructively.

” Concerns have been raised regarding the gubernatorial primary within the APC in Ondo State, with some members expressing their intention to seek legal recourse over the conduct of the primary. While the prospect of legal action may raise concerns about potential discord within the party, it is essential to recognize that the right to seek legal redress is a fundamental aspect of a democratic society.

“The APC respects the rights of its members to pursue legal avenues after they have exhausted the internal conflict resolution within the party if they are still having any issue with the primary. However, the party is confident that disputes arising from the primary will be addressed through the appropriate channels and resolved in a manner that upholds the integrity of the party,” Otaloro said.

He assured that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who emerged as the winner of the APC primary election, has indeed made efforts to meet with other aspirants for reconciliation. Governor Aiyedatiwa understands the importance of unity within the party and recognizes that it is crucial for all members to come together in order to secure victory in the upcoming general election.

“Since he was declared the winner of the primary election, Governor Aiyedatiwa has reached out to the other aspirants in a bid to foster unity and reconciliation within the party.

Reacting to rumour that some of the aspirants and members of APC are considering defecting to the opposition party in the state ahead of the November governorship election in Ondo State, Otaloro said, ” let me tell you, this is just a mere rumour. None of the members of our party will contemplate leaving a strong political force like the APC in Ondo.

“While defections are not uncommon in the political landscape, it is crucial to emphasize that the majority of APC members and aspirants remain steadfast in their commitment to the party and its values.

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